Halo composers resolve decades-long royalty dispute with Microsoft

halo dispute composers music microsoft

Gregorian Rant

The original composers of the haunting, unmistakable Halo score have announced that they have “amicably resolved” a long-running dispute with publisher Microsoft for alleged unpaid royalties.

Marty O’Donnell and Mike Salvatori, who composed the iconic score for the interstellar sci-fi shooter, claim that they originally licensed the music to Halo: Combat Evolved developer Bungie prior to the studio’s sale to Microsoft in 2000. The composers argue that they are owed royalties on the subsequent usage of the Halo fanfare and its famous Gregorian chant — royalties that go back some two decades.

Microsoft, according to comments made by O’Donnell to Eurogamer, refused the validity of this claim, stating that the composers sold the score as a “work-for-hire” project, and thus were not owed any further monies than those originally paid to them by Bungie at the time. O’Donnell and Salvatori finally took the case to court in 2020, bringing a total of six cases against the publisher, and even considering an injunction to block the launch of the recent Halo TV adaptation.

It seems, however, that all is now done and settled. While the details of the “amicable resolution” were not revealed, O’Donnell shared the news on social media that the matter is, essentially closed. O’Donnell also posted an interesting video of the team working with guitarist Steve Vai on the Halo: Combat Evolved score. O’Donnell promises to release further behind-the-scenes videos soon.

The most recent Halo release, Halo Infinite, is available now on PC and Xbox platforms.

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s. Former Saturday Night Slam Master. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse