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Music Costs


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#21 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4319

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

I've tried to use plenty of emoticons (of the smiling sort) and haven't called you anything. I've called the action inappropriate and then tried to explain why it was so. Perhaps you took offense to this - because I've noticed you were agreeing with comments from others that either aligned or echoed what I was saying (at least in part). So I would agree - my tone wasn't meant to be harsh but rather firm while explaining what the offense was. After all, I've left everything else you posted up and intact - I just removed the direct link to the composer to protect his right to privacy while allowing you to further discuss the matter.

 

I think that's about as fair as I could handle it. I've also taken your suggestion and updated the forum rules to make things more clear for everyone.

 

Thanks,


Nate


Edited by nsmadsen, 30 January 2013 - 06:56 PM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

Sponsor:

#22 riuthamus   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5687

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:05 PM

I've tried to use plenty of emoticons (of the smiling sort) and haven't called you anything. I've called the action inappropriate and then tried to explain why it was so. Perhaps you took offense to this - because I've noticed you were agreeing with comments from others that either aligned or echoed what I was saying (at least in part). So I would agree - my tone wasn't meant to be harsh but rather firm while explaining what the offense was. After all, I've left everything else you posted up and intact - I just removed the direct link to the composer to protect his right to privacy while allowing you to further discuss the matter.

 

I think that's about as fair as I could handle it. I've also taken your suggestion and updated the forum rules to make things more clear for everyone.

 

Thanks,


Nate

 

Honestly, aside from the original comment where it seemed as though you were attacking the idea of me posting his rate I really had no problem with anything you have said. In retrospect I can agree that I probably took it more personal than I should have since I felt as if you were saying "im an industry guy and the things you are doing are below me and everybody else who is in the industry!", at least that is how I perceived it. All proceeding posts have been more than informative and a joy to read. This thread has been very informative and I hope that it can help other developers who are looking to find information on musical rates. All in all, thanks!



#23 riuthamus   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5687

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

I've tried to use plenty of emoticons (of the smiling sort) and haven't called you anything. I've called the action inappropriate and then tried to explain why it was so. Perhaps you took offense to this - because I've noticed you were agreeing with comments from others that either aligned or echoed what I was saying (at least in part). So I would agree - my tone wasn't meant to be harsh but rather firm while explaining what the offense was. After all, I've left everything else you posted up and intact - I just removed the direct link to the composer to protect his right to privacy while allowing you to further discuss the matter.

 

I think that's about as fair as I could handle it. I've also taken your suggestion and updated the forum rules to make things more clear for everyone.

 

Thanks,


Nate

 

Would me linking my current work, via dropbox link, here and asking what people thought the rate/quality be allowed?



#24 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4319

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:59 PM

Honestly, aside from the original comment where it seemed as though you were attacking the idea of me posting his rate I really had no problem with anything you have said. In retrospect I can agree that I probably took it more personal than I should have since I felt as if you were saying "im an industry guy and the things you are doing are below me and everybody else who is in the industry!", at least that is how I perceived it.

 

Not at all, that's not how I meant it. There were several points that you completely misread or misunderstood me as well. For example, I was never advocating paying someone brand new to the business the same rate as someone established. But reading your response to me - that's how you understood it. Clearly there was some misunderstanding here and there. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough myself. I think if we were discussing face-to-face things would have gone much better. I was firm with you, however, because in the 7 years I've been on GD.net this was the first time someone tried to publicly post someone's private information. And I simply found that unacceptable and wanted to put a stop to it immediately. It wasn't meant to be personal but I wanted to make sure both you and anyone reading this would know that kind of action wouldn't be tolerated. But enough about that.

 

All proceeding posts have been more than informative and a joy to read. This thread has been very informative and I hope that it can help other developers who are looking to find information on musical rates. All in all, thanks!

 

I'm very thankful for all that take part in this forum and most of the threads have been very positive. This is a minor blemish and I don't want it to tarnish your impression of GD.net and it certainly doesn't tarnish my impression of you. It was just a minor thing that we've already worked out. We have a great mix of seasoned pros (Brian's a great example) as well as experienced folks active in the indie field on top of industry noobs. The discussions and sharing of thoughts and approaches is awesome!
 

Would me linking my current work, via dropbox link, here and asking what people thought the rate/quality be allowed?

 

If you wanted to share the work to get an overall impression of quality and feedback, that's fine! No problem! I think it would cross the line if you said something akin to "This artist [insert artist's name here] charged me $50 per animation. Is it worth it?" That would be too much because it's not your business or role to publicly share another's rate. That's their business. And that's the distinction I've been trying to make repeatedly. The contact shared his rates, which are not shared publicly on his website. Sharing this information publicly is very different than a "isn't Nathan Madsen a jerk." thread. smile.png Besides, you're 100% right - I would shut down a thread that was bashing you (or anyone else here) as well. I want this forum to be a positive and encouraging place - and for the most part, it is!

Everything else I've been saying is mainly look for the best crew you can in your given budget and be careful when taking on free work because it can backfire. That's about it. But we're at the high risk of beating a dead horse here. smile.png No harm, no foul. I'm glad to have you here and as I said in my first response to you - I applaud you looking for more info!! I just want to respect other's right to privacy as well. Make sense?


Edited by nsmadsen, 31 January 2013 - 08:57 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#25 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:43 PM

As a composer who was just fired from a hobbyist project 3 months into development for asking too many questions about the contract, I will tell you to get both parts in writing. Even a simple "don't screw me over" contract consisting of what IP belongs to who until what payment is made will protect you better than digging through Skype conversations like I ended up doing.

EDIT: I should probably mention that the contract in question was one I hadn't signed yet, and after 3 months they had come up with a contract that consisted of 5 lines of text. It left a lot of legal holes that I wasn't willing to sign to and that's what led to my removal. But my point stands.

Edited by dakota.potts, 31 January 2013 - 12:05 AM.


#26 riuthamus   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5687

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:35 AM

I had a guy who was working with me until I asked him to sign an NDA. ( the work he was doing needed to be protected by one ) I pulled a standard NDA from the internet and modified some names and titles as well as ensuring it was for non payment ( since none of us are being paid right now ) and he wouldn't sign it. He did however let me use the work he did do which was very nice of him. I am very big on ensuring contracts are made as I am fully aware of how somebody could screw you over. i am sorry to hear that has happened to you.

 

As for the work, I just got it from the guy who is doing stuff for free. I personally think the work is amazing ( specially for free ) and wanted to see if you guys thought the same.

 



#27 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:55 AM

They're all great pieces of music. The sample quality makes me think iPad or indie rather than cinematic film score but the pieces are solid (and that may have been the intended effect)

However, I think you're kind of skirting around the iffy line of if you should be posting those or not. It seems awfully close to the subject matter of the last disagreement

#28 riuthamus   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5687

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 02:59 AM

I dont need a price, just wanted to know your concepts of the quality. This is not the same guy and I own the rights to these songs.



#29 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4319

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:54 AM

Judging just the music alone, each track works well. And if you and the team feel like each cue fits within the game and it's vision - then you're all set. Strange he wouldn't sign the NDA but that issue aside, the music is nice. Be warned though - liking music is very subjective so some may love these tracks while others dislike them. What matters most (at this stage) is that the team creating the game feels like these tracks align well with the game itself. If you get into play testing later and a large majority of your testers rate the music really low then something's amiss.


Edited by nsmadsen, 31 January 2013 - 08:56 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#30 riuthamus   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5687

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 08:58 AM

Again, thanks for the time. Good to know and good information all around.



#31 grogon   Members   -  Reputation: 185

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:26 AM

Sorry for bringing back the original topic, I'm not going to fire it up again, just add something I think wasn't said here yet. And many interesting information about music prices and cost evaluation was said already. Thanks. I was reading it yesterday and felt like I need to add something here.

I like to place another variable into an equation to make this case even more complex. Besides constant costs like, for example: warming up the gears, music software prices, computer hardware, bringing people together etc. etc. which makes the costs of music production very individual (so unique that it even cannot be said if the music price is to high or not, which you all actually pointed in the posts before. Besides the all of those costs, many of the freelancers evaluate their clients and the projects which they present to them with the base of project attractiveness itself, client reputation and more. This is especially important when comes to work online with people you never see face to face. It makes talking about prices for things like music (but not only the music) as unique as impossible.

Actually, even high profile music composers for quadriple A titles are willingly to do something for fun sometimes. And many of us (not AAAA ;>) have some dream projects that could support for a far lower rates than 'usual ones'.

In that moment I would like to support nsmadsen in his decision about not discussing the price, which one person gave to another, at the one day, when the sun was rising. No worries riuthamus, it is always good to gather as much information about the topic you go into as possible, but involving someone personally would not give any useful value in the end.

It was interesting reading, having to see how both sides perceive the value on someones else work, anyway. Have nice day :)

Edited by grogon, 01 February 2013 - 01:51 PM.

♫♪♩♫

.sound effects ♦ music ♦ for games.

♫♪♩♫


#32 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10081

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:44 AM

 

Some guy quoted me 150$ per Min... which seemed outrageously crazy

 

150/min is pretty darn low for professionally produced music.  In fact, I'd call it "outrageously crazy" low for a professionally produced game.

 

Agreed.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
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#33 xiaoan   Members   -  Reputation: 912

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:43 AM

Perhaps it may interest the threadstarter to know that in some situations (usually in cases involving real musicians), composers are paid:

 

Number of pages (4 bars a page) x (factor based on density of instrumentation etc.

It may be useful for composers to have their rates presented in such a manner so that game composers know exactly what they are paying for.

Note that this does not include other skills that should be paid for, such as the orchestral mockup/sequencing, mixing and mastering, as well as score and part preparation should the music need to be recorded. The recording time (if applicable) should also be taken into account if the composer conducts his own music. This way, there'll be absolutely no doubt as to what is being paid for. Some guidelines may be taken from union rate sheets and appropriate studies of the prevailing market rates.

 

I think this approach might take the guesswork out of what is really being paid for, and also forces composers to really put a dollar value on every aspect of their work, so that they can realize if they are overcharging or if they are being taken advantage of. That being said, flexibility and human negotiation should also be a part of every business transaction.

I have nearly 0 experience as a professional composer, but it seems to me that this would be a logical step to take, since "how much should I pay?" and "how much should i charge?" are very common questions on forums.

You'll probably find that people are making far below the wage required to sustain their business if people only pay 150 for exclusive rights for 1 minute of fully produced music.


Li Xiao'an

Composer | Music Director

www.xiaoanli.com (Personal)

www.eastcoastscoring.com

Twitter: @lxiaoan

 


#34 Calum Bowen   Members   -  Reputation: 304

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:49 AM

It's all been said but I'll throw in my hat and offer my personal experience on the matter.

 

I think one of the main problems is that a lot of people who give quotes are hobbyist musicians or aren't relying on music for livelihood. So when they start to get paid, they don't need to really get paid all that much if anything. Everyone kind of thinks "well, i've got a friend who does some music, he can probably do it" and so audio's value becomes grossly undervalued. You're paying for the prestige and fans of a composer to come to your game, what can be a huge gulf in creativity and uniqueness between two composers, for their experience and reliability in doing the job, for their time and the masses of work they have to do, and for the wonderful, incredible, beautiful contribution they can make to your project.

Hobbyists may also tell you that a five minute track will take them half an hour to do. Don't let that skew your idea of the workload of an audio guy. I can only approximate but from my experience a 3 minute track may take around 2 or 3 days (minimum) to conceptualise, sequence, record, mix, master. Composers would be capable of making a 3 minute track in half an hour but I would hope it isn't something they'd be proud to release under their name. This estimation is also assuming that you'll get ideas quickly and you won't have to revise the track too much. Be wary of the quality that comes from a quick job.

I completely agree that rates, at least for me, are dependant on so many things - my workload at the moment, how much fun the project looks, how promising the title may be, how long it may take to complete, etc. etc. etc. But, as someone who is on the cusp of turning freelance (well, striving to) who is also charging something similar to the price in question, I will tell you, I work all day and night and for that price I'm not getting the bills paid. Audio freelancers who do an outstanding job need to charge that kind of price at an absolute minimum to not be homeless. It's just a shame that the general conception of price is based on the quotes of hobbyists etc. etc.

 

The idea of chip music vs. epic orchestral being the two sides of the price spectrum is a little naive I think. Same with composers getting paid per instruments/staves, as you have to define the price of the work by some quantifier and it seems per minute is the most common and in my experience the least problematic.

 

There's no real objective worth of any track, so guess-work isn't really needed. I suppose it's about people trying to find a good working relationship and being open about what their budget is and what they're after. 


Calum Bowen,
Composer & Sound Designer,
www.calumbowen.com

#35 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 20384

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

I had a guy who was working with me until I asked him to sign an NDA. ( the work he was doing needed to be protected by one ) I pulled a standard NDA from the internet and modified some names and titles as well as ensuring it was for non payment ( since none of us are being paid right now ) and he wouldn't sign it.

 

Happened with me once. A hobbyist composer was making music for me, but when I asked for him to sign a contract, he was very hesitant. Full understandable, because from the average Joe's perspective, they think they can get burned signing contracts just as much as the buyer could get burned by not having them sign one. Contracts are associated with lawyers and lawsuits and banks and debt, whereas a hobbyist is in it for fun or to help you out and suddenly you're taking the fun out of the situation and making the project seem financially dangerous to them when previously they viewed it simply an innocent hobby they were doing in their spare time.


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#36 riuthamus   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5687

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:58 AM

I had a guy who was working with me until I asked him to sign an NDA. ( the work he was doing needed to be protected by one ) I pulled a standard NDA from the internet and modified some names and titles as well as ensuring it was for non payment ( since none of us are being paid right now ) and he wouldn't sign it.

 

Happened with me once. A hobbyist composer was making music for me, but when I asked for him to sign a contract, he was very hesitant. Full understandable, because from the average Joe's perspective, they think they can get burned signing contracts just as much as the buyer could get burned by not having them sign one. Contracts are associated with lawyers and lawsuits and banks and debt, whereas a hobbyist is in it for fun or to help you out and suddenly you're taking the fun out of the situation and making the project seem financially dangerous to them when previously they viewed it simply an innocent hobby they were doing in their spare time.

 

Indeed, it was cool, we left on good terms and I totally understood his standpoint. The current team has all signed NDA's including those people who are working with the story.

 

The idea of chip music vs. epic orchestral being the two sides of the price spectrum is a little naive I think. Same with composers getting paid per instruments/staves, as you have to define the price of the work by some quantifier and it seems per minute is the most common and in my experience the least problematic.

 

I get that and it makes perfect sense. The guy seemed reasonable and said that the price was adjustable depending on the project. I was just unaware of the going rate/quality factor. I can tell you that art does not work the same. If i am using a freelance artist the most I would expect to pay is 25 - 50 an hour. You get a big name person and you are paying far greater than that. This is why I wanted to ask since I had no clue. You guys have been more than helpful.



#37 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10242

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:24 AM

I can tell you that art does not work the same. If i am using a freelance artist the most I would expect to pay is 25 - 50 an hour.

You do realise that means you are paying more for art than you would have for music?

 

A decent composer is lucky to produce a minute of written+recorded+mastered music per day. That means that at $125/minute of finished music, he's only charging you $15/hour - well less than the $50/hour you are willing to pay for art.


Tristam MacDonald - Software Engineer @Amazon - [swiftcoding]


#38 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4319

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:29 AM

Composers would be capable of making a 3 minute track in half an hour but I would hope it isn't something they'd be proud to release under their name. This estimation is also assuming that you'll get ideas quickly and you won't have to revise the track too much. Be wary of the quality that comes from a quick job.

 

Be careful with this kind of thinking. I've had times when cues just came to me and I was literally done in a matter of hours. Both the client and I were very happy with the results and it was well received by the public. The more you do this job, the better and the more proficient you get at it. There's a story (or maybe it's a myth) about Picasso:

 

Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer went up to him and asked if he would do a quick sketch for him on a paper napkin.Picasso politely agreed, did a quick sketch  and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather large amount of money.  The admirer was horrified: “How can you ask so much? It only took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years”

And then there's a story I read about Miles Davis, where an audience member complained that she didn't understand what he was doing. Miles griped that he had been working on this approach to music for 20+ years and this woman wanted to understand it in 20 minutes. This is the huge grey area about our industry - about our jobs. These are creative jobs and some can work better or faster than others. It doesn't necessarily mean they're careless or the quality is lacking.

My point - some of the best artists I've worked with are so talented and knowledgible that they can work at high quality, very quickly. In fact, in many circles that's what folks consider being professional. Having said ALL of this - I would tend to agree that most folks cannot create something of AAA quality in half an hour but ya never know. I've worked with some people who were supernaturally talented it seemed and incredibly fast. :)


Edited by nsmadsen, 04 February 2013 - 11:32 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#39 Calum Bowen   Members   -  Reputation: 304

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:45 AM

Oh yes, indeed. Speed comes with experience and there may be times when you just splurge something and it all comes together! But generally speaking it's good to get an idea of how long (if you can ever pin down quantifiable data about the creative processes) on average it might take to produce one average-lengthed track. I only warn because I've seen people in past boast of how quickly they'll write a track to a dev and produce some stuff where it's clear corners have been cut and the brain has not been whirring!

But I generalise, of course. It's often the case for me that I've been playing around with a certain musical idea on the piano every now and then for a couple of weeks before I sit at the DAW and bring it to life. It's a funny ole business where you're making a lot of progress when you're walking in the park not thinking about much at all!

Edited by Calum Bowen, 04 February 2013 - 11:46 AM.

Calum Bowen,
Composer & Sound Designer,
www.calumbowen.com

#40 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1878

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

Composers would be capable of making a 3 minute track in half an hour

 

Be very careful working with someone who says they can do this.  Not because of the quality of the track, but for potential legal reasons.

 

There is a category of consumer music making programs that use pre-existing 'stems' of high quality music as building blocks for larger pieces.  You can certainly churn out very good sounding tracks very quickly!  But the problem is that if you read the fine print of these programs, you discover that the musical pieces that are created are often "limited for personal use" or some such.  Specifically it is not legal to ship them with your game.

 

That's also a good reason to try to use either professionals, or at least serious, well-credentialed hobbyists.  They are far less likely to inadvertently give you something that you don't actually have the rights to ship...

 

Brian

GameSoundCon


Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant





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