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#41 grogon   Members   -  Reputation: 185

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 06:24 AM

I can give a funny example from past a few days. I was doing an research on Voice Over recording options here and there, quoting companies and people for the project we do. Some of them had give me their price, some not, some asked for more details etc... I've made my choice and machine started to go on... And after a couple of days one of the companies I quoted but not selected started to... renegotiate the price. They were asking for 'my preferred price' and some other things. They finished on "we will overbid anyone with 30%". Quite interesting, somewhat funny, spoken a bit idly... but my point is that the process of fixing the price is dynamic and when people starts to bid each other it can end far below a real value of their work.

I actually agree and disagree with Calum Bowen saying

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
I don't think it is a problem. It is how free market works. Ok, I'm bending his quote here a little ;) to point that it is not something that someone can resolve or find a perfect solution.

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.sound effects ♦ music ♦ for games.

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#42 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3329

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:57 AM

I don't think it is a problem. It is how free market works. Ok, I'm bending his quote here a little ;) to point that it is not something that someone can resolve or find a perfect solution.

 

I would argue that if someone is producing the music in their spare time then it's not really an example of an idealised free market where everything finds its true value - instead you have someone able to sell their services at below cost price due to having excess resources to fall back on (ie. their day job). This makes it a sort of inadvertent predatory pricing.

 

I'm not in favour of artists gathering together to agree artificially inflated prices, but on the other hand we mustn't mistake the ability for some individuals to be able to afford to give away free music as implying the cost of making music approaches free.



#43 riuthamus   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4332

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:02 AM

oh lawdy, this topic has created a spiral effect of discussion. I did not think it would spawn this much attention! :)



#44 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17290

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:59 PM

I can give a funny example from past a few days. I was doing an research on Voice Over recording options here and there, quoting companies and people for the project we do. Some of them had give me their price, some not, some asked for more details etc... I've made my choice and machine started to go on... And after a couple of days one of the companies I quoted but not selected started to... renegotiate the price. They were asking for 'my preferred price' and some other things. They finished on "we will overbid anyone with 30%". Quite interesting, somewhat funny, spoken a bit idly... but my point is that the process of fixing the price is dynamic and when people starts to bid each other it can end far below a real value of their work.

Were you asking companies for a quote (they were producing the recordings), or were they asking you for a quote (you were producing the recordings)?

Why would they overbid someone else by 30%?

 

If they were underbidding by 30%, they sound desperate, which probably means they aren't getting enough work, meaning no repeat customers, meaning dissatisfied customers. That's speculation though.


Edited by Servant of the Lord, 07 February 2013 - 01:00 PM.

It's perfectly fine to abbreviate my username to 'Servant' rather than copy+pasting it all the time.

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#45 grogon   Members   -  Reputation: 185

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

I was outsourcing VOs. They were doing the job for me (one of them actually and not the one I was talking about in my post).
Underbidding - that's the word - sorry for use of the wrong one and making it completely unclear.

Whatever it means to them, it is obvious that there are different strategies during price negotiation process. Some shot high to get one, rare lucky shot. The others keep it as low as impossible to get anything.

 

 

This makes it a sort of inadvertent predatory pricing.

 

Rite. That would need a deeper economic analysis than we are able to do in the forum (at least me :>). Everything blends more and more and technology makes an entry level below anything... but... that's another story.

 

 

 

I did not think it would spawn this much attention!

 

It's money man! smile.png


Edited by grogon, 07 February 2013 - 05:28 PM.

♫♪♩♫

.sound effects ♦ music ♦ for games.

♫♪♩♫


#46 fartheststar   Members   -  Reputation: 194

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:53 AM

oh lawdy, this topic has created a spiral effect of discussion. I did not think it would spawn this much attention! smile.png

 

this is a really good thread...  but on the subject of money - I'm still curious what a small indie project budgets for the music (or music/fx/voice etc -  all encompassing?)  I'm curious if you'd be willing to share the budget you have in mind - or if you could share the budget range of other game producers who are in your shoes (without naming them of coursesmile.png    )


Edited by fartheststar, 08 February 2013 - 02:53 AM.


#47 riuthamus   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4332

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:36 AM

it really all depends. If you have no kickstarter and you are a guy with 3 other guys just making a game to try and get into the business your budget is rather small. Add that to the software costs for lisc. as well as possible distribution costs and shit starts to really pile up. None of the team members I have are paid at this point and they are only working on the basis that we HOPE it sales well. I am the only team member with a steady job and I make decent money but just getting a wife and starting to look for a house complicates that process and ties up a big pot of my "disposable income".

 

So, more to the point, the budget is limited if any. I will run down some costs:

  • Adobe Suite: $4000 ( or 79 a month for 1 year sub )
  • Github Subscription: $10 a month ( for 1 year )
  • Obfuscation Software: $850 ( for 1 lisc and one developer )

Those are just three of the big ticket ones. So... music? If i can get away with giving somebody a % cut for the end product that would be ideal but most music people are like us, striving to get by and make it paycheck by paycheck. They need that money just as much as we need the money to make our game.

 

All of that said, if you get a kickstarter and make 600k than this totally changes everything. So, TL:DR Budgets are smaller than a few thousand dollars and thats without paying artists or musicians "normal" prices for their work. I would beg to argue this is the case for most if not all indie developers as most of us are just doing this as a way to get into the business rather than a hobby to our really epic day jobs! :P



#48 grogon   Members   -  Reputation: 185

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:54 AM

Good. While reading your post riuthgamus I was wondering about something more on a side of it. I'm not sure if you would like to share, but let me ask it - who are your team members? Are they your friends, people you knew before project started? Or did they join you after the idea appeared? I'm asking this because music people actually are not far different from the others (gfx artists or programmers) and sometimes work only if they see a prospect of making good project and also struggling to get into gamedev in this or the other way. Maybe the main obstacle is not the budget you can (or can't) spend on anybody, but finding a man on with adequate level of advancement and attitude to this kind of work.

For me for e.g. is quite interesting how do you look for new people for your project. Especially a music concerned ones, of course :>.


♫♪♩♫

.sound effects ♦ music ♦ for games.

♫♪♩♫


#49 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3643

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:04 AM

Those are just three of the big ticket ones. So... music? If i can get away with giving somebody a % cut for the end product that would be ideal but most music people are like us, striving to get by and make it paycheck by paycheck. They need that money just as much as we need the money to make our game.

 

Just as you have expensive software and such to help make your game, many audio pros (or folks wanting to become pros) spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on their set ups to be able to make music. So offering just the chance (i.e. risk) of making a percentage can drive off folks who make a living doing this line of work. Or even folks who do this on the side but need to make X amount of cash to offset the debts they took on to set up their rigs. If you can only offer profit sharing then might I suggest you at least allow the composer to retain all rights to the music? This way the person can re-use and resell the music in other situations and potentially make another buck or two. Either from other projects or royalty-free libraries, etc.

It could even be a hybrid situation - composer grants temporary exclusive rights for X amount of time and then you can either purchase the full rights (buy out) once the project has generated enough profit or the rights transfer back to the composer. Or if the game performs poorly or isn't finished, there's still options for the composer, etc.

I've done this several times with projects and it's a good compromise. What doesn't seem fair or appropriate to me, as a fellow composer, is only offering profit shares in exchange for exclusive use of the music. Because in that case there's a risk that the composer will end up not making any money and not even owning the music. And I'm probably somewhat biased because when starting out, I worked on a ton of profit sharing games and earned exactly nothing. Also none of those games were ever completed. So it left me a bit raw in that regard.

 

Just something to consider (for either this or future cases)!

Thanks!

Nate


Edited by nsmadsen, 09 February 2013 - 08:08 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#50 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3329

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:12 AM

That's a really good idea. The developer may think, "I have to take all the risk on this project, whether it succeeds or fails, so why should the composer get a fixed fee?" And that drives small developers towards trying to get free music, which isn't great for anybody. But if you can agree to transfer the exclusive rights only when a certain monetary threshold is reached then the worst case is that everybody keeps their own work for future projects, hopefully still acceptable to all.



#51 grogon   Members   -  Reputation: 185

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:24 AM

There is a even more problems with profit sharing and why music guys treat it with such a hesistation. To share incomes in a fair way there is a need to grant access to official sales figures. And it is often not so easy to do it to a person outside the company. As most people probably, I tried this model at some stage and gave up in the end because usually it works not to well. For example it is difficult to monitor multiple of projects after a couple of months, when you are in totally different place, moment in time and concerned with present challenges. Can be done with well established company which has it's own financial department which takes care about this part. But they usually not going into this kind of relations because of their own reasons. With smaller ones... that's risky.


♫♪♩♫

.sound effects ♦ music ♦ for games.

♫♪♩♫


#52 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3643

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:31 AM

A mentor of mine used to also point out this flaw with profit sharing:

What happens if (or when) the team grows?

For example, say there's a four man team - everyone's getting an even 25% profit sharing instead of any set payment. Everyone understands and assumes the risks involved. So far, no problem. The team sets up paperwork and every agrees to it. Later on, in production, the leader decides to bring in another artist due to heavy workload. Everyone's split just got smaller. What happens when this new person comes in way later in the project?

 

My point isn't that it's not fixable or there's not solutions but rather - it can get really messy, really fast.


Edited by nsmadsen, 09 February 2013 - 08:32 AM.

Nathan Madsen
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Madsen Studios

#53 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3643

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:35 AM

The developer may think, "I have to take all the risk on this project, whether it succeeds or fails, so why should the composer get a fixed fee?" And that drives small developers towards trying to get free music, which isn't great for anybody.

 

In some cases, yes. But in other cases, audio is actually an afterthought. I've seen this before in pre-production planning where a lead hadn't even consider any audio costs, time or needs. I've also faced this in film work before. All of the money went towards actors, getting the best camera, props, etc. Then later when most (if not all) of the funds were already spent, the director and producer suddenly realize they need audio as well. Happens WAY too often, I'm afraid!


Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#54 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1722

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

 it can get really messy, really fast.

 

So true.  Ironically the need for a clear agreement for an indy title is a greater in a lot of ways than for an agreement with a big company. Doing an agreement for a "percentage of profits" is actually quite a lot more complex than a simple "work for hire" contract, which is quite straightforward

 It's hard even to define what "profit" is.  Is it a game sale?  What about the costs of marketing the game, or the 99/year fee to Apple.. or the fees for the web site and domain..  What about the designer's trip to E3 or GDC to "try to sell the game to a publisher", not to mention money paid to hire an extra artist to get the thing out the door, etc.

 

One fairly straightforward approach is something like this:

Composer is paid a quite small amount, but keeps rights to the music.

Developer has option to "buy out" the music for a fixed price within a term (say a year post launch).

That 'fixed price' would be quite high (say 3 or 4 times a normal composing rate).

 

That way if the game doesn't go anywhere, the developer hasn't paid a lot and the composer keeps their music

But if the game 'takes off', the developer can use the music, and the composer does pretty well, too.


Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

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

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

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#55 riuthamus   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4332

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

Well, for our base team we are doing a cut for each. The company ( Slaughterhouse Gaming ) will get 51% of all profits ( game sales ) and the rest will be broken up between the salaries for the developers.  Most of us are taking about 10% in total where some of the new people who are just learning how to do games are taking 2 - 5%. I am still working on all of the legal documents now but for the most part is seems straight forward so long as you get them all to understand and agree with the contract put in place.

 

As for the rest of this that has spawned, I am not ignorant to the prices all people must pay to make their livings. I realize developing music is no simple process just like making art is no simple one either. I simply was unaware as to how easy or low the price is for the average joes work. This is an indie team and thus our budget is well below $20,000 until our kickstarter takes off. So, yeah



#56 riuthamus   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4332

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

A mentor of mine used to also point out this flaw with profit sharing:

What happens if (or when) the team grows?

For example, say there's a four man team - everyone's getting an even 25% profit sharing instead of any set payment. Everyone understands and assumes the risks involved. So far, no problem. The team sets up paperwork and every agrees to it. Later on, in production, the leader decides to bring in another artist due to heavy workload. Everyone's split just got smaller. What happens when this new person comes in way later in the project?

 

My point isn't that it's not fixable or there's not solutions but rather - it can get really messy, really fast.

 

I found that by being honest early on people learn to deal with these things faster.  One of our coders was originally starting out with a 30% cut on all game sales but has since done very little because of real life and such. I spoke with him and notified him that his % will be reduced because of his inability to work and he was really reasonable with that. I am sure he hated the idea but in reality if you are honest with your people and they really do care about the project I dont see why they would freak out. Also, while most people wouldnt do this I found myself giving away parts of my % if more stuff is needed because I have a steady job in the real world. Maybe it is not the best path... who knows but with 4 of us right now I think it isnt too bad.

 

I do see the potential for problems though and I know exactly what you mean when you suggest a contract for work is much easier ( its literally one invoice ) but for the core people I feel it is okay so long as you all stay in contact and keep nothing hidden.



#57 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1722

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:37 AM

 I am still working on all of the legal documents now

Then you are smarter than 98.9% of the others out there :)..


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


#58 riuthamus   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4332

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:41 AM

Ah, thanks! I was ignoring them until i started to do some research on kickstarter and costs and payments. I started to do payroll documents and  did some searching into tax stuff. I soon found myself in a massive rabbit hole without any ability to get out... Luckily I have some friends who are good with legal stuff as well as CPA side of the house and they have been directing me to all the documents I need to know/learn. It is very taxing since being a full on business man on top of the art lead is rather.... hard to say the least. I am finding time and managing though and the team trusts in me to get it right. So i have to!



#59 xiaoan   Members   -  Reputation: 907

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:13 PM

So, more to the point, the budget is limited if any. I will run down some costs:
Adobe Suite: $4000 ( or 79 a month for 1 year sub )
Github Subscription: $10 a month ( for 1 year )
Obfuscation Software: $850 ( for 1 lisc and one developer )
Those are just three of the big ticket ones. So... music? If i can get away with giving somebody a % cut for the end product that would be ideal but most music people are like us, striving to get by and make it paycheck by paycheck. They need that money just as much as we need the money to make our game.

 

One of the standard libraries used for string orchestrations, LASS 2.0, costs 1000 for the basic library without the other add-ons.

 

That's just strings. Don't forget the DAWs and other instrument libraries, as well as mixing and mastering plugins. Interactive music software like Wwise also adds significantly to the cost of creating music if the developers one works with decide to have interactive music implemented in their games.

 

I'm not entirely sure if I misinterpreted your post, but even if I did, I think those of us in different disciplines could benefit greatly from understanding that each field presents its own set of financial and technical difficulties. These difficulties are multiplied by negotiations that are based on misinformation and paranoia that one is being shafted. That's why I think professional musicians really should make an effort to do a survey of the market to determine reasonable prices, and provide breakdowns to their clients so that nothing is left to guesswork.


Li Xiao'an

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www.xiaoanli.com (Personal)

www.eastcoastscoring.com

Twitter: @lxiaoan

 


#60 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3643

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:55 AM

I simply was unaware as to how easy or low the price is for the average joes work. This is an indie team and thus our budget is well below $20,000 until our kickstarter takes off. So, yeah

 

Hopefully this will make you feel better - I'm more than willing to take on a project with highly reduced rates (from my standard rates) if the project is really cool, shows great promise and progress and the team is fun and cool to interact with. This is especially true if I'm doing well financially in other regards. Granted, there's a limit to how much I'd reduce my rate down to but I'm more than flexible. Most guys I know are like this - so even if the "standard" rate is beyond what you can do, if you're cool and easy to work with plus you have a great project, odds are someone will be more than willing to accommodate that.

 

It's the teams/guys that present their first project ever as a WoW-killer, and are only using open-source, free software. tongue.png That's a team I'd probably skip over!


Edited by nsmadsen, 10 February 2013 - 02:43 PM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios




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