A few years back, I released 2 tracks on OpenGameArt. I hadn’t composed any musical pieces in many years, and I took the opportunity to try something new. Not only dip my toes into musical composition again, but also share my work with the world. All my previous songs had never been heard by anyone other than close friends. The experience was nerve-racking but very satisfying.
My first track, Dark Ambiance, has garnered close to 10 000 downloads. It is a sombre and sparse ambiance, inspired by Torchlight, which I had just finished playing through. After some positive comments, I decided to get back to work and created Scifi Freakout, a much less downloaded but still successful track. It made it in the OpenGameArt 2012 Top Game Art Assets, which I am still very proud of. After a long hiatus, I released Seashore Peace Ambiance, which was used in a Ludum Dare game You Only Die Once. It was and still is the first-and-only game I have played listening to my own work. It is a very special thing, to experience your music through the lens of another creative being.
Recently, an indie dev asked me to compress 2 of my tracks. She is going to use them in an actual released game. I can’t lie that I am extremely hyped about this! I’ve mentioned in all my releases on OGA; if someone uses a track in a paid game, I would like to have a free copy of it. I not only think it is fair, as I have made a conscious decision to release everything I do under a license that permits commercial use, it is also the perfect way to experiment my music in games.
That is the main goal, is it not, when releasing your art under a CC license? To hear it, view it, experience it in a different form. To engage with people who appreciate what you do.
The only times I have created and shared something new, like I did today, was when I heard about someone using a track of mine. This seems to be a pattern I have, I wonder if I am alone. If or when someone posts a positive comment on my track, I immediately get a huge urge to create something new. And share it too.
So for the last few days, while I was working on a new “epic” song, I have been meditating about motivation. More specifically, what drives me? What drives me to create, to share and to risk my work being torn-down and chewed up into little pieces by users?
Creating art for yourself is never fully satisfying, I believe. Of course, I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t taken the first step. It is really stressful, like there is some imaginary disaster that may occur. I got this feeling the few times I have pressed “submit” on OpenGameArt. Even though most people will never get to hear my musical compositions, much less download them, much less take the time to comment etc.
All of this brings me to one conclusion: in order to continually create and publish music, I need it to be heard. To be put in front of as many ears as possible. How I go about this is still unclear, but I definitely want to branch out of OGA. Not that the website isn’t good, I will most likely continue to post my audio there, but maybe start using other platforms. This blog too, of course, but maybe soundcloud. I am also considering joining patreon.com. I want feedback, critics and people to discover my work. I am afraid opengameart.org is simply not enough to fully motivate me.
I am also toying with the idea to offer cheap CC0 versions of my songs. I currently use (and still plan on using) CC-BY-SA. It is a great license, as anyone can use your art. It also prevents what has been happening way too often on Freesound.org, where users take CC-BY audio, EQ and compress it, and rerelease under CC-BY-NC. Basically ignoring the original author’s desire to allow commercial uses.
CC-BY-SA derivatives have to use the same license, which assures me my tracks will always be available to smaller development studios and individuals, whether they make money or not. Since it all goes back to a simple thing, I will make new music, if people use what I release. My desire and motivation to create will be heightened if I experience my own work in games and/or movies.