Music for Games
Gone are the days when video game music was a simple synthesizer melody: it has become as important as graphics and gameplay in building pace and excitement and in creating a sense of immersion. Modern soundtracks also have the flexibility to change depending on a player’s actions or situation.
So, how do you find and license the best background music for games?
Looking for something to try out? Here's our pick of our five of the best music for games from our catalogue:
How to license music for games
If you’re looking to go to the next level with your games music, you’ll find more options in terms of unique tracks, edits and quality if you use a music library. Libraries have different licensing agreements and price points available, depending on what projects you’re using the music for.
Use a Commercial Music Library
If your role as a music supervisor involves using a lot of background music, it’s worth subscribing to a music library, rather than paying for individual tracks. As music supervisor, you’ll usually be required to ensure the music is fully licensed.
At Audio Network, we’ve cut out the hassle of finding great music. Our catalogue offers a simple and affordable licensing process: tracks are cleared for global use and across multiple platforms, forever.
Plus if you need musical effects, we have sounds, atmospheres and more – whether you need a track featuring a heartbeat or water noises, a clock, a drone, or a weather mood such as wind or extreme cold, check out the Editor’s Mix selection.
The best gaming music
Fancy a bit of fun? Check out Rob Landes’ evolution of games music, demonstrated on a violin and with a selection of brilliantly low-fi costumes, props and effects. The Tetris cardboard construction and Pokemon onesie are particular favourites.
On a more serious note, many of the world’s top composers are now writing games soundtracks, especially as the divisions between movies and video games have blurred. And the sale of video game soundtracks has created a symbiotic relationship between the music and games industries. Here’s our selection of the most iconic games soundtracks.
It’s a bona fide classic, but did you know that the theme tune to ‘Tetris’ is based on a 19th century Russian folk song called Korobeiniki?
The franchise is one of the most popular in video games history and the original soundtrack by Martin O’Donnell is still the best-selling video game soundtrack of all time.
God of War
‘God of War’ was one of last year’s most anticipated releases, and the epic soundtrack by Bear McCreary won the 2019 BAFTA for games music. McCreary’s composition includes an Icelandic choir, Nordic instruments such as the nyckelharpa and plenty of orchestral bass to ramp up the atmosphere.
The adventure epic from 2010 has a host of amazing credentials. Written by The Beach’s author Alex Garland, the game stars Lord of the Rings Andy Serkis and the soundtrack was composed by Nitin Sawhney, whose score draws on a variety of sources and has a full orchestral arrangement.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Harry Gregson-Williams – who has scored Enemy of the State and Man on Fire – was hired to write the main theme for Call Of Duty. As the game was referencing films such as Black Hawk Down, having an expert in action scoring on board was a must.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
When you’re discussing the art of writing music for games, Koji Kondo is arguably the most celebrated video game composer in the world, and has been working for Nintendo since 1986. Most agree that the soundtrack for Ocarina of Time is his best, capturing a timeless sensation, whilst setting the mood for the whole game and making each place in the game unique.
Kondo’s scores have become so popular that they’ve been expanded and developed into an orchestral symphony called Symphony of the Godesses.
Making background music
Our composers are experts at creating fantastic tracks for games.
Joe Henson is an Ivor Novello-award winner whose music has appeared on some of gaming’s biggest hitters, such as Alien: Isolation, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Playstation 4's biggest selling new IP to date and Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
Joe’s writing partner is Alexis Smith – together the pair have also worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry, as well as being the go-to for video games.
Award-winning composer Philip Sheppard has created over 60 TV, theatrical and games scores, including VR game Kitty Nigiri and the character Kara in Detroit: Become Human.
Mark Denis writes epic orchestral pieces that are perfectly suited to any kind of action – he’s best known for his amazing work for movie trailers, including Avengers: Age of Ultron, The Amazing Spider Man and Zero Dark Thirty.
Looking for something specific? Check out our hand-picked playlists for a wealth of expertly-composed and beautifully produced, recorded and mixed tracks with a huge variety of cut-downs to make editing fast and simple.
Ambient music for games
We have thousands of fantastic ambient tracks for you to choose from.
Battle music for games
Showcasing epic emotion and spanning all genres, our Maximum Impact collection is designed to create unrivalled reaction. Recorded with leading orchestras at Abbey Road Studios, the collection of tracks and toolkits offers endless possibilities to create incredible battle soundtracks and effects.
Fast music for games
Need something speedy for your game? Simply click on ‘more filters’ on our search pages and you’ll find exactly what you need.