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Portable Location Recording Rates?
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #91
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Almost everyday I get calls from people wanting me to do mastering for them for free or for very little money. Their reasons are many.

1. I spent all my money doing the recording and mixing and I do not have enough money to get my stuff mastered. I have 24 songs and have $200 to get them mastered can you do for that?

2. I am a poor musician and was wondering if you would do this for me for free and when I get famous I will use you for my mastering.

3. I did not realize how much my CD release party was going to cost and was wondering if I could get you to master my songs for say like $5.00 each and when the CD starts making money I can pay you more.

4. I spent all my cash on buying some new equipment so I could do this recording and mixing and now I have to get this stuff mastered and was wondering if you could not charge me and when I get famous I will pay you.

5. After doing the mastering a client tells me he does not have the money to pay me. He says that if I will make him 100 copies of the CD we just did that when he sells them he will come back and pay me. He is driving a brand new SAAB 9000 Turbo but he says it is his wife's who is an attorney and she doesn't give him any money for his music

People have a million reasons for not wanting to pay for the services you provide the bottom line is that if they don't have the money then they cannot get what they want. Try walking into Guitar Centers or your local super market and saying you don't have the money and see how much product you can walk out with.

I want Fillet Mignon but I only have money for ground beef. Guess which one I will walk out of the grocery store with?

People want you to feel sorry for them and want you to bend over backwards to make them happy but try spending that happiness at the store or putting gas in your tank....it does not work.

We have special rates for non profits and for unsigned musicians. We try and help people as much as we can but since this is my only business and it is a business I have to continue to make money to stay in business.

A couple of years back we were approached by a local group that wanted us to do their recording for free. They said they did not have the funds to be able to hire us since they were just starting out. We agreed to do it for the first concert for free. So we setup did the recording and gave them a CD. They took that CD and had copies made (they did not work though us) they then sold that CD for a tidy profit and kept the money. They came back to us asking us to do the next concert for free and I said no. I basically told them that if you can sell the CD and make money then we should be paid. The businesses who did the on CD printing, the jacket printing and the duplication all were paid so why do you have a problem paying us when we are the ones that made it possible for you to sell the CDs at a profit in the first place. Well says the groups leader... "Those people were providing us with tangible assets, you were only providing us with your services and all the members of the group are working for free so why is it a problem for you to work for free as well? I politely walked away shaking my head in disbelief. This is the kind of logic that I cannot understand. We will pay for tangible assets but won't pay for services so basically what they are telling me is that they are going to real businesses to get their CD produced as a product but don't see us in the same light.

Strange world out there.
Old 12th February 2009 | Show parent
  #92
Lives for gear
 
NorseHorse's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by videoteque ➡️
But we all have to start our "8 years" in some way, so everybody needs to do free gigs to start. Do them to the ones who really can't afford to pay, like students.
Def. Stealing clients from other engineers like mentioned earlier is extremely uncool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
"Those people were providing us with tangible assets, you were only providing us with your services and all the members of the group are working for free so why is it a problem for you to work for free as well?
We're only providing "services"?! Yikes.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #93
Gear Nut
 
MBBCFP's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
This is the kind of logic that I cannot understand. We will pay for tangible assets but won't pay for services so basically what they are telling me is that they are going to real businesses to get their CD produced as a product but don't see us in the same light.

Strange world out there.
I and my wife have been working musicians for decades. (I am a recording guy, too) This attitude is pervasive. Take weddings; the florist, the caterer, etc. make thousands of dollars; "the organist wants what?" "what do you mean the singer or the flutist expects to be paid?" "It doesn't cost them anything to be here." The same attitude keeps muscian's and recordist's fees low. There are always others willing to do it cheaper or free. Sure, the client may eventually recognize they did not get what they ultimately wanted, but by then, the gig is gone. Not all gigs are repeatable.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #94
Gear Nut
 
MBBCFP's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by videoteque ➡️
Balance is the key. If you do free recordings to pro musicians you are stupid. You can't be the only one in a gig that doesn't get paid...

But we all have to start our "8 years" in some way, so everybody needs to do free gigs to start. Do them to the ones who really can't afford to pay, like students. Once you have made several ones and your recordings are valid, start to charge and move up in the music scene.

It's so true that working for free brings more problems that not, that I never work for free anymore. I always ask at least some money, if not to pay for gas and so time.
Absolutely!

I did many audition recordings for free for colleages (singers) who thanked me at the time and from whom I never heard again. OK, it helped me gain experience (rationalization). When I started charging, the free-loaders complained but the better, higher-level performers started calling and were glad to pay.

I, too, do nothing for free anymore. If someone needs it done, they will pay for me to do it.
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #95
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videoteque's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➡️
Def. Stealing clients from other engineers like mentioned earlier is extremely uncool.
Stealing a paying gig to make it for free is like the stupidiest idea you can have!!!
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #96
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I can think of something stupider: you pay them to "let" you record them!
Old 14th February 2009 | Show parent
  #97
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boojum's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Stealing a working person's clients is uncool in any business. When I do my work it is in instances where there is no working pro to do the job. I would not poach.

I also do a lot of recording where I am the only person who gets the CD's. I need the practice in setting up and mic'ing. My Monday bluegrass jam is ideal for trying different mic arrays and other experiments. I am a tolerated person there. They are used to me, and I them. Because there is money paid, a pittance and tips, to the performers if they wanted a "best of" CD I would ask for money. As it is now I find it simple to keep up with an ever-diminishing demand for copies. LOL
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #98
LX3
Lives for gear
 
LX3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MBBCFP ➡️
I and my wife have been working musicians for decades. (I am a recording guy, too) This attitude is pervasive. Take weddings; the florist, the caterer, etc. make thousands of dollars; "the organist wants what?" "what do you mean the singer or the flutist expects to be paid?" "It doesn't cost them anything to be here."
Back in the days when I used to have some spare time, I did a lot of sports photography. By the time I quit I'd been shooting semi-professionally for fifteen years and was carrying about £15k in kit (why are all my interests expensive?). You'd shoot a couple of thousand exposures over a weekend's event, and out of those there might be four or five real killer action images. So, inevitably, someone would want one of those shots for their magazine... but wouldn't want to pay for it. When I asked for a fee they'd say "You want how much for it? You shoot digitally, it doesn't cost you anything to take a photograph... And it only takes a second or two to press the shutter."

In one particular instance, instead of paying even a token amount for my pictures, the magazine used shots taken by one of the substitute players who was standing on the sideline with a budget digital SLR they bought in the duty-free shop on the way to the tournament.

On the other hand, you have to wonder about clients who would rather pay nothing for a half-assed job than pay a nominal amount for a professional one. After all, they wouldn't use a builder who offered to renovate their house "just to get some experience". Best to steer clear in my experience.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #99
LX3
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LX3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
I can think of something stupider: you pay them to "let" you record them!
Only if I'm allowed to own the copyright and can market it how I want That's how a lot of live DVD deals are struck.

I'd give [insert name of famous band] some cash if they'd let me release their "disaster" gig I recorded a couple of years ago. Regardless of technical PA catastrophes, the recording sounds great!
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #100
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Corran's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
"Those people were providing us with tangible assets, you were only providing us with your services...
That's funny! If that happened, I'd be like okay I'll record your next show, and then when they asked where the CD was, well you gave them the recording "service", they didn't ask for the tangible recording!
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #101
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran ➡️
That's funny! If that happened, I'd be like okay I'll record your next show, and then when they asked where the CD was, well you gave them the recording "service", they didn't ask for the tangible recording!
Now that's perfect. heh
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #102
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Bryan-- you the man.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #103
Lives for gear
 
soundbarnfool's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Please, not less than $400!
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #104
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NorseHorse's Avatar
Hope that was a joke.

That's the yearly budget for some groups.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #105
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➡️
Hope that was a joke.

That's the yearly budget for some groups.
For smaller groups like a quartet, that's $100 per person. When I had paying gigs as a Trombonist, I would make on average $50 an hour for performing (not including rehearsals, gas, costumes, on location meals, .....). $75 an hour if it was a holiday. More like $3.25 an hour in the Army Band, but expenses were covered there, except gas in a civilian vehicle. It wasn't always practical to walk to the motor pool and check out a .gov vehicle at all hours of the day. Plus the band was only allocated one van, with four or more sub groups performing at different locations at any one time. I think our piano player had his name engraved on the bench at the officers club. Anyway the smaller group would have to gig for two hours to pay that wage, just to break even. At which point it becomes not worth it to them.

I'll agree that $400 is a fair wage. But it's not always realistic depending on the gig and the group. Especially with preconceived notions that a CD costs $20-ish or less retail. And they're only wanting one CD per performing member (or less) in many cases. By all means ask for it, Warren Buffet wouldn't have it any other way. Just don't demand it, if it's not that realistic for the client. From a business perspective, if your first offer wasn't insulting, you offered too much (or too little depending on perspective). The client is going to do it to you, you might as well reciprocate. Or at least beat them to the punch.
Old 15th February 2009 | Show parent
  #106
Lives for gear
 
videoteque's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Especially with preconceived notions that a CD costs $20-ish or less retail.
A CD-R cost like 25cents, but you are not selling CD-Rs, if you client don't understand this, it's not a good client!!!

A good microphone costs at least 1500$, you need at least two to make a good recording, plus recorder, it's very easy you leave home with more than 5000$ to make a recording, you can't ask 100$. You don't even pay the rent rate. If you have a lot of equipement and low rates, start renting your gear!!!
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #107
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➡️
Hope that was a joke.

That's the yearly budget for some groups.
If you are doing recording for a living then you have to charge rates that are enough to allow you keep on working. If you are doing recording for fun or on weekends and nights and you are a student or gainfully employed elsewhere then you can charge less.

A while back we kept very careful records of a series of concert we were recording. We did this to see how our rates were in relationship to the work done on the concerts and we came to the conclusion that we were, for all intents and purposes, breaking even. Meaning that we were not making a profit and were basically paying the bills. We do both audio and video recording of concerts and there is a lot of post production that needs to be done after the event. This is rolled into the cost of taping the concert. There are two people that go to every concerts, one for audio, one for video and if it is a particularly difficult concert with lots of equipment moving we may take a third "utility" person along to help.

Many groups are unrealistic in what they budget for recordings and seem to think that it the recording should be done for free or for very little. We had one group that we did a lot of recording for that was paying more for fancy gloss programs done in full color with pictures of the group than the were paying for the recording. Yes it was a well done program and yes it does look good in a display case but the audio archives of the group are also important and they do make money off the CDs and DVDs we do for them.

You have to walk a fine line between charging too much and not breaking even and with some groups that line can change as their budgets change. We have reduced rates for non profits and not for profit groups and have tried to always err on the side of just paying our expenses instead of trying to make a profit.

A while back we were hired to do a local radio show. The person in charge was very well to do and the production was lavish to say the least. It started off simply enough with us providing audio for the broadcast of the show and some simple PA work. Then the producer for the show wanted us to provide more. He wanted multi-track recording so we could go back later and repair or replace problem areas in the show before we made the CDs of the show for him to sell. We also started providing him with video for the over flow crowds and we had to set up the day before. We did all of this and told him that we would have to raise our rates to account for the additional services we were providing for him. He balked and said that we were just doing what needed to get done under our contract and we should not raise our rates in the middle of the contract we had with him. We finally had to quit the job because our expenses for equipment and for personnel were more than we were charging him.

Remote recording is fun to do and can be a good source of income if you get your rate structure set up properly.

Good topic.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #108
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➡️
Hope that was a joke.

That's the yearly budget for some groups.
A professional service has a price. That price has to support a living, a health insurance, a pension plan, any business related cost etc.

It is not the market that determines a minimum price, only how much MORE you can charge, the difference between a modest or a nice living. If the market can't support the minimum price necessary, then there is no market.

$400 with equipment daily sounds like a minimum to me.

Anything less and you are compromising your and and your colleague's future.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #109
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soundbarnfool's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
$400 minimum = professional job, done right. Less = ?? You get what you pay for.

Inglewood SoundBarn
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #110
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundbarnfool ➡️
$400 minimum = professional job, done right.
I'm not saying that I disagree at all. But IF the difference between $400 and $200 is the difference between recording once a month or two or three times every weekend. Not that you'd be able to make a living at either, but you might be better able to pay basic bills with one over the other.

And what's this healthcare thing? Even when I had a proper day job, it still cost me 50% or more of the bill if I used the supplied healthcare benefits. To get healthcare benefits privately would cost me more than I got paid per month (after taxes). The only time I actually used said benefits in recent history was to have a cyst cut off my back, which cost me over $500 WITH benefits. Can't afford to have it and can't afford to use it in this day and age. But that's probably a subject matter for another thread.

As far as market. There's a market for recording the noises that people make? Only in America. And like information technology, only a profession in the larger metropolises. Which for me is NOT some place that I'd want to live. If only because of my military training. And having grown up near one, it is not a lifestyle that I desire. Too much traffic, pollution, people, illnesses, opportunity for bad things to happen. Country living might not afford me high profit margins, but I'm fairly confident that I can live past 40 without a major incident. At a minimum it's nicer to hear the bar keep talk about her husband and wonderful kids, instead of her three boyfriends and troubles with the law.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #111
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soundbarnfool's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Some of us do make a living at this.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #112
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sonare's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeDeF ➡️
Along those lines, I want to urge you to set record levels •very conservatively• - leave more headroom than you think you possibly could need. You only get one shot at it, and it can be difficult to estimate how loud those peaks are going to be in the heat of performance. With the wide dynamic range of 24 bit recording, there's no reason to risk "overs," so trim down your gain staging even a little more than you imagine might be necessary. I would give this advice no matter what you are recording, but it's especially apropos because operatic voices often have those occasional seemingly-physics-defying amplitude peaks that can sting you pretty quickly.

I know that this is off-topic, but it might make the difference between success and failure (and the difference between collecting your fee or not!).
This advice is pure gold. If you are recording in 24-bit remember that 0dBFS on a DAT machine is the same as -40dBFS in 24-bit. I set level by ear (by listening back to a file that was recorded at a prudent level) and go from there. For me, -10 is max record level and -6 is "start to sweat" territory (as happened Friday night with an excellent pianist). If you want to skip all that, listen to the opening applause and make that -15 and you should be OK-- as along as your singers don't get too close to your mics and then go "full afterburner." As noted earlier, some opera singers can vaporize you at 10 feet. After all, they are aiming to be heard over a full orchestra.

Didn't mean to pull things off-topic, but "setting levels" is such a part of most musician's mentality it bears discussion.

Rich
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #113
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RobAnderson's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
My rates are proportional to the amount of equipment and labor involved in the recording.

This does not keep me from negotiating lower rates on a case-by-case basis. For instance: students, non-profits, unsigned musicians, and other firms for which I might act as subcontractor might get some sort of deal.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #114
Gear Maniac
 
MaTr1x2051's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by audio ergo sum ➡️
It is not the market that determines a minimum price, only how much MORE you can charge, the difference between a modest or a nice living. If the market can't support the minimum price necessary, then there is no market.

$400 with equipment daily sounds like a minimum to me.

Oh so true. For some reason, I feel like the whole idea that "recording can't be profitable, especially in today's market" is mainly due to the fact that it seems nearly all engineers don't have a clue about how to run a business.

Running a studio is just like any other business: treat it like one and not like some hobby you're just trying to make a few pennies with, and you'll have no problem making money. Of course... you need to know how to run a successful business in the first place
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #115
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NorseHorse's Avatar
Do you get 40 hours of work a week?

Quote:
Originally Posted by audio ergo sum ➡️
A professional service has a price. That price has to support a living, a health insurance, a pension plan, any business related cost etc.

It is not the market that determines a minimum price, only how much MORE you can charge, the difference between a modest or a nice living. If the market can't support the minimum price necessary, then there is no market.
Most of the remote recording "professionals" in VA also have other jobs. Just sayin. It isn't the clients' job to pay for your WHOLE WEEK when you are only working the weekends. If you get booked throughout the week, that's awesome!, but I know many remote engineers who have been recording in Northern Virginia for years only work three evenings a week tops.

Also, Shadow 7 brought up a great point. A $400 price point for a live concert (not talking day rates) would probably equal working one concert a month for many engineers in the state, maybe four in December. Having flexible rates allows you to work with MORE groups, make MORE contacts, and get MORE work.

So... to get back to the original poster... perhaps you should attempt to charge what you think the client would end up being comfortable passing along to his colleagues. Do what it takes to get the client excited. And perhaps that isn't having an affordable price. Perhaps it is giving them a nice color CD when you are finished with the audio. Who knows! But get them excited about recording, and they'll be more likely to show off your final product and refer you to other.

When is the recording scheduled for. After all this talk, we'd love to hear how it turns out.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #116
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Corran's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
One must know how to run a business??

How about this: who earns more - the guy charging $500 a show and only gets booked once a week, or the guy doing three concerts a week for $250 each?

I'm firmly in group number 2 - the more concerts the better! And now I'm steadily raising my rates so eventually I'll have a large rate AND a lot bookings. That's how you run a business - entice a lot of people to buy and then get them hooked on your product/service, and then jack up the price.

This is kinda rehashing the thread don't you think??
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #117
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran ➡️
That's how you run a business - entice a lot of people to buy and then get them hooked on your product/service, and then jack up the price.
Really? Good luck with that. Oh wait, maybe you're talking about selling crack.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #118
Lives for gear
 
videoteque's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Rates are personal, there is no point in saying 400$ is too much or too little. In some countries is a whole year wage, in some others is half an hour at a dentist.

Just don't sell yourself too low or you will regret in the long term.
Old 16th February 2009 | Show parent
  #119
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RobAnderson's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
who earns more - the guy charging $500 a show and only gets booked once a week, or the guy doing three concerts a week for $250 each?
There are some jobs that, for me to deliver the product that I promise, I would be unable to do three per week. There are other jobs that I would be able to do every day of the week without a problem.

This is precisely why I have scalable rates.

Quote:
It isn't the clients' job to pay for your WHOLE WEEK when you are only working the weekends.
This is true. However, you cannot base your prices on being booked 100% of the time. Not only would you never be able to prep your rigs, do any post production, or perform any kind of maintenance on your gear, but you would be unable to grow your business since you would never have any openings. Also keep in mind opportunity cost - doing one massive multi-track job may cost you the ability to do 3 or 4 small recital jobs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that live event recording often involves long hours - it is not uncommon to work 30 or even 40 hours in two days. Shouldn't I get a week's salary for these hours?
Old 17th February 2009 | Show parent
  #120
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare ➡️
This advice is pure gold. If you are recording in 24-bit remember that 0dBFS on a DAT machine is the same as -40dBFS in 24-bit. I set level by ear (by listening back to a file that was recorded at a prudent level) and go from there.

Hi Rich!

I think it would be more like -20dBFS to -30dBFS for real life converters.

SNR of a 16bit converter aprox. 90dB
SNR of a 24bit converter aprox. 110-120dB

Sorry for OT!


/Peter
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