How Much Should a Music Producer Charge?


What is art worth and how much should a music producer charge? The answer to this question depends upon the level of the producer’s experience as well up on their skills, their network strength and of course the quality of their productions. Here is what my research revealed to me: A music producer should charge between $200 and $35.000 dollars plus 20%-25%  of the royalties. Breakdown:

  • Beginners: between $200 and $900 dollars.
  • Experienced: between $900 and $3.500 dollars.
  • Top level: between $10.000-$35.000 dollars per song.
  • Top of the music chain: up to $100.000 per song.

Let’s dive into the specifics!

What to consider


Your earning potential is greatly depended by the artist or company you work with. If it is a  large scale company or a famous artist you could possibly charge up to $1,200 per track. But if you’re working for a small company you won’t get that kind of money.

Another determining factor is, of course, the quality of your work. If you sound just like everyone else or if you work is not professional enough you will get paid less. One of the reasons top-level artists are so successful it’s because they have a unique sound, and a great deal of that character sound comes from the producer and songwriter.

1) Pricing emotionally

When figuring out a price for your work emotion can bring you in great trouble. Some producers may say something like “well it took me just 40 minutes to make this custom beat, so I should sell it for 40 dollars”, Or “I know the dude who wants the song, so I’ll cut down on my price”…

No! Please don’t do that. If you can make a quality beat or song in a short amount of time that means you have likely invested time, money (and more time) for years in order to reach this level of productivity. Please don’t indulge yourself in self-sabotage and don’t let any limiting beliefs restrict you.

If you keep having these thoughts most likely you have to improve your self-image and raise your standards on how you see your self, but that’s a story for another post.
Hoewer, there are exceptions which we will discuss below.

QUIT ROBBING YOURSELF!

12 Music Income Strategies That Help You

Master Your FInancial World!

GRATIS COURSE


To Ego or not to Ego?

Ahh the old familiar producer’s ego,  Eckhard Tolle talks a lot about this subject, I remember he once said that:


“The ego can also turn up in feelings of inferiority or self-hatred
because ego is any image you have of yourself that gives you a sense of identity—
and that identity derives from the things you tell yourself and the things
|other people have been saying about you that you’ve decided to accept as truth”…


What I’m trying to say is that, sometimes, our ego tells us that we deserve more or less than that we actually deserve, but that mentality can limit us and stand in the way of our growth as music professionals.

A relative story from my past

Believe me, I know what I’m talking about.
When I was just starting out I had zero clients, then after I attended a songwriting workshop somewhere in London I got approached by a singer, she told me she like my work gave me her contact details and asked me to produce a song for her.

She was quite good and I enjoyed her voice I figured if I produced the song for her I will open new doors and possibilities that could bring me more work and even more clients.
But then my ego came into place,  I thought to myself if she is getting that excited I must be good and if I’m that good I  must get paid accordingly.

While  my way of thinking was partly correct, I always tell people to charge what they are worth and not be afraid to do spit out the price, at the same time I forgot I had no client base experience and she was going to be my first prospect,  plus I didn’t know how to handle clients.

As a result when I send her an extensive email explaining my hourly rates, the percentage of royalties I am entitled to and what the cost would be for the revisions I scared her away… Needless to say, I never heard anything about her ever since.

A famous example

While staying on this subject let’s take as an example a famous producer, you might have heard of Metro Boomin, he is a big name in the Rap-Trap scene. Metro once told in an interview that at the beginning stages of his career he used to give to rappers his beats for free because he just wanted to be heard. He put his ego aside, looked at the big picture and went for it.

Of course, later on, his skills and work ethic got recognized, since then he has worked with many of the biggest names in the music industry.

What is the lesson here?

Never turn a client away, especially if you are just starting out, if you reject one, ten more will follow.
Put your ego aside, take less for a project if you believe you can benefit later on, this can be money or exposure, I don’t say you have to work for free I’m simply stating if you want to ‘’make it’’ sometimes you will have to acknowledge to the big picture.

Don’t let your ego stand in the way of success. Below I list tips, strategies and what to consider when determining your price leaving yourself and the client happy.

QUIT ROBBING YOURSELF!

12 Music Income Strategies That Help You

Master Your FInancial World!

GRATIS COURSE

2) Pricing logically

Pricing logically means you are making decisions without being influenced by your emotions or your ego, you are aware of the bigger picture and you’re strategically making decisions that ensure your future growth.

You must take into account

  • the level of experience you possess
  • the skills you have acquired
  • the strength of your network
  • the connections of your future prospects,
  • the level of competition as well as their rates.

Having the above information in your possession will allow you to make an educated decision and give the best price for each project you’re working on.



3) Charging by the percentage (royalties)

A pop producer can ask a percentage of the royalties, typically 20% to 25%. I suggest you always keep a portion of the royalties since you never know when a song might blow up!

If you are producing music for a movie you can charge a percentage of the film. Typically composers charge within the range of 5% to 15% of the film’s budget.  make sure you asked for the film’s budget before you say you want the percentage of the film.


4) Going by the minute

This applies more to film composers rather than producers in general but charging by the minute can be very profitable, usually, rates run from $50 to $2,000 per minute.
What you basically do is charge per minute of finish at music composition. if you make it to the top you could chat the same as hot Hollywood composers. Rumor has it that they charge more than $40,000 per minute, honestly, I don’t know what top composers actually charge and this number seems rather high to me but this nevertheless whether you charge $1 or $10,000 per minute one thing is sure, this method works.


5) Charging based on your net worth

Charging based on your net worth is quite interesting, this method has a strong correlation between how much you value yourself and how much you’re actually worth.
One of the greatest secrets in any business is to add value in anything you do but first, you figure out your own self-value.

Again if you’re happy earning minimum wage or if you’re happy earnings tens of thousands of Dollars that’s really up to you. In both cases, before you spit out the price honestly determine your net worth, make sure to include your running costs including supplies that you need to operate electricity and your equipment.

If you decide to Determine your price based on your net worth and have figured out what you should earn per hour, I have got a tip for you which I strongly suggest you apply.

If you want to charge by the hour, don’t tell your clients!  

In many cases, if a client knows that your charging by the hour they’re going to try and cut down on the time you spend on the track and at the same time, they will doubt you if you take longer to finish.

Instead what you should do is from the beginning estimate how many hours you will need to finish a particular Project and multiply that by your hourly rate.

Let’s say your estimate for an upcoming project is 20 hours and you charge $35 per hour,  and your running costs are $5 per hour that will make us a grand total of $800. Give you a client this price and don’t even mention your hourly wage.

If it takes you longer to complete a project you could always ask for an additional payment but instead of doing that I would advise you to learn from your experience and next time try to calculate a more accurate estimate.

Beats vs songs

The following is not always the case but generally beats can be priced differently than songs, for a couple of reasons

  1. beats tend to have fewer tracks
  2. beats tend to need fewer sections
  3. Beats tend to be repetitive therefore have fewer sections.

Also mixing a song will take longer than mixing a beat. I’m not saying it’s easier to create a beat versus a song, but since songs tend to have more sections and more instruments involved they tend to take more time to produce and mix properly.


How about tv and film?

As for film/tv/music/gaming, you want to make sure you are signed to a PRO SESAC/ASCAP/BMI, so you can collect additional royalties when the song gets released.

Since in the past few years we have encountered a significant amount of changes in the music industry, royalties are becoming an extremely important source of income for many artists and producers alike.

If you want to know more about the matter I have a post where I compare the best streaming services based upon the royalty share they pay the artist, how many royalties you need in 2019 in order to make minimum wage and much more! Click on my post right here to read it.

Should I look at the budget?

Something else you could try is adjusting your pricing based upon the clients budget.
Some people have a lot to invest and others don’t, but more often than not the client will have a budget which they are comfortable working with.

QUIT ROBBING YOURSELF!

12 Music Income Strategies That Help You

Master Your FInancial World!

GRATIS COURSE

Let’s say they want to spend about $600, that could perhaps be a two or three song combination including mixing.

A couple of things to consider:
Always look at their social network,  if they got an adequate amount of followers to ask them to mention your name in a few posts with a link to your website, tell them that if they do that, you can work within their budget.

If the song is hot, other artists and fans are going to want to know who produced it, for you, of course, that means exposure and future clients!


Beginner vs intermediate vs experienced vs top producers


Of course, there is a big difference between a beginner producer versus an experienced producer. As we saw at the start of the posts,

  • a beginner to intermediate producer should charge between $200 and $900 dollars per song plus 20% of the artist royalties (that is 3% of the records sale’s price).
  • An experienced producer can easily charge between $900 and $3500 dollars plus 20%-25% of the artist royalties or 3%-4% of the records sale’s price.
  • Top level producers should charge between $10.000-$35.000 per song plus the royalties,
  • lastly, producers that are at the “top of the music chain” can charge up to $100.000 per song also gaining their royalty share (that is after the advance has been recouped)

(Additional factors to consider are your net worth and running costs)

Conclusion

The key to winning this game is connections, (something I also have to improve upon even more) and the quality of your productions of course. I hope I have given you a thorough guide and a clear answer.

If you got any questions please feel free to write a comment 🙂 

See you again soon!



Recent Content

QUIT ROBBING YOURSELF! 

You want more music income?

X