How Much Should I Charge For Music Production?

Figuring out how much you should charge for music production can be difficult for someone that hasn’t had much experience in the music business. This is also true for people that just find it hard to set a standard price for these kinds of services.

How much you’ll charge for music production will depend on the price structure you set up for independent services. My basic formula for my music production charge is:

Production Charge = Price of Instrumental + Studio Time Fee + Mixing and Mastering Fee.

As an average, I’d say set your music production charge at around $350 – $500 if you’re a newbie and then increase this charge as your brand, reputation and clientele grows.

To further dig deeper into this topic will look into a break down of each of these services so you can better understand the business side of this.

Instrumentals/Beats

Instrumentals are the music behind the lyrics and are usually offered separately and sold separately.

Usually an artist may choose to hire a producer to compose a record for them for which they will be charged a fee.

Work for hire is usually expensive and may range from $250 to thousands of dollars depending on the producer, the studio and the brand that the producer represents.

Such beats will usually be offered exclusively which means the artist will have the exclusive rights to the instrumental and will be the owner of the said instrumental in exchange for a fee prescribed by the producer.

Other times artists may find it difficult to afford beats that are exclusive to them and may choose to acquire beats that are basically non exclusive. This is quite common for artists that are simply trying to put together a demo to submit to a record company.

Non exclusive beats can range from $10 usually to around $100. They’re cheaper because they don’t offer ownership and the producer usually specified terms such as the period of use and the permitted use.

Another thing to consider when it comes to coming up with a music production charge is the artists that come with their own beats and instrumentals and simply want to record.

The production charge will then obviously have to exclude the fee that is included for the creation of the beat or instrumental. It’s common for producers to say no to work that involves the use of an instrumental other than theirs because they could be trying to hone in on that money that would otherwise be lost if they permitted artists to bring their own beats on which they wish to record.

I’ve thrown around alot of average numbers here and it will be up to you work around them and come up with your own pricing set up. Remember that I cannot give you a definite charge that you can use because our processes and clients are different.

Same goes for the cost of production that you have, so you’ll basically have to factor everything thing in before you can settle on a price that you’ll attach to your instrumentals or beats in context with the overall music production charge.

Studio Time

Studio time is what is referred to the time allocated to an artists for their recording process. Studios usually charge a fee for studio time. This fee is charged per hour and will be calculated according to the length of the recording session.

The average that most producers charge is $40/hr and  above. For some high end record studios they can even charge as high as $500 per session.

Usually the amount a producer charges for studio time will be equal to how well built out a studio is.

For example, you wouldn’t expect to pay $40 per hour for studio in a luxurious studio that is fully built out with full equipment and has some good reputation attached to it.

Such studios will usually offer experienced recording engineers that can assist their clients achieve the best recording takes whilst coaching them through out the entire process.

Therefore we can easily determine that the price you set for booking studio time will be determined by the quality of the studio, and the services that come with the studio.

You’ll have to figure out how much you can set your studio time fee to, because you know your studio better and you know the services you’re capable of delivering to your clientele.

Mixing and Mastering

Most professional mixing and mastering nowadays will cost you between $150 to around a thousand bucks. But you can find much cheaper alternatives on platforms like Fiverr that allow independent contractors to sell their services.

With this idea of pricing in mind, you should be able to figure out how you can price your services.

Pricing is quite tricky because it will determine how much you essentially end up making, but it can also determine how many clients you end up retaining.

Let’s look at several factors that you should consider when looking to come up with a music production charge.

Studio Quality

For you to properly set a price for your music production services you have to take into account the quality of your recording studio.

The type of equipment you house as well as the type of service handlers and providers you have.

If you have a lot of high end equipment, then you obviously need to charge a higher price for sessions because replacing equipment can be very expensive and you’ll find it difficult to replace $10,000 equipment when you have been charging $20 for production.

This is the point, the worth of your studio should some how reflect in the charge you attach to your services.

Quality of Work

People pay for services that are worth paying for. Therefore your charge for music production should basically give a sense of the quality of your work.

Too cheap will put some people off because it may make them think your services are not good enough.

Over priced may also make you lose clientele if they can’t afford what you’re charging.

Once you take these two perspectives into consideration you can then set a moderate price that can reflect quality of work, value and fairness.

Costs

Costs are a very important part of any business and you can’t escape this part of business.

Let’s face it, running a recording studio will incur costs whether you know it or don’t. Other people have to rent places, others have to manage their utility bill’s to keep the studio running and others also have to ensure that they pay their clientele.

These are several examples of typical costs associated with running a recording studio. Therefore when looking to set a charge for your services you have to make sure that you take all these things into consideration because you may end up losing your business due to costs being higher than revenue.

Clientele Type and location

Your clientele type will mostly be determined by the location of your recording facility and the service charge you’ll be able to set for your music production studio.

Your studio location matters because clients in some areas may find your price points too high while others may find them too low and end up thinking your services are of low quality.

Therefore you have to determine what works for the particular location you’re in.