These posts are tricky to write because each situation differs regarding the amount spent on recording and promoting an album. Most people reading my blog don’t have large budgets for their hobbies ($30K). My website, Listening Edge Records, deals with a specific clientele; it focuses on those who have bedroom studios, home studios, students, and hobbyists who have day jobs and want to create albums and get their music out to the public. In other words, people who are passionate about recording albums. So let’s break this down in more detail.
The reason why these posts are tricky is that there’s so much leeway in estimating the cost of an album. What does it cost to record an album? If you are an award-winning grammy artist or Juno winner, the answer is different than if you are plugging away on your tracks in your bedroom studio after getting home from school or work. If you’re not a professional musician, you probably aren’t paying someone to produce, mix, and master your music. If you are, you can afford it and feel there’s a payoff. What complicates the estimation is that not all producers, mixers, mastering engineers, and promotors cost the same. An award-winning music producer, mixing engineer, or mastering engineer will cost much more than someone just starting out, so we should work with some averages.
Music producers charge based on experience and who they’ve worked with; their portfolio helps determine their fee. A reasonably priced music producer could charge around $800-$1500 a song, although you could get someone starting their career for much less than that. You could expect the same from a mixing engineer, $800-$1500 unless you pick someone with less experience. A ten-song album at $1500 a song costs $15000 to record. Add a professional photographer and graphic designer fees, and you’ll see where this is going. Few of us non-professionals would ever see a financial return on a recording costing that much. That’s why many independent musicians produce, mix, and master their own music.
Estimating a promotional budget for your album is much the same as trying to work out the cost of the album. There is such a difference in price between getting someone with minimal experience and someone very experienced, making it nearly impossible to figure out. My main point is that you could easily say another $15000 in promotional fees for an extensive campaign. Now that our album has hit that expense level, we better be touring if we want to see any profit. What you spend making your album is entirely up to you. What you spend on your album if you’re a touring musician differs from what you spend recording an album if you’re a basement studio warrior.
Before anyone gets mad at me, probably to late, I guess what I’m trying to say without crushing anyone’s spirits is to be reasonable with what you are willing and can spend. Yes, you can hire a producer, mixing engineer, or mastering engineer, and pay for promotion, perhaps not an award-winning level one.
I’m basing these estimates on hiring highly sought professionals in all areas to demonstrate that making a professional album can get expensive, although it doesn’t have to. We can create an album for much less than that, less than $200. Thank goodness for that.
The excellent news about amateur and semi-professional musicians is we like working. There’s a lot of talent out there. Hence, it’s highly likely that if you wanted to pay someone to produce, mix, and master your tracks, you could probably find someone to do that in your price range, with very pleasing results. Thanks for reading; I’m just a music teacher having fun; catch ya on the next one.