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scourgez

what to charge?

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i have a potential client who is developing a mobile phone game, and they want custom music for some of their menus. i was wondering what the going rate is, or how i figure out what to charge for the music.

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How much is your music worth? How much is this game worth?

Think of how many hours it will take you to write X amount of minutes. Now take that number and multiple it by minimum wage. That obviously is way too low, but it at least helps put it into perspective how much your music should be worth.

For mainstream games, 1000$ per finishied minute is the professional rate. One reason that we are able to receive rates that high is due to the fact that they are working with large budgets and plan to sell millions of copies. For a cell phone game, you might be able to charge a max of 100$ per minute, but it also depends on who the company hiring you is. It is is EA, the rates could be more, if a smaller indie company, could be like 50$ a track.

Do some more research though as well, as that I am basing these numbers off of my previous experiences.

Good Luck,
Sean

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Another thing that Sean didn't mention is non exclusive and exclusive rights. If the company wants exclusive rights to that music- that means you can only sell that music to them! Aaron Marks says if they want exclusive rights to your music, then charge them at least 10 times the normal rate you'd charge. This is your only chance to make any profit off of this music- so make it count.

I've found many young companies want the exclusive rights (they don't want anything in the game to look or sound like any other game) but they want you to either work for free or pay very, very little.

This is why I state: "I would love to help out on this project. I can provide top quality music and sound design. If you want exclusive rights to music- then payment is required upon completion of the content. Otherwise, due credit and royalties are fine (but you will not have exclusive rights)."

Notice I also don't state my fee. Like Sean pointed out- there are many variables to this number.

In addition to what Sean said, I always ask:
*What is the timeline of the project? (The less time you have to work- the higher the price should be)
*What amount of music do you need? (If they need three hours of audio- charge more)
*What style of music? (If they want me to use only live players and record them- then I'm going to have to spend alot more money getting those players together and alot of more time mastering the tapes)

When they ask you how much do you charge- they'll hoping you'll just throw out a number, but you need to communicate to them (in a professional manner) how all of these things factor in to price.


Another bit of warning- many projects on here do not want to pay anything or very little at all. Many of these projects are simply hobbyist projects, but there are some commercial projects in the mix. My stance is if its a hobby project with no commercial goals- then I might work for free just for the added experience, help them out and get more games on my resume.

If, though, they are planning a commcerial release- they really should be paying something (fee or royalties). If they want exclusive rights, as I said earlier, I make sure they know I want the payment when I complete the content- not when their game sells.

Hope this helps,

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another question. they also want some sfx, like a bell ringing and crowd noise. how would you charge for that, since it is such a small file?

also both of your inputs yesterday helped me talk with the guy who is doing the game and the discussion went well.

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SFX can be difficult to quote. I usually do this as a package deal. Sometimes I sell my talents on the lower side and will say I'll do all of your audio needs (music and SFX) for X amount. Sometimes this impresses them and makes them feel like I'm trying to be fair. I'm also not one of those super accomplished composers- so I don't feel like I can charge 60,000 dollars for a project....would like to get to that point though! :)


Going to refer back to Aaron Mark's book "The Complete Guide to Game Audio".

On page 69 he points out that you shuld first figure out the cost of your studio. This can be broken up into:
*Hourlywage and/or creative fee
*Studio fee
*Total cost

This doesn't have to be a ton- for example his is under 40 bucks an hour. The figure out how many hours it will take to create that SFX. Some might take five minutes...others can take days (and alot of stress). Try and pick an average figure, and then times the total cost from above to the number of hours you think you'll spend on each SFX. This also doesn't have to cost a ton- Marks' figure is under 80 bucks.

Like I said earlier, I sometimes do this- or other times try and give them a total package for a good deal. This way, I'm still bringing in cashflow, getting resume credit and on my way (hopefully) to doing this full time.

Hope this helps,


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Another thing- you really should buy Aaron Mark's book!!! Its great! Gives tons of info and a simple and easy to read approach. This guy has done this for a long time- so he knows what he's talking about.

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thanks again, and i'd like to be at that point as well ($60k) :)

im trying to get the book but had some bills rip me apart, so next check i will be getting the book.

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