Recently I looked around for the soundtrack to Braid, and found a blog post by the developer on the very topic. The game has excellent music, and what’s left of a game developer in me is astonished by the sound engine.
What really struck me while looking for the soundtrack once I found that blog entry, was not the music anymore (after all, I’d heard the tracks in the game already), it was the music publisher that owns the rights to license and distribute the music, Magnatune.
Before I lose you, I just want to say: you all know my stance on record companies, and how overall they seem to have no other goal than to rob you and the artists they represent to pad their own bottom line. Magnatune claims to give 50% of your payment to the artist directly. 50%. And you get to (more or less) pick your prices, from $5 – $18 for a download, or you can get the music on digital plastic.
While Trent Reznor and Radiohead are doing well distributing their own work independently (and making payment optional for downloads, something that didn’t appear to affect their profit at all), but that only works if you’re already popular. I think that for talented artists that want to get paid and have happy fans, Magnatune is very attractive. I hope it really takes off.
Adapt or perish. Industry outlook upgraded from unblinking cynicism to cautious optimism.