The average salary of a foley artist

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A foley is defined as any sound that is produced by the movement of a human body that is recorded as an effect in a studio. These sound effects are named after Jack Foley, the inventor of the process of custom designing sound effects in specially equipped sound studios. Foley artists are specialists in creating sound effects for the television and movie industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies them as sound engineers and they can make more than £58,500 per year.


Most Foley artists start as apprentices to established Foley artists. As apprentices they usually work at a movie studio for little or no pay according to the website Intense Cogitation. There are no specific educational requirements although a background in music, television production and sound technology can be beneficial. Foley artists usually have to move to cities where the television and motion picture industry thrive such as Los Angeles or New York, since most cities do not have established Foley artists that accept apprentices.

BLS Salary Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups Foley artists under the sound engineering category. In its 2009 survey of sound engineers the BLS reported that the mean hourly wage for a sound engineer was £16.80 per hour. This translates to a mean annual salary of £35,000. Those sound engineers that were at the bottom ten per cent made £15,250 annually while sound engineers that were at the top ten per cent earned £61,270 per year. The median annual salary was £30,000.

Maxizip Salary Information

The website has salary information that is specific to Foley artists. It says that for May 2011 Foley artists had a weekly salary range of £1,000 to £1,300. According to the source a good Foley artist could make from £20 to £30 an hour and could top £45,500 in a good year. Income is dependent on experience, frequency of employment, reputation and the budget restrictions of the production company.

Top Industries

The BLS report on sound engineers for May 2009 showed that sound engineers involved in the motion picture and video industry earned on average £18.9 per hour or £39,300 per year. Sound engineers that were in the sound recording sector made £36,000 annually while those that worked in radio and television broadcasting made £34,600 per year. Sound engineers in Los Angeles had an annual mean wage of £50,100 and those in the New York area earned £37,750.

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