Music and gaming have always been closely linked. From the theme music of 70s classic arcade games like Space Invaders, to the multi-radio station experience on Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise, music created for, and licensed for game soundtracks continues to play a key role in gameplay.
As well as offering an additional revenue source for music rightsholders, soundtracks for popular games like Electronic Arts’ long-running Fifa franchise have also given emerging and superstar artists alike access to vast audiences via their platforms.
Plus, in-game virtual concerts on the likes of Epic Games‘ Fortnite, and gaming world Roblox have served to bring the music and games businesses even closer together in recent years.
The collision of the games and music worlds has also given rise to new tech players aiming to both improve the music experience for gamers and extract more value for music rightsholders from the global games market, which is forecast to generate annual revenues of $211.2 billion by 2025.
One such player is UK-born Reactional Music, which, as MBW told you back in 2021, has developed patented technology that allows real-time personalization of soundtracks and music during gameplay.
The company has previously teamed up with B2B music tech specialist Tuned Global, AI music firm Musiio and music rights and data platform, Blokur, for music delivery, tagging and rights management of music and sounds.
Now, Hipgnosis Song Management has been named as Reactional’s newest partner.
Hipgnosis has entered into a licensing deal with Reactional Music that opens up the company’s 70,000 song catalog, which includes over 3,500 global No.1s, to be integrated in gameplay using Reactional’s tech.
Reactional claims that the deal will give Hipgnosis access to “millions” of gamers as well as access to the world’s games developers.
Commenting on the deal, Ted Cockle, Chief Music Officer, Hipgnosis Song Management said that, “this partnership brings forward the day when gamers throughout the world can interactively enjoy their favourite songs while playing their favourite games” and called it “a step-change in the gamers’ enjoyment and experience”.
Reactional Music, whose President David Knox spent 26 years in senior global management positions at EA, says that its tech enables any commercial or production music to become interactive around the gamer within a game.
The company says its platform achieves this by allowing popular music “to become an immersive part of the in-game world, with chosen tracks reacting to gameplay in real-time along with the visuals and sound effects”.
Using its tech, Reactional says that it wants to completely “re-write [the] rules for music and video games” and claims further to be opening up a “new commercial era” for music rightsholders and games businesses to work together, by offering music as an in-game purchase option for gamers.
In addition to Hipgnosis, Reactional says that it has signed deals with multiple rightsholders and will share details of these soon.
It also adds that “after many months of positive dialogue,” both “master and publishing rights holders are currently signing up with the Reactional platform.” (Hipgnosis has licensed the publishing rights to its catalog for use on Reactional’s platform).
Reactional makes a point of noting that its engine “does not alter, mix or edit the music master” and that it “understands that for music rights holders, it’s important that a derivative of their work is not created and the master remains untouched”.
Elsewhere, Reactional says that it tracks all music use across its platform and claims to be working on what it calls “a completely new music rights licensing model”, and adds that it “has completed all necessary due diligence for commercial and production music from a number of leading rightsholders”.
Reactional says it will also enable new detailed data analytics and insight of music use by gamers.
The company is currently working with developers to pilot its technology on various projects, and it’s already being used in the Playstation and PS VR2 title Garden of the Sea. The engine is also used at the ‘Avicii Experience’ at Space in Stockholm.
The release of Reactional’s “full self-service platform” is due in 2023.
“This partnership brings forward the day when gamers throughout the world can interactively enjoy their favourite Songs while playing their favourite games – a step-change in the gamers’ enjoyment and experience.”
Ted Cockle, Hipgnosis Song Management
Ted Cockle, Chief Music Officer, Hipgnosis Song Management said: “This partnership brings forward the day when gamers throughout the world can interactively enjoy their favourite Songs while playing their favourite games – a step-change in the gamers’ enjoyment and experience.
“We’re delighted to be able to work with Reactional to help create something which will bring so much pleasure.”
“Right from the first conversation Hipgnosis understood what we are doing at Reactional Music.”
David Knox, Reactional Music
Reactional Music President David Knox, said: “Right from the first conversation Hipgnosis understood what we are doing at Reactional Music.
“We have a shared vision around the importance of the artist and the creator, putting them at the centre of what we do, ensuring transparency as part of an ethical and equitable model that works for the artist, the games developer and the rights holder.
“The Hipgnosis catalogue is a formidable partner for Reactional. Its music and songs are the soundtrack to our lives.”
Knox added: “The intersection of games and music is incredibly exciting. Commercially it presents opportunities for both industries with in-game purchases; creatively it is compelling for artists, composers, and games developers to work more closely.
“And it’s not just new game releases. Reactional’s platform enables curation and personalisation of music in existing games franchises as part of a seasonal refresh.”
This new deal comes just a couple of weeks after Hipgnosis Song Management partnered with, and made an investment in, Timbaland and Gary Marella-founded beat marketplace Beatclub.
Under that arrangement, Beatclub’s roster of Elite producers and artists, which includes Justin Timberlake, Tainy, J. Cole, Mike Dean, Mike WiLL Made-It, Tommy Brown, Timbaland, Angel Lopez, Cash Money AP, BoogzDaBeast, Jozzy, Federico Vindver and more, will have the ability to sample songs within the Hipgnosis catalog.Music Business Worldwide