How Much Time Do You Generally Spend on 1 Track?

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  NY Composer 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #31601 Reply

    BrianMcGravey
    Participant

    Hi everyone, I was wondering – what is the average amount of time you spend on an instrumental track? For the sake of this post, let’s assume the track is in the range of 1:30-2:30. I know that every track is different, but I’m looking for a general average. Also, how much time would it take you if you already have a template for that style, and how long would it take if it’s your MAIN style?

    I assume if it’s your main style it would be significantly quicker, and if you have a template of course that will help it be done quicker too.

    I guess the best way to answer is to say:

    A. generally I spend x amount of time per track
    B. If I have a TEMPLATE already created I would spend x amount of time
    C. If I have a TEMPLATE and it’s my MAIN style/genre I would spend x amount of time

    #31610 Reply

    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    Bump

    #31611 Reply

    composer
    Participant

    It’s all over the place. 1-20 hours. I don’t see any correlation between number of hours spent and likelihood of placement. Some just take longer than others. Of course it’s always worth my time to spend enough hours to do my best work. I work faster if I’m specific about how I want the track to sound before I start. I can always change my mind after I start if that seems like the thing to do.

    Yes, a template can save some time. And if you’ve already chosen a palette, you have fewer decisions to make, and that can help.

    If it’s a genre that’s new or newish to me, the first track may take 2-4x as long to produce but it’s worth taking the time to get the sound you want. It’s efficient and educational to make at least 2-3 tracks in that genre.

    #31614 Reply

    Danny

    I will agree with Composer. It can be 1 hour or 10 hours if I make changes, add a bridge, etc.

    Sometimes getting involved in a complicated mix ,can take longer that writing the piece.

    Regarding templates. Sure they are fine but I always find myself adding more to the template or not using some instruments in the template.

    #31615 Reply

    Art Munson
    Keymaster

    1-20 hours. I don’t see any correlation between number of hours spent and likelihood of placement.

    Yep, same here. One of our best money earners only took a few hours. On the other hand, some of that I have struggled with have done very well also.

    Wash, rinse and move on!

    #31617 Reply

    Paul Biondi

    +1 It’s hard to gauge — with two and sometimes three cues in different stages of development because a day’s work includes working on a new cue as well as reviewing with fresh ears the cue(s) from the day or two before.

    #31618 Reply

    BEATSLINGER
    Participant

    For me, they are not done until they are done. The bigger question for me is “Who is the track going to?”
    My Top-Tier Libraries, I can be in production on a track for weeks. I do though still have a couple cable network libraries I work with, and those can be finished in a matter of 3-to-5 hours.

    #31619 Reply

    maxpower
    Participant

    Anything between one hour and one week

    #31622 Reply

    Kery Michael
    Participant

    8 to 12 hours. Spread out over a week, as I’ve got a day job. I would love to produce more than 1 a week but that’s been my average.

    #31628 Reply

    RobRoeder
    Participant

    Usually at least 5 hours, sometimes as much as 15.

    #31629 Reply

    Mark_Petrie
    Participant

    Tracks designed for TV and with no live parts take me about 10 hours, stretched out over two or three days. The breaks in between sessions give me fresh ears each day and helps a lot with a range of issues.

    Tracks for trailers with no live recording can take me one night (for a custom short TV spot) to four days. With live recording, the whole process from sketch to recording to mix can take two weeks of work for one track.

    I used to crank out tracks for TV at a crazy rate of two or three a day, but those tracks don’t make me nearly as much money as the ones I spend a lot more time on these days. Not to mention, rushing stuff made me develop bad habits, leaning on loops etc. Taking a lot of time seemed scary at first, but I improved a lot faster taking my time on each track. My aim is to make every new track the best thing I’ve produced to date… I might not always hit the mark but at least that’s the goal I have in the back of my mind as I work.

    #31630 Reply

    Paul Biondi

    @mark_petrie

    …tracks for TV at a crazy rate of two or three a day, but those tracks don’t make me nearly as much money as the ones I spend a lot more time on these days. Not to mention, rushing stuff made me develop bad habits, leaning on loops etc.

    +1 same here Mark. I changed my approach because of the life a cue. I saw that the cues I cranked-out quickly would get many placements in the beginning but eventually slow to a trickle . But the cues where I played the parts and took a bit more time with, their staying power is strong and they continue to get placed.

    #31631 Reply

    LAwriter
    Participant

    I wish I could +1 / +2 you guys, but the oddest thing for me is that there is no rhyme or reason to what gets continual use here. Tracks that I could have made in 10 minutes continue to get used a decade later, and “masterpiece” tracks that I spent tons of time on sit virtually unused.

    #31633 Reply

    Paul Biondi

    @lawriter

    …oddest thing for me is that there is no rhyme or reason to what gets continual use…Tracks that I could have made in 10 minutes continue to get used a decade later, and “masterpiece” tracks that I spent tons of time on sit virtually unused.

    For all/most of us, this might have less to do with how much time we spend on a track and more to do with do with how differently we craft the track. My guess is that your 10 minute tracks are still getting placed not only because they’re high-quality, but they’re also meaningfully different (less complex?) than your bigger, more ambitious tracks. And those differences lead to them being a fit for more opportunities, end-users, media and moods.

    #31636 Reply

    Music1234
    Participant

    Tracks are “done”, when they’re “done” and as everyone is saying, sometimes a track that gets composed, mixed, and mastered in 4 hours goes on and earns a lot of royalties and sync fees. Sometimes the one’s that take 20 hours across a few days earn very little. There is no correct answer.

    Only the buyers decide what is useful for their projects. If you write 2000 pieces of music over a 20 to 30 year period you are probably likely to have some gems that rise up and earn you a lot of money. At the same time, you will also have tracks that never earn much at all. There always will be happy surprises along the way where, for example, a really old track gets discovered and used in a big project and produces nice earnings when you least expect it.

    When all is said and done I would advise that music producers not stop working on a track until they really know it’s ready for release. Never rush work out the door. Just keep tweaking and tweaking until you get everything you can out of the track. I would never advise writing, mixing, mastering and releasing in 1 day. Always sleep on a track and a mix. Listen the next day. If it’s ready, go ahead and release it. If not, keep working on it until you know it’s ready to go.

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