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Musicians dial up exposure through game soundtracks

May 02,2006
Ever since sound was introduced to motion pictures, music has been an essential part of filmmaking. Perhaps then it is natural that the role of music is just as important, if not more, in games, considering the average amount of time that people spend on one title.
In line with the global trend of game-making, Korean game developers have been investing more money to attract acclaimed songwriters to compose “original soundtracks” for their games. For instance, the soundtrack for Webzen’s new massive multiplayer online role-playing game, SUN, was composed by Howard Shaw, who is famous for his work on the motion picture trilogy “Lord of the Rings.”
At the other end of the industry, aspiring musicians are increasingly using games as their soundstage debut. In particular, the fast-paced trends and huge number of users in the online game scene are attracting more and more musicians to release new songs on online games as background music.
The model and recently-turned-singer Hyun Young posted nine of her latest songs on the Web-based inline skating game R2Beat last week. The game involves roller-blading to the tune of fast-paced songs, while avoiding obstacles that are placed appropriately to match the song’s beat. Players can select from Hyun Young’s songs, or about a 100 others, many of which are recent releases, like the up-and-coming hip hop singer Jessica H.O.’s “Get Up.”
“The merit of featuring one’s song on an online game is that players have little choice of turning off the song, and those players that enjoy the game have a tendency of getting familiar with the voice of the singer that he or she has been listening to,” a Neowiz spokeswoman said.
Which is what happened with Um Ji-young, who made her debut as a “game singer” in 2001 on Softmax’s Magna Carta. Um sings another song on the online game Hero Online, currently in service, and also pursues offline activities as a musician.
But then, newbies aren’t the only ones who are using games as a platform. The rapper and hiphop musician Joosuc participated in the music for Freestyle, an online street basketball game that has about 20 million players in Korea.
Better yet for Joosuc, JCEntertainment, the company that developed Freestyle, recently signed a publishing contract with Vivendi Universal Games, which publishes War of Warcraft and Starcraft through its publishing label Blizzard Entertainment. As JCEntertainment is planning to take Freestyle to North American and European markets, Joosuc may be able to acquire foreign audiences as well.


by Wohn Dong-hee


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