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$10 an hour ... what is this biz coming to
Old 2nd August 2005
  #31
Gear Head
 
MicLust42's Avatar
 

The whole gear factor has really warped musicians' minds, probably my own included.

I remember in the days before the computers took over we always thought of our admirably good home recordings as "demos" and you went to a fancy studio to do a "real" recording. But now everyone thinks "well I've got a Mac just like that studio and I can buy the same sweet mics and pre's and my recording will sound just as good!"

Sad.

A friend of mine is charging $15 an hour now and I'm charging $30. His place is nicer! But I feel like if they aren't willing to spend 30 measely bucks an hour then they would probably be a drag to be around.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #32
Lives for gear
 
wallace's Avatar
 

I did some overdubs for a friend's song for $15/hr the past few days, mostly because we were having fun and because I don't do other projects that often, only my own stuff. He liked my production ideas and let me do pretty much what I wanted with his songs (I played synths, rhodes, flutes, and electric guitars). It was fun. We spent maybe 8 hours on 2 songs, and now I've got a little extra $$ to spend. I could say I'd charge $25 - $35 an hour, but there are lots of studios in town and musicians are usually flaky once it comes to money. Sure, it undercuts bigger studios, but I guess that's how it works, right?

It's unfortunate, but being a musician is kind of pathetic. You can spend years training (I've been playing for 15 years) and still not make any money. But spend 4 years getting a computer science degree, and you'll be making $40 to $65K + a year...

I was at a new trendy bar last night and told a pretty girl that I do some 'music stuff', and I'm not joking, she said "Musicans' are unstable" and walked away!!!

You have to "do it" because you're passionate. Engineering is more of a trade than an art (though it's artistic), but it still sucks that you can't make more.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #33
Gear Addict
 
Sobe's Avatar
 

no that is how you work and one day when you want to charge what you are worth and not what a security guard makes to sit with a dumb look on his face and do nothing ( someone will under cut you like you are now doing ... what goes around comes around ..
Old 3rd August 2005
  #34
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wallace's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sobe
no that is how you work and one day when you want to charge what you are worth and not what a security guard makes to sit with a dumb look on his face and do nothing ( someone will under cut you like you are now doing ... what goes around comes around ..

That would still happen if I was charging $40 an hour. Look at the way they outsource jobs to China, India, and indonesial. It's not a cause-effect relationship.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #35
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Curtis Franklin's Avatar
 

in my area i have put out flyers and such that read:

DO YOUR OWN DEMO AT HOME!!! COME TO ME WHEN YOU WANT AN ALBUM.

i find that the people that call that are interested in my services are willing to pay, because they know what they want and need what i have to get it.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #36
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Kestral's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pumadrum
in my area i have put out flyers and such that read:

DO YOUR OWN DEMO AT HOME!!! COME TO ME WHEN YOU WANT AN ALBUM.

i find that the people that call that are interested in my services are willing to pay, because they know what they want and need what i have to get it.
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Old 3rd August 2005
  #37
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gsharp's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pumadrum
i find that the people that call that are interested in my services are willing to pay, because they know what they want and need what i have to get it.
EXACTLY. It's like any business. Seek out the customers that appreciate the added value. Why cater to the $10/hr people if you've got the skillz for the $50-$60/hr clients? And at $50/hr you only need 1/5th the work to make the same $$. That being said, a cheapie rate to get a gig if you dig the stuff and can leverage it into more work is fine, but I don't make it my whole business model.

I did one song for a band recently for stupid money because it was a referral from a valued client and was an entree into part of the scene that I don't have any presence in. My work absolutely annihilated their previous efforts. Guess what, they're magically finding the money to do 2 more songs at full price.
Old 7th August 2005
  #38
Nothing is more frustrating than some guy with a PC and a sound blaster advertising 'studio' time for $5/10 an hour!!! We are a small place and we absolutly have to charge $35 an hour minimum to keep the lights on. We usually charge $50 an hour but will drop as low as $35 if someone is booking a week or something. Even at those rates we are not getting rich by ANY means.

The good thing is that charging $50 an hour or more will weed out a lot of crack heads and people that you generally dont want in your studio anyway.
Old 7th August 2005
  #39
Gear Addict
 
tedcrop's Avatar
 

I think this all comes down to this: Business. Markets changes and business and profits are dictaed by the market.

It is also about doing what you love. No one loves being a security guard so that is not a good analogy. How about someone who spends 100,000 on a yacht and then entertains a band for free over a weekend.

What is the difference between someone who spends 100,000 on a studio and then records a band for free because that is their thing and they love doing it.

I mean yachts still get rented out all the time but if someone you know has a big one and invites you on it you'll use it.

All in all, know your business. If it takes a million dollars to make a thousand then who knows. I still think that most bands that are worth recording are more than willing to pay to record. But in the end making money in your own business is about hustling--in more ways than one. That is why I go to work for the man everyday.
Old 8th August 2005
  #40
Lives for gear
 

My take

I ran a mid-grade project studio for hire for about five years. At the end I started to break even. I was charging $30/hour. For me, it was a way to provide service to unsigned artists, feed my gear habit and provide a place to track and mix my own group's stuff. A person who charges $10/hour is probably losing money, unless they have $0 overhead and don't ever plan on maintaining/upgrading their gear.
Old 15th August 2005
  #41
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

In any business, trying to compete on price is the short path to self destruction. I live in Phoenix, AZ, in the shadow of the Conservatory. There are lots of ways to record for free here. Bottom line, though, is that my clients hire me because they like the way my stuff sounds, they like working with me, and they know that if they have me in on the session, it WILL get done.

You really have to think about what your niche or brand is. I do indie/punk music, on location. It's a smallish niche, and there's lots of competition. But I feel like my skills and my lowish overhead give me a nice spot in the scene.

I think there was a time when the barrier to entry was so high that no band could even think about producing a decent piece of work themselves. Now the gear is cheap enough that they can, in theory.

But as I tell bands, buying a great drumset doesn't make you a drummer. Engineering is a skill, an art in a lot of ways.

But the business landscape is changing, and unless you have something that makes your services head and shoulders above what some kid with a laptop can do, you're going to have a hard time.

Every business person should read some of Jack Trout's books. 'Differentiate or Die' is a really good one, and 'The 22 immutable laws of branding' which he co-wrote with Al Ries is a classic.

First time I read '22 laws', I thought I was going to puke, my stomach was churning so much. It's like seeing everything you've screwed up for the last however many years, laid out in front of you.
Old 3rd September 2005
  #42
Gear Addict
 
rvwainscott's Avatar
 

Most people want it for free. . .

I get calls all the time, rappers mostly, that want me to do their project for free. With so many studios in the area and so many new "engineers" being cranked out by the four schools in the area, people are just happy to have any client free or not.

Of course, when I say people I mean other people. Our rates are still $50 an hour and I refuse to lower them. Studio rates in the Valley were $140 an hour during the mid '70's - what would that be in today's money? $350 an hour????

Robert V. Wainscott
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