much will it cost?"
Theres no quick answer, since every project is different. My pricing
is sliding- scale, determined through consultation. This approach is simple
and painless even if putting it in writing here makes it seem more
complicated than it really is.
A few basic
charge per project, not by the hour, because its absurd for an
artist to have to watch the clock.
I try to only take on work that I will enjoy. Money
matters, but it aint the boss. The phrase "labor of love"
gets used around here a lot.
Each project involves a certain amount of "start-up."
So the price to record a song would differ depending on whether it were
the entire project or one song among many.
If I really love an artist or project, Im open
to pure collaboration, deferred payment (spec), or alternative arrangements
a price, we estimate how long it would take for all to go smoothly, and
multiply that by $150 per day. That is then adjusted according to the
subjective factors above. If the project takes somewhat longer than expected,
thats fine (unless it's because you decided it should be more elaborate).
more "me" that goes into the project, the more subjective the
pricing. I can be just the engineer dude, taking direction from you. Or
I can play a more active role: fleshing out arrangements, playing overdubs,
etc. If youd like me to help you build your project from the ground
up playing all over it and doing lots of creative processing in
the mix then either youll be paying for it, or its
because Ive taken a shine to your project and am happy to be "in
the band" (if only for the moment!).
Mastering is the one thing that can be given a "one-size-fits-all"
price: $60 per song, or $400 for a ten-song album ($40 per song). Even
that can be flexible, especially if I do other work on the project. But
note: it's generally not a good idea to have the same person both mix
and master on the same playback system; it's better to bring in a fresh
set of ears for the mastering stage (not that it can't be done in a pinch).
Putting it in writing a contract may be overkill for a small,
simple project. But for work that's going to take more than a few hours,
a simple contract can help us focus on what needs to be done (like a "work
order"). To me, it need only be as formal as the scope of the project
indicates but of course the main point is to do whatever you the
artist(s) are most comfortable with.
As is typical,
I ask for half payment up front; and you get to take home the final work
once you've paid in full.
In the end,
its the art that matters most. That and the swag from the Grammy