The Story of Video Game Music

With the concept “The Greatest Video Game Music” X5 Music showed that teaming up The London Philharmonic Orchestra with music from video games resulted in astonishing new “old” music. The project also meant that digitally focused X5 upstaged their old school label rivals in the art of creating really innovative physical albums.

“We think we’ve brought a lot of young people into classical music. We’re thinking: how do we take that even further? Video games. There are great songs in video games we thought.”

Scott Ambrose Reilly, North American CEO of X5 Music Group, is as proud as his colleagues when talking about the success result when X5 in 2011 decided to go for a physical CD release of the compilation “The Greatest Video Game Music”.

X5 was once dubbed X5 when the founders saw five key elements in a music company with the intention of making so called 360 deal agreements with artists – including physical albums and tours. But X5 soon abandoned that vision to go solely digital, and the release of “The Greatest Video Game Music” meant a high profile exception. The title immediately catapulted to number 1 on Amazon’s digital download charts and climbed to an astonishing number 23 on the Billboard Album 200.

“The Greatest Video Game Music”, performed by the highly acclaimed London Philharmonic Orchestra under director Andrew Skeet, features classical orchestrations of the best-known video game themes including ‘Mario Bros,’ ‘Call of Duty,’ ‘Zelda,’ ‘Final Fantasy,’ ‘Halo,’ ‘World of Warcraft,’ the incredibly successful ‘Angry Birds’ and many more.

The New York Times wrote in 2011: “if Beethoven and Tchaikovsky were alive today, they would be composing music for video games.” With “The Greatest Video Game Music” it’s possible to imagine how that hypothetical vision would sound.

“Angry Birds” composer Ari Pulkkinen applauded the venture:

“This is the first orchestral version of one of my compositions and it really comes alive. It has such a great depth and a majestic touch, and it was very emotional for me when I heard it the first time. I love it!”

he said at the time of the release.

A follow up to “The Greatest Video Game Music” is scheduled for late 2012. Also this time involving The London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Note: the distribution of the physical album was handled by Naxos.