Film vs Game Soundtracks – Which are More Expensive?

The inclusion of soundtracks in films and games is an old practice that remains sensational to date. It works perfectly because music has a way of syncing and blending well with these forms of art. It brings out the emotion and aura that the developers intended to portray within the code or script. Even though film and game soundtracks may seem akin, they are very different in terms of history, intended results, and so much more. We will take a look at them in broad and ultimately allow you to figure out which one is costlier.

Gamblers are some of the most enthusiastic online gamers, and they also marvel at the use of music in their games. Most of them play free penny slots no download for the thrill of the gameplay as well as the amazing soundtracks that elicit a fantastic aura. This issue explains why developers ensure that the soundtracks and sound effects are fantastic. 

Soundtracks in Gaming

The entire entertainment industry has been paying a lot of attention to the music used in video games. About a decade ago, some major music awards began to include a category for ‘best original videogame score’. Unfortunately, this may have been rather late since such a development was long overdue. 

There have been many video game soundtracks that caused a big spectacle across the continents. For instance, the song ‘Baba Yetu’ was used as the opening song of the game Civilization IV. It is a Swahili version of the Lord’s Prayer that was superbly executed. It went viral and hit high levels of popularity that forced them to release it for download. The song reached the acme of success and was performed in the Royal Festival Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. 

Major technological advancements have drastically enhanced the use of soundtracks in both games and films. The music creators in each of these projects either take part in the development process or give inputs once the job is done. Before we proceed, let us look back at the history of music in film and games.

History of Soundtracks in Games & Films

The history, just as well as the pricing, of film and game soundtracks, is very different. For video games, the exact point of entry cannot be traced to a particular point. In 1951, the Ferranti Mark 1 became the first computer to play music in games. It was followed by the gradual growth of this practice that was accelerated by the advent of arcade games.

As time went by, the tech utilized in the production and storage of music kept improving leading to the development of:

  •  cassettes, 
  • phonograph records, 
  • CDs, 
  • MIDI, 
  • and Chiptunes. 

All of them contributed immensely to the growth of music soundtracks in games. However, the digital era propelled it to the top, explaining why we have fantastic games with licensed soundtracks and original scores.

The History of Films’ Music

The history of soundtracks in films, on the contrary, has a well-defined history complete with important characters and timelines. Contrary to common belief, movie soundtracks were initially formed as a distraction and not as part of the entertainment. The history of film production dates to the late 1800s, particularly to 1892, when Leon Guillaume Bouly made the first cinematograph. However, this early invention had a downside, which was its loudness.

Unfortunately, Bouly could not stay afloat financially after this invention, and as a result, he sold the rights to the Lumiere brothers, who put the device to economic importance. Nevertheless, they had to deal with the loud device’s downside and did it quite creatively.  

In 1895, they hired a pianist who would play music whenever they did the film screenings. This offered a good solution to the noise problem since it replaced pleasant music that distracted the viewers. Such creativity by the Lumiere brothers was the beginning of the use of soundtracks in films that later culminated in the use of licensed songs and original scores.

Like game soundtracks, the advancement can be attributed to the technological growth experienced in recent times. It was a slow growth that moved from piano music to jazz, rock, orchestra, synth, and pop music. Currently, you can find any kind of music that suits the theme. One film can have different kinds of music for different scenes, and they do a good job of bringing out the emotion. 

How are soundtracks added to films and video games?

To understand the cost and expenses of adding soundtracks to these artistic works, we must delve into how they are created. There is no textbook practice, method, or formula for soundtrack production in games. They can come in the beginning, at the middle, or at the tail end of the process. The soundtrack producers usually seek inspiration from the game itself or concept and scripts if they are included in the design process.

The game developers usually captain the entire process, and they decide the timeline of the music production team. Since games’ creation is more rigorous than movies, they usually prefer it if the team works with them throughout the process. This facilitates smooth and effortless syncing of the events of the game to the soundtrack and sound effects. 

How do the soundtracks in games work?

Playing a video game is not the same as watching a film. The former is an active process, so you do it according to your mood and motivation. This has to be taken to account when producing soundtracks for games. On the other hand, watching a movie is a ‘dead’ process where you just sit back and enjoy the film. Whether playing while standing, sitting, or driving, the movie will proceed the same way and have a designed ending. 

Hence, it is important for the music production team to actively take part in game development to consider the various kinds of gaming styles and the pace of the player. Since the soundtracks of the game have to be relevant to the gameplay as well as the narrative or the story, it usually requires a committed team. The music keeps changing depending on what the gamer is encountering, and this keeps gamers more engaged. The dynamic nature of soundtracks in games makes it a more complex process. 

In comparison, soundtrack inclusion in movies is also quite rigorous but less complicated compared to video games. It involves three key steps:

  • Spotting
  • Writing 
  • Recording

It usually occurs at the tail end of film productions. Just like game developers, the movie producers and directors usually lead this process since they know exactly what they want to exemplify at different points of the film.


  1. The first step, spotting, is where the music production team or the composers, the director, the producers, and any other relevant persons watch the film together and discuss what they want to portray. 
  2. Next, the music team notes the different spots where they would include soundtracks. For example, most films include soundtracks at the beginning, at the end, at an exhilarating moment or scene, or during an emotional moment, which could be sad or romantic.

The input of the entire team is usually quite important since the music must capture all the emotions. The process can vary depending on the team. Some directors are also conversant with music, so they tend to know exactly what they want, while others depend solely on the spotting process for this. Therefore, it is a meticulous process that is vital to the entire success of the final product.


The second step is writing, where the composer or music team embarks on the process of creating music that befits whatever they want to portray. The right emotion must be exemplified most amazingly. Also, the music must remain relevant to the theme of the film. If it has an African theme, then the music has to be African for it to work.


Lastly, there is a recording process where the composed music is created. The perfect execution of this part is the climax of music creation in a film. However, the work does not end there. The team will then watch the movie again after adding music and decide whether to tweak it a little or not. 

Also, some scenes may require silence or creative sound effects instead of soundtracks, which must also be factored in. They can also decide whether to put the soundtrack to a sudden stop or to gradually reduce the volume until it ends. These final steps eventually lead to a final copy that will proceed to entertain the viewers. 

Purpose of Soundtracks in Films & Games

Another major difference between soundtracks in films and games is the purpose. In games, they are an integral part, and they move with the flow. They are critical in engaging the player and making them aware of their surroundings. 

The music is usually the first thing that informs the player about the presence of allies, enemies, and other aspects of the game. In casino games like slots, the soundtracks usually liven up when the player activates a bonus feature or hits a big bonus, making the game more interactive. In sports, they make it as real as possible, thus, including the relevant sounds that would be played if the player was in the actual game. Therefore, the music usually adapts to the situation. 

It also sets the atmosphere, the action and brings out the intended narrative. All this explains why game soundtracks usually stick with the players for long. It is quite common for it to ring in your ears after you finish gaming.

In movies, they also set the ambiance and bring out the intended atmosphere. They elicit a level of suspense and are used to enhance the feeling. For instance, the sound effects of horror movies usually make them scarier. The soundtracks also facilitate seamless transitions between various scenes and take us to different locations, times, and dimensions. 

Which is more expensive?

It is now possible to compare film and game soundtracks and tell, which is expensive. They vary in history and process though the purpose is a bit similar. The rigorous process involved in the creation of game soundtracks makes it significantly expensive. The soundtracks are so dynamic since they have to adapt to the narrative as well as the gameplay. The music makers can also be involved early in the development process, so they play an integral role the entire time. A failed process will not create an immersive and interactive experience for gamers, which could spell doom to the success of the game.

Despite being as important as game soundtracks, film soundtracks usually involve a more straightforward process that comes in at the tail end of film production. As mentioned, films are also static since they stay the same, so the soundtracks must fit the narrative but don’t adapt to anything. This explains the cost difference.

In conclusion, game soundtracks are more expensive than film soundtracks, even though both of them impact the success of the final product. This is because game soundtracks require more work since they have to adapt to different playing styles. The entire article has provided a broad overview that further proves our verdict.