Almost everyone wants to write a chart hit, but there are lots of music gigs available that aren’t about albums and singles. One of these is a very vibrant industry with lots of money and jobs to go around, which would be casino gaming. Online casino gaming, to be more specific, as the traditional casinos have their own ways of doing things that won’t be the topic of this article.
Casino games aren’t just about the impressive visuals. The music and sound effects go hand in hand with the visuals to create an immersive experience for the player, and one could argue it’s the sound effects and music that actually matter more. In this article we’ll talk a bit about what does casino game music usually sound like and how to land a gig writing such music.
What games you can write music for
Writing music for slots is usually the preferred way to go as the sheer number of slot games released – there are hundreds every year – means there are lots of gigs to go around, whereas live dealer games such as Crazy Time are very few in comparison. You’ll typically see around a dozen live dealer games released in a calendar year. While some other types of games exist, a casino game music writer primarily has a choice between composing for slots or live dealer games. It’s important to note that there is also a distinction between writing music and creating sound effects.
Casino game music
Music is fundamental to any casino game’s theme, as game developers use it to create the desired atmosphere that fits the theme and makes the game recognizable. For instance, in an Egyptian-themed slot game, the music will incorporate all the cliches associated with Egyptian music, creating an ambient and, at times, uplifting experience. Typically, slot game music maintains a quick tempo, as playing slots is a fast-paced and intense activity. However, some games, like Golden Grimoire by NetEnt, opt for a more subtle theme.
In slot games, cliches are not to be avoided but are expected to be implemented in the music, as slot players seek familiarity on all levels. If there’s a musical cliche related to a Chinese theme, then by all means, it should be present in a Chinese-themed slot. Slot players have been playing slots for a long time and have come to expect certain sounds and themes.
The music composer’s skill lies in making the track work as intended, without either boring or annoying the player.
What casino game music should and should not sound like
People spend a significant amount of time playing the same game repeatedly. Gaming sessions can last for hours, and players often return to the game the following day for more. Therefore, the game’s music track should not be annoying or repetitive, nor should it create an earworm. However, it should be distinctively associated with the game. When players hear the game’s track, it should immediately entice them to continue playing.
Having players turn off the music due to annoyance is highly undesirable and represents a failure. In such cases, players miss out on the immersive atmosphere. The music should be subtle, enhancing the game’s theme and putting the player in the right mindset to keep playing.
Additionally, the music track should not interfere with sound effects, as these effects punctuate the monotony of the music and signal important events in the game. Since most games feature bonus rounds, the music should change during these rounds to indicate something significant and thrilling is happening.
As a general guideline, minor scales are rarely used in casino music, as melancholy is generally undesirable, except in themes like vampires or Egyptian settings. Casino music tends to be uplifting, featuring ringing, chiming, happiness, vibrancy, cheerfulness, and an epic quality. Any sounds resembling chiming or ringing are desirable, as they mimic the sound of coins, a sound deeply ingrained in every slot player’s mind as the sound of winning big.
The preferred time signature is, of course, 4/4, as casino players appreciate familiarity. Any tempo below 125 bpm may sound too slow.
This field requires a great deal of mastery, which is why talented composers may find themselves writing music for casino games. Exceptional talent can capture the attention of leading game developers such as Evolution, Pragmatic Play, Playtech, and others.
How to start writing casino game music
To begin with, put your critical thinking hat on and go play some casino games in demo mode. Make sure to click many different types of games by many different developers. You will soon start noticing trends and be able to identify the requirements for different themes. By listening to a lot of these themes you should have a pretty good idea on what is expected from a casino game music track.
Don’t just play slots – there are live dealer games that are worth listening to as well. You can hear how does the track for Crazy Time sound like on this link. This is a game show so you’ll hear some uplifting music as if it was a cheesy TV show with big prizes. The soundtrack of Crazy Time is an intense earworm that never lets go. Obviously, this is precisely what the game developer Evolution wanted, as there are no accidents or coincidences in the casino game industry.
There are dozens of casino game developers. If you’re looking to write music for casino games, see if there are any job openings or one-time gigs advertised. Record a sample casino game music theme that you can send to the developer – this will probably be the most important thing. Once in the door, opportunities will open up more and more. Good luck and keep working hard to earn a living with your music 😊