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Need help for mixing rates?What should I charge?
Old 13th January 2004
  #1
Gear Addict
 
eskay's Avatar
 

Need help for mixing rates?What should I charge?

Hello everybody. I got my first major gig for mixing a dance/pop project.
I'm super excited. The problem is that the producer is coming back from his business trip and wants to talk to me about rates, and so forth. Let me give you a little bit of background: I've already have done some work for this client. He uses Cubase VST 5.2, running on OS 9. What we've done in the past is recorded everything into cubase than open up the audio files, in Pro-Tools. He hired me in the past to beat detective everything and apply some eq, basically making all the drums sound punchy,because he wasnt' very fluent in Pro-tools. Then with my help he made all the final decisions on automation and using his outboard effects, (various Eventides, Lexicons..etc.) When I did this I was charging by the hour. He recently heard some of my mixes in Pro-Tools for other clients and was very impressed. Long story short he asked me to mix, his next album, which includes some of the songs that I had previously brought into Pro-Tools, and some additional new material. The process would involve tracking in Cubase, than importing into Pro-Tools, for mixing in the box, with some of his outboard gear. As I am going to be doing some tracking and mixing, what should be my rates? Should they be hourly or per this project? I hope all you experienced mixers can guide me to the right path. There does seem to be some hope at the end of the tunnel....
Thanks.
p.s. this all happens at his studio/loft. All the gear used are his, except for my Dangerous 2 buss, that I am peeking up this week......
Old 13th January 2004
  #2
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
What do you think your time is worth? What is the dude willing to pay? I usually do a flat rate for mixing based on what I think it will take me for the whole project plus a remix or two. Other times it's just hourly, it depends on the client.
Old 13th January 2004
  #3
Gear Addict
 
eskay's Avatar
 

any other suggestions?? thanks for some of the input so far!!
Old 13th January 2004
  #4
Nik
Gear Nut
 

Hmmm......


here are some thoughts..

The following need to be considered before quoting.

1. Is the client with a major label (you mentioned: major gig) or is he a small Indie label?

2. If an Indie...what other acts/how many does he have on the books?

3. Is there a prospect of more/regular work in the future from this guy?

4. Do you need to develope "goodwill/rellationship"? I suspect you have done this already. If not, your discount is put down to marketing/advertising expenses. Spend to earn more.

It is important to establish a fair rate at the onset of your rellationship. If you do not state clearly what your rate is and if you have discounted it as a "once off good will gesture" then you will have pegged a figure that will be hard to change. To him you will always be worth this first quote and no more! I have seen this time and again with associates.

If it is an album (depending on industry you are in) mixing floats between $1000 to $2000 USD /song. No edits included. A rough guide but you need some figures to work with right?

How long per song to mix? 8-12 hours is about average. Includes some edits etc.

In the end it all depends on what the market can cope with.

You probably need to find out from his other clients (dark glasses and beard needed) what they were charging.

Assume you are better and worth more. Point this out. Why else would he be coming to you right? You are obviously doing something he clicks with.

Keep well,

Nik
Old 14th January 2004
  #5
Gear Guru
 

Recently, I did some flat rate per song mixing for a rap project. I just tried to estimate how long it would take me and then multiply.

The problem with flat rates is that when you do that, the client always seems to have one more tweak. If it's his dime, then he can tweak away and you don't feel burned. His indecision is your bonus, not your headache.

I only work out a flat rate for mixing when I can mix alone- the client drops off the files, I mix and give him a disk. I don't mind spending a little more time than my estimate on each song, because my studio is in my home and I can take a break when I want to, mix in my PJs etc.

Since you are in his studio, presumably under his watchful eye, I would just charge hourly. He might argue for a lower hourly rate since its mostly his gear, but your time and your ears are worth something, otherwise he would do it himself- don't let yourself get talked into too low a rate.

actually I have never mixed in my PJs- I would like to try it some time, though.
Old 14th January 2004
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by joeq

Since you are in his studio, presumably under his watchful eye, I would just charge hourly. He might argue for a lower hourly rate since its mostly his gear, but your time and your ears are worth something, otherwise he would do it himself- don't let yourself get talked into too low a rate.


I'd charge hourly too. If he gives you the "I'm supplying the gear" bit counter it with I'm supplying my unique ear and talent.

Quote:
actually I have never mixed in my PJs- I would like to try it some time, though.
I have mastered in my PJs. I master at home.
Old 14th January 2004
  #7
Gear Addict
 
eskay's Avatar
 

Thank you all very much about your suggestions!!!!
I think I will do per song flat rate, than tell him that includes about 8-12 hours. Anything more than that would have to become hourly. He has a lot of interest from the majors, so at the same time I want to be cool about, cause this is a great chance for me. Again thank you all for you suggestions.

Old 15th January 2004
  #8
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I hate to burst your bubble but chances are damn good that if the project is picked up by a major they'll either retrack the whole thing from scratch or have it remixed by a name. It might be released as-is but from what I've seen and heard over the years it isn't the case. Now if it's an indie label you have a good shot at it being release as-is with your mixes intact.

FWIW, my "slow" pace is two songs a day, sometimes I get three off the desk if one is simple or I got a head start the night before. The first song will usually take a day and then there might be one or two others that eat up the better chunk of a day. The fastest I'll ever move is four songs a day but those are no-frills mixes with very little going on in the way of science projects at the clients request.
Old 15th January 2004
  #9
Gear Addict
 
eskay's Avatar
 

Again thanks Jay. The reason why I need 8-12 hours is because, he wants everything beat detectived, and they are rough, meaning I do additional sound design on his tracks. (its a pop/dance album!) Plus the fact that all the songs have on average at least 35 tracks, I'm mixing all in Pro-Tools, with no Pro-Control, Control 24 or any form of physical fadar available..grudge
He is waiting for one of the new units from Digi. Hopefully per my request we can rent one, than I can bang out 2 songs a day. If it gets remixed, at least I tried....I wont be happy about it, but I guess it's all a learning experience
Old 15th January 2004
  #10
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

You're talking about a LOT more than what most people consider mixing. He could spend a couple days alone deciding how beat detective feels. You've also got to learn his room.

I wouldn't even think about a flat rate unless it's huge and you are getting producer points in addition.
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