Ubisoft is offering fans of Watch Dog: Legion a chance to have their original songs included in the game, and to be paid if their song is selected. Unfortunately, the company is catching some heat from industry professionals for the way it’s seeking out and paying for this musical work.
GameRant reports that Ubisoft is teaming up with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord for the effort, inviting those in the Watch Dogs: Legion community to assemble and crowdsource some musical tracks for the upcoming game. Ubisoft is willing to pay $2,000 for each song ultimately selected for Legion, and is looking to pick up 10 songs in total.
The sticking point for those in the games industry, however, has to do with Ubisoft offering what many are calling “spec work.” That is, Ubisoft is essentially getting a bunch of people to work for free, spending their time and energy on musical tracks in hopes that they’re picked to be in the game. But only 10 songs will make it, which means a lot of the tracks submitted will fail to become part of the game’s soundtrack. And those who collaborated on those songs will walk away without a single penny for all of their hard work.
That doesn’t sit right with game director Mike Bithell, who worked on Thomas Was Alone and John Wick Hex.
“Joseph is in a unionised profession, which is why I can’t ask him to work for free, and pay him if I like what he does more than the other 100 actors I ask to work for free and win a job,” he said.
What’s worse, we’re not able to tell if creators are paid royalties for their songs appearing in the game, as other artists and songwriters might if their own works were licensed. Gordon-Levitt posted a link on Twitter to what he claimed was a page explaining how Legion song creators would be paid, but that page does not exist on the HitRecord website and simply redirects back to the home page.
We’re fairly certain more will come from this story, as Ubisoft continues to draw fire from professionals across the games industry. Stay tuned.