New Sound Effects for June

Such a variety in this month’s release, the storyline practically writes itself: from magical fairy wind chimes, to a hydraulic spaceship hatch… blue jays, a wooden drawbridge, and a crackling fire, the sizzle of acid, the sound of a chalkboard… you name it, we’ve got it.

Sound Effects and Production Music Licensing Questions

Here are a variety of common questions asked by users. These are in addition to the ones found on the Help page and Licensing page. They are separated by sound effects and music but many answers apply to both. Take a look. There is probably something close to the answer you are looking for.
Sound Effects Licensing Questions
Q: Can I use your sounds in my iPhone app, Android app, etc?

A: Yes! We’ve built our library specifically for game developers. You can use our sound effects for games and apps (iPhone, Android, web, Wii, etc, whatever the platform) without any additional licensing whenever the sounds are used in "sync". Meaning when sound effects are associated with a specific graphic such as game play and interface sounds.
Apps with non-sync sound usage do require an additional license. Examples of needing an additional license are using sfx as part of a soundboard, relaxation app, ringtone app or other app that plays sfx in a ‘non-synchronous’ manner or allows users to select sounds from a cue, library or bank or sounds.
Purchasing sounds effects from our site licenses them for "sync" uses. Contact us for additional "non-sync" licensing.
Music has selectable licenses for games and apps, sound effects do not.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Additional licenses can be obtained for these or any non-standard use of our sounds. Contact Us for more details. See our Licensing page for details.

Q: Can I use your sounds in multiple projects?

A: Yes for sound effects. They can be licensed once and used by the licensee in as many projects as desired.

Music on the other hand is licensed per project. If you want to use the same track of music for multiple projects it will need to be re-licensed for each project.

Q: Can I use your sounds in an iPhone app that allows users to select and play different sounds. Does your normal licensing cover this?

A: This would be "non-sync" usage and requires an additional license. We have a simple license that grants you the non-exclusive, worldwide, unlimited rights to bundle the sfx in your app with no further fees due. Contact Us for details.

Q: Is an iPhone app that plays different ambiences accompanied by slide-show images covered by your normal "sync" license, or would it require the additional "non-sync" license?

A: This does require the additional "non-sync" license if the sounds are independent from the graphics. Contact Us for pricing information.

Q: I’m developing an iPhone application that would allow users to choose sounds for reminder alerts. Is this usage is sync or non-sync? If it is non-sync would it require an additional license?

A: This would indeed be non-sync usage and does indeed require an additional license. We have a simple license that grants you the non-exclusive, worldwide, unlimited rights to bundle the sfx in your app with no further fees due. Contact us for details.

Q: I am developing a mobile video game and want to use Soundrangers sound effects but I’m not sure how many downloads I will have. Which ‘Game, Download’ license should I buy?

A: The different license tiers only apply to music, the standard sound effects license you get when purchasing sfx through our web site covers you for unlimited downloads.

Q: Can we transfer sounds to our client? We are building an app for a client and want to use Soundrangers Sounds. Is it legal for us to purchase sounds that will ultimately be apart of an app belonging to our client? Do we need to do some sort of license transfer?

A: Yes, you can purchase sounds that will be apart of a production for a client. This is very common. Many of our users are developers building something for someone else. This is covered under our licensing. If your client requires we can send them something reflecting this. We just don’t want our sounds randomly redistributed in anyway. This is not that. This is using the sounds for what they were intended for.

Q: What would be the license agreement for putting sound effects and music into a slot machine or similar hardware device?

A: We would require a special hardware license for this type of usage. The license gives you the unlimited worldwide rights to bundle the sfx into your hardware with no additional fees due. The license is applicable to one product or similar line of products. Contact us for details.

Q: How do I know there won’t be hidden fees or legal issues?

A: Because we create our own content, we own the rights to our library which guarantees you the right to use them according to our licensing terms without any hidden fees, third party confusion or murky copyright problems commonly associated with free sound or public file sharing sites.

Q: Do we need to credit Soundrangers in our app?

A: You are not required to give Soundrangers credit, but it’s much appreciated if you do!

Music Licensing Questions
Q: Will I have to pay royalties on music usage?

A: No, broadcasters (TV stations, Radio stations, etc.) They are the ones responsible for paying performance fees to the Performing Rights Societies (PRS). Then the PRS pay the composers. Broadcasters always pay a regular fee to the PRS. You just need to report what music was used so the composers can get their slice of that fee.
The music license purchaser (you) are not responsible for making any royalty payments.

Q: Am I considered the broadcaster?

A: No. If you are not already paying Performing Rights Societies (PRS) fees, you are not a Broadcaster.

Q: Do I have to submit a cue sheet?

A: Yes for film, TV and radio broadcast. No for webcasts, podcasts or websites. When in doubt, send us a cue sheet. It doesn’t hurt and won’t costs you anything.

Q: Do I have to submit a cue sheet for a video game?

A: No, not for the actual video game but if the music from the game is going to be used in film, radio or TV to promote the game then yes. This still wouldn’t apply to affect the game usage just the "broadcast" usage.

Q: Do I have to fill out a cue sheet for sound effects?

A: Nope, only for music.

Q: Can your music be used in two or more games?

A: Yes but music needs to be licensed per project. It can be used in variations of the project and to promote the project.

Q: Which music license should I use?

A: See our Licensing page for descriptions of the different licensing types and prices.

Q: If I am doing an Indie Feature Film what music license would I need, ‘Indie/Short’  or ‘Feature Film’?

A: The ‘Indie/Short’ license. The feature film license is more for large studio, widely distributed and funded films.

Q: I am trying to find on-hold music that I can use for my companies phone system. Can your tracks be used for that?

A: Yes, if the music is used in your company’s internal phone system only, you can select the ‘Broadcast, Other’ license.

Q: What type of license do I need to purchase for a short corporate video which will only be shown in house, not in public?

A: You can use the ‘Broadcast, Other’ license for this type of use.

Q: I need production music for a video that will play on web, what license should I use?

A: You can use either the ‘Web, General’ license or the ‘Web, Corporate’ license if the video is for a corporate client.

Q: We are a VoIP phone service provider and wish to provide a small library of music that our customers can select from. Our system would then play their selection from that library as on-hold music.

A: Anytime sound effects or music are made available to users as "selectable" or from a "library" it requires a special license. Please contact us for details.

Q: I want to make a promotional video for a game I created containing Soundrangers music to be played on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Is this okay under the game license?

A: Yes, you can use the game music for promotional videos that support the video game.

Q: For an iPhone App that is a game, can it be licensed under ‘Game Unlimited Downloads’ – and NOT the more expensive ‘App Unlimited" license?

A: That is correct. The ‘App’ license is for soundboards, corporate widgets, utility apps, etc. and not actual "games".

Q: I purchased music clips for my podcast under the license ‘Broadcast, Other’.  Would that license cover playing my podcast on YouTube and also a friend’s Internet radio station?

A: It does indeed- the license covers you to broadcast your podcast in any medium you need to.

Q: I bought the ‘Game Download, 500’ music license for my iPhone game. Can I upgrade if my iPhone game actually sells more?

Also, for sound effects am I covered no matter how many apps are downloaded?

A: Yes, the ‘Game, Download’ license only applies to the music and yes you can always upgrade the license. You can either upgrade if your app does well, or purchase the unlimited version which covers you for unlimited downloads. We provide price tiers for developers who aren’t sure how many downloads they think they’ll have.

Sound effects are covered for unlimited downloads.

Interview with About Sound Effects and Music For Video Games

Part 2 of 2

Interviewer: Can you talk about, can you give game developers an idea of the importance of sound and sound design for the games? I mean, it’s something that usually they neglect.
Barry: Yeah. Well, it’s hugely important. We did a talk about this on Monday and that when you have really bad voiceover and music and sound, it’s really distracting from the game play.
Interviewer: Are a lot of the players just turning off the sound anyways because they’re playing a game while they’re doing other things?
Barry: It’s possible. I don’t know. I don’t have access to that usability data, I guess, but I think from my perspective one of the most compelling things about the games I have played a lot are that I thought the sound design and music was really excellent. I still remember, I think, the first Unreal Tournament that was released. The guy that did the sound design did a really fabulous job because every sound had a great character to it.
So, when the flag cannon is being pumped, the hair on the back of your neck goes up because oh, I’m about to get destroyed. If I can hear the sound somewhere in the environment, I don’t know where it’s coming from but I can hear it and it makes you react to the game in a completely different way than if you were just playing a record in the back.
We try and make really engaging sounds. To use the cinematic analogy, the first Star Wars movie was very notorious for having really fabulous sounds, like, everybody knows what a light saber sound is. And that sound really identified a lot of things in that movie to the film goer and it stuck with people for a lot of years.
It’s no different in games. When you have really great music and sound, and from a music standpoint, things are getting more and more cinematic in games. So, there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t have, like, in a console game you have a front end theme, and then you have that same theme reharmonized down across other levels and mini games of combat areas of the game.
That is very similar to the way you would approach film where you have cinematical content and then it gets reused or identified with the character who uses the motif or whatever. The same thing is happening in games. I think that really gives the user something to remember the game by.
Interviewer: Yeah. Would you say that there’s anything as identifiable as the light saber, any game that’s created that level of identifiability or no, not yet, like maybe, it’s still…?
Barry: Well, there’s some stuff out there. I think there’s so much variety in games that it’s hard to pinpoint any one example, but the example I just gave, for me personally Unreal Tournament, there were some great sounds in there I still remember them to this day. There’s certain sound effects that all of us sound designers know about that were used on that game.
If there’s a wind loop in the front end, we know exactly what library that came from and which sound it was. It’s kind of fun to geek out on that stuff and try and identify where it came from. But, the film stuff because it reaches such a wide audience and there’s not, obviously, films, it’s more of a linear thing. It is what it is. It’s easier to identify that stuff. And using that example, the guy that did the sound design for that film is notorious for going out and doing really creative things to build the sounds for that movie.
We kind of try to do the same thing, but oftentimes with games there’s so many sounds and because they’re not linear you hear them over and over and over and over and over. There’s a lot of replay.
Interviewer: That’s a good question. Is that even a really bad thing to actually replay the same sound over and over again? You said in your sound library you have, like, many different variations of the same option. Is that a technique that developers should use to actually make it more interesting?
Barry: Yeah, definitely because, like, these days if you use the same story line over and over and over and over, it gets really repetitive. So, one of the things you have to do from an implementation standpoint is you have to have multiple variations of that sound. So, it sounds like the same sound, but it’s been altered timing-wise and pitch-wise and it’s just the little slight adjustments that are made across different variations really make it come to life. So, you can have five sword clangs that all kind of sound the same, but each and every one is slightly different. So, it just sounds more realistic.
So, for instance, when we were talking on Monday, we went out and recorded an African lion a couple months ago. We knew then we were working on a project that we had to have a lot of creature sounds. All the creatures needed three emotes for an attack, three emotes for a pain sound, three emotes for a death sound, for instance.
In order for us to build that, we’d have to have a lot of source that was all ready, all recorded in the same place. So, the continuity’s the same amongst all the sounds. So, we had the lion roar for us 20 times, and we’ll take those 20 roars and each and every one of them sounds a little different. So, you can take three of those and use those as an attacking monster sound or whatever.
Interviewer: Are there any other best sound design practices that you would recommend for game developers out there?
Barry: Yeah. I think probably if you have the time and the budget building stuff from the ground up is a really great way to go because sometimes, and this is a little bit of irony with our site, it’s hard to find stuff in libraries that will work for games. But, you can always get stuff to work for your games if you go out and record it yourself.
I think a really great example of that are racing and flight simulator games where if you have the sound of an old World War II aircraft, it’s hard to find, you cannot find in any other libraries a real World War II aircraft engine loop that loops correctly and replicates the different sounds, the RPM levels of an engine. So, you have to actually go out and find that plane, record it, record the pilot spinning it up at different RPM levels. And then, you take all your material and cut it into a format that’s good for games.
Sometimes, it just makes the game sound better when you have all your original source, and sometimes you don’t have any choice but to go out and record it yourself because of the demands of the material in the game. And, like, racing games are the same way. It’s hard to find cars and race cars with engines looping correctly, so you have to go out and find the cars and record them yourself, knowing what’s going to happen with the sounds later on in the game.
If you know you’re going to have to have five different engine loops of this particular car, you have to go out and record it for the car and know that you’re going to have to pull five loops out of it. So, you better make sure that whoever’s stepping on the accelerator holds it steady so it’s not wavering around because once you go back and loop it, it will be nearly impossible to loop it without hearing the other engines wavering back and forth. It’s a lot of work.
Interviewer: I looked at your customer list. You have a lot of customers that are outside of gaming. So, even if people aren’t going to use it for their video game, can you talk about other applications of your sound effects, whether they’re for websites or flash simulations?
Barry: Yeah. We do tons of stuff, like all the app developers are really into our library right now because everybody needs little sounds and alerts and stuff for their applications. So, we do a lot of licensing for that.
Interviewer: So, you’re talking about iPhone apps?
Barry: iPhone apps, a lot of web interfaces, some hardware. We do license out if somebody is making a digital interface for their printer or something and need UI interface. UI is user interface sound or button sound. They need the sounds for their interface, so they license it from us. We do a lot of independent film. A lot of broadcasters use our stuff as well, so it’s not just built for games.
We start with broadcast level stuff and then conform it for games. We found a lot of interactive agencies doing, maybe, they’re building a web banner that’s got an animation in it and it needs some sounds. That often acts under the same limitations that game audio does. So, they’ll license stuff out of the library because they need a quick little button click or like a reveal sound or they need a short clip of music to play under it.
We’re real popular with game developers specifically and interactive developers more broadly.
Interviewer: And where can people find out more information then and actually, just start listening to sounds and see if they’re appropriate and start buying them?
Barry: All you need is go to, and you can start auditioning and listening to our stuff straight out of the gates.
Interviewer: Thank you very much.

Interview with About Sound Effects and Music For Video Games

Part 1 of 2

Interviewer: I’m here at Casual Connect, and with me today is a special guest. How about you introduce yourself?
Barry: Hi, I’m Barry from Sound Rangers.
Interviewer: And what’s Sound Rangers about?
Barry: Sound Rangers is two things. We’re a custom sound and music development company, and we’re also a library of sound effects built for games and game developers.
Interviewer: And for most small game developers, what part of the service are they using?
Barry: We see a lot of people, small game developers using our library because it’s really easy and an inexpensive way to source sound effects and music for your game. We’ve built the library in a way that allows developers to find sounds quickly, find the right kind of sounds built specifically for games and then download them straight to their machine.
Interviewer: So, this is something where developers can just go in, listen to all the sounds and within five or ten minutes just be able to download the necessary sounds.
Barry: Yeah. Say, you were looking for the sound of a cannon or something, you would search for a cannon and then you would audition the sound. And it’s about $1.85 and then you download it straight to your machine. So, it’s a really great way for people who have very tight turnarounds and are, maybe, on a limited budget. We’ve got sounds that are actually built for games.
One of the things that makes our library a lot different from others is that we have built the sounds to fit the requirements of a game developer. And what that means is that we have sharp looping files, so, for instance, if you’re building a racing game and you need the sound of a race car engine looping, we have gone out and recorded a race car.
We recorded the engine in a manner that would allow us to loop it correctly so that all you need to do is drop it into your build and it’ll loop seamlessly and you’ve got the car engine looped.
With other libraries you have to find the source material. Oftentimes, it was never recorded with a looping format in mind. So, it’s nearly impossible to find the right content. Even if you do, it’s impossible to loop it correctly.
So, what we’ve done is done years of field recording that will allow game developers to find what they’re looking for really quickly and find the sounds that they can plug and play into their game.
Interviewer: So then, your stuff is optimized for digital games versus the other ones.
Barry: Yes, exactly. So, in addition to the loop, we have background ambient loops because especially in casual games you have to pay attention to memory requirements and bandwidth requirements. So, you can’t put a 30 second looping in magical forests on your game. It has to be four or five seconds in the loop so you don’t hear the loop wind. We built these sounds to do that for you.
Then, we have multiple variations of sounds. So, if you need the sound of a creature roaring, you know, in games you need three variations of that roar, three variations of the monster attacking, three variations of it being hit. So, we included multiple variations. Because the sounds were all built from the same source, those variations will all work together. And that’s impossible to find in other libraries.
Interviewer: And other libraries, usually you have to wait to get the CD or something else. Can you talk about what inspired you to be able to quickly download things, which is awesome. I think that’s a huge step. I don’t think I’ve seen that many other companies do that for short tracks. I’ve seen them do it for, like, longer music but not for the short sound effects.
Barry: OK. Well, we originally started out – in 1998 is when we first launched the library, and there was only one other company doing it at the time. And we decided that putting the sound effects on the CD was really going to limit our ability to distribute our stuff. So, we decided and we found the technology. We got all our credit card processing and stuff in place. We had the library, and we figured out a way to distribute it online so that anybody at any time at anywhere in the world could instantly download something.
And then, also it allowed us not to have to build. You know, a lot of time with CDs and DVD-based terrestrial stuff you have to have a certain amount of sounds, and then whoever’s buying it may not want all those sound.
So, we thought it would be a great idea to just sell sounds one at a time. So, if you needed one dog bark, all you bought was one dog bark not a CD full of a thousand other sounds that you didn’t use.
And so, the other thing is that we’re sitting here in Seattle at 11 a.m. and you could be clear across the world in the middle of the night and you need a quick sound. You can download it because the store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Interviewer: And then, you also talked about the custom sound in music. Is that where you just work directly with the game developer to do their music? Can you talk about that some more?
Barry: Yeah. We do a lot of custom developments. For instance, we’re heavily working on a 360 Wii title. And what we generally do is we will work directly with the developer working out a solution for them, but because we’re in Seattle and there’s a big hotbed of developers up here, there’s a lot of people in town we work with directly.
So, we will do all of the game production in our studios away from the developer, but part of our package is we’ll go on site, meet with the producer, the art leads, and the animation leads, the level designers, and all of the moving parts that allow us to get the sound implemented correctly which also is a big thing because you have to sit with these people and make sure that they know that there is sound that’s going to come in and they can’t finish their stuff up right before the game ships.
We need some time to get that stuff all implemented, and it’s just a better way for us to integrate what we’re doing because you have direct contact with the people that are taking the sound of music and putting them into the game.