How much should I charge for recording?
#31
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toneguru View Post
Not nuts... just realistic.

PS. I meant no disrespect. If $10 an hour is too good a deal for the client than he will be super busy, while building a client base and building a track record... instead of working in a grocery store. Then he can raise his rates down the road. Or he can ignore me and charge $25/hr get busy and prove me wrong, that would be great.
My bold. No he won't. If $10 is too good a deal he will get all the work where the client simply wants *a job* done and has no interest in the quality of their product, which is not the stuff that really credits your portfolio.

I've got nothing against shop or warehouse workers but the job they do is not a finely honed trade that should attract professional wages. Mixing records is, and by charging low amounts of money you devalue the work of people who have spent a long time learning that trade.

Generally people will get who they want to mix their records. If they want you, they will pay proper money for you. If they don't want you, well, it doesn't matter what you charge does it, you won't get the gig. There is no need at any stage to charge low money, you are devaluing your own work and the work of others.

In the long term you will become 'that guy who works for cheap'. As soon as you put your rates up as this poster suggests, you will no longer be the guy who works for cheap you will just be another guy again. People will always treat you as a cheap source of decent work, not a serious business. I played that game for a while and I had to get out because I was being taken for a mug.

If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Anyone who's happy to get monkeys mixing their records is not going to carry you in this industry so get people used to the idea that if they want to use your skills they need to pay you proper money for it.
#32
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #32
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[QUOTE=Aaron Giese;8430244]
Then, since i didn't say anything at the start I would feel bad if I tried to get more out of them than they were expecting to pay. Hence my dilemma.

This bit really stood out to me. You need to find the confidence to ask the right questions beforehand. Be direct, use your instincts as far as timing but have the chat early on. If they've called you that's great. And there's nothing wrong with asking at some point "what's your budget and what are you thinking money wise". It's not personal, it's business. Everyone will understand and you should be simply relaxed and matter of fact- like its all good, you just want to know what to expect. Then YOU can begin to decide which projects to take on based on the artist AND what they're willing to pay.
#33
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post



Also, you're gonna need a lava lamp. Matched pairs are not necessary, but a variety is nice.
Also, before making any major hardware investments be sure to treat your room, with Christmas lights. I notice most of the pros keep it simple with white lights only, non-blinking.
#34
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #34
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My Studio

Quote:
Originally Posted by electraluxx View Post
Also, before making any major hardware investments be sure to treat your room, with Christmas lights. I notice most of the pros keep it simple with white lights only, non-blinking.
I'm more of a C7 colored bulb type...
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#35
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #35
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I only mention $10/hr as a starting point so the the OP can compete.

We are not talking about George Martin working out of Abbey Road here. We are talking about a guy with a computer and plugins and little else but the bare minimum.

Here in SF and LA, if the OP were to ask for $20/hr he would not be able to compete. He would most likely be out of business.

I have a friend in Austin who charges $20/hr and he has api 312 and Neve 1272 preamps, 1176 compressors, Manley EQ and a Bock 241 tube mic. Plus he has great ears. How can the OP compete with that? Answer, he has to charge less. There is a market for every price point.

Everything is situational and you have to start somewhere. Fantasy Land may be an option for some, but most successful engineers live in the real world.

I wish only the best for the OP and would love to hear that he is making bank with his setup... but since he asked...
#36
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #36
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Toneguru....man you take cheap to the next level..seriously..it's not the hourly rate or the best preamp, it's the talent that someone pays for first and then gear.
If someone knows what they are doing, they could do what takes another person 3 hrs in one hour. It's what is called efficiency.
If op can cut it sooner and deliver a decent product, that is somewhat competitive, then your theory makes no sense as the op would make no money.
Op should just see how efficient they can be and charge based on project. It's more profitable for a newbie rather than sit there for 10 hrs and make $100 and feel demoralized and uninspired.
#37
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toneguru View Post
I only mention $10/hr as a starting point so the the OP can compete.

We are not talking about George Martin working out of Abbey Road here. We are talking about a guy with a computer and plugins and little else but the bare minimum.

Here in SF and LA, if the OP were to ask for $20/hr he would not be able to compete. He would most likely be out of business.

I have a friend in Austin who charges $20/hr and he has api 312 and Neve 1272 preamps, 1176 compressors, Manley EQ and a Bock 241 tube mic. Plus he has great ears. How can the OP compete with that? Answer, he has to charge less. There is a market for every price point.

Everything is situational and you have to start somewhere. Fantasy Land may be an option for some, but most successful engineers live in the real world.

I wish only the best for the OP and would love to hear that he is making bank with his setup... but since he asked...
Have you ever heard the phrase "All the gear, no idea" ?

It's quite prevalent in the music production industry. There are thousands of people out there with brilliant studio setups and many of them don't know how to use it properly.

Also the nature of the beast is that mixing is not an all-technical process. It's a creative process too. So people won't just pick you because you have the gear, or even the knowing-how-to-use-it, they'll pick you because they like your work and want you to impart your creativity on theirs.

Why is your friend charing $20 an hour despite a great gear list? Because he's desperate for the work. That is all. And do you know what? It's a huge myth that making yourself cheaper will get you more work. People can afford a lot more than they let on, and will always pay for the guy they want.

I mean, if you were taking a really nice girl who you were really into on a first date and you both decided you really wanted a nice big juicy steak for dinner, with nice wine etc; would you go to "REALLY CHEAP STEAKHOUSE, ALL STEAKS $4" or "Luxury Steakhouse, steaks from $50". People are the same with their music... they don't want it whizzed all over because they can get it cheaper!

But when you look at the picture, it's also your attitude that is driving down the money sound engineers can earn. It was once a license to print money. Now, 'engineers' (I hate that word. To be a structural engineer you need to know a serious amount of stuff about structures) under-cutting each other left right and centre because they are so desperate to just get any gig they can, has led to the entire trade being paid less money because it's always cheaper elsewhere. You'll never be able to earn proper money in this job because you'll always be undercut by somebody with the "I'd rather be mixing for $10 an hour than working in Wal Mart for $10 an hour". Do you have to be an expert shelf stacker to get a job there? Do you have to buy your own shelves and your own price tags and your own trolley to start work? No... and that is why jobs where you do have to be an expert and do have to run your own facility should be paid more money.
But the fact that you settle for less is what drives the business down and that's why it might seem like you're getting a gig here and there, but in the bigger picture you'll always be a cheap guy. And thus, the pros will resent you for it - for driving down the rates in their industry; and the major clients will never be interested in you, because you are clearly not serious.

For the record I charge just over $30 an hour and I am very, very busy.
#38
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
Let's role play.
....ok.

(Oh, and the gear only matters if you’re renting out the studio sans engineer, for all we know, you could have the most awesome studio in the world and still turn out bad sounding records)

Gustav
_______
Build your own gear
#39
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins View Post
I'm more of a C7 colored bulb type...
Those are fine but you should swap out the green for nos. I know a guy who does a great mod job.
#40
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Giese View Post
Aside from my gear list, i did also post links to examples of my work. Take a listen and let me know
I think the work is solid and the artists are solid. Great? No. If that music was noteworthy (not your production), it would have 10's of 1000's of views.

You could fast track yourself, hitching to an original artist with vision where the lyrics pour out like liquid gold and resonate with the masses. Not easy to find I am afraid. Those are the ones waiting to be found by you IMO. Not the other way around.

Again, the music you posted was solid, however as soon as the Lego House?, starts I compare to my all time favs in that genre, the Goo Goo Dolls......so is it Iris? No. Name? No. Black Balloon? No.

Its the music and the lyrics that still moves people. Its the songs. Its about connecting without sounding contrived or cliche. Its always about the songs. There are millions of artists, but sadly great songs are like panning for gold.

You are talented, so good luck in your endeavors.
#41
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #41
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There is only ever one answer to this question, and it is:

What the market will bear for YOUR services.

This is partly a function of competition and demand, and partly a function of your marketing and network prowess, and people skills.

I have been in service industries where I charged twice what many of my competitors did with less experience, and was busier than any of them... often turning away clients and referring them to those who charged less. It's not about the rate. It's about service, and a personal connection.

My advice: Start much higher than you think you can currently get, make it known those are your rates, then market yourself aggressively, and find any excuse possible to stay busy, but discounting your services in whichever way does not give the permanent impression that your rates are low.

If you can do this correctly, and live up to your own hype in what you deliver, you can become known as the person to go to when you want it done right... which people expect to pay more for.

The world is full of people racing to the bottom. You don't want to be one of them. No, it is NOT easier to simply charge less. Nothing is easier than being the guy getting paid more... once you're there. The trick is having enough belief in yourself to set yourself up that way, and over-deliver on the promises you make along the way.
#42
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #42
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Something to think about...

If you charge $10/hour, you'll have to get 3 times the number of projects than if you were charging $30/hour. Think about that. Unless you need the experience badly, then wouldn't it be wiser to charge more, be more selective, and take fewer projects... leaving time for your own/speculative projects (assuming you have some)?

I posted earlier... try to surround yourself with talented people, both artistically and from a business standpoint. It comes back in spades. You'll learn more, waste less time... and ultimately, will be associated with "successful" people and projects. That will increase your demand (and up your rate) faster than anything.

Now, having said all that, I realize that you have to put food on the table. So it's always a balance. But don't cheapify yourself. It never works in the end.

You have some skill. Not sure who the "producer" was, and there are a few things I would have done differently from that standpoint (but that's always the case)... but all in all, you have some skill. And in the end, it's always about hard work and sacrifice. There is no magic wand. Just stay the course and always "connect" with successful people.
#43
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Giese View Post
I've heard that its best to go with an hourly rate in most situations with some exceptions, but I'm not sure what my hourly rate should be. I feel like I've been working for next to nothing for a while and maybe I should rethink the business side of this. Also, I've heard that it varies based on your location. My initial goal was to just work as much as I could no matter how much I got paid just to get experience and get good. I feel like I'm starting to get pretty decent and maybe I should charge more, but I'm not sure the bands I've been working with could afford it. I'd like to try to make a living at this some how although I do still have a day job.

I'm recording out of a project studio in my parents house right now in Minneapolis, MN (they aren't charging rent as a way of helping me buy gear).

Gear:
Imac for mixing/editing and macbook pro for tracking
Logic studio
Melodyne editor
Apogee duet (the original)
Apogee Ensemble
m-audio profire 2626

UAD quad satelite
Plugins:
Cambridge eq
Pultec pro
EMT 140
EMT 250
Lexicon 224
1176
LA2A
LA3A
Fairchild
Precision Maximizer
Precision De-Esser
Precision Enhancer hz
Moog Filter
Little Labs IBP
Little Labs VOG
Studer A800

Waves Renaissance bundle
Waves C4
Slate digital Trigger
Dr. MS
Sonnox Supresser

Mics:
shure
sm7b
sm27
sm81
sm57
sm57 modified (took out the transformer)
beta 52

rhode
(2)nt5
nt1-a

Studio projects c4 (2)
Audix D6

Headphones
3x shure shr440
3x Extreme Isolation headphones
Behringer headphone amp (8 headphone outs)

2x Little Labs redeye phantom di/reamping boxes

mogami cables
dr pro mic stands

for mixing I have a pair of krk vxt8s and krk rokit 5s
my mixing room is a bedroom with auralex foam and random pillows and bags of old clothes as makeshift bass traps.

I track drums in an open kitchen/dining room area with wood floors.
Here are some links to a few recent things that I worked on. On all these I engineered and mixed. I also produced them to varying degrees depending on the project.

josh clutter
"Lego House" -Ed Sheeran (cover by Josh Clutter) - YouTube
You and I - Josh Clutter - YouTube
Josh Clutter - Always Love You - YouTube

Farsighted (only the first song though, it was mastered kind of bass heavy :-/ long story, but I did a full length album with these guys that never really got officially released)
Farsighted - BandPage | Facebook

Handsome Midnight (currently working on a full length)
Handsome Midnight - Music/Shows | Facebook

Cynth (Turn Back Time and Believin)
Cynth - Music | Facebook

The Drive
The Drive- Somewhere(Acoustic) - YouTube

The Phoenix Philosophy (these guys have me credited as mixing a few songs that I didn't mix for some reason, but I did the original mixes of their self titled ep and their burning down the dance club ep)
Flirting With Disaster - The Phoenix Philosophy - YouTube

What do you think I should be charging given my equipment list and samples of my work. Also, do you think I would be able to make more if I moved to Los Angeles or Nashville? Should I try to work in a real studio instead of trying to keep building my project studio? I'm just trying to figure out what my next move should be towards doing this for a living. Any input or other business advice would be greatly appreciated. Mix/engineering/production advice welcome too.

Thanks
-Aaron
Really nice job on the Josh Clutter stuff! Really enjoying it, there was some wonky timing issue on "You and I" at 19 seconds but whatever.

Quality is everything, whether it's a macbook or a Neve desk. If you can't do good work consistently on a lot of genres you're going to be in trouble. I do flat rate but I always check out the bands, I require some sort of recording or prepro to start. It works for me.
#44
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #44
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Notice how the best guys out there are:
1) Workaholics - they love doing what they do.
2) Often have a very needed inflated sense self. Why? Because you HAVE to in this biz to survive it's difficulty. Confidence is key in this biz. Being NICE is key and knowing when to tell the client to cut the crap is key too.
3) Have the best gear. Gear does matter.

Charge the maximum of what you can get - do not bother asking others - just get what you can get. Never give your work away for free. It cheapens your work and it cheapens the guys who are levels above you.

There is a magicians code that states, "Never give the trick away to non-magicians.". The same should go with engineers, "Never do work for free - ever."
#45
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #45
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Charge what people will pay you.


If people stop showing up, you're charging too much.


If you get more work than you can handle, you're not charging enough.
#46
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aint Nobody View Post
There is only ever one answer to this question, and it is:

What the market will bear for YOUR services.

This is partly a function of competition and demand, and partly a function of your marketing and network prowess, and people skills.

I have been in service industries where I charged twice what many of my competitors did with less experience, and was busier than any of them... often turning away clients and referring them to those who charged less. It's not about the rate. It's about service, and a personal connection.

My advice: Start much higher than you think you can currently get, make it known those are your rates, then market yourself aggressively, and find any excuse possible to stay busy, but discounting your services in whichever way does not give the permanent impression that your rates are low.

If you can do this correctly, and live up to your own hype in what you deliver, you can become known as the person to go to when you want it done right... which people expect to pay more for.

The world is full of people racing to the bottom. You don't want to be one of them. No, it is NOT easier to simply charge less. Nothing is easier than being the guy getting paid more... once you're there. The trick is having enough belief in yourself to set yourself up that way, and over-deliver on the promises you make along the way.
This is an excellent post and much wisdom within. I encourage you to read it again.

First, I think you have a very definitive "sound" to your productions. Very dynamic and an emphasis on musicality, which is a rarity today. I believe you have "value" to drive a premium for your services.

Second, what are your competitors charging? You need to know if there are others like you, in mom and dads house, offering project studio services. Their rates are your ground floor, and you should charge more than them, unless you believe they are better than you are... In addition, check out the quality that "real" studios are putting out in your market. If they are only 20% better than your work (based primarily on gear quality), your rate can and should be at least 80% or more of theirs.

Third, ask yourself where your business is coming from. If it's word of mouth referrals from the artists you have worked with before, it means that they see value too. The new customers should then be charged a bit more than the older ones. Good musicians buy the sound, not the price.

Fourth, I think that your clients will not care if your studio is in a home as opposed to a facility as long as they dont feel like they have to work around Mom and Dad's lifestyle in a significant way. (Put another way, you want your clients to think the house is yours!)

Best of luck!
#47
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogar View Post
If people stop showing up, you're charging too much.


If you get more work than you can handle, you're not charging enough.
This is stupid. Utterly, utterly stupid.

If you think the amount of work you get depends on how much you charge, you have absolutely no idea what it is that makes the world go round.

Perhaps if you were selling bottled water, there might be some truth in it. It's all much the same thing, why pay $10 for a bottle of water when you can pay $1 for a bottle of water?

But the variety of quality in sound engineers? The variety of creative influence?

If people stop showing up it's because you're doing it wrong. If you've more than you can handle you're doing it right. They are the only conclusions you can draw. If people don't come to you because they can't afford you, fine, let them use somebody else who is cheap. You don't see Ferrari dropping the price on their sports cars just so more people can afford them.
#48
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #48
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Doing work for free? No

But for future payoff? Yes

I'm only working for free. I make too much money on my day job to make a 40-50 hr week with music profitable enough to support my family well.
So I'm working with two amazing singer songwriters with a 50/50 split on all profits made from the songs that get worked on in my studio. I tried a couple of times to work for money but all the crap projects that were paying were killing my passion for the music.

Now I work 20 hrs a week and have never been more excited and hopeful for the future
#49
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arichlsss View Post
Doing work for free? No
Well, I have actually always said, it's better to work for free than for cheap.

If you work for big bucks, and the client is a complete moron and has you doing 8 million revisions on the bass guitar alone, you can grit your teeth and laugh because they're paying you for each revision, their problem not yours.

If you work for no bucks, and the client is a complete moron and has you doing 8 million revisions on the bass guitar alone, you can say "you know what, you're not paying for this, so I'm not obliged to do it", and wang it.

If you work for poor money, you're not in a position to laugh off the amount they're paying for messing you around, but equally you've been paid and you're not really in a good position to sack it in, without at least giving back the little amount they did pay you.

So, IMO, work for free? Yes - providing it is some sort of investment for the future. Not necessarily with a singer that you can take a 50/50 slice from, but it may just be that you have no experience recording a certain type of band and want to get one under your belt, and a good opportunity arises.
But work for cheap? No, don't do it.
#50
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arichlsss View Post
Doing work for free? No

But for future payoff? Yes

I'm only working for free. I make too much money on my day job to make a 40-50 hr week with music profitable enough to support my family well.
So I'm working with two amazing singer songwriters with a 50/50 split on all profits made from the songs that get worked on in my studio. I tried a couple of times to work for money but all the crap projects that were paying were killing my passion for the music.

Now I work 20 hrs a week and have never been more excited and hopeful for the future
Getting there!
#51
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ1973 View Post
Toneguru....man you take cheap to the next level..seriously..it's not the hourly rate or the best preamp, it's the talent that someone pays for first and then gear.
If someone knows what they are doing, they could do what takes another person 3 hrs in one hour. It's what is called efficiency.
If op can cut it sooner and deliver a decent product, that is somewhat competitive, then your theory makes no sense as the op would make no money.
Op should just see how efficient they can be and charge based on project. It's more profitable for a newbie rather than sit there for 10 hrs and make $100 and feel demoralized and uninspired.
Obviously you have to be talented, have ears have people skills... that's a given.

Besides, working sound is not brain surgery. All you need are good ears, good musicality and a modicum of logic and you can work in this biz and get great results.

If you are demoralized and uninspired making $100 that is your take but there are young pups doing just that in LA and SF with a similar setup as the OP and they are happy to be working. Just look at Craigslist.

I would be curious to see what the OP can make per hour and hours booked a month.

Like I said before, I would love for him to make bank. I wish only success for the man.

Anyway, I may have it all wrong, maybe its a given that the OP can charge $20 or $30 an hour.

Heck, I've been wrong before.

PS. One thing for sure, creativity, flexibility and an open mind are paramount to survive in the industry for any length of time. For instance, if I were the OP with his current rig o gear, I would post $20/hr with a half off special to the first 4 clients or so to book 80 hours of so. Or half off winter special. That way you do not poison the waters with a low rate from the get go.
#52
9th December 2012
Old 9th December 2012
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toneguru View Post
Just look at Craigslist.

PS. One thing for sure, creativity, flexibility and an open mind are paramount to survive in the industry for any length of time. For instance, if I were the OP with his current rig o gear, I would post $20/hr with a half off special to the first 4 clients or so to book 80 hours of so. Or half off winter special. That way you do not poison the waters with a low rate from the get go.
Craigslist is good for some gigs but once someone starts playing the Craigslist (let's compete on who can charge the lowest) mentality, it's a downward spiral because it's a loss for all at that point. Even the client knows he is a cheap fella and can take him for a ride.
IMHO, standards are key in price setting. Charge what you think you are worth, but be competitive. It's the old analogy of "oh it's expensive, so it must be good" and then make sure it's hot!! Work less hours, make more money and then focus on making your own original sound so your demand goes up quicker.
I like your half off type specials. Folks love a bargain, if they are told it is, even if it quite isnt.
#53
10th December 2012
Old 10th December 2012
  #53
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Thinking about listings, I was working for an artist tracking their material in a London studio about 18 months ago and they put an advert on here looking for a mix engineer (I don't like to mix really, just track). They thought they might find somebody good for a good rate, so they made up an ad and stuck it on here.

Observations that you might find interesting:
1) We got an imperial f..kton of responses. Some from people who were evidently far too new to the game to be taking on freelance work, some who weren't half as good at writing crafty CVs as they thought they were... but also quite a lot of fairly established guys with reasonable credit lists.
2) We also got the full spectrum of rates. I remember one that offered to do it on a per-track basis and if we did 12 tracks it'd cost about £600. When you boil that down, that's £50 a track. I mean, we were paying more for mastering... Equally though there were others that were a flat rate of £1000 a track. I'm not wholly against paying that, but I wouldn't expect them to be chasing work through an internet forum.
3) Some were more keen than others to display their gear list. Some e-mails we got literally had an A-Z list of every single thing they owned down to what brand of cabling they use and what programs they had on their mac apart from their DAW. (What makes you think people have time to read this, x100?). Some were just a brief indication, although this could be equally bad - we'd get something saying "in the studio we use equipment from Manley, SSL, Tubetech etc", an what they meant was they had 1 manley unit, 1 SSL unit, 1 tubetech unit, and an SM57.

And the results?

1) There were quite a lot who claimed to have very extensive gear lists, and very extensive credits, but would work for sub-£100 a day. These got binned straight away. Something just doesn't add up.
2) There were a few who claimed hundreds of major label credits and when we googled them we found out they were very young. Again, something just doesn't add up. Somebody said he'd worked for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. After a bit of digging, we found he had, as local crew at a gig. Employed by the local crew company, and certainly nothing to do with the recording.

3) Then we had the rest. There were guys who evidently had good experience, had some music online which sounded great, and had good gear lists. Sensible prices, which we were happy to pay. And one of those got the gig. We paid a LOT more than the cheapest rates we'd been offered. Even a lot more than an offer with similar level credits and a comparable gear list.

But something readers might find interesting is that there were also a couple of very honest young guys with not a lot of experience or gear who didn't dress it up as something it wasn't. They e-mailed and said "I'm looking to gain experience etc etc". We had one in the studio by the end of the week helping to set stuff up, and another did a load of the guitar edits. Neither mentioned rates up front, we couldn't pay either, but the one in the studio got fed and got drunk for free.

Point being if you are a seasoned guy don't cut yourself short. It makes sense to nobody how it is that you've developed such a good studio and such a good credits list yet still work for so cheap, so nobody wants to know. But also, new guys, don't go sending off e-mails pretending to be a seasoned freelancer. The real ones will read straight through the lines and either put your e-mail in the e-bin, or print it out and pin it up on the wall for people to laugh at. Be honest and ask nicely, and whilst they're unlikely to offer you the job, they may be able to help you out in another way.
#54
10th December 2012
Old 10th December 2012
  #54
Lives for gear
 
LoFi_By_Choice's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 578

A few years back, a band I was working with got ready for studio time. We were all on very limited budgets (think Cheerios and Ramen noodles, and only plain Vienna sausages, no sauce ), but booked time with a $35 an hour studio with a really good engineer. We knew from his past work that he would be able to get the sound we were after, and honestly, we were going to figure out a way to make it work, no matter what.

Even on a limited budget, we were willing to pay the rate he set because of his ability. His setup was relatively modest, mostly ITB, so equipment didn't matter. He made us sound really GOOD. Paying what we really couldn't afford made us believe in the service a bit more and gave us more confidence, I think (we were pretty young at the time, lol).

The point is, set your rate at what you believe that you are worth, with respect to your competition and you will be fine.

As stated before, the worst thing you want to do for yourself is charge a pittance and end up with people that don't really respect what you are doing.

Oh.. and never ever ever let anything leave your studio/space on email, cd, or otherwise for free.
#55
10th December 2012
Old 10th December 2012
  #55
Gear addict
 
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 377

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoFi_By_Choice View Post
Oh.. and never ever ever let anything leave your studio/space on email, cd, or otherwise for free.
This bit made me laugh because of what I used to do.

I used to record bands for free all the time. Mainly when I was a student, as I could use the facilities for free at the university. I got a great tracking sound and continued that through the mix stage, so with my being free (and thus, suiting the budget of the hundreds of music students), I was really popular, and got to work with loads of bands.

Initially it was 100% free then I got fed up of working my ass off and still having to buy naff beer in the student bar. So I changed the policy to "I'll record you for free, and then once we're done, I'll tell you I'm charging for the mix, even the files".

So I'd e-mail people and say "nice session last week. That'll be £300 for your EP". And I'd get a response saying "but it was free?" and I'd say "yeah, the session was free, but the product of it isn't".

A few people actually said fair enough and paid straight up. Others sent me polite but firm get-f..ked letters. But even those - when I sent them very nicely mixed samples (1 minute cut from the middle of each track), often budged and found the cash.

I was quite good at playing everyone's best friend and telling them how good they were so I didn't really lose any friends over it either.
#56
10th December 2012
Old 10th December 2012
  #56
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA.
Posts: 14,543

Quote:
Originally Posted by tc_live View Post
I was just writing on another 'what to charge' thread and saw this one.

$10/hour? Are you nuts? I know people who get more than that working in supermarkets and warehouses.
Yup. But EVERYBODY thinks they're an "audio engineer". And most aren't worth $10/hr. If you have any kind of track record, charge accordingly. If you don't, don't.

I know a number of "audio engineers" who make their living tending bar.
#57
10th December 2012
Old 10th December 2012
  #57
Gear addict
 
Joined: Oct 2012
Location: London, UK
Posts: 377

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Yup. But EVERYBODY thinks they're an "audio engineer". And most aren't worth $10/hr. If you have any kind of track record, charge accordingly. If you don't, don't.
Then perhaps rather than going freelance in a job that you're not yet ready to do, how about accepting a less glamorous position learning the trade instead? Then when you are ready to take on the world alone, you can do so and commandeer a decent rate?

Everybody wants to be a freelancer, but nobody actually wants to learn the job in order to become a freelancer. People need to see that going freelance is something you do when the clients are coming direct to you and not your employer, rather than because you can't get anyone to employ you.
#58
14th December 2012
Old 14th December 2012
  #58
Gear nut
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: South Central, LA
Posts: 111

Every time I find one of these threads about not getting clients, I almost have sympathy. But then I listen to their work. It's always somewhere between bland and bad. Usually closer to the bad side.

And when it's closer to the bland side, it just sounds like...I don't know exactly how to describe it. Trying to engineer for other engineers? You can hear the 'recording' in an off-putting way. Everything is too clear and sterile...that's the polar opposite of an interesting mix. Even for soft acoustic songs. You need some mystery to suck you in. And yeah, I think the whole 'just like being there with the band' thing is bullocks. I don't want to be in some normal room with some above-averagely intelligent guys who just happened to have a lot of ambition to make cool music. I want to be taken to wherever they're trying to go.
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