Game music

What Makes a Freelance Composer Easy to Work With

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

So are you someone who’s thinking about whether or not to hire a freelance composer for your project? Or maybe you’re a composer yourself and are wondering how to set yourself up as someone who’s trustworthy and easy to work with?

If so, perhaps this article will offer you a few tips and ideas. I’m a freelance music composer myself (learn more about me if you like!) and have been doing this for a few years now. I create music for a variety of projects, from game music soundtracks, to films, to creating theme tunes for shows, podcast intros, outros and other jingles, and more! It’s a whirlwind of awesomeness all music-related, which I absolutely love!

If you’re thinking of working with a freelancer, you may have your concerns about how it may work and whether you can really work efficiently with them or not. It’ll be important to find someone who feels trustworthy and reliable, and who you believe is capable of delivering what you want. So here are my tips on what to look out for and what I believe makes a freelance composer easy to work with:

1. Always being fast to respond

For me, I make it a priority to always reply back to my clients as quickly as possible so that they know I’m there and are easy to communicate with. It’s hugely reassuring I think, for you to know that although your composer isn’t sitting right next to you, you can always get hold of them.

So, as a freelancer, I think it’s important to be quick to respond to clients and to be easy to communicate with. I’ve found that it shows reliability, builds trust and a stronger connection and it makes it clear that the client’s needs are important.

Also see: How to Communicate Effectively with a Composer

2. Managing expectations

I believe that it’s vital to be as clear as you can about what’s happening and when a client can expect to hear back from you. If you’re hiring a freelance composer, tell them if there’s a certain deadline required or timeline that the project and you are hoping to working to.

Otherwise if you forget, an attentive freelance composer should ask you whether your have certain deadlines in mind and should keep you apprised of their progress. 

As a freelance composer, I’ve found that if you manage people’s expectations early on and throughout the composing process, it makes things clear for everyone and usually makes the process an enjoyable one for all.

3. Being transparent about what the composer can and can’t do

I find that it really helps to be upfront about what I can and can’t help with. I don’t do sound effects for example, but can create short stings, jingles or tones that can be useful for games or shows. I also don’t do lyrics or vocals or live recordings of music, and so if I think that a client may possibly be wanting or expecting this, I’ll let them know upfront that it’s not something I really specialise in or usually offer.

You may find some jack-of-all trades but in reality I’ve found that people tend to be better at certain things than others. So, be aware of this and try to find someone who is honest with you about what they can deliver you or not. Don’t be fooled by those who will say ‘yes’ to everything, as it may not always work out well.  

4. Having plenty of examples of previous works

If you’re thinking about working with a freelance composer, check out their portfolio, website and music show reels. Listen to their music and see how you feel about it. It’s one of the best ways to get a sense of them in terms of what they’re capable of and what kind of work and projects they’ve been involved with before. As the hirer you must do your due diligence.

If you’re a composer looking to offer examples of your work, try to showcase your best work or a good range of what you’ve been involved in. Make them easy to find on your website and also have a clear credit list and testimonials available so that people can see what you’ve done and what others say about you.

5. They ask lots of questions

To fully understand a music brief, the context of the music for your project and to understand your needs and what you’re hoping to achieve – a freelance composer should be asking you lots of questions!

They should be interested in understanding as much as they can about your project and about what you’re looking for in the music. It’s their job to realise your vision and so if they aren’t asking you any questions, how can they deliver you anything useful?

Perhaps I take this to another level, since one of my clients testimonials seemed to mention my deep questioning before getting started, but I find that it really help me to fully understand what they’re looking for and to therefore not waste time going back and forth iterating a track that may have initially missed the mark. I ask lots of questions upfront to gather all the information I need to create music that fits, and then try my best to fulfil that vision. Amazingly, nine times out of 10, that works beautifully and I rarely get asked to make any adjustments to the music that I make.

Read: 8 Top Tips on Building a Strong Working Relationship with a Freelance Composer

6. A genuine interest

If you feel that your freelance composer is genuinely interested in what you’re doing, they should be great to work with! I don’t tend to take on any projects that I don’t think I’ll enjoy or have some interest in. I want to see all the games, films and shows that I create music for succeed. They’re usually really interesting, quite unique and I end up feeling ultra proud to be a part of the whole process.

By choosing to work on projects that I find interesting and really like – it means that I have a real passion for it and will be giving my clients my all. It’s not just ‘another job’ for me but is instead a real joy and something that I want to be involved in.

There are my 6 key thoughts on what I think makes a freelance composer good to work with. Hopefully there are a few ideas in there that may help you with your search for the right composer to work with. If there are other thoughts that you feel are important, feel free to share them with me, as it’s always useful to know how else we can improve the process of working as a freelancer and remotely.

If you want help with music for your project, feel free to message me or to browse my site to get to know me a bit better! I hope this has been helpful and goodluck with your project! 

Next see: How to Work Well with a Game Music Composer


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About the Author:

Ninichi is a freelance composer based in the UK, with clients all across the globe, from the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She has created music for games, films, tv shows, commercials and more. Visit her homepage now and explore her music.

Introducing Ninichi’s Chiptune Pack (Royalty Free Video Game Music)

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Do you need some chiptune / 8-bit style music for your video game or gaming channel? If so, the Chiptune Pack, might be just what you need! 

I’m Ninichi, and I’m a game music composer! I’ve worked on a variety of wonderful indie games – helping to create custom soundtracks and music for game trailers, films and more (see my game music). It’s a great honour to be involved in so many amazing projects; however, I’m also a great supporter of indie projects in general and know that not all games can afford custom music. 

So, for those in this situation, I’ve created a few ready-made music packs which are available to purchase and license now via my website. Once you complete the payment, you can download all the files and away you go! You have music ready for your game!

The Chiptune Pack is the first of my royalty free music packs to be made available. It’s an awesome set of 5 different 8-bit style tracks perfect for creating that old-school video game feel. The tracks all loop seamlessly and are provided in both mp3 and WAV format. 

Check out a fun preview of this music pack & get a feel for these chiptunes now…

The idea behind these video game music packs is to make things as easy as possible for you so that you can ‘get your music and go’, but at the same time, I’ve created all of this music myself and so hope to ensure that the quality of the music remains high.  

There are also some bonus mini-tracks included as part of the package. These can be used as opening themes or for shorter game levels or whatever you feel works best. It’s all up to you!

I hope that you find this chiptune set useful. If you’re creating a pixel-style game and want that 8-bit / 16-bit feel, check out this chiptune pack now.

Also check out my Retro Rush video game music pack and keep an eye on my royalty free music / licensing page for updates and new music which I hope to keep sharing and making available to you. 


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance game music composer and film music composer. She creates music for indie gamesfilms, podcasts, tv shows, commercials and more. 

She is an incredibly diverse composer with an extensive credit list to her name. If you'd like help with music for any project, feel free to contact her now.

Follow her @ninichimusic

Introducing Ninichi’s Fantasy Atmospheres 1 (Royalty Free Ambient Music)

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Have you been searching for atmospheric, mood creating music for your video game, film or videos? If so, Fantasy Atmospheres 1, could be just what you need! 

I’m Ninichi, and I’m a freelance composer! What that means is that I create music for games, films and other media (see my homepage). I’m usually commissioned to create custom music for different projects, however, I’ve also made some of my music available to license here on my website.

Fantasy Atmospheres 1 – offers a unique set of 4 beautiful scene setting tracks designed to create a sense of calm and magic for your projects. Each track has it’s own distinct melody yet all 4 tracks blend easily together to form the perfect soundtrack for any project.

If you’re looking for a way to create some added depth and ambience to your project, check out Fantasy Atmospheres 1 music pack now.

Here’s a quick sneak preview of two of the tracks available in Fantasy Atmosphere’s 1…

All the tracks are ‘ready-to-go’ and can be looped seamlessly. You’ll get mp3 files that are easy to download and use straight away. There’s also a bonus track included in case you need that little bit more music for your project! 

If that’s not enough though, don’t fret – there’s Fantasy Atmospheres 2 available now also. 


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance game music composer and film music composer. She creates music for indie gamesfilms, podcasts, tv shows, commercials and more. 

She is an incredibly diverse composer with an extensive credit list to her name. If you'd like help with music for any project, feel free to contact her now.

Follow her @ninichimusic

Introducing the Documentary about Gaming & Mental Health: Game Flow

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Interview By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

I’m really excited to be introducing you to Game Flow in this blog! It’s a really interesting film about gaming and mental health which I had the honour to learn about & get involved in after discovering they were in need of a composer. I connected with Emily Crawford, the Director, Producer and Editor for the documentary and together we worked on the music for the film.

The soundtrack to the film has been completed and I’m super excited to see how the film evolves and how people react to it! Check out the trailer for Game Flow:

Now, let’s check out this wonderful interview with Emily to learn a bit more about this documentary and why this topic of gaming and mental health is so important…

Who are you and how long have you been involved in films? 

‘I'm a documentary filmmaker, researcher, and writer based in Washington, DC. I've been working in film/television in some capacity for the past 7 years or so, but I only recently started producing and directing my own films. This will really be the first film on this scale that I've produced and directed myself.’

What’s Game Flow about and where did the inspiration behind this documentary come from?

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Game Flow is a short documentary about how gaming can be a powerful tool to help people deal with anxiety and mood disorders. It celebrates the positive impact that games can have on mental health, and attempts to debunk misconceptions about video games being addictive or encouraging violence. 

The inspiration for the film came from my own experience – several years ago, I was struggling with some mental health issues myself, and had also recently started playing a lot of video games for the first time as an adult. I noticed that games were helping me process my emotions in helpful ways, so I started researching the subject. I soon found that there was a lot out there to support what I was experiencing, not only anecdotal evidence but also studies that have been done, things like that. So I decided to make a documentary about gaming for mental health as my MFA capstone project for grad school, and that became Game Flow.’ 

Why do you feel this topic is important? What are you hoping people will takeaway or learn from this film?

‘I feel that this topic is important because outside of the gaming community, nobody really talks about the positive aspects of gaming. There is so much media attention given to the supposed downsides of games, like increased violence or addiction. But there's really very little solid research to support the idea that video games are addictive, or that violent games encourage aggression. There are interviews with psychologists and games researchers in the documentary that get into all of this. 

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Meanwhile, mental healthcare is really inadequate in most of the world, and mental illness still heavily stigmatized. Games are this potential tool for good that is largely being ignored. I'm not advocating for gaming to take the place of therapy or psychiatric care, of course, but games can be a really helpful supplement to treatment.

There is research being done on the subject, and there are some wonderful people incorporating gaming into mental healthcare, but no one really knows about it outside of some very small communities. So I wanted to bring attention the subject, to destigmatize mental illness and gaming, and to encourage people to explore the therapeutic potential of games, especially for mood and anxiety disorders. 

I hope that the film will change at least a few minds about games, and video games especially – because the documentary is about games in general, including board games, cell phone games, etc. But I focused especially on video games in part because they're the most heavily stigmatized. There are still a lot of people out there who think that gamers are all antisocial teenage boys or men who live in their parents' basements. I want to show those people that not only can games be this powerful art form and force for good, but that the people who play them are really diverse and often brilliant, inspiring people who are successful in endeavors outside of gaming.’

Who’s been involved in the film and what has the process of making it been like?

‘I've had a wonderful, generous team of crew members, faculty advisors, funders, and other collaborators, and I could never have finished production without them. The crew were mostly my classmates from film school, as well as my very patient boyfriend, Joey Trimboli, who has also helped with marketing and outreach. Filming was a great experience because it involved meeting all of the amazing people who are in the film. I was able to connect with people over our shared experiences with games and mental health, and I made several real friends along the way. 

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The postproduction process has been a little tougher, mostly because I'm busier with other things theses days – I've been working on other documentaries in order to gain professional experience (and pay the bills), and so have been squeezing my work on Game Flow into my evenings and weekends. But finishing the rough cut felt really good, and I was able to graduate and receive my MFA degree based on that, and have gotten some great feedback on it so far. It's been rewarding to see all of the final pieces start falling into place – now that the soundtrack is done, all that's left to do is a final audio mix, color correction, and finalizing the graphics.’ 

What was your thinking behind the music soundtrack? What made you decide to work with me (Ninichi) & what has it been like?

‘I had gotten this idea stuck in my head that I wanted to do something influenced by chiptunes and retro game music in general. I think I wanted to evoke nostalgia for the games people played when they were young, because that's when most people first connect with the medium.

I posted on social media (@GameFlowDoc) that I was looking for a composer for the film. I heard from quite a few people, but Ninichi's portfolio really stood out, both because of her talent in general, and her obvious familiarity and skill with chiptunes and game music. Most of the composers who expressed interest in the project had done music for games, which I thought was really cool, but Ninichi was unique in that she had already done things very similar to what I wanted for the film. 

Working with Ninichi was amazing! I had never had the opportunity to work directly with a composer before on one of my own films, so that was exciting in itself. Ninichi made the process really easy, and was very receptive to my input and feedback. I really think that the music she composed makes the film more powerful. It's also totally stuck in my head all the time now!’

What are your plans for the film, where can we watch it and what’s next for you?

‘As soon as the postproduction for the film is finished (which will be in Spring 2019), I'll be submitting it to festivals and doing some community screenings in the Washington, DC area. After a festival run, we'll make the film free to watch on Youtube and on our website, gameflowdocumentary.com. We'll be posting updates on the website regularly about screenings, festivals, and our progress in general, so anyone interested in the film should definitely keep an eye on the site. You can also sign up to receive updates about our festivals, our release date, etc. 

I'm not sure what my next project will be yet, but I do know that Game Flow will be an ongoing effort even once the film is released and the festival run is done – I want to build out the website more, and make it a sort of living database of resources related to games and mental health.’ 

This all sounds fantastic! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about Game Flow. We will be sure to keep our eyes out for the documentary and to spread the word where we can!

See other films Ninichi’s been involved in:

Articles for filmmakers:


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About the interviewer: Ninichi is a freelance composer who creates music for indie games, films and media. She is a great supporter of indie projects and runs this blog in the hope that it offers useful insights for the game development community.

She is open for commissions and would be happy to help you with the music to your game should you need it. Contact her now to discuss your project with her.

4 Ways to Source Music for Your Game

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Music is an important element to any game. As a game music composer (see more about me!), I really believe that it helps to enhance the overall experience, to bring it all together and to set the general tone of the game. Great music can help to make your game more memorable, more fun to play and can even to make it stand out.

However, it is not always easy or obvious where to find the right music for a game or which approach to take. If you’re wondering what your options are and which way to turn, perhaps this article will help. There are also many other useful tips, articles and resources on my blog so do take a minute to browse through those as well.

In the meantime, here are 4 of the main ways to source music for your game:

  1. Stock music library

  2. Asking friends or a student / amateur musician

  3. Hiring a composer

  4. Making it yourself

1. Stock Music Libraries

These are also sometimes referred to as royalty-free music libraries, production music libraries or simply stock music. For those on a really tight budget, stock music can be a good option as it offers a variety of music available to use on a royalty-free basis, at a very low price. Some music is completely free, sometimes it requires attribution, other times you’ll have to pay but usually a low fee between $5-75 per track. Here are some of my tracks available to license on a royalty free basis.

There are also music packs available from certain sites, which are often even cheaper. They offer many tracks that you can download in one go and which can essentially make up your entire soundtrack. However, there are downsides to bulk packs and stock music generally in that they won’t be customised to your game and so are unlikely to fit perfectly and creating consistency across a full soundtrack can be tough to do.

It can also be quite a time consuming process to go through lots of tracks to narrow down and find something suitable for your specific needs. See the article: Pros & Cons of Using Royalty Free Music in Games to explore this a bit more.

2. Asking friends or a student / amateur musician

Do you have a friend who could help with the music? Is there a student or wannabe composer who might jump at the chance to get involved with your game? If so, this could be an avenue for you to explore further.

Friends are often happy to lend a hand, especially if it’s your first game and there are many student musicians and hobbyist composers out there who may get excited when they learn about what you’re developing. The downside with this option is usually to do with time, quality and reliability/accountability.

If you’re relying on someone to help you out for free, it’s difficult to hold them accountable to you and to make sure that they deliver what you need, when you need it. This can be absolutely fine if you too are a hobbyist and/or are just trying things out for fun, however, if you’re serious about getting your game to market then you may want more ‘serious’ folk in your team.

For composers/musicians starting out, their experience may be lacking and so you may find that the quality of music and the ease with which you can communicate and work with them is challenging. You’ll need to be patient and to be willing to spend time guiding them. You may need to spend time going back and forth quite a bit until each track starts to sound like something you’d like to use.

3. Hiring a composer

This is probably the most ‘professional’ route you could take and so if you want high quality music, which is customised and created specifically for your game, this is the best option for you. It does, however, come at a price, and so you will need to be willing to invest in the music to your game. (See 5 Reasons to Invest in the Music to Your Game).

There are many different types of composers out there, with some specialising in certain styles/types of music and some specialising in certain fields – so not all composers will have experience creating game music for example (they may be a classical composer or a film composer), and so it’s important to learn as much as you can about them and their music and composing experience, before deciding who you want to work with.

This is why I make it easy for people to listen to examples of my game music and to see my credit list and testimonials so that you can hopefully get a sense of what I’m about: - what I’m like to work with, my experience and music. This is the type of things to check out when trying to decide who you might want to hire and work with.

Here are some tips if you want to explore this further: 5 Top Tips for Hiring a Game Music Composer for the First Time

4. Making music it yourself

If you are a musician and feel that you have all the skills needed to create great music for your game, then I’d definitely consider this as an option. The great thing about doing it yourself is that you will have full creative control. You can decide what you want, when you want it and when it’s good enough for your game.

The downside though is that if you take the time to create the music for your game, that’s time taken away from possibly doing something else. So, you will need to have that time to dedicate to the things that you feel are important or you will need to prioritise and think carefully about how you want to spend your most precious commodity.  Making music can be an incredibly fun process if that’s your kind of thing, however, it is very time consuming. So think carefully about what’s right for you.

See Pros & Cons of Creating Your Own Game Music for more on this.

Those are the 4 main ways to get music for your game. I hope this has been useful for you and helps with your decision-making and next steps. It is also very possible to combine some of the above options and so don’t worry if you’ve made a start down one road but feel you might want to explore another.  It’s still all very possible to do. If you want to talk through this some more, contact me to explore how I might be able to help you with your game or project. Good luck! 


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About the authorNinichi is a game music composer and music enthusiast. She has composed the soundtracks and music to several indie games, films, tv shows, podcasts and more. Contact her: to explore working with her on your game, film or media project.

Check out examples of Ninichi's game music & read more articles like this on Ninichi's blog

Follow her @ninichimusic

Introducing Ninichi’s Royalty Free Game Music Asset Packs

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

If you’ve been thinking about using royalty free music for your game, you may be interested in these. I’m Ninichi, a freelance game music composer and I create music for games, film and other media. I am usually commissioned to work on game music soundtracks and custom music for game trailers, film and other shows and media. I also offer some royalty free music available to license through my website, since I’m well aware that not all projects have the budgets available to invest in custom music.

My video game music packs are one of these licensing options and the idea behind these is to enable indie game developers on very tight budgets, to still be able to have great quality music in their games. 

The first 3 packs are available now – to purchase, license and use on a royalty free basis. My plan is to release new music packs as they become available – hopefully a new pack every month or so, therefore I encourage you to keep visiting my site for updates when you can.

Let me introduce you to the first three video game music packs:

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CHIPTUNE PACK– is a collection of 5 great 8-bit style game music tracks designed specifically for use in video games. The tracks loop seamlessly and there are also 3 bonus mini-tracks included that can be used as opening themes or shorter game levels.

Check out the Chiptune Pack

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RETRO RUSH – is a collection of 5 amazing retro or arcade-style game music tracks perfect for puzzle, brick and paddle, or racing games. A bonus intro sting with 3 different variations is included and can be used for menus, ending credits or any other shorter/transition levels.

Learn more about Retro Rush

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PUZZLE PACK – is a set of 5 awesome video game music tracks designed for puzzle games. All tracks are fun to listen and have their own distinct melodies, yet have been crafted to sit perfectly in the background to any puzzle game.

Listen to Puzzle Pack now

I hope that you find these music packs useful and do keep a look out for more.

If you have any suggestions around these or ideas for future video game music packs, do drop me a line. It’ll be great to hear from you! And, of course, if you’d like to explore working with me on some music for your project, don’t hesitate to get in touch now!


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About the Author: 

Ninichi is a freelance game music composer & big supporter of indie games. If you need help with the music for your game or project, contact me now to explore how we might work together. 

Learn more About me (Ninichi) and check out examples of my game music here.

Understanding How Much an Indie Game Music Composer Costs

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

If you’re developing a game, at some point you may be wondering whether or not to invest in a custom game music soundtrack and whether to hire a game music composer to work with or not. One big question that I’m sure is on your mind, is how much will it all cost? How much do indie game music composers charge typically?

Unfortunately this isn’t a simple question to answer since every composer is different. However, as a freelance indie game music composer myself (learn more about me!), I can try to give you an overview of what sort of rates you may come across and to help you understand where some of the pricing structures and costs may come from.

What kind of composer rates can you expect?

Across the whole industry, you will probably find a big range in prices offered by various composers. From what I’ve seen that range can stretch anywhere between $50 all the way up to $2500 per minute of music, with hobbyists, part-timers at the lower end and 'stars' at the top end. 

For indie game music composers with a fair amount of experience and a decent credit list, most will tend to have prices within the range of $200-$1000 per minute of music.

The more experienced and in demand a composer is, the higher they are likely to charge for their music and time. Some will charge per minute of music, whilst others will charge per track or will quote you for the project as a whole, and some will charge for their time like any other contractor / freelancer may i.e. per hour of work. 

Most composers will have some flexibility and be happy to negotiate their fee with you but at the same time, they will have their usual rates that they tend to work with and so are unlikely to stray massively from their original quotes. This goes for me as well. If you'd like to work with me on a project but aren't sure about the fees / financial side, just drop me a message, give me an indication of what sort of budget you have to work with, and we'll see if we can work something out! 

If you're hoping to work with a big name in the industry then definitely expect rates to be higher. They will be in demand, their time is precious and they can afford to carefully select the projects that they wish to work on and those that they wish to reject. 

Do some composers work for free?

If you're expecting people to work for free or for 'exposure', then beware who you approach in this manner.  Hobbyists, enthusiasts and those starting out may well be prepared to create a game music soundtrack for you for little or no pay, in exchange for the experience and as a way to build up their credit list and portfolio. This can be a great option if you have the time to nurture them and to work closely with them to ensure you get music you're happy with.

However, if you're looking to work with a professional composer, do keep in mind that this is their profession and hence their skills, talent and time all holds a value which you must be willing to invest in and to pay for if you are keen to work with them and build a strong working relationship with them. 

Read 6 Ways to Pay a Game Music Composer.

What contributes to the wide range in pricing?

There are lots of factors that come into play when composing a track for a game, film or media in general. Just to give you an idea there’s the:

  • composer’s time

  • their location

  • experience & track record / their specialism, if they have one

  • style of music and the complexity of it

  • length of the track

  • number of tracks in the project/soundtrack

  • musical training and talent of the composer

  • sounds / software / production tools

  • terms of use (exclusivity vs. non exclusivity) & licensing fees

  • deadline i.e. how quickly you need the music to be done

  • number of changes / iterations / variations needed

And those are just for starters! 

So depending on what you’re looking for and where you’re looking for it, the quotes you get may vary quite a bit. 

Check out: 5 Top Tips for Hiring a Game Music Composer for the First Time

Now, how much should you be prepared to spend on your game music soundtrack?

Well, only you can really answer that and only you will know what your financial situation is and also how important you feel the music is for your particular game. Music can really help to bring all the main elements in a game together and to enhance the overall experience for the player. See my article on 5 Reasons to Invest in Great Game Music.

As I'm sure you can imagine, large AAA games and films have big budgets (i.e. in the several tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars) when it comes to music. Many are scored similarly to films, using large orchestras and big epic scores and thus - this is no simple or cheap endeavour.

For indie games there is a much wider range in what indie game studios and indie game developers tend to spend on music. Those will small budgets tend to go for royalty free music (also known as stock music / library music / production music or copyright free music). This can certainly be a way forward for you if you’re starting out and aren’t ready to invest in custom music. Check out my royalty free music options here.

However, those with budgets of usually between $1000-$10,000 are more common for indie games seeking a custom music soundtrack and wanting to hire a composer. 

There are many different things to think about and also many elements that you can play around with to help you get the most out of your music funds.

A few things that I’ve found useful to think about:

Track length

If you choose a composer who’s music you really love and who you trust, you will often find that your game music tracks don’t need to be as long as you think they need to be.  An experienced composer will know how to sustain interest in their music even if the tracks are short.  So, if they charge per minute, you can reduce costs by reducing the length of your tracks.

A composer’s experience

Composers with more experience will usually take up much less of your time than someone earlier on in their career. They shouldn’t require any handholding and should be accustomed to delivering high quality work straight away. So, although they may feel a bit more pricey, they can save you precious time which in some ways can be priceless!

See: How to Detect a Bad or Inexperienced Composer

Communication

Communication is key. Make sure that you work with someone who understands you and that you understand too. Knowing that you can easily communicate with a composer will make you feel more confident in your working relationship.

Read: How to Communicate Effectively with a Composer

So, to sum up, there is no one fixed rate that indie game music composers all work to, however, most will be willing to talk to you about your budget and to explore ways of making things work for you. If you take a look at my credit list, you’ll see that I’ve worked on a real range of indie games, indie films and other projects, which each had different needs music-wise and budgets to work with. We found a way to make it work and to create soundtracks that everyone is super happy with – so keep an open mind, explore your options and talk – I mean really talk, to the composer(s) you want to work with.  If you feel like exploring things further - contact me now.


About the author: Ninichi is a freelance indie game music composer who enjoys creating soundtracks for video games, film & media. She's composes in a wide range of styles & loves supporting indie game developers and indie filmmakers with their projects. Find out more about her game music or royalty free music and contact her to discuss your project and music needs.

Follow her @ninichimusic

8 Top Tips on Building a Strong Working Relationship with a Freelance Composer

8 Top Tips on Building a Strong Working Relationship with a Freelance Composer.jpg

By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Are you thinking about hiring a freelance composer to work with but aren’t quite sure about how it might work or how to ensure that it works well? If so, don’t worry. It is a completely natural feeling especially if you’ve never worked with any freelancers before and it’s important to address your concerns and to make sure that you find the right person for you and your project.

I’m a freelance music composer and have worked with clients and projects all over the world – including working with game developers, filmmakers, podcasters, TV producers, marketers and more (see my homepage to get to know me, Ninichi a bit better!). I work from my home office and have never met many of my clients, yet my working relationships with each one feels really strong. There’s a sense of trust, my clients know that they can rely on me to get the work done and done to a high standard, and that I will always do my best to create music that embodies their visions. They also know that I will always be there to respond to their needs whenever they have something to say, ask, explore, feedback on or to work on further.

I can only share what I have learnt through my own experiences but hope that these will be helpful to you in ensuring that you are able to foster strong working relationships with the freelance composer and actually all freelancers that you decide to work with. So here are a few tips and ideas that come to mind but in essence most of it comes down to good communication.

If you aren’t able to communicate effectively with a freelancer, whether that is a freelance composer or any other freelancer, you won’t have any chance of building a strong relationship with them. This may sound obvious but is so critical and important that I believe it’s definitely worth mentioning. So…

1. Be open, honest and upfront

That is about what you want, need and are hoping for in relation to the music you require for your project. The more you can say about what you’re looking for, the easier it will be for your prospective freelance composer(s) to determine whether or not it’s something they can help you with or not.

2. Offer constructive feedback

Make sure that you are clear about what you like and don’t like about what they’ve done and guide them towards what you’re looking for, but don’t be harsh and be sensitive to the fact that they are most likely trying to deliver good work to you, so if it’s not right the first time, try to be patient and understanding. To do this well check out: How to Communicate Effectively with a Composer.

3. Keep your communication channels open

Make sure that you’re there when they need you. They may want to ask you some questions or get feedback from you on their music. Try to be as prompt as you can in offering your thoughts and in keeping the momentum going. If you’re both available to each other when you need each other, working together will feel quite smooth and easy.

4. Make sure that there isn’t a language barrier

It’s a little tough to say but in truth, everyone needs to be able to communicate with a work colleague (freelance or otherwise) at the same sort of level, so if you feel that they aren’t understanding what you’re asking for, then they aren’t the right freelance composer for you.

5. Don’t get hung up about terminology

Your composer is the specialist in music. You aren’t expected to be nor should you try to be as it could end up confusing everyone. Just try to explain in as simple terms as you can, what you’re after – in terms of mood, style, context for the music etc. and you should be fine.

I myself tend to ignore most music terminology. Obviously I know some and have been trained but I don’t find it helps to use it. I believe that keeping things simple is much better for everyone. Music is universal and there are many different ways to describe it – so go with whatever makes the most sense to you and a good music composer should be able to turn that into something grand! Also see: How to Work Well with a Game Music Composer

6. Listen to their music before contacting them

I find that the people I work best with are those who have taken the time to look around my website and listen to a few examples of my previous works. That means – checking out my music show-reels, looking at my credit list, listening to different examples of my music, and generally getting a feel for the type of music I compose.  If you understand what your freelance composer is capable of, you can get a sense of what’s possible for your own project and you can determine this yourself to some degree by listening to what they’ve done already and seeing if you like it. 

It’s also easier to work with people when they pick out certain tracks that they liked from your previous works as it gives me a great indication of the type of sounds, style and moods that they particular like.

Also see: How to Choose a Composer for Your Indie Film or How to Choose a Composer for Your Game

7. Offer reference tracks as a style guide

In order to help your freelance music composer understand what you’re looking for and what you have in mind music-wise for your project, it can really help to have reference tracks.

This can be there to offer inspiration and to help the composer understand the mood you’re hoping for, the musical instrumentation that you like and are imagining for your project and the flow of the kind of pieces you like.

8. Don’t micromanage but don’t be elusive either

In order to build a strong working relationship with your freelance composer, don’t micromanage them. The last thing they want is to be having to report back to you every hour or so. They need time to get into the creative zone and to focus on creating great music for you and your project. So, you need to be able to trust whoever you’ve chosen to work with, to be able to get on with the task at hand and to deliver great music to you when they’re ready to.

At the same time, don’t be elusive. Don’t be hard to contact or slow in responding to them if you can help it. Getting feedback on music quite quickly after it has been done is really helpful for composers since they’ll be ‘in the zone’ and it can be really useful to keep that momentum going and to continue working on your project whilst it’s ‘hot’!

If you're looking for a freelance composer to work with and want to have a chat, feel free to contact me now. I'm more than happy to help and explore things further with you. Also check out some of my other articles in case they're helpful too:

Need help with music?

Let me help! Get in touch now :-)!


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About the authorNinichi is a freelance composer and music enthusiast. She has composed the soundtracks and music to several indie games, films, podcasts, web series, commercials and more. Contact her: to explore working with her on your game, film or media project.

Follow her @ninichimusic