Exploring Career Paths for Modern Music Composers

For a while now, I've been trying to figure out which path to take as a music composer. There have been several challenges along the way because there are so many options. Strangely enough, I was initially drawn to composing for other people's projects, particularly in the field of media. I thought being a composer for media could be the right path for me. However, something happened recently that made me change my mind. Let's explore what the different options are.

Composer for media

Being a composer for media has its advantages, especially when you're just starting your career. One motivating aspect is that you have external projects that inspire you to create music. You don't have to spend years digging deep for inspiration. You simply need to prepare yourself and promote your work a bit. Nowadays, there are many ways to promote yourself and find someone who needs music. There are various options within the realm of media composition, such as composing for animations, films, or commercials. Many people try to do it all at once, but each option requires you to prepare offers for the right people, determine your prices, find ways to promote yourself, and accept orders. It's like any other freelancing job, and you need to develop your business mindset.

Initially, I found this path helpful as I was honing my craft and improving. However, as time went on, I realized it became a bit overwhelming for me. The work as a composer for media was starting to slip into routine, and I found myself enjoying the process less and less. Creating music based on someone else's specifications, rather than expressing my own feelings and thoughts, was becoming demotivating. It just wasn't fulfilling for me anymore, so I needed to take a break.

"Sync" composer


When the doubt kicked in, I started considering other possible career paths. One of them was being a sync composer. I was learning about this option for a long time and even planned to pursue it. However, there were a couple of things that made me hesitate. First, a sync composer needs to regularly compose music, ideally large quantities of tracks. Second, they need to find anbagency that will distribute their music and collect sync royalties and other types of royalties for them. The more I learned about this career, the more I realized it wasn't the right fit for me.

Similar to being a composer for media, being a sync composer requires adapting your music to the market. You need to understand what sync agencies are looking for and adjust your creative process accordingly. It's essential to produce a lot of tracks consistently to have a large catalog of music that generates royalties. I joined several sync music communities and even started composing music for sync agencies. However, I faced the same barrier I encountered in media composition. I had to conform to acceptable music styles and structures defined by the industry. The more I learned about it, the more I realized this wasn't the right platform for me either.

Royalty-free Composer


Royalty-free music is used to distinguish it from copyrighted music. It can be freely used without the worry of breaching copyright. There are two types of royalty-free composers, options I have also considered during times of doubt.

First, there are composers who opt for free distribution of their music. They either publish their music under one of the Creative Commons licenses or directly in the public domain. This allows anyone to use the music for free without violating any copyrights. The question then arises: how do these composers make money? Well, many of them do not intend to make money from the music itself. However, if they create a substantial catalog of music and distribute it through different platforms that offer free music distribution, they can easily attract people who are interested in their music. These individuals can then potentially contact them to order music for their creations or simply, support them by buying tracks and albums. Kevin McLeod is a well-known representative of this category.

The second type of royalty-free composers are those who generate income by distributing their royalty-free music through royalty-free music platforms. Each time someone likes a music track, they can either pay a small fee or subscribe to a service in order to use the music in their own creations.

It's crucial to grasp that each path you choose in your music composer career comes with its own specificity.

Let's take a look at a few more examples:

Film Composer


If you decide to be a composer for films, there are certain expectations and requirements within that domain. To work as a film composer, you'll need to connect with professionals from the film industry, such as film directors, and short film producers.

Composer for Animations


On the other hand, if you choose to be a music composer for animations, you'll need to establish contacts with animators, producers of animated films, motion designers, storyboard artists etc. These are the professionals who are typically involved in the animated film industry.

Composer for video games


One path to consider is becoming a music composer for games. Although I haven't personally explored this path, from the information I've come across, it seems to be one of the most stable and financially rewarding avenues for a music composer. It's one of the rare industries where you can find a job as a music composer and receive a monthly salary. While I wasn't particularly drawn to video games as a player, and it wasn't a big part of my childhood, I did consider this path at one point. However, I didn't feel a genuine interest in video games, so I thought it wouldn't be fair to pursue a career in this field. Nevertheless, I discovered that becoming a game music composer requires a unique approach, and you need to connect with various professionals in the gaming industry.

Composer for meditations


Another intriguing path is being a music composer for meditations. It may sound unusual, but there are many people who dedicate their musical careers to composing music specifically for meditation purposes. This field has gained attention with the rise of websites, applications, and YouTube channels that offer meditation guides supported by background music. Personally, I've never considered exploring this path professionally because, believe it or not, I practice meditation myself, and strangely enough, I prefer to meditate without music. So, it wouldn't align with my beliefs to pursue a career in this area. However, for those interested, connecting with professionals such as owners of YouTube meditation channels, creators of meditation apps, and yoga instructors, as well as other healthcare professionals in this domain, is essential.

Classical music composer


Classical music composers form another category. While I haven't explored this domain, I know it requires a specific approach, involving collaboration with classical musicians and composing music for live orchestras and ensembles. The professionals you need to connect with for this path are quite specific. Many of these composers work on commissioned projects.



From the many options I explored, it became evident to me that I needed to do something more original, something that comes from within. In all honesty, I have always wanted to explore the artistry behind creating something on my own, without any external stimulus. So, I asked myself, "If money were not an issue, what would I do? Which path would I choose?" The answer took some time, but it became evident: I needed to get a job and create my own music in my spare time. That's how the idea for my first album came about.

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