The Australia Council for the Arts is looking to gain a deeper and wider understanding of the landscape of Australian music and digital games, opening its first benchmark survey to a variety of musicians, collaborators, and artists within the industry. Conducted in partnership with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Swinburne University, the Australian Music and Games 2023 Benchmark survey aims to ‘produce up-to-date knowledge on how, and to what extent, Australian musicians are collaborating and working with the digital game sector’.
The survey encourages participation from a wide scope of musical creators working in digital games, no matter how slight, to help build a more accurate snapshot and inform future support for the sector. Respondents are invited to share their ‘skills, experiences and aspirations for contributing music to digital games, to capture as much information on what each personal experience in the field looks like.
Swinburne University Associate Professor and composer Dan Golding is working alongside academic researcher and author Brendan Keogh to gather a lie of the land on who specifically is making music for games in Australia, what their experiences are like and what additional support they may require.
‘We’re really interested in hearing from people whose full-fime work is making music for games, but… our remit is really wide,’ says Golding. ‘We want to hear from people who are aspiring or have just done a little bit of hobbyist work or are just getting started.
‘Because I think perhaps those people know more about the barriers to getting music in games than someone who’s been in and at it for five or 10 years or longer.’
Golding adds they are interested in hearing from games-adjacent artists, such as pop musicians and soundtrack artists whose music has been used across games. This can pertain to artists whose work exists in the realm of digital games, but aren’t necessarily targeting that industry specifically.
‘That’s something that we really want to make sure doesn’t get lost in our benchmark… Especially the music industry who may otherwise view games as a closed shop or something that’s hard to break into. We’re hoping to have some examples and artists to point to, to say that’s not really the case. There are opportunities for all kinds of musicians in this space.’
The data collected will be used to directly inform the Australia Council for the Arts’ current and future support of the games and music sectors within Australia. Golding is hoping to present some of the findings as early as Melbourne International Games Week (1-8 October 2023), collating the most comprehensive picture possible of how musicians interact with the games industry.
‘We want to really be able to highlight and articulate any bottlenecks, any problems, any issues. Because at the moment we can probably guess, and I think any composer working in the industry at the moment would probably have a decent idea themselves.
‘But we really want to have the evidence to be able to point to the amazing things that are happening, but also clearly articulate as best as possible what the opportunities are, and perhaps if there are any barriers that can be easily removed or overcome.’
The Australia Council for the Arts has also provided an incentive to those taking part in the survey, with all respondents going into the running to win one of three passes to the APRA AMCOS High Score conference during Melbourne International Games Week. Three winners will be notified by email in mid-July, after the survey concludes.
Interested musicians can take part in the survey through the Australia Council for the Arts landing page until the closing date of 17 July 2023.