Speaking at Stardew Valley soundtrack concert, creator Eric Barone quips about finding an audience for his music: ‘All I had to do was develop an entire videogame from scratch’

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone (aka ConcernedApe) briefly took to the stage at the New York stop of the “Festival of Seasons” Stardew concert tour to talk about his music and thank the crowd. The opening speech was shared to Twitter by Aftermath co-founder Nathan Grayson.

“Thank you so much everyone, this is my first time ever in New York City, so I appreciate the warm welcome,” Barone told the crowd. “You know, growing up, I always wanted to be a composer, but no one ever wanted to listen to my music⁠. 

“So, after many years of failure, I’ve finally discovered the secret: all I had to do was develop an entire videogame from scratch, and then you guys would finally listen to my music!”

It was some charming self-effacement from Barone, but his music has definitely struck a chord with Stardew fans: the Festival of Seasons is almost entirely sold out, even up through its extended international run. There’s good news if you’re a Stardew fan in Australia, Thailand, Italy, or Singapore though: you’ve still got a chance to snag a ticket. 

Stardew’s soundtrack has become an iconic bit of gaming music in its own right, with peaceful, nostalgic tracks that feel like they should be part of some lost relic of your childhood⁠—for my money, the Winter theme in particular really is some peak desolate, ice world-core stuff.

Barone’s story reminds me a bit of folk musician and Mountain Goats founder, John Darnielle⁠—though for Darnielle it was his poetry readings nobody was paying attention to, leading him to accompany his writing with acoustic guitar. Maybe there’s a lesson to be had here not specifically in making an entire game to get people to listen to your music, but in finding the perfect medium to suit your artistic sensibilities.

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