Rates – the art of music and money

"How much will it cost?"

There’s 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 considerations:

•  I charge per project, not by the hour, because it’s 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 ain’t 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, I’m open to pure collaboration, deferred payment (spec), or alternative arrangements (e.g., barter).

To calculate 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, that’s fine (unless it's because you decided it should be more elaborate).

The 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 you’d 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 you’ll be paying for it, or it’s because I’ve taken a shine to your project and am happy to be "in the band" (if only for the moment!).

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, it’s the art that matters most. That and the swag from the Grammy afterparty.



write, record, mix, master tools in the right hands Hoagie Hill, Subluminous, others your name here soon this would be Mr. Hill tips, tricks, treats seamonstersounds(at)verizon(dot)net fly back to the sea