Music-for-gaming firm Reactional strikes deal with Sony and Universal-owned production music firm, APM

APM Music President and CEO Adam Taylor.

Music has long been an integral part of the video-gaming experience, and as games and digital technology have become more sophisticated, so has the music experience delivered to gamers.

Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto franchise, for instance, offers gamers multiple radio stations to choose from in the PC versions of its games. Epic GamesFortnite is among a number of games that have hosted in-game virtual concerts, including concerts by Ariana Grande and Travis Scott.

Simply put, the gaming world presents a major monetization opportunity for music rights holders. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 49% of gamers say they often discover new music through games.

Sweden-headquartered Reactional Music Group AB is working to take this to the next level. In 2021, it unveiled a new patented technology dubbed the Reactional Music Engine, which the company says will allow gamers to personalize in-game music in much the same way they can now personalize the appearance and capabilities of the game characters they play with.

The technology also allows game developers to take any music library and, by integrating it into the Reactional Engine, program how the music reacts to gameplay.

The technology holds out the promise of a greatly improved gaming experience, as it allows music to be altered to fit game play so that it matches the events on screen – although the company stresses that the master recordings aren’t edited, mixed or altered.

But for the technology to come to fruition, Reactional needs access to a library of licensed music. To that end, it signed a deal earlier this year with music rights investment and management firm Hipgnosis Song Management that will give Reactional access to Hipgnosis’ 70,000-song catalog, which includes more than 3,500 international number-one hits that can be integrated into gameplay using Reactional’s technology.

Now, the company has announced another partnership – this time with APM Music, which claims to be North America’s largest aggregator of production music.

Jointly owned by Sony Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing Group, the company holds a catalog of 1.3 million tracks sourced from 120 libraries, and has placed music into games developed by major names such as Activision, Electronic Arts (EA), Sony Interactive Entertainment and Square Enix.

APM’s recent TV and movie credits include Bullet Train, Top Gun: Maverick and HBO’s The Last of Us.

“The addition of leading production music libraries is an essential step in the development of the Reactional platform.”

David Knox, Reactional Music

The integration of APM’s catalog into the Reactional Music Engine will open up “a more efficient method to create and prototype gaming soundtracks, increasing music choice and ease of use for everyone,” Reactional said in a statement on Wednesday (July 5).

Through Reactional’s tech, game developers will be able search for, integrate and test out various production music tracks and to make that music react to gameplay – something Reactional says has never been possible before.

“The addition of leading production music libraries is an essential step in the development of the Reactional platform,” said David Knox, President of Reactional Music and a veteran of video games giant EA.

“Working with leading rights holders like APM Music enables us to more efficiently support our game development partners, providing search, prototyping and trialing of hundreds of thousands of music scores, tracks and effects. APM has an incredible reputation and a depth of experience stemming from having worked with many of the world’s game companies.”

“We are thrilled to have Reactional put APM’s unmatched music catalog at the fingertips of a very broad gaming audience, further cementing our position in this vertical,” Adam Taylor, President and CEO of APM Music and Chairman of the Production Music Association, said in a statement.

“And we are looking forward to seeing game developers of all sizes leverage the power of APM’s platform to take their games to the next level.”

Perhaps most promisingly for the music industry, Reactional says its technology will allow in-game purchases of music. That could prove to be very lucrative, given that the video game industry is forecast to be worth $281.8 billion globally in 2023, growing to $665.8 billion by 2030, and – according to a 2020 report from Newzoo – 74% of game revenue comes from in-game purchases.

“We are thrilled to have Reactional put APM’s unmatched music catalog at the fingertips of a very broad gaming audience, further cementing our position in this vertical.”

Adam Taylor, APM Music

Reactional struck a deal in 2022 with music streaming technology specialist Tuned Global, under which Tuned will act as the music backend provider for the Reactional Music Box, the company’s music delivery platform.

Thanks to Tuned Global’s integration with AI music firm Musiio (now owned by SoundCloud), it will also be able to provide AI tech to Reactional to deliver what it calls the “supercharged tagging of all music” in Reactional’s library.

Reactional closed a $2.05-million Pre-Series A funding round earlier this year, led by music games publisher Amanotes and early-stage VC Butterfly Ventures.

The round was also supported by a number of angel investors including Kelly Sumner, a former chair of games developer Mediatonic and former CEO of Red Octane (of Guitar Hero fame) and Take 2 Interactive, known especially for the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption game franchises.Music Business Worldwide

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