In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide
, author Aaron Marks gives an overview
of audio in the game industry in an introductory chapter from his Complete Guide to Game Audio: For Composers, Musicians, Sound Designers, and Game Developers
In this excerpt, Marks says as game budgets increase, work and financial reward for professional game composers and sound designers is beginning to pay off:
"Making a living doing what you love and the corresponding notoriety are enough reward for some, but let's face it, one of the real reasons composers and musicians become involved with the gaming world is the potential to earn their fortune. The movers, shakers, and deal makers are the ones making things happen in this occupation and their business tenacity has made them financially well off.
When game music began and the programmers were slowly replaced by composers, the miniscule income was almost hardly worth the effort. But as game budgets skyrocketed into the millions of dollars, composers started to get their share by creating extremely appropriate, thought provoking, and well-crafted music with professional musicians and the occasional symphony orchestra to boot. There are very busy composers out there who earn $50-60,000 for an hour or hour and a half's worth of music per game and some of them do up to 30 games a year! Do the math; there is some serious cash potential. And that isn't even all of it - there is also:
* earnings from royalties and soundtrack releases,
* fees for the same music on different game platforms (SKUs), and
* money from licensing in commercials, television shows, and movies (ancillary rights).
The sky is wide open. If you have negotiated a good deal and signed a contract with a big developer, the potential to have income from simultaneous sources, all from the same music score, can really make a difference."
You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature
with more on the history and present realities of composing game audio, as well as a short interview with noted game composer Tommy Tallarico (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).