Until recently, little was known about the ways in which Australian musicians and composers are working with the digital games sector. Anecdotal evidence suggested that this was a growing area of creative and professional activity. However, we lacked information on the professional activities and demographics of these workers, and what skills and activity are needed for future growth.
In 2023, Creative Australia commissioned Brendan Keogh (QUT) and Dan Golding (Swinburne University) to conduct the Australian Music and Games 2023 Benchmark.
The first of its kind, this study documents the new and innovative ways in which Australian composers and musicians are working within and alongside the digital games sector – from licensing music for use in digital games, composing new dynamic soundtracks for specific games, and conducting live performances of game music.
The benchmark also provides data on the demographics and working conditions of musicians and composers working with games developers.
The findings will inform a range of strategic decisions including future funding, partnerships, and advice on legal and regulatory settings. They will also provide a baseline for future research into this growing area of professional practice.
- Australian game music workers are having global critical and commercial success.
- Australian game music workers are recognised as crucial and central collaborators by Australian game developers.
- Australian game music workers work under a vast range of conditions, and rarely undertake game music work full-time.
- Australian game composers and musicians earn more than the average music sector worker. However unpaid work remains common.
- Australian game composers are more likely to retain rights and opportunities compared with workers in other screen music sectors.
- There is no single technical skill set for game composers in Australia, but a plethora of approaches.
- Established methods of payment and rights management for screen music are a poor fit for digital games.
- Game music workers are younger than the traditional art and music sectors, and the field has inherited endemic gender and race inequalities from both the digital game and screen composing sectors.