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Author Topic: music fee question  (Read 3003 times)

yosefmc

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music fee question
« on: October 10, 2009, 12:36:45 am »

I have a project studio in my home and I've been producing my own
music for several years. I recently got hired to do some projects for
a business, the first of which involves editing audio, and creating
music to go with it. It will be for a cd which they will be selling.
I'm doing this as work for hire, so basically I need to know how to
calculate a fee. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated
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Tim Halligan

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Re: music fee question
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2009, 10:08:50 am »

Ok...there's two parts to your question here...

First of all, there's the actual editing and mixing of the project. You don't say where you are, but you are competing against the local post-studios and so their hourly rate should be a guide for you. Do everyone a favour and don't undercut them, because that ultimately harms the entire industry.

Secondly...the music you are composing... Let's be honest here - the client could conceivably use production (library) music and still get the result they were seeking. If they did go down that route, they would have to pay a fee based on the duration of music used, and the number of copies made. This will be administered by the national mechanical copyright owners society - in Australia, this is AMCOS, in Canada it's SOCAN I believe, and I think it's ASCAP in the USA...but don't quote me.

When you have figured out what it would cost to do it that way, that will give you a guide as to how much to charge your client...because if your client HAS a clue, they will know all of the numbers you are competing against already.

So...you have to walk the fine line between charging too much and having the client "go legit", and charging too little and having the local industry wanting to kill you. Sure - they are going to  hate you, but at last you haven't got the client used to paying a stupidly small rate and creating that expectation for EVERY job they ever do - whether with you or in a legit studio.

Moral of the story: don't shit where everyone eats.

Cheers,
Tim
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yosefmc

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Re: music fee question
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2009, 12:25:08 pm »

Tim, thanks for the input. I'm in Fresno, California, not exactly a hub of the entertainment industry. The business I am doing this for normally does their own audio editing, but they asked me to do this because they want original music for the project. For that reason,I'm really not competing with the local studios. If they did not have me do this, they would have done what they normally do, which is use previously recorded copyrighted material.
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Greg Youngman

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Re: music fee question
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2009, 04:22:30 pm »

There are hundreds of sites that talk about music "work for hire".

Here are a couple:  http://www.r-vcr.com/music/copyright/hire.htm

http://www.mcgillismusic.com/work_for_hire.htm

Unless the CD they're selling sells millions of units, you're not likely to get much residual anyway.  And if it does, at least make sure you get credit for the music on the CD.  One way to charge is figure out how much your time is worth per day.  If their business is north of Shaw Ave, Bullard or the Fig Garden area, charge a bit more.
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Etch-A-Sketch

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Re: music fee question
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 03:07:22 pm »

in the end, add up how many hours you think it might take you to do everything (sound editing, music and mixing).  Multiply that by your hourly rate (if you already have one).  And there is your answer.

technically speaking it always will take longer than you estimate.  so you might want to "pad" the time a little bit.  If you think it will take you 10 hours, expect it to take at least 15... and so on...

Also, revisions.  Are you eating the cost of changes they decide to make or are they paying you extra?  You might want to bring that up with them.  Have them approve things along the way (rough music mix, when the audio editing is done, etc), and maybe give them one revision for free...after that it's extra $$$.

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