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How Much Does It Cost To Self-Produce a Song?

22 Mar 2017

Interview kind: text · Reading time: 14 minutes

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive here at Bantamu is: “How much will it cost to produce my single?”
 
We’ve decided to dig into the data we’ve collected from the very beginning of our matchmaking service and answer to all the questions regarding the budget needed when self-producing your own music.
But how can we talk about a precise budget? Thanks to our matchmaking service that connects artists with producers and audio engineers from all over the world, we are able to gather all the data points concerning the independent music production scene and its relative costs.
 
Let’s be honest, the new technologies have allowed artists and musician to get easy access to professional music-making tools and many steps of the production process can be managed independently (ever heard of the term Home Recording?). This means, of course, that the music production industry has reduced its costs dramatically.
But when a musician is producing the music on his/her own, the final result doesn't always meet the expectations: that’s why nowadays many musicians are still looking for the right professionals to collaborate with when it’s time to hit the record button.
 
Bantamu was created to help talented artists finding the perfect professional to get a unique and special sound for their productions.
 
With over 500 quotes sent from our verified professionals to the artists who used our service, we have collected enough data concerning all the costs related to the production, recording, mixing and mastering aspects of a single song.
 
The production costs obviously depend on many factors, such as the experience and the credits every producer and engineer has.
This is the reason why there are two types of professionals each artist can choose when he/she starts a project on our platform: Top Junior Pros and Top Senior Pros.
Until today, just 5% of the professionals that have sent their application have been accepted to work on our platform. We want to guarantee the best quality to those who decide to rely on our service.
 
 
We hope that these informations will be shared and become a good guideline for who’s part of the modern music industry.
 
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Production Costs
 
 
When talking about production, many artists believe it’s simply about recording and mixing your own songs just like you’ve always played them in your garage-rehearsal room.
Well, it’s note quite like that. When you decide to rely on a producer, the first thing to do is usually meeting up with him/her in your garage-rehearsal room and listening to the song as you originally composed it. 
 
There are no written rules: it often happens that a song can be rearranged in many different styles, usually starting from the rhythm section, eliminating or adding some parts or different instruments.
If the artist composed the song with a guitar, he can end up rearranging it on a piano or rhodes, adding new melodic lines or vocal parts that didn’t exist before.
A song could also really work well when played live: in that case the producer should try to recreate that same live impact in the studio environment.
 
The producer has a key role: in fact a good producer can evaluate the strong aspects of a song, advising the musician on how to make it more effective so the audience can perceive exactly what the artist wants to express through his/her music.
 
This first step always requires a first approach to the studio called pre-production. The artist and the producer get together and discuss the arrangement, the key parts and the song structure (the sequence of intro, verse, chorus, bridge, outro and so on).
 
Once the structure of the song has been defined, it’s time to hit the studio!
Every producer usually relies on the recording studios he/she is used to work in. It can happen that the producer decides to move to another studio closer to the artist for the recording process and then go back to his/her own studio and work on unattended mixing sessions.
 
To calculate the actual cost of the production of one song you have to consider that the work schedule will be divided in several days of pre-production, a certain number of days dedicated to recording and eventually mixing (if the producer is going to be the mixing engineer too).
The production methods vary from a country to another (US, UK or EU), just like the “type” of producer you’ve chosen (Top Junior or Top Senior): the average cost for this process is variable and thanks to the data we’ve collected from our verified professionals we’ve been able to enclose it in a range that goes from $600 to $1800 per song.
 
These costs usually include 2 days of pre-productions, 2-3 days of recording, one day for mixing and one last day dedicated to the overall review and the final changes, before sending the single to the mastering engineer.
 
 
 
Recording Costs
 
 
Recording is certainly one of the most delicate steps you’ll have to deal with to “build” your single.
How many times did you come across those funny memes regarding the well-known topic “let’s fix it later in the mix”? If a song is badly recorded, it will be practically impossible to get a professional sound out of it, no matter what the mixing engineer is going to do.
 
If you decide to record your single in a professional studio, make sure you choose the one that fits your genre and the sound you’re looking for. 
The recording costs can vary according to the number of instruments you have to capture and to the number of musicians attending the sessions.
 
63% of the artists that use Bantamu to find the right recording studio are solo artists that have to record only the vocals and maybe a few instrumental tracks (usually drums and percussions) with the help of some hired session musicians. In this case the recording process can last just one or two days.
 
If we’re talking about a band with more elements in it (drums, bass, guitars and vocals), this will take a bit longer. Unless the band decides (and is capable) to do a live recording, it usually takes 3 days to record a single. In this case the first day is always dedicated to the rhythm sections (drums and bass), while the remaining days are used to record other instrumental parts (guitars and keyboards) and vocals.
 
The cost of a recording studio depends on its location, on the number of days you’ve booked it and on the availability of the studios in the period you’ve required (if it’s a “last minute” booking, rates can drop quite quickly).
According to the rates the professionals propose through Bantamu, the average daily cost of a recording studio is between $300 and $700.
 
You’ll have to then add the usual mixing and mastering costs, depending on whether you decide to do it in the same studio or through other remote collaborations (online mixing and mastering).
 
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Mixing Costs
 
 
The most creative step of the production is certainly mixing.
Nowadays artists can collaborate remotely with the best professionals without moving from their laptop. The term “Online Mixing” is widely known and used by many famous musicians and artists.
 
The hardest aspect is always finding the right professional to work with. It can be really frustrating not to find the professional that can fully understand the sound and the mood you’re looking for. Especially if this other person is on the other side of the planet.
 
Before hiring a mixing engineer, make sure you carefully listen to some of his/her most recent works. And before you start actually working with him/her, define every term of your agreement (e.g. number of changes, mixing deadlines and so on).
Keep in mind that our matchmaking service will put you in contact with a number of mixing engineers that already match your sound and your music genre. This is a great starting point when looking for the right mixing engineer to work on your new songs.
 
Even in this case, the price range for the mixing of one song is pretty wide. 
Consider the fact that services like Bantamu allow you to contact different professionals with different experiences from all over the world.
The budget can change quite a bit, depending if you want to work with a Grammy Award Winning engineer or a young talented mixing engineer.
We had received more than 300 projects of artists looking for a mixing engineer and the average cost for the mixing of one song is between $150 and $500.
 
Rates can vary according to how big the session is, to the number of tracks and the editing work that needs to be done. Approximately 38% of the mixing projects we’ve received have 30 to 70 tracks per session and the average cost for a mixing session this big is usually around $350.
 
If you want more infos on what is needed prior to collaborate with a mixing engineer remotely, make sure to read this short post we have created for you. 
 
 
 
Mastering Costs
 
 
Before your single gets printed or released on any digital music distribution company (e.g. Spotify and Itunes), your song has to be mastered.
If you’re still doubting about the meaning of mastering and you’re wondering what to do when you decide to rely on a mastering engineer’s supernatural ears, make sure you check out our article “How To Prepare Your Songs For Professional Mastering”.
 
The rates to collaborate remotely with one of our verified mastering engineers is quite standard.
Like the other production steps, these terms are agreed depending on the type of project (Single, EP, LP) and on the professional the artist wants to work with (Top Junior or Top Senior). The average cost is $100 per song, but rates can vary between $70 and $120, depending on the engineer you contact.
 
The average budget you should consider to master an LP goes from $600 to $1200, and from $400 to $900 to master an EP.
 
We’re obviously talking about online mastering: it basically means hiring someone to work remotely on your project without being able to physically assist to the sessions. This option can highly affect the overall budget, especially if the mastering engineer you’ve chosen has decades of experience and has worked with some big names of the music industry.
 
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Here at Bantamu we strongly believe that if an artists finds the right professional to work with, this can really boost the quality of the project and create healthy and long-standing relationships between people who really understand each other and that work for the same goal: getting some great music out there!
 
Budget is always a big issue when it comes to “making music”, but it’s part of the process: we’re here to help artists and professionals get over this step and focus on the creative side of their job.
If you want to meet the right music professionals for your productions you can start a project here!
 
 
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