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Topic: Scoring a game - how much to charge?

  1. #1

    Scoring a game - how much to charge?

    Hi - sorry for another "how much thread"

    I am inline to score a vid game by a small company that has just started. Anyone have an idea of how much I should be charging? And is it per cue/per scene, what?

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2

    Re: Scoring a game - how much to charge?

    i normally charge about $1,000,000.00 for each piece. i guess thats why i haven't been hired for anything yet, so hopefully someone else can give you a good idea.
    -Keith Fuller

    iMac Quad i7 * MacBook Pro * Logic Studio 9 * WD 320GB & 1TB Externals@7,200RPM * Presonus Firebox * M-Audio Axiom 25 & Keystation 61 * Rode NT1-A * Epiphone Hollowbody * Fender Amp * KRK Rokit 8's

  3. #3

    Re: Scoring a game - how much to charge?

    Ask them what their budget is. You could possibly do better than the $100 per min above - ie: $1500 seems ok for 10 mins for a new company, but again it depends on what they've got. Also, in games you dont get royalties usually - thats a difference between film/TV work and games. Possibly that varies country by country.

  4. #4

    Re: Scoring a game - how much to charge?

    You can't claim royalties on game music? That's stupid. Didn't know that.

  5. #5

    Re: Scoring a game - how much to charge?

    Well, you can try, but most of the time - with a standard high-level commercial title - the composer is going to be getting paid a good amount to begin with. It's often work-for-hire, no different than writing music for film.. you don't get royalties for that either (in the U.S. - unless it displays on TV.)
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  6. #6

    Re: Scoring a game - how much to charge?

    Not much royalties in games really. As far as I know of course. There's simply no airtime in games. It's not like the telly or the radio. Games, you buy them, that's it.

    But anyhow, it all comes down to their budget, but keep in mind the following:

    If they ask for a full orchestral score with choirs, for example, then the price should go up a bit. If they want loop small scores for a match-3 game then low price. IF they want 10 minutes of music, is too little, every minute should be charged right. If they want, though 45 minutes, then go for a whole buyout and charge te whole thing. Don't tell them that it's 100$ per minute, blah blah, but you want 5000$ for the whole thing. In the end, it will save them the calculations and see "yes, I have these money", or "no, he's asking too much. let's lower the price".

    Usually if you somehow "know" these people and they are not faceless beasts behind the companies, you can talk your way through this. Discuss. See how they feel, what they want. Be clear... etc...

  7. #7

    Re: Scoring a game - how much to charge?

    Sometimes you may be able to get a percentage bonus (based on your overall charge), if the shipped units exceed a certain threshold, but even this is fairly rare.

    One of the problems with royalties, is that the business structure of games is quite different, as is the deals.

    Often for example a publisher will pay a developer an agreed amount to create a title. The developer may then commision the audio content producer, not the publisher. The reason that this is important, is that the person producing the music/sfx is not in the 'loop' when is comes to contracts and discussions with the publisher (who often hold all the cards).

    The audio person is often a contractor for a period in the project, the work bought or licensed for a title/platform and that's it.

    It's pretty hard to make any deals unless the developer can offer you them, and often even the developer will struggle to get a good royalty deal on sales of the game they made for themselves (if any!), let alone the audio!

    This does vary of course...


  8. #8

    Re: Scoring a game - how much to charge?


    in my experience there are no royalties in the game industry, of course I heard of exeptions, but it really isn't typical. So, better not count on them. You generally charge per minute.

    A good fee in the US game industry is around 1.000,00-1.500,00 $$ per minute, this is just commun knowledge (not that I would get that rate usually in the game buisness in europe). It is based on "buy-out" or "work for hire" only possible in the US. If you are starting out, you can set a fee between 150 and 250 $$ per minute, but don't count on roylaties. It seems very reasonable to me.

    What helped me in the beginning was to calculate with the time I spend. Exemple : For one minute I need 8 hours. If I am payed 100,00 $$ per minute, I am payed 12,5 $$ an hour. If you are declared and pay taxes, social ensurance etc, you keep like 6 $$ an hour. Can I live with it? No, I can't. So, I need raise my prices. If I am payed 100 $ a minute and I can easily do 5 minutes a day, the situation changes of course. So it depends on what you need to live, what style it is, (is it a style you are very familiar with?), how experienced you are (have you scored films before etc, so you can sell "garantee of quality"). But I wouldn't go anywhere lower than 150$$ per minute as a general rule.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Good luck with it,

  9. #9

    Re: Scoring a game - how much to charge?

    On the topic of royalties - you can negotiate for anything you want. It all depends on what the developer is willing to offer or discuss. They might want to make a deal with you that payes you less in upfront money and then pay you more money (aka royalty) based on units sold (or shipped). This makes it easier on their budget, but you take the risk of the product not selling well thereby reducing your overall fee. The other risk you take is that the developer may well go out of business either during the production cycle (if there are too many delays) or shortly after the product ships (if sales are minimal).
    Paul Baker
    Baker's Jazz And More
    Austin, Texas, USA

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