Are you thinking about whether or not to hire a composer? As a game music composer myself, I have worked with many indie game developers. I understand the difficult choices that you have to make in finding the right person to work with and join your team. Here are some tips to help you find the best composer for you...
1. Know what you want
Do you want someone who will become a longer-term contributing member of your team? Or do you want someone that you can turn to on an ad hoc basis?
Is this a one-off project? Or do you want someone who can work on several projects with you?
2. Know what kind of person you want to work with
This is the same for whatever job / role you are hiring for. It is always easier to find someone who will work well with you, if you know what attributes and type of character you are looking for.
In most cases I believe that it is important to find someone that you can
- Trust to deliver amazing music for your game
- Communicate easily with
- Respect and who respects you, your team and your vision
- Discuss your ideas with openly
- Bring to life your vision for your game.
(Also see 6 Ways to Spot a Bad Composer Before it's Too Late!)
3. Know what kind of music you like
Many composers can write in a variety of styles, however, they will often have a certain style that comes across in their music. First, identify what type of music you are after for your game. Also explore what music you like generally.
Then when exploring a composer's work, listen to what they’ve done. See if it lands well with you. Listen to the quality of the audio, the melodies, and tunes, the style of music – and establish whether you like what you hear or not (now that you will hopefully have a much clearer idea of what you’re looking for).
Have a browse through my various game music soundtracks to get some ideas and inspiration perhaps around what you might be looking for, for your game.
4. Think about what you’re willing to spend
Every game developer has a budget (or a lack of budget) to work with! Be really clear about how the music to your game fits into this. How important is the music to you and how important is it to the game? See this article on 5 Reasons to Invest in Great Game Music.
Some games rely quite heavily on having great music to bring it to life. The quality of the music is often what makes the user experience either a brilliant and memorable one or a bad one. In other cases, the music takes a backseat – in which case you may want to spend less time and money on it compared to other aspects of your game.
Depending on where the music fits in the great scheme of things – think about the type of composer you are therefore looking for. Do you have a big budget which will give you the opportunity to work with a big budget composer – who will offer high production value, epic sounding, fully-orchestrated scores? Or do you have a more modest budget to work with?
Finding the right balance between finding and enticing a good composer to collaborate with you, whilst also managing your budget can be an interesting challenge! However, once you’ve found the right composer for your project – you should feel that the collaboration and music is worthwhile and truly enhances your game.
5. Think about how you want to work logistically
Do you need to see your composer in your ‘office’? Or are you happy to work with them virtually? Do you like emailing / skyping / sharing files through dropbox or Google Drive etc. Think about the type of set up that works best for you. Make sure that whoever you work with, also thrives under that same set up.
Finding the right composer can take a bit more time than simply picking a track from a production library – but once you’ve found the right one, it can be the start of something amazing!
I hope that this article offers you some steps to finding the right composer for your project. If you'd like to explore working with me, see my music at ninichimusic.com & contact me now.
This article was originally published on Ninichi's blog, which is part of Ninichi's game music website and offers insight & advice around game music, indie games, films & gaming channels.