Video game music (VGM) has received unprecedented levels of attention over the past few decades, especially within the past few years. One just needs to revisit the most recent Grammy Awards where, for the very first time, VGM received its own award category to see this movement on full display. It seems that video game music is finally receiving the recognition it deserves. Or parts of it at least.
The recognition and celebration of VGM in recent years mainly revolve around original soundtracks, that is, music composed specifically for the game. However, there is a whole other world of VGM that is often left out of the conversation: licensed music. In contrast to original soundtracks, licensed music typically consists of preexisting songs that are compiled (with permission, hence the term licensed) into tracklists for the games. The game genres that tend to use licensed music as their primary form of musical content are sports games, racing games and rhythm games.
To highlight this often-overlooked category of VGM, USC’s very own Introduction to Video Game Music class, a new class that debuted this year, created a mock tracklist for NBA 2k24 that is scheduled to be released next September. Twenty-six students contributed 81 songs for this mock tracklist, and while this project was intended to be a fun exercise to showcase licensed game music, we would not mind if 2K Games caught wind of this tracklist and used some (or all) of these songs in their upcoming version of NBA 2K. One thing is for certain, these songs will definitely help you ball out. We hope you enjoy this mock tracklist for NBA 2k24.