Bungie Says It Will Release Destiny's Music Of The Spheres, To Composer's Surprise

Music of the Spheres, an eight-part musical compilation that was originally meant to release alongside Destiny in 2014, may get an official release soon, although its composer says he had no idea that was the plan.

The album, composed by Bungie's well-known former audio director Marty O'Donnell, his partner Michael Salvatori, and former Beatle Paul McCartney, had been shelved for years after Bungie fired O'Donnell in April 2014.

Teenager Owen Spence spent years trying to piece the album together using tracks that Bungie had released and put inside of Destiny, and last Christmas, someone sent him a leaked copy of Music of the Spheres, which Spence quickly put online.

Last weekend, four months after the leak, Bungie sent Spence a cease-and-desist letter, telling him that the studio planned to release its own official version of Music of the Spheres. The letter, obtained by Kotaku, tells Spence to pull the album and destroy all copies that he owns.

"Bungie appreciates your passion for these works, but there are legal limitations that apply to the use and distribution of this music," said the letter.

"For example, Bungie cannot allow others to copy, distribute, make derivative works of, perform publicly, or display publicly the Music of the Spheres intellectual property without prior express written permission from Bungie."

When Spence wrote about this on Reddit, Bungie community manager Chris "Cozmo23" Shannon told fans that an official release is in the works, making for this amusing exchange between him, O'Donnell, and Destiny 2 live lead Chris Barrett:

(Barrett's line is a reference to a lyric from Music of the Spheres, which you can hear in this wonderful video.)

I e-mailed O'Donnell to ask for clarification on this whole situation, and he told me he had no idea this was coming:

Owen Spence, the kid who leaked it at Christmas, wrote me last week and showed me the cease and desist he received from Bungie's lawyers. Then I saw that his stuff was being taken down so I tweeted a warning to my followers about downloading while they still can.

Next thing I see is a Reddit post from some kid I don't know (Cozmo?) who stated that Bungie is about to release MotS officially. Which kinda ticked me off since that was the first I heard of it.

Upshot is that I'd love to stop being snarky about Bungie, but they just can't seem to stop insulting me.


    You compose something for the company you work for on their dime for their IP probably with their tools. They don't own it?

      Regardless of whether he owns any part of the IP (I have a feeling his contract might have let him keep some rights, potentially for royalties? Music's a weird one in games), he's still the creator. It would've been courteous to let him know his works were being released.

      I assume he's complaining about the lack of courtesy shown; Bungie's very clear expression of how poorly they regard him as a creator by not being fucking bothered to give him the heads-up and letting him read about it instead. This is about as polite as letting someone know they're fired by tweet, or letting them read about it in the press first. Zero respect.

      Not that this should come as a surprise. Bungie have yet to show anyone any respect beyond what they feel they have to fake when they fear consequences.

        According to the report, O'Donnell was fired from Bungie, that could be why no heads up or respect show.

          He apparently disagreed with Activision's influence on the company. Seeing the current response to Destiny 2 (& my personal thoughts), I think his concerns were justified.

          Reports never suggested he was a bad employee leading up to his dismissal.
          He was one of the main composers for Halo 1-3.

      Is this really where we're at though? you don't own the IP and we paid you so we don't owe you any courtesy as the creator?
      Bungie's attitude towards O'Donnell has been pretty damn bad for someone who'd been with the company for somewhere around 15 years and created some of the most recognizable music in video-games with them.
      I agree that that at the end of the day Bungie doesn't actually owe him anything but there's a classy way to go about these things and bungie's been... well just awful at this whole public image and messaging thing in the last couple years.

      Last edited 02/05/18 1:23 pm

      When someone is contracted to work for the company. There is almost always a stipulation in the contract that anything you create for the company while under contract is the Intellectual property of the company and not the person creating it. They are paying you to create something for them after all. They are paying for the rights to that product.

    They will release it but chop out about 40% of it and release it as DLC over next two years but swear to you that the 60% they released is what was intended all along.

    Already have it. Still pissed by how they treated O'Donnell too.

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