Producers line-up for London conference.
Legendary U.S. producer Nile Rodgers says he has turned to video-games music because royalties from traditional CD sales are drying up.
Speaking to Billboard.biz at Production Magic, a music-industry conference held at the Magic Circle venue in London on Saturday (Nov. 11), Rodgers explained why he had turned to movie soundtracks and, increasingly, video games.
"As a producer, you can't make money from the traditional way any more," says the founder of 1970s dance-music hit-maker Chic and producer of recordings by David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran and Sister Sledge.
"So I started focusing on video games. Writing and producing for games feels the way creating music used to feel, where you've a bunch of rebellious people who can do what they want and don't have to answer to anyone," he adds.
Rodgers, who was the conference's keynote speaker, writes and produces video-games music via his Sumthing Else Music Works Inc.
He produced and contributed to "Halo 2: Original Soundtrack Vol. 1" for Microsoft's Xbox console. He has also produced games music by bands such as rock group Hoobastank, alternative metal bands Breaking Benjamin and Incubus.
And through Sumthing Else's licensing unit, Rodgers' production can be heard on "Boost Mobile Major League Pro Circuit," the first TV program dedicated to the professional video game league, when it airs on U.S. cable channel USA Network on Nov. 18.
Guy Chamber, one of the U.K.'s most successful producer/songwriters (Robbie Williams' "Angels"), another keynote guest, argues that digital-music service providers have devalued music by selling them at cheap rates.
"It's an uphill battle for a songwriter/producer. We don't have any power and influence anymore because of the likes of Vodafone and iTunes; basically they are bullies," he tells Billboard.biz.
Meanwhile, Grammy-award winning veteran producer Phil Ramone (from Frank Sinatra to George Michael), argues that a possible solution to revenue loss via illegal downloads is to license every Internet user.
Production Magic was organized by London-based MusicTank, in conjunction with the U.K.'s Music Producers Guild.