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recording sessions


TaurusT

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Been doing a lot of sessions in the past, but regulary I have troubles deciding what to charge. I find myself constantly going for the lowest I possibly can live with (within limits ofcourse). Living on the edge ain't exactly what I want. It is only reasonable to have money left, and to be able to invest in things like new instruments etc.

 

The average project I face is usually laying down 1 hour of keytracks (self-made) on existing music. Recorded. After that, no royalties nothing. Just a onetime fee. Needles to say the quality of the recording and the playing is of professional quality. Sometimes a project is technical.. Sometimes it is "routine keywork".

 

I won't say what I normally charge, but for the experienced session musicians here, and do not mind to share, what do you charge for such projects?

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Hi there

 

I guess its different in all countries and the key is really based on how much your employers can afford to pay. If it is a small studio who in turn aren;t making much money then you'd probably struggle to ask for the Swedish equivalent of £300...

 

But then if its a major label funding it then I get the impression their rates can be anything from £300 for a 2 hour session and above.

 

I've not had much experience of pro studio stuff but I can't imagine its much different to live situations, whereby I charge what i think they can afford, however bear in mind that if your gonna push your luck with prices then only to it in situations where if they show you the door - it really doesn't matter as you KNOW you'll get something else.

 

Read this from the UK musicians union site - these are just minimum wages I guess:

 

http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/scripts/get.php?file=__Media_rates_-_introduction_2006.pdf

 

One gig in the hand is worth 10 gigs pencilled in the diary, if that analogy makes sense!

 

Will look forwad to hearing other replies, Pete

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In Seattle, I've paid scale for talent, which I believe is $45/hour with a two hour minimum. If you have a name/reputation you certainly can negotiate more, but if not I wouldn't push it. There are people standing in line to do this type of work. In larger music markets (NYC, LA, Nashville) I assume scale is higher. The local sets the price.

 

The Seattle rate seems in the ballpark of UK union rates posted above.

 

Busch.

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One gig in the hand is worth 10 gigs pencilled in the diary, if that analogy makes sense!
I agree with that in the sense that the more you make your presence known in the studio, the better chance that you'll get better work down the line. But be carefull not to underestimate your worth.

 

Sometimes you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. (I had that 45 when I was a kid)

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Yeh good advice from LATCHMO there...

 

Theres so many jazz bands in Liverpool that gig for peanuts (ie £20 each for 3 x 1 hour sets) which is ridiculous...but they will always keep on doing it as they have started a trend, and now many other bands can't ask for more as there's always someone cheaper available.

 

It doesn't happen in ANY fucntion gigs other than jazz - such a shame as there are some amazing musicians. I do the occasional one for the musical enjoymnet but I find it embarrassing to get paid so little at the end of the night so its never a gig for financial gain!

 

pete

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Theres so many jazz bands in Liverpool that gig for peanuts (ie £20 each for 3 x 1 hour sets) which is ridiculous...
It's like that old joke: "What did the jazz musician do after he won the lottery? - He kept playing gigs until the money ran out"

 

It's not just jazz players. Musicians want to play. On one hand you can't blame people for wanting to play and taking whatever they can get. But on the other hand, it does adversely affect the going rate for those that make a living solely by playing music.. It's a free market (unless your on a union gig) and cats want to play. We all know the standard pay for club/bar gigs hasn't changed much in 5-10-15+ years although the cost of doing it has, E.g., food, fuel, rent/housing.

 

You have to create a demand for what you do. Be it live or in the studio. Sometimes holding out for more bread works in your favor, and other times it can backfire on you.

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Yeh completely...Me and a singer I work with (Toni James) have an ABOLUTE minimum local gig rate of £60 each and thats at a stretch and we only do that for midweek gigs when we having no other gigs, and we know full well that if it were anymore then the venue genuinely coulnd't afford it.

 

As a result of having this attitude, we get good gigs and our fees range right up to £300 each for weddings etc. Bars will pay up if they realise they have to to get what they want - just takes balls to ask for it :)

 

pete

 

http://www.petewatson.com

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I have recently done several studio projects. I have been getting $60 per tune. That takes away the worry for those paying. If it takes all day then I am hurting. But it usually averages about 1 hour per tune.

 

Now the last project I worked on they needed an acoustic piano and I paid to have mine tuned and did it at my house with a portable roland recorded. It cost me $120 to tune my piano but it needed tuning anyway. I did 4 tunes in 4 hrs so I still came out with the same money I get for some bar gigs I play. Plus I didn't have to move equipment, set up/tear down, or hang around a smokey bar to make money.

 

I hope others here will fess up to what they charge. I have wondered if I was to cheap.

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

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I did some regular studio work in the late 80s-early 90s (San Fransicso area), and I always got $100-$150 per day, and per day was 4-8 hours, and usually closer to 4. I was young, and that was a while ago, so I thought it was pretty good money. I've done some studio work since, but the pay was all over the place. I did three songs for $50 once. I did a whole CD's worth of songs for $450 over two days. I've done some freebies as favors and just because I'm nice.

 

I like to charge by the period of time rather than the song or project. The reason is that I'd like them to just get moving and let's go already -- enough with the chit chat! I'd rather them get 10 songs out of me in 4 hours and I only get 4 hours worth of pay than take three days to record those songs and I get three times as much. I don't do it for the money. I do it for the fun of it and the satisfaction of a job well done. If I were doing it to make a living, I'd probably have a different attitude about it, but then I'd have to think of my entertainment as work, and that would suck the life out of me.

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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Seems to me that's about what session musicians were getting back in the 70's ... wasn't scale about $50/hr?

 

I record tracks at home for free, but you get what you pay for. ;) I'm not putting any pros out of business. The results generally don't go much further than someone's soundclick page.

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