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What does a composer for media do?

Learn about the typical projects and compensation a composer earns when working on films, games, and advertisements. 
If you’re interested in composing music, you’ve likely been warned about the life of a starving musician, practicing their craft while waiting tables to earn a living. While music is a highly competitive field, there are multiple paths for a composer to write music and earn money in the process. Every time you turn on the tv or go to a movie, you’re hearing the work of composers.
Composers write and arrange music for a variety of media including film, tv, stage productions, video games, and advertisements. In these instances, a composer is tasked with creating a specific product to meet their client’s demands. Personal preference may need to be set aside in order to provide the service.
The work of a composer requires both musical ability and business savvy. In addition to interacting with clients, a composer needs to manage musicians and create a realistic budget for their projects in order to make a profit.
Much of the writing process itself occurs while sitting behind a computer using composition software. If composing music to go along with a tv show, film, or video game, the composer will watch relevant scenes while writing and arranging music to ensure coherence. The music should help guide the story without standing out. After writing the score, the composer will also play a key role in recording the music.
Many composers work freelance, thus the workflow can be unpredictable. Between projects, a composer may focus on practicing their instrument(s) and studying a range of musical styles, while also networking with artists and producers to seek new work. During busy periods, a composer might work over 100 hours a week while rushing to meet deadlines.
Compensation for this type of work varies widely. The same individual can see extreme fluctuation in their take home pay, since they are typically paid on a per-project basis. For a composer just starting out, that could mean earning only $2,500 dollars for writing the entire score for an independent film. The main payoff of investing time in low-paid projects is that they serve as a resume builder to gain more lucrative jobs down the road. A composer tasked with writing music for a big budget film could earn $400,000 to $2 million. Composers can also look beyond the film industry for projects. A video game composer will typically make $30,000-$75,000 for 30 minutes of music to accompany a game, while a jingle writer, on average, earns $500-$15,000 per commercial.
While the early years of working in this field may be rocky, a composer may begin to earn more and work on higher profile projects after developing a resume and reputation. Advancement in this field could also include getting hired for a more stable job, such as joining the in-house team for a video game production company or writing music for a tv series.

Attributions

This article was adapted from the following sources:
Become a composer.” careersinmusic.com. Accessed April 9, 2017.
Become a jingle writer.” careersinmusic.com. Accessed April 9, 2017.
Composer.” creativeskillset.org. Accessed April 9, 2017.
How much money does the average film scorer make? ” chron.com. Accessed April 9, 2017.
What does a composer do?” sokanu.org. Accessed April 9, 2017.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user ltownsend
    Do they play music and just hope a producer comes
    (1 vote)
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  • stelly blue style avatar for user dereonpartee
    Aren't musicians and composers the same?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby purple style avatar for user Andrey Smith
    Every time I write a song It never makes sense and it's always so short. And also I have a terrible singing voice. Even though I try practicing,I'll still have a terrible voice. I don't think I'll ever get famous.😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡
    (3 votes)
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    • starky tree style avatar for user PenGwen
      It doesn't matter if you'll get famous or not. As long as YOU are the one who likes what YOU do, then there is NO ONE who can say NO to YOU! Be confident in YOURSELF and become the person who YOU want to be.
      Everyone has their kind of creativeness. What ever YOU are passionate about, do it. Don't let the world get you down, just dust yourself off and keep GOING! 😁
      (By the way, I thought I should put this into Answer not in Comment like where it was at first!)
      (1 vote)
  • starky tree style avatar for user ethanert25
    l wont anuther pet.
    (2 votes)
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  • piceratops seedling style avatar for user Alicia
    Hey if I knew someone who was really good at singing and they wanted to do it do you think that they should? But here's the twist she wants to post video's of her voice and her songs, but her parents don't want her to. Do you think she should still do it or not? She is very confused...
    (2 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user @sladecornell
    How do I compose good music as I am able to write music for singing but as a violinist I am not the best for composing music for violin and other instruments.
    (1 vote)
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  • piceratops seedling style avatar for user epsjvanhouten01
    has any one heard the song called the hills or heartless lol THE MAN/THE WEEKEND IS MY FAV SINGER lol
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Crosbysindigofarm
    i want to have a creative career but i feel as though i do not have talent enough to do so. i also don't have confidence to do anything "bold" like singer/song writer..but i still want to have a creative career UGHHH \confused\disappointed.] what do i dooOoooOOOooOOOoOOO? {lol}
    (1 vote)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user kjay
    what are you even talking about Caleb that doesn't even make sense.
    (1 vote)
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