Is there a 'master list' of 'what to charge' for audio services out there?
Hey GS, long time lurker, first time posting here...
I own a fairly new audio company, and every time I try to research the typical 'what to charge' questions, I inevitably end up here. I've seen dozens of similar questions, yet often don't find the specific circumstances for my situation.
It seems like there should be a decently laid out 'master list' out there. I've found one for voice acting which brilliantly goes through a wide variety of situations and appropriate prices...
Does anyone know of something similar to cover sound design and/or music, and/or general audio post-production?
For example, at this moment, I'm perfectly familiar with sound design and music pricing for video games of various sizes, but I'm pretty well lost on what to charge for sound design or complete audio on a 30 second commercial or a short film (working via online from my studio). Given that I don't know how long it would take to score a 30 second clip (it changes dramatically depending on how much sound design is in it), it's hard to just say 'know how long it takes and charge based on that'. I know these things change depending on the scale of the companies and the work and such as well. Despite all this, it seems like we should be able to lay out a few starting ideas for people who have no idea of the industry standard for certain things. Lay out low and high prices, based by experience, wealth of company, complexity and length.
If no such list exists, could we perhaps, as a group with combined experience, create one? I would be happy to lend my experience of working with game developers.
If no one else finds this idea appealing I would appreciate knowing that too - I'm genuinely hoping this would be more useful than answering each question specifically, for everyone involved. :)
I'd be glad if we could work something out from our experiences.
First of, the scoring or total music budget depends on the total budget of the film/game/...
I read somewhere that 5% was the beginning of decent prices.
EG: for a 15 000$ film, 750$ can be dedicated to the music.
Anyway, your skills and experience worth some money too. We all listened to scores that weren't so exceptional but has been payed hundred of thousand dollars because they were composed by one or another great known composer.
And if you are kind of a nobody in the business nothing force you to accept every contract.
It depends too on the royalties opportunities and so on.
Don't overcharge too. Try to evaluate your value in some way. Your skills, experience, equipement....
Never forget that in the film or game business, the money flowing is quite huge and sometime borderline indecent. In this perspective i personally think that composers and producers have the right to get a part of this money legitimately and get paid decently for a hard artistic work. Try to evaluate the money flowing on the project you are asked to work for. It can help setting your prices.
If you want to invest yourself in a project that you believe in and which has no real budget or if you want to do something to help some friends, that's another story.
I personally get paid between 250$ and 1500$ for scoring, producing and sometimes mixing soundtracks for films that didn't exceed 6min.
- Films for internal use/promotion in companies.
- Short films.
- Adds for web use or private use.
Never scored for movies or games no TV adds.
I would be interested in knowing the rates going on on those parts of the business tho.
When i get paid between 250 and 600 it's because i want to help, or because i see some opportunities of more contracts coming from my employers or that there is very little work on the project.
Above, it depends on the work amount.
All that without any royalties.
I specify in contracts that the exploitation time is limited and that the music can't be used in any other context than the one it was composed for.
I'll add that i'm a total nobody in the business and that i'm working since 2011 on film scoring, mainly with people i know in the film industry. But i have some skills and experience in music that i can charge.
Well, that was my brick to the wall. hope it helps.
Looking forward to your experience in the business to reevaluate my incomes!
At the risk of linking you to an article written by yours truly...I happened to address this very topic not long ago for SCOREcast. Here is the article link.
What Are You Worth?
(ignore the small code hiccup at the top...we have to fix that apparently as we tweak the page template.)
My article doesn't give you numbers...but rather makes you think about philosophy. And it applies in any creative services field really. Composer...audio engineer, mixer, musician, etc...
Interesting Brian. I answered your question correctly almost before I finished reading the sentence. Why? Its what I've been preaching for a decade. Mostly on deaf ears.
DATELINE 2012 :
Music has no value.
Studio time has no value.
Engineering has no value.
Mixing has no value.
Composers have no value.
Musicians have no value.
Producers have no value.
Interns have no value.
Why? Because those "wanting in" will give their services away - even to the point of PAYING to be able to participate, and also because anything digital is cloned and "shared" with billions of people worldwide with no remorse or second thought.
So....the only thing that I can bring to the table that HAS intrinsic value is ME. My attitude, my professionalism, my demeanor under tough circumstances, my WIDE range of experience, my tools, my track record in fixing problems - big and small, my EXPERIENCE, and my credits. No one can clone it, no one can buy it, no one can steal it, no one can duplicate it exactly.
And yet....the "solid and well respected business plan" of everyone entering the creative fields of music production? Give it away to get your foot in the door. Sorry, long term recipe for failure IMO. My motto has always been "earn while you learn". Worked for me.
Nice read. I hope some people will take it to heart.