For many composers and sound designers, game audio appears to be a promising field to work in, but entering this industry can be very difficult without profound knowledge about the labour market, income expectations and the standard business and working practices that are common in the industry. The Game Audio Industry Study 2017, conducted by video game composer Yannick Süß, provides an extensive, independent report with information and statistics about the current state of the game audio sector.

The findings of the survey are presented in 5 categories:

1. Work and environment
2. Education and career
3. Working and business practices in game development projects
4. Compensation and income
5. Contract terms and rights

The survey, which collected data from 138 international participants from 7th November to 11th December 2016, helped to gather important information and data on numerous topics that have not been evaluated in game audio research before:

While up to now, research only focused on the general education of game audio professionals, this report differentiates between academic degrees in general and academic education that is related to audio. This differentiation proved to be important: with ~78%, both game composers and sound designers have an academic degree, but for sound designers (70%), this degree is way more often related to audio than for composers (46%).

The findings in this study indicate that there can be big differences in salaries depending on the region – for employee’s salaries as well as for freelance income and per-minute fees for music. It was a surprise that the average rate for one minute of music for German video game composers was 391€, while the average rate in North America (USA + Canada) was way higher with 717€. This study is the first to take regional differences for compensation into account, while previous studies, research literature and industry guides only have suggested universal, general numbers without regional differentiations.

The complete findings of the study are available at

The findings will be presented for the first time at Devcom Developer Conference on 21st August 2017 in Cologne.

Posted by Yannick Süß

German video game composer and arranger. Credits include Europa Universalis 4, Crusader Kings 2 and The Guild 2 & 3. Co-founder of Audinity. Author of the Game Audio Industry Study 2017.

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[…] The study has also received some press coverage. Martin Lorber and his EA Blog für digitale Spielkultur (Blog about the culture of digital gaming) dedicated a complete blog post to this study: Behind the Audio featured the study on their website, too: […]