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  • Hours, Pricing and the Hurdle that is Income Creation

    Posted by Jeremy Burge on January 31, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    Good day,

    I am rather new to the AE field and I am looking into starting my own service as a provider of recording and mixing. One quasi-issue that I have run into is understanding pricing in regards to what services are offered for the price point allocated. I offer you the following example below;

    Ex: Your day rate for your studio is $300 for 8hrs. The musician(s) contact you and say they want to do a very minimal stripped back 1-2 songs. The songs have an indie feel to them, so they focus more on the song writing/composition, vocals and guitar, with some drums sparsely throughout and a simplistic bass line. They also opt for some atmospheric midi and one backing vocal and one accent/riff guitar (simple accent/riffs). Let’s also say that the band knows both of the songs extremely well and can get all the recording done in that 8hrs because they don’t require multiple takes. That how tight they are.

    Here’s the question…… is the entirety of the 8hrs solely for recording? Is the mixing done after the fact? If so, how is the mixing priced in with the overall rates that you provide clients?

    I will say, I feel like I may know what the answer to this question is, but I am always looking to learn other people’s methods and modes of thinking.

    Thank you!

    J. Burge

    Spotify: Last Adam- A New Day LP

    Jeremy Burge replied 2 years, 8 months ago 2 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Ty Ford

    February 1, 2021 at 3:29 am

    Hello Jeremy and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

    I’ve been charging $50/hr for musicians in the studio. I’m in Baltimore, MD. If I were in NY, or LA, I’d probably charge more. I usually don’t charge for setup, load in and load out, but I’m not doing a lot of bands these days with a lot of hardware and a guitarist who takes a half hour or more to get his pedals and effects figured out. I’m not doing big time acts. Mostly singer/songwriters. Eight hours at that rate is $400.

    I did a record and mix session recently where we tracked one acoustic guitar and vocal for one song. It was simple. I recorded the guitar with one mic and took the direct from the pickup to another track. Vocal on a third track.

    We did a bit of editing because there were some clams, but in general we got through pretty easily. I don’t like doing punch-ins on this sort of session. I just ask the player/singer to back up to the chorus or verse before the clam to give me a lot of places to edit. Then I edit the bad pieces out. I’ll usually pan the two guitar tracks to make plenty of room for the vocal in the middle and add some reverb to them and the vocal. Drop in some compression and limiting on the mix bus. We were done in two hours.

    If you have more instruments and singers and two songs, what I would do is track both songs and maybe do a rough mix (but maybe not). Even if I do a rough mix, I don’t like to let them leave with it. I usually like to talk to the members about what they want the mixes to sound like and ask them to let me get a good rough mix and invite them back in. The reason I don’t like to give them a rough mix going out the door the first time is that I’ve had folks come in with three pages of notes after laboring over the rough mix and half or more of the things they wanted I’ve already done by working alone.

    Also, for me, working for more than 5-6 hours causes enough fatigue to knock me off my game some. I want some time away so I can come back fresh without the band and straighten things up a bit. When they do come back we begin with my mixes and alter them as they’d like. I’m not a pushy engineer/producer, but if I hear problems, I try to solve them. I’ve learned the hard way that if you let something slide, it will probably bite you later. I just try to be nice about it.
    How’s that sound?


    Ty Ford

    Cow Audio Forum Leader

  • Jeremy Burge

    February 2, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Nice! Thank you for your feedback, I greatly appreciate it.

    So, just to clarify, does your $400 hourly rate include mixing as well after the fact? And, when you do mix for anything, are you giving a standard time rate (depending on project size/tracks involved) like 2-3 days to come back and listen to the mix and make adjustments with them? (Apologies if this is redundant, I am just working things out in my brain for my business that I plan to start in the future, despite COVID.)

    Also, what are “clams” I don’t know that term. Is that similar to “plosives”?

    Thank you again!

  • Ty Ford

    February 3, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    Hello Jeremy,
    I said, “Eight hours at that rate is $400.” I did NOT say the rate was $400/hr.
    My rate of $50/hr is for recording or mixing, whether they are here or not.
    A clam is a mistake.

    Ty Ford

    Cow Audio Forum Leader

  • Jeremy Burge

    February 3, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    My apologies on the rate, what you stated is what I meant to say. Thank you for the clarification. I believe I understand now. Nice, now I have a new term to use! Thanks!

    God Bless,

    J. Burge

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