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Helpful advice for studio musicians new to the job


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Hi. My name is Kyle and I'm new to this forum. I am starting to get some session work for Hip Hop/R n B producers and I am interested in what the average beginning pay I should expect for these kinds of jobs might be. I'm 28 and I've been playing for about 15 years now. I live in Atlanta and the producer I am working with is pretty successful with his music thus far. I've checked out some other places on the web like the musicians union for some info and I would like to know what some of my peers think too. Thanks in advance for any advice you guys/gals nay have.
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Hi Kyle, and welcome to the Low Down! :wave:


I don't know if we ever believed this guy or not, but here\'s a fun read about hip hop studio work . I believe the price he quoted was $500 per song, if you believe that.



I used to live in Atlanta, out in "Snob" (Cobb) County. Played in a pretty good high school marching band. I understand they've gone on to win a few awards. ;)

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I'm not familiar with hip hop studio rates, but never sell yourself short. Ask for what you want, you can always come down. For privately funded sessions you will have to take a bit less than a session funded by a fairly large record company. The main thing is to keep working. If people know you can really make a track come alive, you come a lot closer to naming your price. I try to get at least $100 a track for private or vanity CD sessions. More for record company sessions or commercials/ movie soundtracks.
"Shoot low, most of 'em are ridin' ponies"
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I haven't done a ton of studio work, but enough to contribute this:


It really depens on whose gig it is and their budget. If it's somebody new and on the way up, you'll make less. If they're more established, you can possibly negotiate a little more.


It just depends, really. Be disciplined, have good gear, be prepared, and contribute real opinions (if called for) on the final product.

It's like playing live -- do your job, toe the mark, play well with others, and your phone will ring. . .And you can ask for more money and/or perks over time.


Where I'm at (geographically) it's a word of mouth thing. Even if a studio gig pays less than you'd like, does it make you happy? That's a big part. . .I love recording, so it's a no-brainer for me.


Face it, if you go in and record parts (even if it's for a fraction of what you wanted to make) and it's a success of some sort, that gets around. You'll probably get called "next time", and build a solid relationship with whoever is behind the board and whoever is writing/paying to record the material.


My two centavos. Goood luck. Stay the course.

"When it comes to havin' a good time, nothing beats 'fun'. . ."


-- Stefan Johnson

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