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Although it has been a valid career avenue since the eighties, game music production is still a relatively fresh playing field to earn and promote music. Only in the past decade has this industry opened up for independent musicians and freelancers. One of the catalysts of this promotion was Steam and its role as an influencer of gaming in the market — it contributed to the explosive popularity of indie games.

To check how profitable this career is, you must understand what money-making strategies are cultivated in the market. How do people earn money by officially creating music for games, then? Let’s check it out!


Unfortunately, this strategy isn’t popular in the game music production industry. Most video game creators don’t pay royalties to musicians whose tracks highlight the plot and gameplay of the target app or software. The reason for this is simple — such “cooperations” aren’t considered public performances covered by royalties.

In the gaming industry, this type of payment for musicians’ services will be given only if their tracks are used for in-game promotions and advertisements across the markets.

Traditional Ways to Get Your Revenue

It is about something other than available payment tools or the technical aspects of cooperation in game music production. It is more about how exactly their salaries and wages are paid. The list of popular solutions usually boils down to the formats below:

  • Frontend revenue — you sign a contract with a target partner in the gaming industry and sell your music materials to them. Then, your money is sent straight to your bank account via a chosen method, be it PayPal, credit card, or any other solution.
  • Milestone revenue — if you work on a series of projects, this approach will be a great way to receive your income. It is usually delivered once the project is finalized. So you will get a certain percentage of your reward in advance (in a frontend way) and all the rest as a milestone payment.
  • Backend revenue — these are any money transfers you will get in the long run after the project is over. For instance, obtaining a certain percentage of game sales is paid as a backend revenue for your effort.

Spotify and Social Media Channels to Stream Revenue for Musicians

With top-notch song promotion for musicians on Spotify, YouTube, and other social media, game composers can advertise their creations on different platforms and get financial benefits. This tactic can also help interested parties attract the attention of prospective employers and software developers.

Your salary will depend on the number of streams on the platform — around $4 for one thousand “views.” The revenue split also exists — 30% of your income will belong to Spotify.

Aside from becoming artist managers, teachers, and producers, musicians can realize their career goals as video game content makers. Although this path requires your attention to detail, it can still be quite rewarding and bring great revenues for your creativity and passion for music. Specializing in audio technology will come in handy to promote your materials on Spotify or YouTube and cooperate with video game developers.

About the author

Kyrie Mattos