Job type


£20k - £100k

Typical salary

37 – 48

Hours per week

Compose music for films, tv, games, or to be played live or recorded and sold.

More info

  • Create the music for films, tv shows, video games or for live performances
  • Exciting, creative work with the potential to be involved in high-profile projects
  • The most in-demand film composers can earn significant amounts of money

The job role, composer, is mostly associated with the writing of classical music, but there are a wide range of variations and options for the kind of music you compose. Composers often work as freelancers and will be commissioned to write pieces of music for a specific purpose - or they create their own music and then offer it for sale.


  • Liaising with directors and content creators prior to the composition process
  • Composing, recording and performing music scores and arrangements that complement television shows, commercials, movies, theatre productions, and video games
  • Attending rehearsals/studio sessions
  • Providing creative input to actors, musicians, and directors
  • Scheduling meetings with directors and producers and communicating any issues to them
  • Networking with other industry professionals


You might not have a regular Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm work pattern. Studio recordings can take place late into the evening.

You'll need

As well as excellent music skills you'll need to be able to understand where there is a market for your work, and to be able to produce the kind of work that can be sold.

Your musical ability will be the main factor that determines whether you succeed in this industry, so this needs to be your first priority. You don't have to have a degree in music, but it will help you gain the underpinning skills and knowledge you'll need to become a professional composer.

Many composers start out by creating music for amateur productions, films or videos, and it's increasingly possible to develop a career for yourself by creating your own music and posting it online to sites that will sell the rights to video makers on your behalf. This is a really good way to build up a portfolio of work, to gain an understanding of what sells, and to build up a profile.

This is a highly competitive career path, and you'll need persistence above all to succeed. Spending time on building your musical skills and developing your craft will put you in the best possible position to succeed, and many aspiring composers will work as musicians in other capacities while they start to build their career as a composer.


You might combine this with making music purely for your own pleasure, but in order to make this your living having an understand of trends and the needs of film, tv, and video game makers will be essential.

The rise of technology products and the demand for music to act as the background for online video content has made it possible for composers to create their music, post it online, and then get paid for each time someone wants to use it for a production they are working on.