How Do Recording Engineers Make Money?

You might be looking to get started in audio engineering and have no idea how recording engineers make their money.

Or you’re a beginner in music production and are looking to get some ideas about how you can monetize your craft.

It’s no secret that the music industry has various income streams,

This post will shed more light on these income streams with a focus on audio engineers.

So let’s start with the basics, what do recording engineers actually do?

Record engineers some times called audio engineers are the ones that are responsible for the art of recording, editing, mixing and reproducing sound.

This science has record engineers that have skills in audio manipulation and production.

Furthermore, this field generally calls upon skills of electronics, acoustics, psycho acoustics with a basic background and understanding of music,

plus

Recording engineers also have knowledge on how to use technical equipment for music production.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what exactly recording /audio engineers do,

Lets take a deep dive into the income streams their profession offers and how exactly they make money.

Selling Sound Effects

well the first method that audio engineers can get paid is basically through the sell of sound effects.

so you might ask yourself,  what exactly is a sound effect?

to put it simply a sound effect can be anything that an audio engineer records.

for example an audio engineer could have a recording of water running or birds chirping.

that is a sound effect.

I’m sure you get the picture.

in as much it may be a little unsettling that sound effects don’t sell for much, especially online,

audio engineers still leverage this as an opportunity to appeal and present their worker to a larger and global customer base.

selling sound effects offers a great opportunity to newbies and semi professional recording engineers,

because of the audience that these sound effect platforms have.

incase you were wondering, most of the selling of sound effects is done online,

I have a few engineer buddies that earn a full time income online making and distributing sound effects.

this is one of the easiest income streams to get into because the barriers to entry are pretty much not there.

requirements usually just involve the audio engineer having prepared work samples,

an account with the site hosting your work and an account with a payment system to receive your earnings.

if you want to take a closer look into selling sound effects,

here are some websites that can host and help you distribute your content:

1. Sonniss

2. Pond 5

3. Fantero

4. Audio Jungle

Selling Sample libraries

this is the second source that is available to audio engineers

and is one that me and my team currently participate in.

we have created and sold so many sample libraries and we still consider it a part of our business model.

and this is more of a collaborative gig than an indie one,

because you’ll need help in create sample libraries.

that’s why it’s always a good idea to develop a solid financial plan before you get in this game.

that will at least you give you a good vision as to where you could take your skills,

and how best you can monetize them whilst working with a team that offer support and input.

selling sample libraries, basically means creating sample kits from scratch and them selling them to other music producers, audio engineers or musicians.

this business can be highly lucrative if done the right way because,

the price points of sample libraries are much higher as compared to selling sound effects.

the internet is filled with sample library traders on various communities,

this is one of the income streams that you can make a living with and generate passive income with.

company’s like cymatics have revolutionized the way sample libraries are sold, packaged and distributed,

the earning possibilities for content creators are limitless in this space.

Collaboration

working freelance in almost any industry can be a challenge, that’s why it is most important that you find your stronghold.

the third way of making money that is available to audio engineers is  collaboration.

this would involve the audio engineer teaming up with other content creators and developing a product that they can work on together and then sell or monetize that product.

this is a great way to make money because it doesn’t require the audio engineer to utilize their full effort and attention.

because let’s face it, we all have things to do,

that’s why it’s important that you have a collaborative partner that can work on the project when your schedule can’t allow you to,

and so you can also work on the project when your partner has a busy schedule that can’t allow them to work on said project.

the easiest example is an audio engineer teaming up with a recording artist and working on an album together.

which has proven to be quite effective and a great opportunity for the audio engineer to earn significant amounts of money while doing what they always do.

the American producer Hitboy has been, in the year 2020 collaborating with various artists on their albums.

which is a great way to put his skills out there while earning a decent cheque.

Record and mix radio spots

this can be a great way to earn money and the possibilities are quite limitless because you can work with as many clients as you so wish.

the fact is you already have a recording booth set up in your studio,

audio engineers leverage their gear sometimes to turn a profit.

in this case the audio engineer records voiceover dialogues, which may have his/her own voice if he/she  is able to work as a voice over artist.

the audio engineer would be then required to basically add sound effects to the dialog or add a little bit of background music,

depending on the particular project that they have at hand.

usually in this line of work, you are well remunerated if you can turn work around fast,

these radio spots are usually only 30 seconds long, because radio is trying to have listeners glued to their station for long periods of time,

therefore what this means is that they cannot be running 3 minute spots because not everyone wants to listen to a radio ad for more than 30 seconds especially if the content at hand is something that is of little or no interest to the listener.

therefore creating 30 second radio spots can be a quick way to earn and put your audio engineeing expertise to work.

Even radio interviews can be used to earn,

The recording engineer can offer mixing and editing services to radio.

Jingle Writing

in creating radio spots I mentioned that sometimes music will be used as the background.

therefore you can double monetize here.

because you can record, mix , master and sell your background music to radio which would be a pretty good deal.

this has been quiet the deal for me and my team in the last 5 months,

we have cast our net so wide to look for clients and monetize our products and services because we wanted to achieve our goals.

so we decided to advertise our services and make some new friends in radio,

because we already own music, we already have the means with which an artist (voice over or other) can record their vocals,

plus we have the skills to not only record this artist, but we also have the ability to work on their vocals until they are flawless and ready for radio.

so If you think about it we have about 3 different services we can offer to the one client which is a radio station.

these services are:

1. recording-we can easily offer a recording session when creating the radio spot.

2. mixing- we can easily mix and edit the dialogue or recording.

3. we can use instruments, sound effects or our own licensed music as background music for the radio spot.

I hope this gives you a better picture of how we earn an income as audio guys.

Audio for Gaming

another way in which recording engineers can make money is through providing audio services in gaming.

I’m sure we’ve all played video games before and we can all agree that the sound effects combined with good dialogue enhances the playing experience.

therefore an audio engineer/recording engineer has the choice of creating some music for video games and creating some worthwhile dialogue to match.

this is an advantage if you’re already into sample library design, scoring, and  creating sound effects.

there can be massive earning potential here, so long as you can do a good job and get the job done.

you can use your recording setup to have the game voice over artists to record their dialogue,

for games, game consoles, tablets, android apps etc.

plus your earning potential would go through the roof once you incorporate some good quality sound effects to go with the already existing dialogue.

you can also produce background music for video games.

most music producers like dj pain1, have been well known to produce music for video games.

therefore if you have the right skills or are thinking about developing the right skill,

I believe I just gave you some insight on what you can do to make some money.

but before you run off to get started on your journey,

I implore you to continue to read on and see what other options you have.

Teaching

this is one of the most underrated ways for people in audio engineering to make money.

therefore before you discard it, let’s get into how record engineers get paid teaching.

the reality is that, a career in audio engineering means getting acquainted with record production as I had mentioned earlier in this post,

which is recording, mixing and reproduction of sound.

this knowledge exposes the engineer to all different types of information,

from recording gear to techniques in recording, to Digital workstations and so on.

which means that the engineer is a limitless stream of audio information and there are literally hundreds of people that want to get a hold of this information.

therefore teaching is a great way for an audio engineer to make decent money,

and it provides an opportunity for him/her to pass on the knowledge and revisit little technical bits that he/she might have forgotten about.

teaching is a great tool and one of the most income driven businesses in the 21st century,

you basically see it everywhere, on youtube, facebook, or Instagram,

experts in specific fields exist on these platforms offering people a chance to teach them and mentor them in different fields.

and there is no shortage of audio engineering experts on these platforms.

an advantage that comes with teaching is that it is a great way of scouting for interns that you can bring in to work with you.

Audiobooks

this is a double income stream if utilized well enough.

thanks to new technology and its advancements you no longer have to rely on going to a library to get a physical book.

nowadays you’ll find an endless supply of ebooks on online, audiobooks have become so popularl.

this is due to the fact that people have jobs and they’d rather listen to a book in their car while they drive to work.

as audio engineer you are in a unique position because you can get in touch with various authors of books and offer your recording facility to record their book and develop it into an audio book.

with the right network and a stern reputation most audio engineers get well paid with this gig,

because millions of people in the world prefer to listen to audio books rather than read.

if you recall I said double income was possible here.

the audio engineer that employs teaching as a method of earning can leverage audio books too.

they can create various ebooks and collaborate with authors and be able to have audio books of their content out too.

in a situation like this the audio engineer would be in a unique position because they would have their work out,

and people would have access to buy it which means they can also recognize the audio engineer teaching audio production and his work as the audio engineer producing the audiobooks.

Podcasts

podcasts have become so popular and have become any easier way for internet entrepreneurs providing education material,

to keep providing value on an almost daily basis.

the truth is, one on one meetings are quite tedious in this day and age

especially if you have a schedule to keep,

therefore it’s easier to record a podcast, and release it in the morning and carry on with the rest of the day.

this has become so true in many industries and niches such as beauty, health, personal development, spirituality, internet marketing and many other spaces.

therefore once again audio/recording engineers are placed in a unique position to offer their services.

you can charge podcasts to have them record their episodes at your recording facility.

audio engineers can utilize this earning opportunity in order to put their equipment to good use whilst getting a good payment.

you can also have podcasts promote your recording facility and hence make more money.

that’s why it is always useful to learn various audio engineering facets.

while recording maybe a primary factor here, we should also consider mixing and editing services,

which means even without a recording facility you can be able to work and make money,

so long as your business and work is well known and recognized.

Voice over demos

demos for voice over artists are the tool they use to advertise their work and showcase their talents.

once you establish yourself in radio as an audio engineer you can connect with voice over artists and create voice over demos for them,

this would mean recording their work, then editing it and finally mixing it down into a usable demo

for which you charge a fee.

thats why its essential and quite critical to widen your horizon when you’re in the audio engineering industry.

there are so many earning opportunities that can put you in front of an audience that you could monetize in the future.

the radio spot can open the doors for you to work with voice over artists,

once you’ve established yourself well with that crowd, you can easily land gigs that involve you creating ads for people.

Sell gear

since you’re in the business of audio engineering, it means you already have the right clientele.

you can sell some gear that you’re not using pretty easily.

audio engineers also have the ability to buy cheap items on Ebay and later resell them at a price point that allows them to turn a profit.

cool right?

this is one of the easiest ways to earn money because you have the necessary clientele.

for example, if you have a voice over artist as a client you’re able to negotiate a deal with them,

by selling them a voice over recording studio equipment package that they can use to record themselves in the comfort of their own home.

furthermore if you’re into teaching, they can pay you extra to give them a run down on how to use the gear.

that’s why offering education is a good business, because it can open other doors for your audio engineering career.

a satisfied client can refer other people and therefore give you more business.

Corporate gigs

if you don’t mind putting on a suit and a tie, corporate gigs can pay well for audio services.

this part of corporate  audio engineering services typically imvolve

setting up visual and audio equipment in readiness for,

product presentations, online meetings, service demonstrations, and seminars.

therefore if you don’t mind working on projects like these, then you can create an income source.

the advantage of corporate gigs is that they don’t require you 24/7,

these types of gigs are usually for purposes of setting the stage,

sound checks, checking projectors, microphones, and ensuring they are working properly.

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