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Recording/mixing for friends. Free of charge?
Old 13th February 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by hourglass

If you wanna fudge the TIME at the end of the day, that's another story.

that's exactly what i do these days when recording friends. the hourly rate remains the same, but for a friend (or someone i totally enjoyed working with) i'm almost always happy to fudge with the billable hours at the end.

that way you still get paid (and near your book rate), and they feel like they got something for nothing. it's a win-win.

"free" sessions and giving away studio time is just a bad, bad, bad idea. i gave a "present" of 8 free studio hours to a good friend once. he came in with an acoustic guitar, totally unable to play the parts (far worse than "unpracticed") and expected me to comp his flailing attempts at playing into something usable as part of this free 8 hours. we spent 3 hours on one (long as hell) bloody song before i threw in the towel.

this was NOT AT ALL what i had in mind when i said "8 free hours"--i expected the dude to come in and lay down some tracks live and go home with a "keepsake cd".

i ended up giving him a cd with the stereo wav files in mixed but uncomped form, and told him he'd have to comp it himself b/c i didn't know the *song* well enough (and wasn't about to spend 5 hours with the guy telling me where to click, cut and paste (eek)). he was ok with that, and it all worked out in the end.

but i learned two valuable lessons.....never give away free studio time, and if you do, make sure that you and the other party are *perfectly clear* about what that does (and more importantly does not) entail.

Old 13th February 2006 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Infernal Device's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by rodhmos
So, I spent hours and hours thinking about it because I don't like misunderstandings...

I called him and told him my offer:

Really low recording rate (more that half of the usual) and free mixing/editing/whatever.

He says "ok, I'll call you back in a few hours when I'm back from work"....

And then he calls and guess what he said?!?

"I decided tol go to (--insert local studio--) to do this project. I mean, you ask too little money for it...and I really want these songs to be great sounding..."

So, now he thinks I am not really good at my work because I was friendly and helpful?
Wow. Some friend. At least you got out of it and many of us learned some stuff from reading this!
Old 13th February 2006 | Show parent
Gear Addict
MrChang's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Originally Posted by hourglass
Another thing to keep in mind:


If you wanna fudge the TIME at the end of the day, that's another story.

Before I started doing this, every time I bartered/traded for services (which was always me extending my services first), I received ghost town when I called upon the other parties to return the favor of their services for my projects. Every time.

After years of swearing I'd never do it again, only to do it one more time for my "really good friends," my wife put an end to it. Now, I just fudge hours for friends or if I really like a client/project.

The only way I can see this ever working out (which was never the case for me) is if both parties need services at the exact same time, and the work (and deliverables) is scheduled accordingly. Otherwise, don't hold your breathe for ever getting your favor repaid.

Discount rates: no. In general, people (even your "friends"), only value what they have to sacrifice for, in this scenario financially. Use the term "discount" for mufflers, not your hard work.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
Very interesting all the different perspectives.

I think the whole point of friends is helping each other out when needed. I would be kind of offended if I asked a friend for help and was charged the exact same rate as everyone else. Likewise I wouldn't be comfortable asking a friend for full price.

If you want to avoid the whole situation just recommend someone good to your friend and donate 1-2 days of your time to help out. Seems like would work out for everyone.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
LimeMusic's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I know this thread is a couple years old, but I can't help but comment...

Almost every time I've quoted a price for a friend, they've asked me if I was sure I wanted to charge that little. Most recently, I quoted a friend $x per song for her demo (I'd be playing all the instruments), and she was a little shocked, and suggested that we use that as a starting point, with the understanding that it will likely be more if she wants to add more instruments. Before that, I quoted another friend a price for recording his band, and he actually gave me a little more detail about how big the project was, and told me to think about it. He told me he wanted to make sure I was compensated well for my time.

Maybe I have the best friends in the world (probably true). If your friends are active musicians, they probably know how difficult it is out there, and how expensive it is to record at a really nice pro studio, so they understand that it will cost them some money. Friends that want to record for free, or don't right away ask you what you'd charge for recording them, are probably going to create the biggest problem. Maybe it's best to tell them that you'd love to help, but you're so swamped with work that it'll be 6 months before you can even think about it....
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
Registered User
🎧 10 years
If you are my friend and you look like this I will record you for free other than that everyone else pays!
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Old 11th November 2009
Lives for gear
Rednose's Avatar
🎧 15 years
If you are doing this for a living then you need to charge $$$.
Cut your bud a sweet deal.
Would your buddy expect you to paint his house for free???????

Allot of my clients become my friends and they return when they are doing new projects.
They never get offended by paying.
I always cut them some slack.
Old 11th November 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
i totally didn't realize this thread was 3 years old when i posted
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