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Is there still a market for retro video game music?


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I know that most modern triple A games, either use real instruments or super realistic samples. But as far as video game music goes, is there still a market for retro music?

When I talk about retro music; I'm referring to the sequenced music you would hear in older games. A lot of JRPG's from the PSX and PS2 era used sequenced music.

My question is, do you guys think there's still a market for retro-sounding music in games?

 

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My response is going to come off rude, but I'm just confused by your question and not trying to be snide: you know there's quite a lot of indie-retro videogames all over the place these days, right? STEAM, GOG, Xbox Arcade, PS Indies, Nintendo eStore and many other places feature a lot of games that aren't AAA and have/want soundtracks to match.

Now is it easier to get into that market than it is to do realistic sounding music? Probably not, but there is a very existent market for chiptunes and music that doesn't need to sound realistic to work.

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14 hours ago, Meteo Xavier said:

My response is going to come off rude, but I'm just confused by your question and not trying to be snide: you know there's quite a lot of indie-retro videogames all over the place these days, right? STEAM, GOG, Xbox Arcade, PS Indies, Nintendo eStore and many other places feature a lot of games that aren't AAA and have/want soundtracks to match.

Now is it easier to get into that market than it is to do realistic sounding music? Probably not, but there is a very existent market for chiptunes and music that doesn't need to sound realistic to work.

I'm aware that there are retro indie games. But I was asking about the marketability mostly. Are devs willing to pay a decent price for retro sounding music? By decent price I mean, around $50-$100 per track for exclusive rights.

I'm asking, because I've heard from some people that devs aren't willingly to pay that much for retro sounding music. Those people are probably wrong though.

 

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16 hours ago, YoungProdigy said:

I'm aware that there are retro indie games. But I was asking about the marketability mostly. Are devs willing to pay a decent price for retro sounding music? By decent price I mean, around $50-$100 per track for exclusive rights.

I'm asking, because I've heard from some people that devs aren't willingly to pay that much for retro sounding music. Those people are probably wrong though.

 

The real question is: are devs willing to pay a decent price for your music?

I don't think they really care if it's retro, orchestral, sampled, live, whatever. They just want music that sounds good at a price they can afford.

If they are making a particular game; say, a retro platformer, then perhaps they will specifically want retro music. As others have said, there are plenty of successful games that have chiptune music.

Will they pay you as much as they'd pay for the guy who did Undertale? Maybe, maybe not.

So in conclusion, it's the exact same with any style of music: it depends on your skill, experience, and whether or not the dev has the means/desire to pay you any given amount, rather than whether it's chiptune.

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I haven't posted or been on here in months, so I don't care if I get banned at this point; therefore, I'm just gonna go ahead and be straight up

What you're really asking here is, "If I give up on realism and half-ass it, will people still be willing to pay me money?" The answer, generally, is no. Not unless they really like your music specifically.

For every good indie game with a retro soundtrack, there are a lot more that use the "retro" shtick as an excuse for having shit visual fidelity and dated gameplay and hope that equally dated music will be cost effective and people will give it a pass because "it's retro". Most worthwhile modern chiptunes actually have pretty slick production values with a pseudo lo-fi sound.

What most people don't realize, is that the old soundtracks were as memorable and effective as they were because the composer had to know his/her stuff. Due to a severely limited number of voices on the soundchips of yore, composers relied on (masterfully written) polyphonic scores to create flowing music; they had a solid grasp on melody. It's not like now, where you can buy an M-Audio Keyboard, an expensive sample library and hold down some block chords, pound some drums and string ostinatos like everyone's favourite film composer who dumbed Hollywood Orchestras down to a pop band playing through string and horn ensembles — fuck the woodwinds.

My point is, there is a market for retro scores, but it's more in being able to write in that style with a limited number of voices than in a dated sound. If you're aiming to make money by specializing in retro scores, just be sure you're music is closer to Yoko Shimomura than Hans Zimmer and don't expect lo-fi to give you a pass.

 

 

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