Game music wanted + Cologne Commons

Please note: The game in question, Harvest Mania, is now online! Also I’m not looking for a musician for any specific project right now. Feel free to drop me a line, though, if you’re open for possible future projects. Cheers!

Original Post:

Since March I’ve been working on an advergame for a major manufacturer for agriculture machines. Not directly though, I’m working as a freelance designer for a German company which cooperates with the big, international player. That’s also the reason why I can’t talk about design issues and post wip stuff here (which sucks).

Only recently I’ve started looking for a person to do music for this game (any game musician reading this: drop me a line!) – and Krystian suggested that I go to Cologne Commons, a conference and festival for free music, which is co-organized by Martin Wisniowski. The conference turns out to be very illuminating, apart from my intention to find a collaborator.

Martin was kind enough to put me on the guest list, a gesture originally offered to Krystian. BIG THANKS to both of them.

Some of the interesting stuff I took away from each program:
1. How the concept of ownership and public property came about in the course of history, transforming back and forth, and how it’s changing right now, thanks to the digital distribution of things and the Internet on the one hand, but also the impact of terrorism and other crimes on the other hand, which lead to the tightened observation and restrictions, impeding the development of a modern right model for intellectual properties.

2. Crash course on Creative Commons license models, followed by a very illuminating talk by Renommee CEO Marc Wallowy, on the often over-looked issues of CC:
- CC is over-simplified. While it helps the personal, non-commercial, collaborative creativity, for any creator hoping (or needing) to make a living out of his/her creation, CC isn’t the solution to replace traditional copyright collectives (Verwertungsgesellschaft, like GEMA in Germany).
- CC is too general: you cannot specify territorial and temporal details of your license. It’s always world-wide and as long as the regular copyright period (50-70 years).
- CC is irreversible, meaning you can’t change your mind and take back a license released under CC. Ever.
- “Commercial usage” is not clearly defined. For instance: is it commercial when a netlabel offers CC music for free, but has income through advertising?
- Beginners and established artists benefit most from CC: it helps building popularity and reputation, but not monetizing. Beginners needs the start boost, established may not need the money or can use CC to demonstrate their free spirit (see Radiohead). But CC doesn’t help converting popularity into income, because…
- CC does not have an institution to represent the interests of the creator in case the rights are violated.
- To make things worse, CC and membership in a copyright collective are not compatible, meaning you cannot allow non-commercial work for free (CC) while having the copyright collective to collect royalty for commercial usage.
- Bottom line: CC is great for democratizing creativity, but not so much if you want make a living with your creative work.

3. Legal aspects of running a netlabel, presented by a lawyer/netlabel manager. There were many details I cannot reproduce now, but nevertheless sharpened my awareness.

4. Discussion on chances for musician to work in mobile music and games. They talked about demos (the demoscene), Rjdj on the iPhone/iTouch, and a big shot in the games industry talked about the general situation for game music. He also answered/reminded me that I could look in USF for collaborators, and while I was at the mic, I also stated my need for a musician – leading to a response.

I went home for dinner but forgot my entrance pass on the way back to the festival. There, I decided the ride back and forth wouldn’t be worth it, so I ended up staying at home and writing this post.

Looking back today, I still suck at networking, which beats the original intention of me going there, even if the lectures/discussions are useful in their own right.

So, I look forward to tomorrows conference and breaks. And I’m gonna check out the music on the night’s festival as well.

Yu-Chung Chen

Yu-Chung Chen is a designer working primarily on video games. He studied at Köln International School of Design and has contributed to a number of published games. Currently he works as a freelance UI designer at Keen Games.

6 responses to “Game music wanted + Cologne Commons”

  1. markus

    also looking forward to the second day of conference and also the festival part.

  2. Krystian Majewski

    I'm glad you are getting so much from it. I was suspecting it would be more useful to you than for me. Keep it coming!

  3. Gary Justice

    Hi Yu-Cheng. I write music for many technically interesting situations and would consider your project -please see my web site.

  4. Sean Laverick

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    My name is Sean Laverick, I am a professional music producer currently studying my final year of FD Music Production at Newcastle College.

    I have professional experience using systems such as Ableton, Logic pro 9, Reason 4 and Pro Tools. I recently worked for a local radio station In Alnwick called Lion-Heart Radio where I had my own show and assisted with technical support. I also DJ at venues around Newcastle and the Berwick area.

    Though my main preference in music is more electronic based, I still retain a passion for working with bands and solo artists in both a studio and live environment and remain open minded to exploring music that is not within my comfort zone.

    For my final year, one of my projects is to compose, mix and produce a piece of professional audio to be used for e.g. a short film, game or advert. I have the knowledge and the skills to produce a piece of audio to any specifications that will suit you whilst also meeting the artistic and technical requirements you desire.

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Yours Faithfully,

    Sean Laverick.

    Mobile: 07707718297
    Home: 01665 – 577359

  5. Yu-Chung Chen

    Hey Gary and Sean,

    Thanks for your offers.

    Currently I’m not actively looking for a musician. The game mentioned in the post already got its music. However, I’ll keep you in mind for my future projects.

    Good luck with your final project!

  6. Pointer Men's Basketball

    Maybe you could change the page name Game music wanted + Cologne Commons to something more better for your blog post you write. I loved the blog post even sononetheless.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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