The Video Game Music Grammy
How to Submit your Game Soundtrack to the GRAMMYs
After more than 20 years, video game music has its own GRAMMY category! In June of this year, the Recording Academy, the organization that puts on the GRAMMY Awards each year added a new category, “Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media.”
The award is described as follows:
Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media Recognizes excellence in score soundtrack albums comprised predominantly of original scores and created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.
The award will be given out in January 2023 at the 65th GRAMMY Awards Show.
What does this mean for game composers, and how can you submit your game soundtrack for this year’s GRAMMY Awards?
If you released or plan to release a game soundtrack between Oct 1, 2021 and Sept 30 2022, your soundtrack may be eligible for a GRAMMY. If you are not a member of the Recording Academy, an existing member of the Recording Academy can submit on your behalf, your record label may be able to submit, or the Game Audio Network Guild can facilitate the submission of your soundtrack.
Since many of us in video game music may not be familiar with the GRAMMY process, we wanted to answer some commonly asked questions relevant to game composers and music producers who might be interested in the new Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media category.
What is eligible to be entered? First, it is the game soundtrack that is submitted, not the game itself. The GRAMMYs are all about the music.
The new category is for video game original score soundtracks. The definition of an original score soundtrack specifies that they are “comprised predominantly of an original score and created specifically … for a video game or other interactive media.“ To meet this definition, at least two-thirds of the musical tracks must have been used in the game and “greater than 50 percent of the music must be derived from new content that was released during the GRAMMY eligibility year for which it is entered.”
Note that the GRAMMYs strive to recognize new original music content. Therefore, soundtracks of the following are generally NOT eligible for submission in the game soundtrack category:
Soundtracks released in prior years; GRAMMYs will not be awarded retroactively
Albums of game music covers
Soundtracks that consist primarily of licensed music, not written specifically for the game. (Though these may be entered in the best compilation album category.)
Who can make a submission? GRAMMY submissions may be submitted by a current voting or professional member of the Recording Academy or by a registered media company.
I’m not a member. How can I get my game’s soundtrack submitted this year?
Application for individual membership in the Recording Academy can only be made during a brief period, typically in the winter. Because the membership window for this year has already closed, it is too late to apply to be a member and submit for this year’s awards yourself. However, if you are not currently a member yourself, you have a couple of options:
If your soundtrack was published by a music label, submission may be done via that label.
Find a member to submit on your behalf.
The Game Audio Network Guild can facilitate your submission. Please contact them at grammy [at] audiogang.org. You do not have to be a member of the Game Audio Network Guild for them to facilitate your submission.
I released a soundtrack for an indie game I did. Is that eligible? How should that be submitted?
Yes! An indie game soundtrack is eligible. It can be submitted using one of the three options above
When is the eligibility period? The eligibility period is Oct 1, 2021, through September 30, 2022. This means that the the game soundtrack must have been released between those dates, and a significant amount of the music must have been from a game also released during those dates to qualify for the award to be given out at the 65th GRAMMY Awards in January 2023.
Can I submit an album of game music covers? Not in this category. The Best Score Soundtrack for a Video Game or Other Interactive Media is for original score soundtracks; i.e. the ‘official game soundtrack.’
When are the submission deadlines? The official dates have been published here: https://www.recordingacademy.com/awards/rules-guidelines.
Note that if you are using G.A.N.G. to facilitate your submission, their deadlines are be a bit earlier, to allow time for them to process your submission.
What constitutes a ‘release’? A release can be either physical or digital. For a release to be eligible as a soundtrack album, a release must be available via General Distribution, defined as the nationwide release of a recording via brick and mortar stores, third party on-line retailers and/or applicable digital streaming services.
A score soundtrack must contain at least five different tracks (different pieces, not different mixes) and have a total playing time of at least 15 minutes or it may have any number of tracks if the total playing time is at least 30 minutes. Please see https://www.recordingacademy.com/awards/faq for more details.
What about new content for an ongoing, episodic game or other Downloadable Content (DLC)? To be eligible, a soundtrack must meet BOTH of the following criteria: a) The soundtrack must have been released during the eligibility period b) More than 50% of the music on an otherwise eligible game soundtrack must be derived from new content that was released in the game during the eligibility period. When in doubt, reach out to the Recording Academy
What should I have ready when I’m ready to submit? The submission will require album credit information to be uploaded. Title, Artist [composer(s)], release date of the music and the game, as well as streaming links to the soundtrack, Album Liner notes with credits and Album UPC or ISRC numbers. You can see a list of the required information here.
Finally, this is new territory for the Recording Academy! There may be questions and concerns as details get dialed in. If you have questions, just reach out and ask!
We are very excited to see the Recording Academy recognize game soundtracks for the art they represent. To ensure the continuing success of the game score soundtrack category, our industry needs to ensure we as an industry submit high-quality eligible game soundtrack albums each year. So, if you have worked on a game with a released soundtrack, please consider submitting it to the GRAMMYs. And if you have worked on a game recently but have not released a soundtrack, consider doing so and submitting the soundtrack.
See you at the 65th GRAMMY Awards!
Please note that this information is not a comprehensive listing of all the policies and requirements to make a GRAMMY submission and is for informational purposes only. It is highly recommended that you review those guidelines when they are posted (https://www.recordingacademy.com/awards/rules-guidelines) and also visit the FAQ (https://www.recordingacademy.com/awards/faq) . We also highly recommend that you apply to join the Academy during the next membership window!