One of the most listened composer in the world

It seems I am one of the most listened composer in the world right now and no one notices. πŸ™‚ Over 250 million people have heard original Angry Birds theme, and most of them have heard all AB Seasons remixes too… not calculating how many official (and unofficial) youtube videos there are with Angry Birds theme in the background or fan videos with the same tune.

Anyway, Angry Birds isn’t the only soundtrack I have made. No Sir. I have made memorable work, according to players and reviews, in many much bigger console games. Even now, in Sony’s playstation network “welcome back” program, they’re offering games like Dead Nation and Super Stardust HD, which already had hundred thousands of players. Also Trine and Outland -games have been very successful ones and had great reviews. Also Shadowgrounds games had also a decent fan base years ago. I have calculated that over two million have heard my music in other than Angry Birds merchandise… So the amount of listeners of my music should go over 300 million soon. Wow!

But I am not famous. My music is loved by many around the world but my name is still totally unknown to mainstream media and most of the listeners. Propably because my name is not mentioned much. Well at least my name is in the credits (that nobody ever reads) and few companies manage to mention my name for the press even! Sometimes it feels that I’m just a resource, an outsourcer that just makes music and sounds. Not surprisingly, I’ve only got ONLY ONE press interview in two years, and that was a small finnish YleX program. Come on. πŸ™‚

Should I care too much? Should my name come more up? Should ‘game’ composers have more press coverage? The good side is that now I have some peace to make even more greater music, without too much hassle and press coverage. But still it would be nice to have some recognition. It always manages to anger me a little when I see Angry Birds theme somewhere without my name being mentioned – unofficial remix or whatnot. Even some of my friends or distant family have been unaware that I did Angry Birds. It’s feels a bit silly.

Currently I’m composing Trine 2 Soundtrack, and it will be a really great one. After that there’s already much work ahead, but do I just continue to work as music outsourcer or should I be making my own commercial music? Future will tell. For now I enjoy making game music, I’ve always have. It’s still a place and format not ruined by money and mainstream crap – there’s a still place for real music and soul.

Now I feel a little bit more relieved. Sorry about the small rant. πŸ˜‰

17 Responses to “One of the most listened composer in the world”

  1. Yo Ming

    Sorry, to say this… but is this Angry Birds soundtrack album available for sale? wish to hear it. Now, whenever I want to hear the song. I need open the game. Wish there was an easy ways out there, which is buy the album and put it into player. Thank you.

  2. Yo Ming

    Sorry for double post, but I just want to say that I knew you from Trine, not Angry Birds. Recently, I only found out that the music composer of Angry Birds is you. Thank for bring us great music. I guess most people agree that they had ear orgasm every time they hear the music from you.

  3. Ari Pulkkinen

    Thank you Yo! I always try to make better music than I have done before and excel myself. Soundtracks aren’t usually in my hands to sell because of the licencing issues with publishers, but I always try to make sure that the music I make comes out for sale or even for free.

  4. Anton

    This is a very sad truth we face as composers. πŸ™ What surprises me even more when talking to “normal” people is how many of them don’t even know “famous” composers, like John Williams. It’s like people’s names fall on deaf ears. (I also find that many people don’t know band names, or even the titles of the songs. You have to sing pop music to them, to tell them the song you’re mentioning.) Perhaps the best choice of action is to relish the people that do notice, and enjoy that your music has made millions of people smile. πŸ™‚

  5. Greg

    I would have to agree with Anton, I believe that being “Obscurely Famous” is certainly better than not being acknowledged at all. There are countless accounts of borderline anonymity lasting through the ages. The case of the “Happy Birthday” song is a good one to recount!

  6. Richard

    It’s difficult for composers to get widespread recognition, but album availability and marketing could increase your visibility. For example I didn’t find any soundtrack CDs available by Ari Pullkkinen on ebay nor are they available by searching for game names (trine, shadowlands, super stardust, angry birds, etc.) As far as I could tell in the horrible to find things iTunes store, I also couldn’t find any of the soundtracks of the video game soundtracks are also available.

    Now, consider one of the most famous video game soundtrack composers, Nobuo Uematsu. Type his name into google shopping, ebay, or type the game names in at ebay, iTunes, and you will see a never ending availability of albums and soundtracks. Usually Umaetsu’s soundtracks are available, and sell before the game even comes out.

    I happen to own the Super Stardust HD soundtrack, and the Trine OST (through the playstation store, and through the indie bundle project). By the methods for getting these soundtracks was downright ARCANE! The sad part is that I actually listen to a fair amount of video game soundtracks and love them myself, but a less determined listener probably wouldn’t go through lengths to download Super Stardust HD, transfer to a thumb drive, just to be able to get it into their ipod via iTunes.

    I’d say that if you want some recognition, get a label before you let the game co. take away the rights to your next soundtrack… that’s what the Japanese do right?

  7. Jack

    Speaking as a musician myself; it doesn’t matter to me whether the listener knows my name or not. What’s important is that the art is appreciated and respected.

    On a side note: many of us are still eagerly awaiting the release of the ‘Dead Nation’ and ‘Outland’ soundtracks… By the way, any chance of releasing them on CD rather than digitally?

  8. Ari Pulkkinen

    Thank you folks for replys! My intention was to raise some comments and I succeeded. Nice!

    Anton and Greg: Indeed! I do want to relish the people that notice, I’m trying to set up some bonus content for those who buy my music, even if it some exlusive tracks. I also try to answer all my fanmails, but I’ve been horrendously busy last months, making Trine 2.

    Richard: I totally agree with you. Setting up more availability has been my number one concern for a long time – I’ve made alot of work with my contracts to get music published, and it seems I’m getting green light on many soundtrack rights. I’m setting AriTunes label on iTunes too, and trying to find some other alternate ways to sell the music. It’s all happening so slowly – I’m doing alot of things myself, but I’m getting some help in the future.

    Jack: So true! For me it’s enough that I appriciate my own work! πŸ˜‰ Dead Nation and Outland soundtracks are currently behind summer holiday schedules from me and publishers, but they are coming.

    Thanks for the feedback, appriciated!

  9. Eloi

    I didn’t know who made this outstanding Soundtrack until I have seen your name appearing on the PSN Store of Super Stardust HD saying it was you and Risto Vuori.

    Thank you very much for having done this superb masterpiece, I wish I could do things like that

  10. Matt Newman

    @Anton: Jon Williams is the man πŸ˜€

    @Ari: I love your game music! So much so, that I am more excited for the Trine 2 OST than the game itself! Also, personally, I’d love to hear something non-game from you sometime in the future.

  11. Yanneyanen

    Most people care about songs/music, not so much who made them.

    If I hear good music, I try to find out who’s it is. That’s how I found out about you (Ari).

    I bought Outland, and after spending some time in the main menu, I wanted to know where such good music came from. I foud my way here and discovered you were also behind Trine’s soundtrack, which is one of my favorites. After listening to the music here, I also fell in love with Dead Nation and Super Stardust HD themes. I come to this every now and then, knowing that there’s this little music player at the top with the most atmospheric music.

    Anyway, I hope composers would get more recognition, since be it movies or games, music is a really big part of the experience.

  12. Jeramiah

    Hey Ari, You have inspired me to write a post. I also am a video game composer/musician who has had some success with a lot of people listening to my music and I can really relate to your post.

    On the Playstation network I composed the soundtrack for a game called Shatter that got over 1million hits and many awards for best soundtrack for 2009 (small compared to angry birds) but for a brief time I was one of the most played New Zealand artists and no one knew or cared. It was a bitter sweet experience, I had by all intensive purposes made it ! I had done what everyone thinks you should do as a musician, get large international reaction and exposure yet I got no support from my homeland music industry.

    At that point after really trying hard for many years I decided not to care and just do it because I love it, I love synths, making sounds, creating audio worlds for people to enjoy. I really love playing around with computers and ableton live and experimenting with different styles. That’s what matters to me now. Trying to create the best music I can and get it sounding as good as I can.

    Fame is a stupid thing anyway, usually dictated by mass amounts of people with short attention spans deciding that a artist or a certain type of music is what other people should be interested in, there are 2 types of Fame.There is Fame because you are a product of some sort, or fame because you are a true artist and people are reacting to an artists creative output emotionally or mentally which is the type of fame I am reaching for. I will leave the other type of fame to the auto tuned fashion models of the music industry.

    I love your score for Super stardust HD and it was some of the inspiration for my Shatter Ps3 Soundtrack.

    Thanks for being honest. It’s really nice to hear somebody voice this. I was going to say the same on my blog but I am not as brave. Hope to hear from you soon all the best with your future projects.

    Many Kind Regards. Jeramiah Ross AKA Module

  13. Ari Pulkkinen

    Hi Jeremiah! Thanks for posting your well thought reply! I have been on a holiday so I replied just so late. I don’t know if you remember, but we talked about game music in Vegas last DICE summit, after the ceremony party! (Or do I remember wrong?) Anyway, your Shatter OST is a very professional and crisp sounding album, I have wondered why it haven’t got more commercial attention. I know a lot of Shatter OST fans, including me. πŸ™‚ Interesting to know that SSHD was one of the inspirations for it- I actually wondered it.

    Few reasons why good game music do not have press interest or mainstream appeal, there might still be some “games are for children” / “computer generated stuff” thinking involved behind it? I think the oldschool music industry is just awakening for game music – and many game composers do not have the same strong networks that connect with media though publishers. I’m not involved with Finnish music industry at all, might explain a lot of stuff. I have always done everything myself, and will continue to do so for the most part – but in future, I’d like to make a good collaboration with someone like-minded!

    As for being a product, I never want that. Only fame I desire is the one that comes through my own achievements. Only problem is that those achievements can be toned down by not having support from publishers, media and game companies. Some only care about their own money and company policies, and some just lack the interest like big publishers with their lawyer armies. There are hundreds of sites for indie music, why game music is not also featured in those?

    Anyway, thanks Jeramiah, may we continue to awe fans with great music. πŸ™‚

  14. Elie Abraham

    Ari, it’s funny to read “Well at least my name is in the credits (that nobody ever reads)” both because this is, more often than not, true, but when I played Angry Birds for the first time I felt like checking the credits, which is a curiosity I don’t often have beyond wanting to know developing companies, etc.. That’s when I thought “OH man… I have never seen a list of more Finnish sounding names ” πŸ˜› I saw your name and thought “Hey! That guy did the Trine soundtrack!” (which I LOVED and have played on my radio show here in the States).

    I’m a musician and it’s my dream to be a part of video game music composition and sound design. I don’t miss a soundtrack when I play a game and I definitely don’t miss the composer either. That would be robbing myself of part of the gaming experience and an opportunity to discover a new artist (and you of well deserved recognition!). Though born in the US, I can’t help but swell with Finnish pride, so it’s only natural that I followed the soundtracks of Trine, Max Payne, Amnesia, etc., haha. These things aside, however, I hope you’d be glad to hear that I know many people whose connection to gaming music is solely that they game and that they too pay attention to who a soundtrack was made by. It seems that publishers/game companies are missing you for some reason, but maybe you have more recognition than you think.

    At the very least, please know your music has been very inspiring. Like you, that’s what I want most for listeners to get from my music. I’m very excited to hear the Trine 2 OST : )


  15. pablo

    hello Ari,
    I am a HUGE fan of SSHD and I really love the soundtrack (particularly the orchestral one) but I’m sad to see there is literally no way to buy it legally (… and I’ll be honest, I tried to torrent it or find it somewhere else but this soundtrack is simply impossible to find. I have left literally no links unchecked on the internet! the only one I could find were down since long ago. it is literally impossible to find).
    will they EVER be on sale? it’s one of the very rare soundtrack I would actually go as far as buying because I think it’s worth the money πŸ™

  16. Vance O. Craig

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  17. Daniel Rotman

    You are a great composer, and appriciated by people who interested in the game music they hear. they might save it for themself, but I was looking for your name after a long time I’ve played trine 2. I used to listen to the soundtrack album in my spare time and I am always saying to my friends while playing them the “trine 2” to appriciate the music they hear, because it is really amazing.
    keep up with your outstanding work.


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