The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that has been growing tremendously and t’s expected to keep growing. With this growth comes more and more people getting involved with video games as producers, artists, designers, programmers, and of course, composers. But what do they earn on average?
According to a 2021 game audio industry survey, these are the numbers to know:
- Employment Status – 6 in 10 people working in game audio are employees of companies, though some ‘moonlighting’ occurs.
- Salaried Employees – Average Salary: $88,140, a 9% increase from 2019. U.S. salaries are significantly higher than the rest of the world.
- Performance Royalties – Only 1 in 6 game composers received any PRO income in 2020 for any game they have ever composed for.
- Freelancers – Freelancers have a lower average annual income ($55,811) than salaried employees, but freelancers also had the highest total annual incomes.
- Education – Almost 8 in 10 game audio professionals have a bachelor’s degree or higher, mostly (75%) music/audio related. 1 in 20 reported having both a music/audio and a technical degree.
- Gender/Diversity – The industry is 84% male (the lowest percentage since the survey began in 2014). The “gender gap” in game audio salaries reported in the 2016 survey does not appear to exist in the 2021 data. After accounting for experience, men and women do not have significant salary differences. 77% of respondents were white/Caucasian, with Hispanic/Latino (8.4%) and Asian (6.3%) being the next largest categories.
If you’re thinking a career in game composing could be for you, you’ll be interested in this training program: Film and Game Music Demo Reel with Logic Pro. After completing this course, you’ll have a demo reel to submit to industry professionals that will showcase your composing skills.