Songwriting For Video Games And Where You Fit


April 20, 2017 –

Music for games is often thought of as purely instrumental pieces that interact with the game world or fill an ambient role in the soundscape. However, songs are appearing more frequently in games and are often some of the most memorable parts of the experience. Like “Build That Wall” from the multi-award winning Bastion OST, “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons for the League of Legends World Championships (2014), or the immediately hummable “Still Alive” from Valve’s game Portal. Songs for games can fill many different roles and, if done right, can not only connect with the gamer, but also live on outside the game.

This content is reserved for members of the SCL. Log in or join us today!



In this panel of veterans who’ve written, arranged, or licensed songs for games, discussion will focus on some of the frequently asked questions from songwriters looking to join the industry:

What’s your process for writing songs in games?
Where can a song work in a game?
How can I write or license my own songs for games?

Josh Boardman is the vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the LA-based electro synth rock band, Battle Tapes. In addition to his numerous years of production and engineering work for music industry veterans, Josh and Battle Tapes have had their songs placed in blockbuster games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Need for Speed.

Adam Gubman has scored more than 600 video games, helping to establish the sound of many iconic downloadable, mobile, and casual titles. Gubman’s work can be heard in projects for such notable clients as Disney, Zynga, Storm8, Sony, PlayFirst, GSN, GameHouse, NBC Today, and Warner-Chappell. An avid songwriter, Adam is a composer for Disney Parks, and writes, arranges, orchestrates, and produces music for parades and entertainment. He will be opening his tenth show this summer at Tokyo Disneyland. He has seven original songs in the upcoming Baywatch, and has a personal mission to get one original song in every story drive game he writes for. Q2 2017 will see 10 original song releases within three new story-driven titles.

Billy Martin is a multi-instrumentalist who has worked as a composer, songwriter, orchestrator and music editor for videogames, television, film, and production music. Billy is a seven-time GANG Award nominee, most recently for Finding Dory: Just Keep Swimming. Billy’s work on the Ubisoft Rayman series garnered multiple award nominations: Rayman Legends (AIAS Award, Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition; GMO Award, Best Soundtrack); Rayman Fiesta Run (GANG Award, Best Handheld Audio). His songs, “Magical Memories Parade” and “My Little Wish,” are currently a featured part of the Disney Stores 30th anniversary celebration.

Elizabeth Zharoff’s primary goal in life is to create music that can stop time. Currently she does this by performing opera and composing music for video games. She has performed in major halls throughout America, Europe, and Asia, and has sung in more than 15 languages. The press has described Ms. Zharoff’s voice as “a powerhouse of sound” whose “glorious high notes defy imagination,” and her performances as “magnetic” and “a delight from start to finish.” In the gaming world, Elizabeth is best known for directing “Song Cycle: The History of Video Games,” a Materia album. which combines her passions for game and classical music into 26 new songs. She has also composed for a number of mobile and VR games, sung on many more, and been nominated for awards by GANG and Sony.

Kole Hicks is a composer, songwriter and sound designer whose work can be heard in the hit indie game Kenshi and the Pixel series Piracy and Privateers, both of which feature a number of unique songs specifically performed by a band that exists in the game world. In addition to his game music work, he regularly moderates panels, speaks at conventions and writes articles advocating the importance of music and songs in games.