Maybe I’m just a cynic.
I’ve been playing and rating quite a few compo games, and I feel like a disproportionate number of them have “good” music.
That’s a qualitative statement, of course, but music composition and production are skills unto themselves and I think those skills tend to fall pretty low on the game dev priority totem pole. I would wager that most compo devs don’t have much or any music skills, or even if they do, other aspects of the game take precedence with such a limited time. I would say that the music restriction is maybe the toughest part of the compo rules.
With that said, I would expect most compo entries to have no music, VERY simple music, or qualitatively-not-so-great music. I’ve been involved with hobbyist music composition and production communities and I know the typical results of hobby production from people that would actually label themselves as amateur music producers. Yet somehow, the compo music often feels like it’s a step above that. It’s usually fairly low-tech and synth-based, but very polished, and with good understanding of song structure, tempos, musical scales, and chord theory.
I find that very surprising when compo restrictions limit your pre-generated content to basic instrument samples, drum samples, and drum loops. Making music from those base elements is hard and absolutely takes skill. I can’t help but suspect that a lot of compo entries found some free songs or fully produced loops out on the web and used them rather than painstakingly recording every single note that I hear in their music.
Then again, like I said, maybe I’m just a cynic and there are a lot more talented musicians here than I give credit for.