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Topic: Going price rates for a new composer

  1. #1

    Going price rates for a new composer

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    I\'ve been recently asked by a client for pricing on projects I would be doing in the future. He was thinking of two types of pricing. One would be flat rate (1 min commercial jingle for example), and another would be a rate for something like a 20 minute epic game soundtrack. I\'m not sure if it\'s priced by the minute or by the second. Are there lots of factors that determine what I get paid also? For the flat rate, we were talking something like $400-$500 on the minute, but I\'m not sure if that\'s enough.

    I basically want to get paid respectably and not get burned afterwards. I also would want to know what contracts I need to do. I would be doing projects like trailer scores, game soundtracks, and possibly commercials. The client is mainly a cg modeling and graphics company, but offers more services, like the music dept. that I\'m in. An outside company comes to them needing music, then my client turns to me, and I accept work and fee.

    So what contracts would I need?

    Anybody with real experience would be outstanding. This information is crucial to know, and would deeply appreciate anyone\'s contribution. Thanks.

    Jared Hudson

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    69 Lois Lane, Metropolis

    Re: Going price rates for a new composer

    Jared, I listened to some pieces on your site and your stuff is quite good. I personally think you\'d be selling yourself short at $400-500. You should be thinking in the $1000 per minute range for the game stuff to start. If you want to establish a flat fee, base it on the $1000 per minute figure, find out how many actual minutes of music need to be composed, and voila...there\'s your flat fee quote...hehe.

    I don\'t know about the jingle stuff...that all depends on whether it\'s a local or national market for the jingles. ie, I\'d say $750-1000 is good for a local jingle considering you also have to pay the singers and musicians, and then there\'s residuals and such which leads us to...

    (I\'m putting on my \'right to the point\' cap)

    The first thing any respectable composer would tell you is there is no way in hell you should be taking care of the legal stuff. Get an agent or a manager or even an entertainment lawyer with experience in the composing field to do the contracts *and* the negotiating for you.

    The only thing you\'re going to accomplish by doing this yourself is getting underpaid, most likely getting burned with the contract and the rights you\'ll unwittingly sign away, looking like amateur hour since you prolly don\'t know the first thing about these kind of contracts, and getting majorly distracted trying to take care of the business end of things when you should be focussing on crafting the music.

  3. #3

    Re: Going price rates for a new composer

    General advice:
    1) Get this book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1578200830/gignews/onyourmarkmus-20/002-6259773-0336031
    It has contracts.
    2) For games, if one has not worked in games before (or has very few credits) and if one is not crontracted with a wealthy game company, $500 PFM is a good rate for full orchestral, less for everything else unless it is very complex. Raise rates progressively for every job based on how deep the pockets are. Charge low rates for smaller companies just for the credits, more for others. This all assumes one is an indi. For example, $700 to $1000 PFM is very high for an unknown with few or no (major) game credits.
    3) Join G.A.N.G. to get answers first-hand from established game composers. No need to take my word for all this. http://www.audiogang.org/
    4) Other may have a different take. Get other advice as well. GANG is a good place to start.

  4. #4

    Re: Going price rates for a new composer

    Nice music on your site!!

  5. #5

    Re: Going price rates for a new composer

    I have a lot of experience in the gaming world as a developer, musician, designer, etc.... Here\'s my take:

    $1000 a minute is gonna make it hard to get work if you don\'t have a name and whatnot and you\'re not writing for a big company with a good budget.

    Most smaller game companies don\'t have the budget for that sort of money. It\'s just not reasonable to ask for it in the gaming world yet. Hopefully soon that will change *fingers crossed*. But if you ask for that much, most companies will laugh at you unless they have it in their heads that your name is going to do something for sales. Even then, if they don\'t have the budget.....

    I\'ve actually had the pres from a game company say to me, \"Why should we pay you $400 a minute for music when we can go out and pay (insert lame composer here) 100,000 dollars to do the music?\" I leave out the composers name so as not to offend or be disrespectful. Suffice it to say, he sucked...but had somewhat of a name.

    Now, it may be arrogant for me to feel I was better as a composer than this guy...but even at that, it\'s irrelevant. The developer had openly admitted that he was extrememly impressed with my demo CD. His comment was based on namesake...not musical quality. The music itself didn\'t make much difference to him. Only the name and the sales it would help generate.

    So that\'s my take on it.

    Nonetheless, I also believe that 1000 a minute is a fair price for someone with skill. I just don\'t think the gaming world has caught up to that sort of thinking musically yet. Most smaller companies still hire their brother\'s best friend\'s neighbor -- who\'s willing to do it for $100 a minute or less. They don\'t consider that the final product will suck.

    So, are you selling yourself short if you have skill and only ask for $500. Sure. But would you rather have a contract for $500 less than your worth or no contract at all?

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