Music agent Bob Rice died earlier this week at the age of 79 years old. Per his publicist to the Hollywood Reporter, he passed earlier in the week of COPD in San Clarita, California.
For video games, Rice was a key contributor to how music has become an important part of the medium. He first entered the industry by executive producing Data Age's 1982 game Journey Escape for the Atari 2600. The title is considered one of (if not the very first) rock video game, and has digital likenesses of the rock band Journey's members.
Rice first got his start in music at the age of 15 in Cleveland as a concert promoter. A year later, he ran his own record label and publishing company. Throughout the decades, he came to work with musicians such as Danny Elfman and Michael Kamen.
In 1992, Rice founded Four Bars Intertainment, which represented composers of video game music. Four Bars members include Inon Zur (Fallout, Starfield), Sascha Dikiciyan (Deus Ex), and Jack Wall (Mass Effect). On Twitter, Zur referred to Rice as "the one who discovered me. [...] He started it, he put us all on the industry map."
"Bob always believed in me, and his teaching was always profound and life-changing," continued Zur. "I would never be who I am today without Bob and I will miss him so much. [...] Everywhere there is a composer who composes music for video games, Bob is right there."
Dikiciyan echoed Zur's sentiment, saying Ross "is basically responsible for giving my career a second life after it crashed in 2003. There were some downs too but mostly just good times. Bob, I will always be thankful for what you did (for others too of course)."
Cris Velasco, composer on Lords of the Fallen, called him "my mentor...He's the first agent to see a future in games."
Rice is survived by his daughter his daughter, Lisa.
Bob was the one who discovered me, who taught me most of the things I know today about business, and about how to run my life in the industry. Bob was there for me for 25 years. He always believed in me, and his teaching was always profound and life-changing.— Inon Zur (@InonZur) June 8, 2023