Friday, October 24, 2008

A matter of music rights

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Some people asked us why we decided to use two commercial tracks in Portal: Prelude. They claimed it was a wrong idea and that was right, we missed a few opportunities because of this choice (mainly press coverage). Even if we tried to shorten them up and degrade their quality as bad as we could (Scorpions' extract is only 50 seconds long and degraded a lot) a few people still claimed it wasn't fair.

In the next release, we decided to replace the 4 occurences of Rock You Like a Hurricane by the Scorpions with 4 different variations of the Still Alive song (R'n'B, rock, techno and classical). We don't really know if it will change anything special but, well... At least we took care of one of the two commercial tracks.

During the last week, we searched for a replacement song for Believe by The Chemical Brothers (the song during the GlaDOS fight), but to be honest, nothing came out of this research. We are totally unable to find a free song that matches quite correctly the feeling of Believe. And as you may not know it already, we chose this song because of its rythm and also because of its video clip, as you can see:

Yesterday, I wondered if I could directly get in touch with their label, to try to get their permission to keep this 3 minutes degraded extract in our free project. But it could just bring us even more problems. So, if you know any free-of-use (free or creative commons licensed) track we could use to replace it, we'd be willing to know about it. It should be long enough and "repetitive" enough to be looped over and over without beeing annoying (Looks like we love to ask your help).

32 comment(s)


 October 24, 2008 10:00 AM, Blogger Mr.Yeah said :
Yeah. First again!
The music clip is the prequel of Portal: Prelude. :D

 October 24, 2008 10:02 AM, Blogger Nicolas said :
I think you're addicted to this website =D

 October 24, 2008 10:05 AM, Blogger Mr.Yeah said :
I'm addicted to Portal (Prelude).
I pre-purchased The Orange Box only (!) because of Portal!

 October 24, 2008 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
check out some products from bioxeed like "lacrimosa" or smth.
iam pretty sure he will give you rights to use it.

 October 24, 2008 10:47 AM, Anonymous Skar said :
You could also Ugress (

He offers his music for free download (lower quality) on his website. So he might be open for this project as well.

He has some really nice songs (Reason to believe, Loungemeister, Trigger 22, Supermodel, Battle 22)

Check it out, I'd say.

 October 24, 2008 11:36 AM, Blogger ToBa said :
I did a bit of music myself and would love to share it, although I don't really think its good enough for such a project like yours.

Anyway, all of my currently released songs are on my blog:

The ones I would kind of recommend - although I did not yet play your mod:
Impact (
Habanero (
Overhead (

Let me know if you like to use any of my songs or if you have any questions :)

Best regards

 October 24, 2008 12:20 PM, Blogger Anders H said :
I'm sorry if i don't understand this, but... have the copyright owners of the said tracks contacted you and asked you to remove the tracks? If not, what risks are there with keeping the tracks?

 October 24, 2008 12:30 PM, Anonymous OnnoO said :

 October 24, 2008 1:36 PM, Anonymous Eddy said :
Heres a good one ^^ I dont know if its free...

hear it to end ! XD

 October 24, 2008 2:19 PM, Anonymous InnocentBystander said :
Don't know if any of these would be of use, but they are free:

 October 24, 2008 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
@anders h

The problem may be that they don't want to violate copyright law. You might as well say that "oh, well no one has ever contacted me directly about killing people, so I might as well kill someone."

 October 24, 2008 8:19 PM, OpenID behe said :
Have you listened to the complete Ghosts I-IV? I know you used three tracks but they were only from the first segment, which was provided free. The Creative Commons licence covers the whole album and so it isn't illegal to download the full thing without paying (although you really should... ;) )

 October 24, 2008 8:50 PM, Anonymous lambdacore said :
Maybe the demoscene can help you - Have a look around

 October 24, 2008 9:06 PM, Anonymous marywait said :
After listening to this song, it seems that something very similar could be made fairly quickly with the program ACID. You could easily match the tempo and percussion sound and then fill in with instrumental loops and sound effects to flesh out the piece. You would'nt get the lyrics, but could end up with something with the same feel.

 October 24, 2008 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
In addition to keeping the song in the GlaDOS fight you should implement the music video on to the TV screens in GlaDOS's chambers.

 October 25, 2008 12:46 AM, Blogger Midnightzak said :
I really like the song during the final fight, i hope you decide or find that you can keep it.

 October 25, 2008 6:45 AM, Blogger rm249 said :
Might want to check out the newgrounds audio portal for some stuff, I found a few songs that might work =]

~ rm249

 October 25, 2008 7:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Check out Paniq - Fan among the demoscene:

 October 25, 2008 2:20 PM, Blogger zoontek said :

 October 25, 2008 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
I'd really prefer to keep "Believe" in Prelude. I'd say contacting them about including the song (and maybe even the video) in the GLaDOS fight. Maybe just change it in the next update, and change it back if you get the rights?

 October 25, 2008 4:12 PM, Anonymous Ydna said :
Hum, Binärpilot may be a interesting choice. They have a industrial and robotic theme just like the Believe videoclip. Check some musics:

PS: I know, zoontek showed before, but anyway... And go Jamendo, most of the free musics are there. (For some reason I think you've already gone there.)

I think you'll have trouble, because you'll never find something EQUAL to the Believe song.

 October 25, 2008 4:16 PM, Anonymous Ydna said :
Oh, forgot, maybe the Destroy the Popollution would fit... ^^

 October 25, 2008 5:14 PM, Blogger zoontek said :
Binarpilot - Fuayfsilfm
Low Cost Music - R.o.b.o.t

Go on Jamendo! ;)

 October 25, 2008 8:26 PM, Anonymous Mosty1 said :
pendulum - slam


The intro is a bit long but this might work. I really think having "Believe" at the end makes the ending sequence so good. Its a shame you guys have to change it.

 October 25, 2008 8:29 PM, Anonymous Mostly1 said :
i forgot to add, fast forward to 1:30 to get to the music in that video above. :)

 October 25, 2008 8:31 PM, Anonymous Sarda [CP<3] said :
i think that it would ruin the mood of the ending to have a different song. i'm sure that you could work out a deal. i mean, just having the song in portal prelude is free advertising for them, and i'm sure you could give them an easter egg in one of the hidden rooms if they wanted to. It's more likely to make people buy the rest of their album than to lose them money.

 October 26, 2008 2:44 AM, Anonymous MMjr said :
Hey, the current song is absolutely the best :) but if you have to implement a new one you should take a look at these ones from the newgrounds audio portal :D :

I hope you like them :) good luck with finding an appropriate song! :D.

Greets MMjr

 October 26, 2008 4:40 PM, Blogger Ian T. M. said :
you could try the song from the trailer to the ether mod for hl2, its available for free download and its got some pretty nice beats in it, my fav part is at 2:36

 October 27, 2008 10:12 PM, Blogger RADIUM-V said :
Why not use something from Nine Inch Nails' The Slip?

Maybe Echoplex or Discipline would fit. The beat for Discipline is the same.

And, just like Ghosts, it's under the Creative Commons license.

 October 28, 2008 8:24 AM, Blogger Enno said :
I support the Ugress suggestion!

 November 1, 2008 7:20 PM, Anonymous Dyne said :
Kevin McLeod (the gentleman that runs takes requests for royalty free music. He just wants a credit.

 November 1, 2008 7:20 PM, Anonymous Dyne said :
Sorry, typo, it's "MacLeod"

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