April 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM ET
The Grammy Awards have been restructured to include video game music. And just about anyone who's passionate about games will agree: It's about time!
The Grammies are perhaps the most distinguished musical awards out there and yet while movies and television compositions have been recognized for decades, video game scores have remained largely excluded from the hoopla.
But the Recording Academy has announced a newly streamlined Grammy Awards that includes the renaming of one over-arching field as well as three awards categories so that they are more inclusive of video games.
Game compositions will now compete in the newly renamed Music for Visual Media field against compositions from film and television. And they will vie for three awards — Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media, Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media and Best Song Written for Visual Media.
The categories were renamed with the hopes that they would be more welcoming to video game entries. And while, no, video games have not been given their own category, that doesn't mean it's not going to happen.
"I think this could be viewed as a first step in the direction of video games getting their own category," Bill Freimuth, Vice President of Awards for the Recording Academy told Industry Gamers. "Many people from the game community have been asking us to create a special category for games over the years, but the main reason we haven’t is because we have received very few entries from game publishers."
You hear that game publishers? It's time to enter your best music. And we gamers know you've got it.
Video game music has grown increasingly impressive over the years with many games now featuring original scores performed by talented orchestras. And over the years, film and television composers have be gravitating to games as an exciting and challenging new medium to create music for.
Famed film composer Hans Zimmer contributed music to "Crysis 2" and "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2." Meanwhile "Bear McCreary — the composer behind the scores for "Battlestar Galactica" and "The Walking Dead" — recently finished creating an epic score for the forthcoming game "SOCOM 4." (Check out our interview with him here.)
In fact, earlier this year, a video game composition did win a Grammy Award. Christopher Tin's song "Baba Yetu" — the theme song for the game "Civilization IV" — took home the award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists at the 2011 Grammies. But it landed in this year's awards because Tin had included it in his album "Calling All Dawns" not because of its appearance in a game.
But certainly the Grammy Award changes are part of a shifting attitude toward video games — one that sees games getting the kind of respect and recognition traditionally reserved for film and television. It was recently announced, for example, that Rockstar's game "L.A. Noire" would be given a first-of-its kind screening at the Tribeca Film Festival.
And with the changes to the Grammies, next year's list of winners could be very different indeed.
"This acknowledges that film, TV and games can stand side by side and be independently recognized," Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive for Music at Electronic Arts, told Industry Gamers. "I expect there to be a tidal wave of submissions from the game industry."
(Thanks to Industry Gamers for the heads up)