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$600-$700 per EDM track for 8-stem mastering?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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$600-$700 per EDM track for 8-stem mastering?

Is this a normal price for an established A list mixer?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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That's silly. Find someone with equal talent but a reasonably sized ego.

That said, eight stems is mixing, not mastering. Finish your mixing first. Then find a mastering engineer.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
It seems reasonable enough for mixing, yes, which as Greg said is what that job is.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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Lagerfeldt's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet View Post
Is this a normal price for an established A list mixer?
Did you mean mastering engineer?

If this includes various versions such as an extended, instrumental, etc. then it's not unusual.

If not, it's a bit on the expensive side, but still not outlandish.

8 stems doesn't have to be mixing.

The stems aren't necessarily there to be changed radically or even barely touched, in some cases. So why deliver it in stems in the first place?

Well, some people like to have the freedom to do certain changes later in the process, and you can make versions out of these stems (instrumental, singback/TV, etc.).

And certainly stems can be great in some cases.

I've become less dogmatic about "x number of stems is actually mixing, not mastering". If people want to do it and I can work with or around the kind of problems this sometimes create, then fine by me.

I'll sometimes recommend going with the stereo mix instead, but at the end of the day it's a service industry.

Last edited by Lagerfeldt; 4 weeks ago at 04:15 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Still far, far too expensive. You can find 25 guys right here on GS that will do it just as well for 1/4 that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
DAH
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Me, and I provide versions. Stems sounds to me mixer's insecurity so the stems probably will need individual corrections.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Reierson View Post
Still far, far too expensive. You can find 25 guys right here on GS that will do it just as well for 1/4 that.
The market dictates what is too expensive.

In the long run it’s self-regulating.

If someone consistently delivers high quality mastering, on time/within a short deadline, and has great customer service, their rates tend to go up and up.

It’s possible to shop around and maybe get lucky, but a lot of what demanding clients pay for is the security of going with someone that’s a very safe bet.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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True. Anything is worth whatever someone is willing to spend. Doesn't make it a good or a smart deal.

Name recognition is comforting. It brings a sense of security. Human nature. We're a fearful and lazy creature.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Guys, a lot of times people pay for credits (the ability to put that “A-lister”s name in their album credits). $700 a track might seem like a good idea if you think this will help you sell your record (or at the very least, make that an important part of your conversations for the next 14 months)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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does this sell you just one single cd /gets you one additional download?

and stem mastering for edm...?!

maybe find someone who does mix and master - for a reasonable price (which is $600-700 per day)!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
for an established A list mixer? yes. Indeed, if the "A list mixer" is currently hot, it can go much higher.

But what do you mean be an "A list mixer"- and do you need such a person; you can certainly get a good job done for much less, without the "name" of course.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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Define normal
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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DBarbarulo's Avatar
Tracking credits today on streaming platforms specially is a bit difficult. So to me the best question is if the job sound wise is worth 700 $...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by violet View Post
Is this a normal price for an established A list mixer?
Are you saying "per track" or for the whole mastering??? Just wondering???
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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For an a-list? Feels low.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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I frequently work on "stem" mastering projects which I more hear as a "mix post-production" projects .

Usually around 8-16 stems. From already well balanced and good sounding mix.

What I do - I rebalance the mix spectrally if needed , control or enhance dynamics , "fix" vocals with RX (de-click, spectral de-ess etc ), add additional reverb and even process most critical tracks like vocals , bass, kick etc. thru my mastering chain.

Despite changes being small sometimes, new "mix" always gets extra punch, width and most importantly proper spectral balance. But keeps the vibe & musicality of the original mix as close as possible .

Then I send the processed stems back to the producers and they will usually change some levels, add automation , change few things etc. - sometimes even rearrange.

Then the stems are sent back to me and I run them thru my mastering chain for final stereo processing. Usually keeping the ratios as the producer set them.

Whole process takes the same amount of time, as spent on mastering an album. So I think the price is reasonable.

And there is a demand for the service like this.

Last edited by gregor z; 4 weeks ago at 09:56 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Is it A-list mix or mastering? However you look at it it is nor expensive nor cheap. You can buy a car for 1.000 bucks or for a 100.000 bucks. So, the main question is who do you want and what do you trust. Or know of. Personally, multi-stem for mastering means many potential little traps in pleasing a client.

Oh well, there's a product with the right price everywhere and for everyone.

My thoughts anyway.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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A study sets its own prices based on various criteria that may be more important to some is less important to other people. part of the cost is naturally intended to cover expenses, a part is the cost of professionalism of those who do the work, part of the money for the type of service required, etc., etc. For example, many expect a very human relationship from the technician or engineers who do the work. also this aspect could have costs if we want. So we can't blame anyone for the prices of his work. Certainly there are people who have no economic problem with such figures and others who cannot afford such expenses for one track only. I like to work calmly, for example by discussing the road to take ... and this is also equivalent to time invested.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
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I do find the stem opinions interesting. 142 stereo channels/tracks of DAW audio (mainly bounced synths), live running VSTi and effects returns with as many streams of automation, countless edits/tuning/s, effects trickery, guidance by a producer (or yourself if you are the producer) on character or cleanliness of sound is what I call mixing, that is what my latest track comprises and I am not done yet. Mixing is rarely 16-24 channels of audio in 2019, at least for modern styles of dance music. I would need a 284 x mono channel console.

I accept 8 stems, actually even a couple more at times, I don't make a big deal about exact number 8 - 12 that's fine by me. I estimate stems is 5pct of my throughput.

I am happy to use my super defined, accurate audio system to work on someones stems and make them a better master. As mentioned stems are often untouched and sometimes it offers no advantage but you can get a little targetted flexibility which can produce a result you can only dream of in stereo mastering.

I have very clear personal definitions on what stem mastering is. I don't offer mixing (at this time, I live on mastering alone) but I can mix, and mix well (3 years of very enjoyable practice on my own tracks, and no end in sight) Not to mention mixing BBC/commercial broadcast programmes, recorded more very well known artists than most, studio music session recording and mixing, + live to stereo recording for 7 years as head of a studio complex in London, which I oversaw the build and design of.

Stems are not mixing by my definition, not even close in 2019.

There are reasons to be irritated in this industry should you wish to give it your precious time, IMO stem mastering is not one of them.

Last edited by SASMastering; 3 weeks ago at 10:49 AM.. Reason: spelling
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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my irritation comes less from technical aspects but from my believe that what we are doing is simply not worth this much money - i think a cardiac surgeon should get payed decently but a mastering 'engineer'?! $600-700 bucks per track? no way!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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60 - 70 bucks an hour for a 10 hour day is cheap for any craftsman at the top of their game. You could easily spend that long honing a track if money is no object and you've been given the time and freedom to experiment and take something as far as it can go.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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the thread starter was talking about $600-700 PER TRACK, not per day (see above)!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
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If someone commands $700.00 to master 8 stems the very last thing you want is an experiment. I think anyone who is exceptional and "A list" would struggle to make 8 stems last a 7 hour day (never mind 10hrs) if they know what they are doing, unless they are trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It is not really a $100.00/ hour situation.

But sure, coming back to check what you did later is sensible/necessary, another 30mins/hour.

In saying that, if the person mentioned really is an EDM big hitter then compare that for their DJ fee and it will pale into
insignificance, it is not monsterously expensive (only relatively to other highly skilled mastering engineers) if this person is in the Top10 every week.

As others mentioned having a top A list artist associated with your release may
well be worthwhile.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
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to me, this is not about demand/supply/pricing/economic viability/marketing etc. - well, maybe it is: a clear example of market failure or possibly even money laundering then... - to me, this is simply amoral behaviour!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
to me, this is not about demand/supply/pricing/economic viability/marketing etc. - well, maybe it is: a clear example of market failure or possibly even money laundering then... - to me, this is simply amoral behaviour!
So wait minute... many people here are complaining about the decline of the music industry, studios closing, pirating, Spotify, bla bla bla but when someone can actually make a good living with audio it is amoral and a sign of market failure or even money laundering?

Get your head examined mate.

Alistair
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
So wait minute... many people here are complaining about the decline of the music industry, studios closing, pirating, Spotify, bla bla bla but when someone can actually make a good living with audio it is amoral and a sign of market failure or even money laundering?

Get your head examined mate.

Alistair
easy man, stay friendly at least!

so money rules your world? fine for you. if you wanna participate in such practices, good luck! i don't - and not because i couldn't (around here's a very large market for dubious goods of all sorts including edm) but because i don't want to!

yes, i do occasionally turn work down (there's another thread dealing with this topic), and no, i can't complain about a decreasing amount of work

if you happen to know a bit about the fees of current high profile artists in this genre, the expenses they declare if not having transferred money into tax heavens, the drugs getting consumed on festivals they (pretend to) perform etc., you could see where my suspicion of money laudering is coming from...

if not, i suggest you ask your doctor about re-checking of your glasses!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet View Post
Is this a normal price for an established A list mixer?
who is this For 600 I would expect a full mix, "stem mastering" is in my opinion just a fancy word for mixing with a low track count, sending the busses..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
I do find the stem opinions interesting. 142 stereo channels/tracks of DAW audio (mainly bounced synths), live running VSTi and effects returns with as many streams of automation, countless edits/tuning/s, effects trickery, guidance by a producer (or yourself if you are the producer) on character or cleanliness of sound is what I call mixing, that is what my latest track comprises and I am not done yet. Mixing is rarely 16-24 channels of audio in 2019, at least for modern styles of dance music. I would need a 284 x mono channel console.
What it means is that in such a large project you group those tracks into buses e.g. drums, bass, keys, effects, pads etc. and 142 stereo channels get down to like 8 already mixed stems easily. Mastering engineer then works from there.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
easy man, stay friendly at least!

You are accusing people of amoral behaviour and in your last post even suggesting that EDM is amoral. I stand by my response to your post.

Alistair
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcct View Post
What it means is that in such a large project you group those tracks into buses e.g. drums, bass, keys, effects, pads etc. and 142 stereo channels get down to like 8 already mixed stems easily. Mastering engineer then works from there.
Yes I am fully aware of that being soley a mastering engineer by profession for the last 10 years.

I am just explaining that mixing (using my current self produced track as my spare time passion as an example) is generally far away from 8 stem mastering. It is a detailed, painstaking, highly creative and intensely automated procedure that includes many many processes never used in 8 stem mastering.
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