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Creating soundtrack for mobile games--what to charge? Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 19th August 2011
Registered User

Originally Posted by peachboy View Post
It's different because writing making music (and even SFX) is an art. Repairing a washing machine is simply about logic; there is a problem, generally there is usually only one solution, or at least only one range of solutions.

But music as with all other creative arts is a completely different skillset and cannot be appraised or priced via labour, or in the same manner as fixing an appliance. I mean, you could spend weeks on a piece of music, and the finished product could sound AMAZING, but still for some reason, as amazing as it is, the client decides to roll with a different piece. Music the eye of the beholder?

Where's a washing machine is either fixed....or it's not.
I know.. but when i do my own art money is no issue for me.. I wont compromize my music to meet any market demands.

But when you do soundtracks on demand you actually compromize at any corner to meet your customers needs or the medias limitations.
Thats service..and that should get payed.. of cause i am with you here that quality work that actualy can count as art should be valued even more.

The wash machine repair guys in my area get up to 100euro the hour.

Such a rate for such a project wouldnt be so bad.. And should be the standard..actually was somehow before the "producers flood" when i remember that corectly..
In my opinion such a projekt needs a week with all involved actions.. rather more..but not less.. they most definitely will ask for a change here and there.. a musicans week is at least 50 hours. sometimes 100.

so the washing machine rate that you think needs less qualification would be something around 5000 actually..

we are in the wrong business..
Old 19th August 2011
Gear maniac
peachboy's Avatar

Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
sorry that is selling yourself short..

the details in the contract should match the low rate.

Like just a time limited transfer of rights and limited to the specified media/os.. So when they sell the game to another platform you get payed again.. or when it becomes for some strange reasons a classic and not just cybertrash and is still around in 20years.. not likely. So its actually not realistic that they really need unlimited time for such games. or you serve by accident the hook of a future pop hit...5 years should be well enough..10 in the max.

But usually the game guys want all rights unlimited.. But that has of cause another price than.

My opinion.
I'm saying well done for turning it around and getting something marginally better than $100, and not to sell himself short in the future.
Old 19th August 2011
Registered User

Originally Posted by peachboy View Post
I'm saying well done for turning it around and getting something marginally better than $100, and not to sell himself short in the future.
true. missunderstood that ..

But i just mentioned that to point in the direction that when you have the balls and are not totally after the job you might act on the contract to turn your initial statement around even more.. Or get better conditions for the low price you offer.
But actually its better to ask from the beginning for the right price instead appearing too difficult really..

On the other hand.. on real music releases you cant act difficult enough.
What is in the contract usually happens.. And what is not in the contract usually can go wrong.

But therfore you engage a lawyer or have a manager that is the difficult nasty asshole than and you can stay best friends with the label.

when your manager ask for tough defined terms he is a clever asshole.. when you do that as a musican yourself you are a difficult artist...

however..that was out topic.. dont applys really to this ringtone industry..
Just a little reminder that a contract is what you do write in it.
And these standard industry forms are just a suggestion.
Of cause with all whats important for the label and nothing what might be important for the artists.. That terms you have to add yourself..

I for example was always able to get rid of the unlimited time thing..
The label has to explain to me what they do plan to do with my music in 20 years..usually they cant answer that. So why such endless contracts..

Or you easily can add to a contract that all terms are only valid when the record is actually released in a specified amount of time...
When the label has problems to agree to such a term you know that you are dealing with the wrong people.

I only once did a big mistake on a management contract..
the guy died ..and i am now owned by his relatives that have no clue about the music biz..

that hurts... especially financially.

of cause when you do a contract with a personal manager and give him participation in the publishing rights..what is usually the need to add that all terms are only valid with this specific guy.
So he cant just die away or sell you to somebody else...

So working on contracts can help a lot.

Music biz is a bitch.

End off topic...
Old 19th August 2011
Lives for gear
yosemitesam's Avatar

Thread Starter
Originally Posted by 3phase View Post
1500 is underpriced allready. When you guys dont need to live from that **** you maybe just shoudl do something else instead totally destroying the prices?

100 is really ridcolous... maybe you should clean theire office and kitchen aswell to make the package price more attractive to them. You know there are many kids out there that wouldnt even charge any money.

ok just read that you upgraded the fee allready..
I guess in the end of the job you will see that with 600.- the hourly rate for the invested time wont be really as good as the serving dishes rate.. when you are really fast maybe.. for me that thing sounds more like a week of work than one day..

I would say for 600 you have 2 days max 3. and you still would be very cheap for audio design and production services.
First of all, I appreciate you guys giving me insight on what the going rates are so that I know better going forward. I'd like to charge as much as I can, and it's always useful to know where I am in the market. I also agree with you saying that I'm providing a service, not really making art, and so I should be paid accordingly.

Maybe you're right about me way undercharging and this will be how I learn my lesson, but honestly it's hard for me to imagine spending more than 5 hours at most per track, including revisions. We're talking about 60 second tracks here. They're going to be played on an iPhone, so it's low track counts (so you can actually hear each instrument) and super high sound quality, mixing, etc. isn't very important. I threw together a demo track for them in less than an hour that they said they liked besides a few minor tweaks they wanted.

So even if I work 5 hours per track, that's $20/hour. Not so bad given that this is my very first soundtrack project, I think. (There are also the sound effects, but that's going to take me a few hours.)

Oh and don't worry about me destroying the prices. I plan on charging as much as I can as soon as I can haha. If $1500 is a low rate for what I estimate will be about 35 hours of work at most (and work that I enjoy too), I think I found a great day job

I used to tutor to make money, and I did the same thing--I started out charging basically as much as I earned at my previous job at a pizza shop, because I figured hey, it's better than working at a cash register! And then over time, I felt more confident in my skills, learned the market, and smartened up, so I charged way more. I expect to go through the same process with making soundtracks.
Old 19th August 2011
Gear Head

work out a rate for delivering the files

how much do you charge an hour

how many hours does it take you to compose, mix, design patches, hardware upkeep, etc

multiply by number of songs

charge for the deliverables


set up a licensing deal of 1%-5% on the profits

so if its the next Angry Birds you will get some cash money!!!
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