Video Games Make Music Composer Third Fastest-Growing Job in the US

Seattle, WA September 16, 2013– SoundCon, LLC reports that an analysis of employment data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a surprising correlation between trends in the video game industry and unusually strong growth in US employment for Composers and Music Directors; specifically the ascent of casual, mobile and social video gaming. 

SoundCon started its analysis with a recent article in USA Today which reported that Music Directors and Composers  had 10 year job growth rate of 178%, making it the third fastest growing occupation of all those tracked by the BLS, just behind “Petroleum Engineers.”  Although the USA Today article suggested strong increase in the demand for music for movies and commercials was responsible, a more thorough analysis of the government data strongly suggests that it was games, not traditional media driving composer job growth.

The study used the same BLS data as the USA Today article, but analyzed it on a year by year basis. It showed that the number of composer/music director jobs remained relatively flat until 2008, then showed a dramatic uptick, tripling over the next four years.  The report concludes that the opening of the Apple App store and the launch of Facebook as a gaming platform, which helped usher in the era of mobile, social and casual gaming, created a tremendous increase in the number of games developed; games which need music and sound.

“There are over 150,000 games on the app store alone, ranging from immensely popular games like Angry Birds or Plants vs Zombies to small, independently developed games like Super Hexagon or Ear Monsters,” said Brian Schmidt, SoundCon’s Executive Director and author of the study.  “Virtually every one of those games has music, requiring the work of a video game composer.”    

The report further states:

“… the timing of the rise of mobile, casual and social gaming and the increase in Composers and Music Director employment presents a strong case for causation, and, frankly, it makes perfect sense.  As thousands upon thousands of new game developers began to create tens of thousands of new video games for millions of new casual and mobile game players, they needed thousands of new composers to create music for them”

The report also states that although competition for jobs composing game music will continue to be fierce, the BLS nonetheless forecasts that more than 32,000 new Music Director or Composer job openings will need to be filled over the next decade, due to growth and replacement.

SoundCon LLC is dedicated to education on the art, technology and business of composing for video games and video game sound design.  With award-winning speakers and panelists from throughout the game and traditional audio industries, GameSoundCon is the leading international conference on game music and sound design.  GameSoundCon creator and speaker Brian Schmidt received the Game Audio Network Guild’s 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a 25 year veteran in the game audio industry, having composed award-winning game music and created sound effects for over 130 interactive games.  GameSoundCon 2013 will be held November 3-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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