I have been approached by a photographer (he does weddings, bar & bat mitzvahs, etc.) who wants to use some music on his web site. He just wants to possibly use something I've already written, as writing something from scratch specifically for him is WAY out of his budget! Anyone have any ideas as to what is considered a fair charge? His market area would be within a 100 mile radius.
Thanks in advance.
This may sound different, but I have been in situations like this (knowing it will not be a great deal of money) and I ask the customer what he or she would like to spend on the project. Then, according to the length, complexity, and time intensity of my material, I come up with a package that I feel represents proper compensation for my time and efforts. This can be done with original material, or material you are pulling "off your shelf."
I think it also depends on how long they wants to use it. I have worked with a photographer, also a good friend, on a number of her projects and licensed one piece to her for $100 for a one-off project, and $250 for an on-going project for a year. A lot of it also had to do with what she was getting paid for it, and what impact the music had on the overall presentation. I think that may have been more than your average music library, but she wanted something higher quality than what the library services could provide. I'm not sure how the music I created for her would equate in price to something similar provided by a library service.
Make sure you draw up a contract stating what their rights of usage are, and make sure you get credit.
Honestly, this is one area that I struggle with a lot: trying to understand the going rate for music and music services. It seems if you ask the professionals their response is "as much as you can get." Which is a true answer, but isn't helpful in understanding the value of what we do. Especially for people at the beginning of their career. What IS our time worth? How do we calculate the time of composing vs the number of instruments we choose? Should we even factor that in, or should we present it as, "I create music, all types, here's my rate?" What is a reasonable quote to give someone for composing music, rendering it with GPO, and recording and mixing it, in terms of time? Money? Bueller? I can write about 1:30 per day, fully orchestrated, but it seems to take me two days to turn that 1:30 into a fully rendered audio file.
From what I've read, music is supposed to be anywhere from 2% to 8% (!) of a film's budget--I've most commonly seen 5%. What if it's a short film and their total budget is $500? We just accept $10?
Sorry... I just realize I dropped a bunch of anxiety there... Maybe some of that questionably decipherable drivel was helpful. Apologies if it was just drivel.
I feel that what he is offering you is a friendly gesture.After all who is policing small websites to see who is using unlicensed music? If he is willing to use some music you have already written, let him. Charge him a friendly fee. Your not doing any work. Your work is not in demand right now, but you will be able to use his site as an advertisement for yourself. At first you just want to get your stuff out in the marketplace. Then if your friend does a commercial for a local business maybe he will get some music from you in stead of downloading it. Your still not gonna hit the motherload but your getting work then maybe you show this commercial to someone who does bigger commercials or an independent film maker.
A band has to cover its fee at the door if it expects to get more work a writer has to earn his/her keep as well.