Local quartet Hotel St. George hit a home run when they entered a song into a Spin/EA Sports contest. The winner of the contest would have their song used in the baseball video game MLB 2K10, which was released at the beginning of this month. The band’s singer-guitarist Matt Binder noticed the contest on Spin.com.
“We didn’t hear anything from them for a very long time, so we figured that they weren’t interested,” Binder explained. “Then months later, they told us that we were a finalist, and then months after that we were told that we’d won. Mainly, we are psyched because we are on the same soundtrack as Iggy Pop, Phoenix, Pearl Jam, and a bunch of other rad bands.”
The band got paid for their song, though Binder assumes that they “probably didn’t make as much money as Pearl Jam.” In the end, he was happy to have his band’s name on the same box as them, though he was a bit bummed that there was no release party for the game.
“I’m a huge baseball fan and would have loved to party with Chase Utley and Shane Victorino. But since that didn’t happen, maybe it will open the doors for something else cool to happen. Who knows?”
One local band that would know is Transfer. The group utilized a friend of a friend who worked in the Sony gaming department to get their song “Smoke of the Crowd” into PlayStation’s MLB 2006. It was Transfer’s initial experience venturing into these waters.
“It was the first time we had been approached for a sync license and we didn’t have representation at the time, so we had to negotiate for ourselves,” Transfer singer-guitarist Matthew Molarius explained. “That being said, it didn’t have a profound effect on the band’s lifestyle, per se, but it did offer us an education and a glimpse into the world of licensing intellectual-property rights. It’s a great way for bands to earn money, especially in this day…when people can pretty much get music for free online.”
Molarius went on to start the publishing company Obscure Magpie Music after this outing. He feels it is always best to have any contract or license reviewed by representation, such as a lawyer or a publishing administrator.
“Then you stand to at least maintain a dialogue and make a little scratch for all the hard work,” he said.
Someone who could have used this advice was Frank Thaheld, whose band Campaign for Quiet got their song “Sugarbomb” onto the SBK-07 Superbike World Championship soundtrack.
“Your initial thought is that this is gonna put us in other people’s eyes. Kids are gonna be at home playing it and they’re gonna go, ‘Who’s that band?’ and they’re gonna wanna research it and find us. I think [gamers] enjoy music while they are playing the game, but I don’t think they seek to find other material by the artist. When you’re playing a game, your hands are on it and the song is in your head, but your other brain functions are working, and my guess is you don’t absorb [the song] that much.”