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EA To Sell Game Music on iTunes

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the do-do-do-do-do-dee-do dept.

Music 57

J. Charles Holt writes "Electronic Arts has announced that they're going to start releasing themes to popular computer games on online sources such as iTunes." From the article: "Those who doubt the hit potential of video game theme songs probably haven't seen Billboard's Hot Ringtones chart lately, where Koji Kondo has sat right near the top for 55 weeks. Who's Koji Kondo? He composed the theme for 'Super Mario Bros.,' which ranks this week right between the Black Eyed Peas and Bow Wow featuring Ciara."

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I sell it on eMule, for free. (1, Informative)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975136)

I sell it on eMule, for free.

After all, most of us probably bought the game, which means you bought the Music License along with the game.

My cartridge was defective and apart, but Nintendo wouldn't send me a replacement. However, I still retain the rights to the music and provide this music to others who are in the same situation.

Please do not download any music which you do not own. Thank you.

I wonder if I could use this crackpot strategy with audio tapes. My Metallica tapes are also defective, and stopped playing after a few years. I still retain the license, right?

Re:I sell it on eMule, for free. (1)

neostorm (462848) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975493)

I'd like to think the same thing. I usually get the soundtracks to all the games I own in MP3 format. A friend of mine came over one time and pointed out that a lot of people would see that as illegal music downloading. That kind of surprised me because I had the same philosophy you had: I own the game. If I wanted, wouldn't I be able to just rip the songs from the game and take it with me anyway? I've bought a few game OSTs to titles in the past, but for the most part I just grab them from somewhere offline and enjoy listening to them while I work. Is this really going to be seen as an "illegal" activity despite the games being in my ownership? I'd rather not have publishers control what I do with my possessions that much.

Unfortunately it seems like anywhere a company is standing to lose money, they'll fight it out with their customers regardless of who's in the right. Now they there's beginning to be a market for game music in the US, I'm afraid things might go that route with laws along the lines of the DMCA potentially saying it's unlawful to take music out of another media that you already own. Blah.

Re:I sell it on eMule, for free. (1)

fuzzhead (750413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977139)

If I buy an episode of Lost from iTunes, am I legally allowed to download/have a copy of an HD rip of that same episode?

Re:I sell it on eMule, for free. (1)

ludomancer (921940) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977210)

I don't know if this post is rhetorical or joking, but I'd say why not to that scenario. I mean, you figure if you paid for it from one source, you've got it. What does it matter if you copy the same thing again from another? Who cares about the quality? I'd really rather we don't begin letting companies determine tiers of media quality for variying prices. The information and media is right there in front of you. You take away the same level of entertainment and ideas from a low-res, crap recording that you do from an HD rip. A company can kiss my ass if they want to charge me more for the same piece of entertainment because it's at a higher resolution.

Re:I sell it on eMule, for free. (2, Insightful)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975908)

There are also many programs available to rip the music straight out of your games. I found one recently that let me rip my DDR disc. Also, if you own the game and download the music from a p2p service, you might be getting it from someone who is infringing, but you certainly aren't.

EULAs, my good friend. Do you read them? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978313)

Though I both disagree with reject the concept of licensing, it does not grant what you want.

For pretty much all media, you purchase permission to use <i>that physical copy</i> of the content. It can be revoked for violation of the liscence agreement (pirating, copying it to an ipod, listening to a competitor's CDs, etc). Actually, you're not supposed to be allowed to listen to the CD anymore if you break anything in the EULA, and that's probably on the RIAA/MPAA's todo list.

Re:EULAs, my good friend. Do you read them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978781)

Though I both disagree with reject the concept of licensing, it does not grant what you want.

Will someone please think of the FAIR USE!

Re:EULAs, my good friend. Do you read them? (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#13980107)

EULA? This was around 1987 and I bought it used at a garage sale, which back then meant that I actually became the legal owner of the game. Not even sure if there was a EULA on the new games. It was too long ago.

But again, I was 14 years old. If they want to sue me because I didn't read the EULA, they can go ahead and try.

Re:EULAs, my good friend. Do you read them? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13980879)

Aren't EULAS subject to change?

Re:I sell it on eMule, for free. (1)

DeadMilkman (855027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13979672)

Then you are 100% illegal.

#1. you didn't use your OWN cart.
#2. you did not use it for backup purposes.
#3. you did not remove it from the original media.

You are 100% in violation of every country's (who signed the Berne Convention) interpretation of copyright law.

(Think of it this way, since this isn't for backup there can only be one copy. You would have to destory the place in memory that contained the song (*This is also the reason you cannot re-sell this, or anyother single part of memeory on a game cart since its practically impossible to really seperate it and still have a usable original)

Lets take this to movies: If a movie "lost" its license for a song the entire audio snipet INCLUDING other audio lines, voice work, sound effects, etc. Would have to be cut and re-done from scratch since you cannot "completely" remove it...you can hide it, you can reduce it. But that' not complete removal.

Re:I sell it on eMule, for free. (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13988453)

No, you don't own the license for the music. You own a game, which you can play and listen to as much as you like. And I think in most countries you also have the right to make a direct recording of the Music if you do want to listen to it, and it is solely for your personal use. But a game is not a music license. If a company wants to profit from their IP by releasing a soundtrack (which mostly contains extra music not featured in the game) they can do that with all copyrights. It's the same reason why owning an old VHS doesn't give you the right to pirate it's DVD rerelease, and why subscribing to Pay-tv doesn't give you the right to pirate the DVDs of all movies featured in their program. You bought a game. Not a soundtrack. Two differant things. Owning a game which features that soundtrack doesn't give you the right to pirate the soundtrack. Plus, if there is eventually a market for game music from which game companies can profit, it will only benefit the consumer with better quality, as they would have more initiative to invest money in creating new music, instead of pouring more and more into visuals.

Conducive to productivity (5, Interesting)

jsorbie (88275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975212)

I find that PC video game music is nice to listen to while programming. No doubt because the score should be written to hold a mood while at the same time not be intrusive or distracting. It drowns out the office chatter quite nicely.

I personally wouldn't go buying it twice though. Many games have it in an ordinary directory in mp3 or ogg format, ripe for fair use. Others embed it into libraries or executables, which require some third party tool to extract (if at all). My feeling is that if I buy a game fair and square I should be able to pull the music out.

Um... (3, Funny)

Blaaguuu (886777) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975605)

Isn't the music in EA games usually just random popular songs? Aren't those already on itunes?

Re:Um... (2, Funny)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975916)

I'm just going to wait for about 10 years and then laugh at all the people who load up their EA games for a trip down nostalgia lane and realize what bad taste they had in music.

Re:Um... (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975988)

Christ I think that right now whenever I hear the radio crap driven soundtrack of most EA games. Especially the sports and racing stuff.

Re:Um... (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976271)

Exactly. But the irony (or something) will be so much sweeter when it's people who think that they really like this music thinking that thought.

Not a bad idea... (5, Insightful)

FreakyControl (751781) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975725)

There was a game company a while ago called The Logic Factory that had released a turn based strategy game called Ascendancy, and followed with a rather artistic RTS called The Tone Rebellion. When I purchased Tone Rebellion, I received the game soundtrack free of charge, since I had registered my copy of Ascendancy.

Having never owned a game soundtrack before, my original thought was, "Wow, that's useless." This soundtrack, however, turned out to be one of the best relaxation/study CD's that I have. While Tone was rather unique at the time for having so much effort being put into the musical score, many game makers spend a great deal of time and money to create good (and sometimes excellent) music to go with the game. I know I've owned more than one game that I wished I had the soundtrack. This sounds like it's really worth checking out.

Re:Not a bad idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13975983)

It was nice that Quake came with a soundtrack playable from a cdplayer on the same disc the game came on (I have the disc with the trail version that can be unlocked for the full one, plus has several other ID games unlockable on it-- only payed 2 bucks for it and cracked the disc for many free games. figured I payed for the disc-- how I use it is my own business). Of course Trents soundtrack to the game is not something I would listen to often.

Re:Not a bad idea... (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977270)

Quake just uses CD audio for the game soundtrack. What else are you going to fill a CD with if you're not using loads of FMV? Lots of '90s console games are the same, you can just put the disc into a CD player and play any CD audio tracks the game uses.

Re:Not a bad idea... (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13982061)

Quake II had a vanilla audio CD soundtrack aswell. A great one, in fact - i still play it in my stereo from time to time.

Re:Not a bad idea... (1)

Nycteris_a (829110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978008)

YES! I didn't know anyone else anywhere ever had played The Tone Rebellion. And yes, the soundtrack on that was really great and relaxing. I don't think my copy came with a CD soundtrack, though; I had to pull it off the game (but it was MP3s so it was no issue). I have purchased CDs of game music for games I don't own - especially orchestral and piano versions of Final Fantasy music. Game music isn't all bleeps and bloops any more. I will definitely be checking out itunes for game music.

Music Artist Curse (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13975999)

If the front cover player is cursed, shouldn't the music artist be too?

Online Remix Community? (1)

dcapel (913969) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976078)

But the question is, how will this affect the online remix community, (ocremix.org, vgmix.com, etc)?

Another way for Big to eat Small (2, Interesting)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976121)

While this is cool in one way - it will encourage game makers to put great music into their games - it also gives bigger publishers another advantage.

There was a time when you just needed an idea and programming skills to make a game. Now you need lots of specialists to make all the sounds and graphics competitive, or your gameplay will never see the light of day.

Soon, companies may say, "that's a great game idea, but can we make money from the soundtrack spinoff?" Hiring a top-notch composer will be another must-have in the large budget.

Re:Another way for Big to eat Small (0)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976407)

That's the indy game producer's problem.
If the gaming public likes 50 Cent and his G-Unit shooting people, online WW2 sims, and MMOs, that's what they'll get. If they like inventive games, that's what they'll get. Don't blame corporaions for giving the gaming public what they like. It's how they stay in business.

NFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13988093)

Hiring a top-notch composer will be another must-have in the large budget.

Such things already are happening, prime example being Need for Speed : Most Wanted, which hired the composer who made scores for movies such as Gone in 60 seconds and Bad Boys II.

THAT'S "Old School"? (2, Interesting)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976172)

From TFA ... and old-school tracks from the "Command and Conquer" games. licensed

Wha....? That's what they call "old school"? Try going back to the C64/Amiga days when there was some really fantastic music out there. Musicians/composers pushed the envelopes with what they could do because they had to get the most out of limited, music voices (three fore the C64 and six for the Amiga, I believe). I'd love to hear modern versions of the themes from Skate or Die and M.U.L.E., both coincidentally from Electronic Arts.

Companies like EA and Activistion really should look at remastering some of their REAL "old school" music. I'd love to hear so many soundtracks for my old C64 games in a modern accompanyment while staying 100% true to the old sound, like what a lot of C64 remixers have done.

My list (at least those that I can think of right off the bat)...
  • M.U.L.E. - EA
  • The Last Ninja - Activision
  • Skate or Die - EA
  • Ultima V and Ultima VI - Origin (now EA)
  • Various Mastertronic theme songs
  • Various Cosmi theme songs
  • Various Sierra On-Line theme songs*

Hell, there are a number of old game songs I'd like to hear remastered, licensing and approval by the original composers notwithstanding.

The idea that Command and Conquer is old school while ignoring classics like Skare or Die is almost insulting. It would also be a nice tribute for EA and other companies to the real "old school" gaming that set the foundation for where these game companies are today.

* Such a CD was released in the early 1990s, but good luck finding it any more. It contained from really great music by Mark Seibert, who composed the music for the King's Quest series, Police Quest series, and others.

Re:THAT'S "Old School"? (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976797)

Atari 800 M.U.L.E. had the greatest theme song of all time....

(NOT the NES version though. That sucked with a great and powerful suction.)

Re:THAT'S "Old School"? (0, Redundant)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976845)

That had to push the envelopes because they didn't have them.

*rimshot*

Re:THAT'S "Old School"? (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13979376)

Whoever modded me redundant didn't get the joke...

Quest Studios (1)

wuie (884711) | more than 8 years ago | (#13979488)

For those who love the music from the Sierra On-Line games, Quest Studios [queststudios.com] has songs in midi, mp3 and ogg format, as well as whole soundtrack files in midi format.

Re:THAT'S "Old School"? (1)

rjung2k (576317) | more than 8 years ago | (#13979985)

I could mod the parent up, but I'll just give a hollaback and toss out some more old "old school" suggestions:

  • Almost any two dozen tracks from Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog titles, particularly "Chemical Plant Zone".
  • Starfox for the Super Nintendo, particularly the "Corneria" and end credits tracks.
  • Ninjawarriors for the Super Nintendo.
  • Klax for the Atari Lynx. Getting music that good out of a portable at the time was mind-blowing.
  • Lemmings. Admit it, half the reason you played that game was to listen to the tunes...

While it's nice to see EA put their stuff for sale online, what I'm dying to see are Japanese game studios putting their soundtracks on iTunes for international distribution. I'm tired of paying 3x cover price for import CDs...

THIS is "Old School"! (1)

Tired_Blood (582679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13980001)

Absolutely nothing can top the minimalist jazz in Pong.

Beep
... ... ... boop
... ... boo-beep
... ... ... boop
... bee ... beep
boo ... ... boop
...

And the music was generated through gameplay - a concept WAY AHEAD of it's time.
Oh, yeah! I can dig it!

Planescape Torment (2, Interesting)

bradbeattie (908320) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976181)

Soundtrack to Planescape: Torment [planescape-torment.org]

Re:Planescape Torment (1)

bartle (447377) | more than 8 years ago | (#13979993)

Excellent. A few years ago I ripped the soundtrack myself from the game files and was never satisfied with the results. Thanks for posting that.

Is this a big shock? (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976350)

Square-Enix has been selling the soundtracks to most of the Final Fantasy games (as well as related recording such as The Black Mages) on iTunes for months now, and its become hugely popular, especially given the dificulty in actually obtaining the real soundtracks (usually hidiously overpriced in some small Anime shop IF you can find them)

It would only figure others would follow once people say there was a market.

Re:Is this a big shock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13976719)

Hey, you're right. They even have stuff that wasn't released in the US on CD, like remix and arranged albums. Thanks for clueing me in.

YES. (2, Funny)

b4k3d b34nz (900066) | more than 8 years ago | (#13976367)

Now I can finally get that soundtrack to Blades of Steel! I've been waiting for 17 years now...

Not so fast, EA... (2, Insightful)

fujiman (912957) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977232)

This is for the geniuses at EA, all else read on.

What ou fail to realize is that the *reason* Japanese videogame music sells so well is that... wait for it... IT'S GOOD MUSIC.

That's right. Square and Nintendo hire people called COMPOSERS that WORK on making MUSIC for GAMES. They are talented people whose life work is making beautiful, catchy, haunting melodies for your gaming pleasure.

While it might be nice to think you can make a fast buck by shoveling crappy soundtracks on iTunes, don't expect anyone to pay for it. Garbage in, garbage out.

lesson over

Re:Not so fast, EA... (1)

bVork (772426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977398)

Why just use Japanese game music for your example? By doing so, you're ignoring the fantastic soundtracks by people such as Jesper Kyd (Hitman series and Freedom Fighters), Chris Huelsbeck (Turrican series and Apidya), George A Sanger (Wing Commander and tons of others), and Christophe Heral (Beyond Good & Evil).

Don't go placing the Japanese on a pedestal. There's plenty of horrible licenced jpop and generic techno in their games.

Ignoring the faults of one game developer culture while praising the triumphs of another creates a distorted worldview, which only serves to dampen your own experiences.

Re:Not so fast, EA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977510)

Meh... Japanese game music isn't as uniformly good as you imply, nor is non-Japanese game music inherantly bad.

Sure, Final Fantasy has some great soundtracks. In fact, FFXI manages to have a decent MMORPG soundtrack, some bits of which (but only some) don't get annoying ever after the days and days of play-time that a MMORPG entails. Of course, then there's the Altepa Desert music, which just makes me wants to murder whoever came up with it. However, a lot of Japanese game music outright sucks. I've not liked anything I've heard from Nintendo during this console generation and think the Zelda WW soundtrack is among the worst they've done. The .hack RPGs had an utterly awful soundtrack, which is annoying given how good the music in the .hack//sign anime was (where the soundtrack was more or less the only thing keeping me watching through the big slow stretch in the middle of the series).

Then in the West, we've had soundtracks like Total Annihilation's, which remains one of my favorite to date. We've had really pioneering stuff like the iMuse system in the Lucasarts adventures, combined with the great scores for Day of the Tentacle, the Monkey Island games etc. Wing Commander had some great music, given the technical limitations of the time, as did the Ultima games. Even the Command & Conquer music had a good bit of character.

Haven't they been doing this for a while? (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977296)

I'm sure I saw a couple of EA Soundtrack albums on iTunes Music Store (UK) a couple of months ago (at about the time I noticed that iTMS UK had the various Final Fantasy OSTs as well, nice that it isn't some sort of US-only deal). Although they may have been some sort of early releases before the mail bulk or something.

I think it's great that they're releasing them, pity I haven't played any EA games in a while so have no interest in actually buying them. Now the second Halo 2 sountrack would be nice when it turns up (if only they weren't padded out with crappy "music inspired by" stuff, goddamm it I'm buying it for the games music, not random crappy music).

Plus I won't buy full albums as downloads, I'd rather spend the extra money and have the real CDs.

Furthermore (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977375)

Koji Kondo composed the music for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Re:Furthermore (1)

afish40 (774995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13980212)

It mentions Super Mario Bros. specifically because that's the ringtone that's so high on the charts.

Re:Furthermore (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13980410)

I know but musically, Legend of Zelda is a stronger theme.

Am I In Trouble Now? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977435)

I freely admit it. I have a digital music player filled with video game music. As a friend once said to be "you lose on a new level". I'm happy with it though. Super Mario, Sonic, Final Fantasy etc.. etc, etc. I've got a few modern game soundtracks on there as well. Much of the music was ripped from CD and ROM titles and decoded and then encoded by myself at great time and expense.

I consider the whole collection to be 100% legitimate. Both on the grounds that I own, or have owned, all the games in question; I ripped the music myself for completely personal use from legitimate CDs and ROMs (absolutely did not upload to P2P networks), and lastly for the fact that the music itself was essentially not for sale at any price anywhere in my market.

What I'm wondering now is, as Satan's incarnation on this Earth, EA Games, has decided that there are enough geeks like me innocently enjoying this music, and hence we should all start paying for it; has my entire collection suddenly gone from legal to illegal in the blink of an eye?

Is there no safe refuge from the money gougers anymore? If enough people begin enjoying something will companies like EA force us to pay for it? Wither Fair Use?

Re:Am I In Trouble Now? (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13982429)

As I understand it. If you own the games, then you have the right to convert the music for those games to a format you can play per the DMCA.

rock and roll racing (1)

lubricated (49106) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978071)

The best video game soundtrack was in rock n roll racing for the snes. Any time ozzy is on the soundtrack is a good thing.

Re:rock and roll racing (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978575)

I guess you've never played Grim Fandango or Outlaws.

Re:rock and roll racing (1)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978909)

You just reminded me to find my Outlaws CDs... Guilty Gear XX & Isuka, Otogi, and Gunvalkyrie also have great soundtracks. Never had a chance to play Grim Fandango, though.

Re:rock and roll racing (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13980070)

The modern jazz with Mexican/Aztec/Mayan influences is amazing in Grim Fandango. It's possible to find it in a few versions 'round the net.

Music Construction Set (1)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978163)

Is this going to include the music that was created with EA's Music Construction Set [wikipedia.org] ?

Cool idea.. but EA? (1)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978689)

While this sounds cool to me.. what games has EA done that I'd care about the music from?

Oh gawd... (2, Funny)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978769)

As long as its not Madden rapping!

*Un-Un-Un-Unbelievable*

Oh what a tangled web we wieve (1)

DeadMilkman (855027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13979547)

Just because you own a movie it does NOT give you the right to remove the soundtrack, place it on a CD and listen to it.

You ARE ripping off artists when you do because they ARE paid on a different scale between ingame/inmovie and out of game/movie CDs
(* the difference being the music didn't necessarily sell the game/movie but the music DID 100% sell the CD)

As far as remixers go, in "most" cases if they are mearly using the composition and not the original they can apply to the composer for a compulsory license and pay royalties as fit
(they are actually quite resonable rates usually and this HAS been done before by mear fans...)
See Project Majestic Mix

Re:Oh what a tangled web we wieve (2, Interesting)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 8 years ago | (#13982938)

So we're allowed to listen to the music while watching the movie, but we're not allowed to turn off the screen and just listen to music? That's essentially the same thing. The only difference is that instead of using a DVD player and the DVD to playback the music, you put it on a CD to use in a CD player, or an MP3 to play on your computer or MP3 player.

I'm sorry, but that doesn't really make sense. Also, unless I'm mistaken, I believe the DCMA allows you to actually convert the soundtrack to MP3 or another format if you so choose. I'm not denying that the artists probably make less money, but that's an ethics argument, not a legal one.
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