Studio Time Hourly Rates
View Poll Results: Rate you charge for studio time w/engineer
$25 & Below
59 Votes - 16.43%
$30
28 Votes - 7.80%
$35
33 Votes - 9.19%
$40
40 Votes - 11.14%
$45
25 Votes - 6.96%
$50
47 Votes - 13.09%
$55
4 Votes - 1.11%
$60
23 Votes - 6.41%
$65
17 Votes - 4.74%
$70 & up
83 Votes - 23.12%
Voters: 359. You may not vote on this poll

radiant
Thread Starter
#1
2nd March 2006
Old 2nd March 2006
  #1
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Thread Starter
Studio Time Hourly Rates

I thought it would be interesting to start a pole showing what most of us are charging per hour for studio time. (with engineer) I would say pick the published rate you charge the majority of the time. If you normally book "by the day" just average it out per hour and pick that rate.

Thanks!

Kyle
#2
3rd March 2006
Old 3rd March 2006
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Peter Morrison's Avatar
 
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I may be skewing the results... I charge in the $15 to $30 range depending on what is being recorded, If I know the people...

but I get the room for free, because I am at school... though it does have an SSL 4032 E/G with a ProTools HD rig... so add what that room is worth on top of my rate
#3
3rd March 2006
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I'm at 35 right now but about to go to 40 with all this new gear I have accumulated in the last six months thanks to a certain website
#4
3rd March 2006
Old 3rd March 2006
  #4
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wow! $150/hr is pretty much off the charts then...
#5
3rd March 2006
Old 3rd March 2006
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I'm at $25 although new projects will be starting at $30. It's a basement studio hobby for me (although I like to think a reasonably nice basement studio), and mostly I do quick 3-song singer/songwriter demos. I've done a few full-length CD's for people too. My rate goes up when I move into better space (or get more gear). I charge what I do because it takes me longer to get sounds than the full-time engineers who charge about double.
#6
3rd March 2006
Old 3rd March 2006
  #6
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hi all
We have 3 rooms and 3 different rates - our "C" room is a "do it your self" room with very basic stuff - $35 per hour (4 hour blocks at $25/) - no engineer. "B" room is $65 per hour (4 hour blocks at $50/) includes engineer - mid level gear - basic mics - no access to the lounge. "A" room is $125 per hour (4 hour blocks at $100/) includes engineer - the best stuff - RADAR, great pres & mics - access to the lounge - open bar etc. Studio A includes equipped drum room, live room, vocal booth - great control room - all very good sound treatment. Studio B has a decent control room and good booth. Room C is a very basic single room with minimum treatment.

Dan
www.islandsoundworks.com
#7
3rd March 2006
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As a freelance I charge between $20-$35/hour on top of the room... But when I am at the studio I work for now I get $15/hour b/c he supplys the clients! And he charges $65/hour for an SSL room, $45/hour for HD1 control 24 room, and $30/hour for an LE room!
#8
3rd March 2006
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I usually charge about $25/hour, but it can vary depending on the project. This is for my own studio that is in a decent size warehouse space. Quad 8 (14 channel sidecar), Soundcraft Ghost, Otari MTR90 mkII 2" 24 track, (x2) PTLE rigs, a decent mic collection (nothing stunning) and a couple decent pieces of outboard including a LEX200 reverb I got from cherokee studios.
#9
3rd March 2006
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Dog_Chao_Chao's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2005
Location: Lisbon
Posts: 1,252

I charge 30 euros per hour, but a full day ( 10 hours) at 200 euros, with engineer included. I am also curious about the prices people charge. Sometimes i have no idea if I´m charging to much or to cheap. I don´t have a great studio but it´s not the worst also...Nice thread
#10
3rd March 2006
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Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Portland, Ore.
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My Recordings/Credits

I usually do $15-20 an hour depending on the project. I hope to up that soon, but I'm still trying to build a reputation and album credits.
TyW
#11
3rd March 2006
Old 3rd March 2006
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TyW
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I am currently working in a $40 per hour studio.

We are about to move into a larger space (1200sq.ft.) and will be trying to match that same price point. The new place will be centered around Nuendo and a Toft ATB console when it ships, and if it doesn't suck. Won't be using the pres on it much as we have enough good outboard to do the trick. If the board does suck...well, lets just say its going to have a short lifespan at the studio. We also have some good pieces of outboard and a fair mic cabinet.

With luck, in about a year we will raise that hourly rate once we have worked out all the bugs and stabilized the client base.

#12
3rd March 2006
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Damn, this is a bit of an eye opener.
The studio I freelance at is $65/ hr . When I bring my clients in I end up with about $28/hr.
I guess it all depends on the town/area your in.

ERic
#13
3rd March 2006
Old 3rd March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainsinvelvet
Damn, this is a bit of an eye opener.
The studio I freelance at is $65/ hr . When I bring my clients in I end up with about $28/hr.
I guess it all depends on the town/area your in.

ERic
this will be squewed by any non-U.S. studios converting to dollars.

For example here in the uk what I imagine would be the top bracket (soho post studios) would read more like $300 per hour.
#14
3rd March 2006
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We should all remember that the real value of a dollar depends a lot on where you are - cost of real estate, taxes, insurance, general cost of living, etc., will all affect the operating cost of the studio. I think that, for example, cost of living in NYC is about 20-25% higher than the median for the country as a whole - which means roughly that a studio in, say, Minneapolis that charges $80/hr would have to charge more like $100/hr in NYC to make the same profit.

Actually, judging by real estate prices, that might be a low estimate - could be more like $125/hr in NYC depending on wether you own or rent the property.

I'd be interested to see a similar poll but broken down by city, or at least region.
#15
3rd March 2006
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My Studio

I charge $350 per day as my starting fee and adjust from there. I have found in the Midwest that if I charge hourly I get folks who nickle and dime everything.

Plus what can you really get done in two hours...ect.

PV
#16
3rd March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stizz
wow! $150/hr is pretty much off the charts then...
Well, but since you´re studio is very well equipped and is more of an upper class facility (at least from what I saw on your website), $ 150.- is still a fair price.

It´s a huge difference, if you´re renting a horrible sounding basement with a PT rig, or if you walk into a fullblown studio. At least that´s my opinion.

Btw, we charge € 50.- per hour.

Bill
#17
3rd March 2006
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My Recordings/Credits

I never charge people by the hour. I think its bad for music, and I do not like to put people in a position where they are making musical decisions based on the fact that it might cost or save them a couple hundred bucks. Its usually a project rate or a week rate.
#18
3rd March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm
I never charge people by the hour. I think its bad for music, and I do not like to put people in a position where they are making musical decisions based on the fact that it might cost or save them a couple hundred bucks. Its usually a project rate or a week rate.
To me it depends. With more technical jobs (mixing, spoken word etc.) I charge by the hour. Music I charge by the whole project, I absolutely agree with you on this one. When mastering I charge by tracknumber and take my time until it´s done.

Bill
#19
3rd March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xj32
Plus what can you really get done in two hours...ect.
Transfers, recalls, editing, vocal tuning, quick overdubs, consults, and a bunch of other fun stuff.

But, I generally end up fashioning all-in fee schedules for albums, mastering, etc. It ends up averaging $50/hr.
#20
3rd March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billster
I charge by the hour. Music I charge by the whole project,

What do you do when the project takes 50-100% longer than you anticipated because the band doesn't have their sh-t together or they want to nitpick to the point of being obsessive during the mix?

I charge by the hour and keep my rate low enough for independent bands and smaller labels ($70/hr for a full length...i.e. over 30 hours) so they don't have to sweat the clock. If I was going to charge by the project, the guys who are efficient and know what they want would get shafted because I would have to base the rate of the project on the bands that waste time (so for the guys who know what they are doing a set rate would end up being double my hourly, doesn't make sense). So the people who have their preproduction done, and their parts down, and a specific idea about the presentation of the album actually benefit from having an hourly rate.

For commercial projects or larger label stuff the rate is closer to $150/hr when it's my studio and me as 1st and one assistant. Mastering is $95/hr. Again, it depends on how much repair work needs to be done. The mix engineers who send it in and it's good enough that it only needs minimal tweeks don't deserve to be penalized with the rate by having a set fee. I've had independent bands send me stuff that was not very good sounding and needed lots of work in the mastering (and they couldn't or wouldn't go back and remix). Sometimes the time between two different projects for full length mastering can vary by as much as 10 hours depending on how good it is. That's significant when the bill comes around. And I don't feel right eating it or overcharging...the client should pay for exactly what they get, not pay more or less.
#21
3rd March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanEldred
What do you do when the project take 50-100% longer than you anticipated because the band doesn't have their sh-t together or they want to nitpick to the point of being obsessive during the mix?
True, that´s a risk. Most of the time just talking to them helps. On other occasions I kidnap their grandma, but that doesn´t always help either

Until now it went smooth this way. If I recognize that I´m underpayed during a project, I try to calculate better next time. I don´t say that this is the only way, it just proved to be right for me and the people I work with.

Bill
#22
3rd March 2006
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I'm mainly a composer, but when I do engineering, I charge $75 an hour. The studio gets an additional $100 per hour, I think.

We don't do a lot of demo recording or even records. Occasional records. Mostly television music, sound design, voice over, trailers, etc.
#23
3rd March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkwater
Mostly television music, sound design, voice over, trailers, etc.
In other words..."where the actual money is"
#24
3rd March 2006
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How about apples to apples?

The real question is how many of these studios have complete build-outs, with floated floors, designed recording and mixing rooms, complete custom HVAC, etc

IE a real, for profit business with investment over 100k, or a bedroom/ project studio with under 20k investment, in my books.

I charge $50+/hr for home studio that has over 50k worth of gear but no serious custom build-out; it's mainly a mixing room with a lot of nice gear but no real VIBE, not a legit business in its own building with its own overhead and monthly nut. I use a great room (that charges 200/hr) to record and to do 5.1 mixes, take my clients there and they love it but more often they budget less for the mix than tracking.

Makes for a nice balance, IMHO. But I wonder about others. For those who charge 20-30/hr, how do you make ends meet?
#25
4th March 2006
Old 4th March 2006
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I can answer that pretty easily from one angle... ends don't meet but they don't have to for basically a serious hobby. Basically, I do it for fun for my friends. But I charge them so I don't get taken advantage of, and so they don't feel they are taking advantage of me.
#26
4th March 2006
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as a client myself I recommend all studio owners to charge by the day.

It doesn´t create the oops another hour went buy.. or the owwk I need a nap now so I´ll see you in 3 days because I payed for the project.
#27
4th March 2006
Old 4th March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm
I never charge people by the hour. I think its bad for music, and I do not like to put people in a position where they are making musical decisions based on the fact that it might cost or save them a couple hundred bucks. Its usually a project rate or a week rate.
Interesting. I agree completely. I seem to be the only one in my area that offers this so it has been a strong selling point for me. I'm sure eventually I'll get some indecicive band that I can't get rid of, but I have yet to be "burned" using this strategy.
#28
4th March 2006
Old 4th March 2006
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I've got a shit setup.. so I charge shit prices. I'm currently charging $50 a song.. which is NOTHING. I'd like to up it to $75 or $100 a song sometime in the near future. Just remember that I'm doing this all out of my computer room with budget equipment. If I had the money, I would do a lot more with it. Eh.

It pays my bills, so I'm happy. (I live at home with the 'rents still.)
#29
4th March 2006
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Quote:
For those who charge 20-30/hr, how do you make ends meet?
It's not a joy ride, but I eat, pay bills, etc. Then again, I don't have a single dollar of gear debt. I spent about 6 years building up my equipment.

My studio is however in it's own warehouse space, and I have a monthly overhead of about $1,500. So as long as I book 6 days ($250) I can keep the studio doors open.

I am married, we live in a nice 1 bedroom apt., and as long as I can give her about $750/month (3 days of studio time) I'm good on the home front.

So far that's 9 days.....now......if I want to buy cigarettes, gas, food, a couple nice green sweaters, well than I've got to book another day or two. I can get by quite easily with $500 in my wallet for the month.

Total = 11 days I need to book to pay bills, eat, keep wife happy (still amazes me how much shit she's put up with, me trying to start a studio.....LOL)

Now it's not always 11 days, sometimes it 6 days, and a bunch of little stuff inbetween ($25/Hour). Some months do come up a bit short, but never by so much that I can't wing it somehow. Right now I'm working 9-5 on Tuesdays, so that helps out a bit from being stressed about cash.

Now, upgrading gear is pretty tough. But I plan on raising my rates when I have a more established name.
#30
4th March 2006
Old 4th March 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim vanBergen
For those who charge 20-30/hr, how do you make ends meet?
if i had debt, it would be impossible.
but i'm blessed with no debt. i own my house, own my space, car, and all my gear. my bills for the studio are insurance, security, utilities, and thats it.
bill 1 day a month (=$240) and i've got that covered. Its just me, no employees.

on the home front its utilities, home owner's ins., food for me and my other half and our pets, car insurance, fuel, and thats it aside from yearly property taxes. bill 3 days a month ($700-$750) and i'm covered there.

add to that the occasional remote gig.. and every day over 4 per month that i can bill and i've got a nice buffer. money to put in the bank, and money to reinvest into gear (maintenance, upgrades, repairs, etc.)

i'm used to living a very frugal lifestyle. i don't spend money on clothes unless i need new ones. 80% of my shirts were free, given to me by artists/labels/etc. and
i'd rather buy a new mic than a new wardrobe.
I could easily get by for the next 10 years working only 6 days a month. I might have to adjust my rate according to inflation, but its completely feasible.
After i put some years on the new facility and save up, i'll start looking for a larger space to buy down the road.

Debt sucks, it was a bitch to get rid of it all but i've vowed to never go into debt again. Even if it means i have to tone down my already frugal lifestyle. Eating ramen sucks, but eating ramen with borrowed money sucks even more.
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