- January 28, 2015 at 11:44 am #19655David HGuest
Great thread! I am totally new to custom composing and in the dark on what to charge. I have been asked to compose for a short (8 min) thriller indie this year and told them $500. Music isn’t too complex, typical tense, suspenseful cinematic/electronic. I’m also in the bidding now to score a 17 minute educational video (not film), replacing the original music with something that will be theirs exclusively. Their budget is pretty low so at first I thought of $1000; but after re-thinking, I made a bid of $2500. I basically have to compose similar music to what’s in the video now which saves a lot of brainstorming time. Hey, at this point, I’m just trying to get my feet wet in this area. I’ve always felt if I could come away making roughly $30 per hour of my actual time that was good. I’m guessing in an hour I could compose several minutes of “typical” music….March 4, 2015 at 12:40 pm #20533
@DavyDad…picking up your question from “Scoring: How to Charge”
You need to agree upon a price before you do the job. You’ll have no way of knowing how long it will take, so how would you charge by the hour?
Scoring to picture is very time consuming because: 1) it is detail intensive 2) you need to use good “film sense.”
1) By the minute, as previously discussed (I’d ask for $150-$200 per minute if you keep the rights to the music.), or
2) What ever you agree upon for the total project, which would include the cost of any additional musicians and studio time, etc, if necessary.
If exclusive rights are involved, as in a typical WFH contract, you should charge much more.
Unfortunately there are no PRO royalties on DVD sales. You could try to negotiate a percentage with your prospective client, but that is unlikely.
If you are asked to score to picture, make sure that your DAW is designed for the task.
Best of luck.
MichaelMarch 4, 2015 at 1:47 pm #20538daveydadParticipant
Thanks for the insight about charging per hour. Hadn’t thought of that. I just finished composing 10 mins of music for a low budget educational video; not extremely complicated music, 4-5 tracks each, took me about 8-10 hours total. I was paid $1000; so using that as a baseline, I’m thinking $100 per minute would be a good place to start. No other musicians are involved.
I think they’ll be fine with me just composing however many tracks it takes to fit their video and not an actual score to picture. So if they need 40 minutes of music I would ask $4000. I know this is gonna blow their mind! Why? The client is a friend which can make it harder to negotiate… you know how that goes.March 4, 2015 at 2:03 pm #20539
I know this is gonna blow their mind! Why? The client is a friend which can make it harder to negotiate… you know how that goes.
Tough to negotiate if they think they’re doing you a favor, helping you get exposure, get your scoring career going etc.
On the other hand, if they’re professionals and have done this before, they know what things cost.
Good luck!March 4, 2015 at 6:59 pm #20540March 4, 2015 at 7:28 pm #20544PaoloParticipant
Thanks for sharing that video – I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breath.
Beautiful – that’s the way to handle horrible offers – have fun with it.
“Is Art the name of your friend director?” LOL! I’m going to have to watch that video again 🙂March 4, 2015 at 8:35 pm #20545Mike MarinoParticipant
I’m finding it harder and harder to even find films I want to pitch for no less finding anything that pays decent-to-well.March 5, 2015 at 6:08 am #20547
I’m finding it harder and harder to even find films I want to pitch for no less finding anything that pays decent-to-well.
LOL!!! I came to that conclusion years ago. It would be hard to find a film that I wanted to watch ONCE, let alone the number of times that you have to watch it to score it.
I prefer documentaries.March 5, 2015 at 6:40 am #20549MarcoGuest
a very interesting read and I am grateful for the opinions of those offering them. I have recently been asked to make the music for a fishing DVD so I have been wondering about these issues. This would be my first such project and I think I need to charge accordingly – but not to undervalue myself and others in the process. Thanks again and that You Tube from Mike was classic. The others that followed were good too 🙂June 21, 2017 at 10:08 am #27555Corey LauryGuest
Hey everyone, I know its been awhile so based off of everything everyone said.
It’s best to ask them how much they’re willing to spend.
Charge per minute or flat fees.
And don’t undersell yourself.
I usually sell my music like this
25 dollars for already existing music and 75 for customs. Both flat fees. I like doing flat fees but I’m willing to get into doing per minute as well. How much should I raise my prices if I’ve been playing the piano since I was 8 and have been producing music since I was 12?
And what does it mean to decrease the value of the industry if you’re charging low?
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