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GameSoundCon Game Audio Industry Survey 2021

Our survey ran from June 30 to August 30, 2021 and was promoted heavily via social media and other game or music industry web sites.  We received 602 usable responses from all around the world. Monetary values have been converted to USD.

You can view the complete report here

Among the findings:


  • Average Salary (employee): $88,150

    • Up from $80.837 in 2019

  • Average Income (freelancer):$56,201

    • Down from $63,548 in 2019

  • Women & non-binary/other game composers and sound designers represent 15% of the industry

    • Up from 13.6% in 2019

  • Although on average Women make less than men, the "Gender Gap" we saw in 2016 appears to have disappeared

  • 1 in 6 salaried employees also earn freelance income on the side​

  • One in 5 employees at game companies compose music, most of whom also perform other duties

  • Freelancers have lower average incomes, but also have the highest incomes

  • The most common "per minute" rates for composition:

    • $300/minute

    • $1,000/minute 

    • but the highest are significantly more  (greater than $4,000/minute)


About the Game Audio Industry Survey


In 2012, The game development web site, Gamasutra, published the results of their annual game developer salary survey. That year, the results were somewhat puzzling, with “audio” salaries coming in higher than every other discipline except “business and management.”


Part of the reason for this unexpected result is that audio, more than most other game disciplines, has a very high percentage of non-salaried freelancers, which are unaccounted for in the Gamautra survey. Gamasutra also commented on the “smaller pool of respondents,” (33 audio professionals completed the survey) causing the results to be more easily skewed.


With that in mind, in 2014 we created a survey that attempted to more accurately capture the issues of contracts, terms and compensation in game audio.


Our goals were to have a survey that: 


• Reflected the freelancer segment of our industry

• We aggressively promoted to increase response rate

• Covered some business issues unique to game music and sound


Since then, the GameSoundCon Industry Survey has become the leading resource on business and productions aspects of working in game music and sound design.

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