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Grammy nominated composer, Austin Wintory — perhaps most well known for his outstanding score for the PS3 exclusive, Journey — is facing a possible $50,000 fine for working on the soundtrack to The Banner Saga.
Wintory posted a video to youtube today, explaining how The American Federation of Musicians, the union he belongs to, has blocked all union members from producing, scoring, or working on video game music in any capacity.
The following is a quote from the video’s description:
“Several years ago Ray Hair, the President of the American Federation of Musicians put together a Videogame Agreement working committee to develop a new game agreement.
The new Videogame Agreement was approved by the AFM’s International Executive Board and went into effect December 2012. This new contract was done without allowing any composers, musicians or any of the 90,000 members of the union given an opportunity to vote on it.”
According to Wintory’s video, the agreement has left him, and other game composers, unable to work under union sanction. When he found himself unable to to work with AFM musicians on the score for The Banner Saga, Wintory looked elsewhere, and ended up collaborating with the Dallas Wind Symphony on the project.
Wintory continues, “this collaboration happened as a direct result of the AFM’s unusable contract, and I am now being punished for simply doing my job under those circumstances.”
It should be noted that Mr. Wintory began working on the music for The Banner Saga prior to the AFM’s blocking of its union members from working on video games. He believes that his being an outspoken opponent of the block has made him a target for the AFM.
Wintory’s work on games like Journey, Flow, Horn, and now, The Banner Saga, is simply brilliant. It is hard to imagine that a game like Journey, an emotional, unparalleled experience, would be nearly as touching without Wintory’s beautiful music matching its stunning visuals.
Wintory’s video can be viewed below