EA Games exec: US musicians' union is 'pathetic'

24 September 2014, 17:11 | Updated: 15 December 2016, 11:50

Steve Schnur, Worldwide Executive of Music and Music Marketing for Electronic Arts, has described the American Federation of Musicians as "pathetic" for threatening video game composer Austin Wintory with a huge fine.

Speaking at the Game Music Connect conference in London, the EA executive said that the treatment given to Wintory was potentially creatively stifling for the wider video game industry.

Wintory was threatened with an AFM fine of $50,000 earlier this year after working on game soundtracks while the union was in dispute with the video game industry.

Schnur also told Classic FM that orchestral scores were absolutely essential to video games, something that developers were not currently supporting with their budgets.

"By shaving off the money and thinking that a synthesised score will suffice, they're actually cutting off the emotions connection at its knees. To me, nothing will ever replace the emotional engagement that a live musician can deliver."

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He also argued that game music composers are now compensated in line with many film composers - but not because payments are going up. "In general the amount they're being paid is being driven down," said Schnur. "Long gone are the seven-figure film composers… I think it is based on experience. I don't differentiate between the mediums."

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