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Australian musicians are having global critical and commercial success in the digital games industry

A first of its kind report into Australian music and games has found that Australian composers and musicians are developing new and innovative ways to work with the digital games sector. These include licensing existing music for use in digital games, composing new dynamic soundtracks for specific games, and conducting live performances of game music. With the right targeted support to address the field’s emerging challenges, game music is set to become an increasingly important platform through which Australian musicians of all stripes can reach global audiences.

The Australian Music and Games 2023 Benchmark – the first ever investigation into the scope and scale of Australia’s game music sector – was launched on 1 October at APRA AMCOS’s music for games conference High Score. Commissioned by Creative Australia and delivered by Dr Brendan Keogh (QUT) and Associate Professor Dan Golding (Swinburne University), the report paints a picture of a sector brimming with creativity, confidently performing on the global stage alongside far bigger national sectors.

The benchmark also exposes some entrenched and emerging challenges facing the field and identifies new opportunities for Australian game music to flourish and grow.

“The Australian Music and Games 2023 Benchmark is a fascinating reminder of how important music is to the game experience. The Benchmark helps us to understand more about how the music and game industries work together and, in doing so, are reimagining digital gaming,” said Creative Australia’s Head of Music, Kirsty Rivers.

The Music and Games 2023 Benchmark co – author Dr. Brendan Keogh said:

“Our Australian Music and Games 2023 Benchmark has highlighted just what an important role Australia’s musicians and composers will be able to play in this growing industry. Australia’s game music workers are creative, more often than not composing and performing original music for digital games made both in Australia and around the world. They’re also highly respected and appreciated by developers and players alike as creators of a crucial, fundamental aspect of digital game experiences.”

Other key findings include:

  • Australian game music workers are recognised as crucial and central collaborators by Australian game developers.
  • Australian game composers are more likely to retain rights and opportunities compared with workers in other screen music sectors.
  • While unpaid work remains common, Australian game music workers earn more than the average musician.

“Gaming isn’t just an industry it’s also an art form. According to a recent study by the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, 94% of Australian households have a gaming device and 70% of those who play video games do so to improve their mental health. Gaming is a fantastic way to tell Australian stories through gaming music and there is now a 30% tax deduction for eligible Game developers so hopefully this will encourage more composers to get involved,” said Ms. Rivers

To view the report in full visit Creative Australia’s website and download a copy.

Creative Australia will be presenting these findings in a panel discussion at SXSW Sydney 15 – 22 October.

Sean Brogan, Media Manager, Creative Australia
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