Released in 2010 and 2012 to critical acclaim, Alan Wake by Remedy Entertainment has an excellent soundtrack which includes licensed music by David Bowie, Poets Of The Fall and others. Remedy announced over the weekend that the game was leaving Steam and Xbox Live because, as so often happens, the licenses they negotiated with the publishers of some of the songs are expiring. “War” by Poets Of The Fall is a particularly important part of the soundtrack—as are the other songs that play during the game’s episode endings. Grand Theft Auto is another game series that relies heavily on licensing pre-existing music, featuring a number of different radio stations representing particular genres in each game. A few of the licenses in San Andreas expired last year but unlike Alan Wake, the game was simply patched to remove those songs rather than taken off the market entirely. What do game developers need to know about situations like these, and how can they protect themselves? Read on to find my primer on music licensing and many of the things you should keep in mind when using pre-existing music in your game. (Although this post is being written with game studios in mind, these pointers can also apply to film or other contexts where a creator would be licensing music, artwork, portions of a book, or other copyrighted works. Owners of music that another party wishes to license will also find it helpful.) Continue Reading ->