Recording Academy Recognizes Video Game Soundtracks With New Award for 2023 Grammys

The music of the gaming world is finally getting recognition of its own from the Recording Academy.

On the heels of last week’s announcement that the organization behind the Grammys is going to recognize a non-classical songwriter of the year, along with other new areas of contention, comes an award category for best score soundtrack for video games. The first winner will be revealed at next year’s Grammy Awards, scheduled for Jan. 31, 2023.

Of the category, Game Audio Network Guild president Brian Schmidt said: “I’m thrilled to see the Recording Academy recognize game music as the unique art form that it is with its new ‘Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games and Other Interactive Media” category. This is great news for game composers and music lovers alike.”

According to the Recording Academy’s website, the award “Recognizes excellence in score soundtrack albums comprised predominately of original scores and created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.”

Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino and Harry Gregson-Williams are just a few of the many composers who craft music for TV, film as well as video games.

Composer Austin Wintory was a trailblazer in bridging the world of video game scoring and the greater music business. His song, “Baba Yetu,” originally written for “Civilization IV,” ended up on his “Calling All Dawns” album. In 2013, he was also nominated for a best score soundtrack for visual media Grammy for his work on the game “Journey.”

Gordy Haab who has worked on scores for “Star Wars: Battlefront” and “Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order,” shared in the enthusiasm telling Variety: “I strongly believe the music composed for games is as strong, important, and groundbreaking as any. Equally in its composition, performance, production, and impact on its audience of billions. … Games have a unique challenge that film and television do not. Which is to not only enhance emotionally the media it’s for — but also be completely interactive. Art that is crafted so that it evolves in real time. And for this alone it should be judged on its own merits and recognized for its greatness and unique contribution to the art of music-making.”

Other new categories announced include best alternative music performance, best Americana performance and best spoken word poetry album.

The Recording Academy will also hand out a Special Merit Award: best song For social change.

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