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m4uesviecr

Rates: A Habit of Underpricing

13 posts in this topic

I have known for a while now that I have been... underpricing my music. After talking to another composer friend of mine, I was given (and found through research), certain rates of different composers. Compared to the other composers, I might as well be selling my soul for a doughnut. So, right now, I am trying to figure out a reasonable price for my music. I am basing my pricing on the quality of my music, along with my compositional skill, but I honestly have no idea how to adequately price myself. I am working on creating a profile right now (to show examples of my music), but until I edit the thread for potential feedback, how should a composer go about pricing themselves? How do you avoid underpricing and overpricing? What qualities in a composer (and their music), can lead to an acceptable rate of music as high as $600/ per minute, and what aspects of a composer and their ability would lead you to persuade a composer to possibly lower their prices? Or is it all based on personal preference and what developer is willing to negotiate and work with you?

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25$? That seems crazy. That's just above 2 hours of minimum wage. Even completely ignorant of your work, and the out of pocket costs, I'd expect to negotiate close to 1000$ at least, and even that may be low?
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Yep. Unfortunately some folks don't do much research before jumping in and trying to hire freelancers. Perhaps this guy felt he was offering 25X what iTunes charges for a song and is confusing the whole licensing for use vs. licensing for listening element. Edited by nsmadsen
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I didn't even start to think about the licensing when I wrote that. It was just along the lines of not paying someone 25$ for 4 days of work!
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Very interesting! I will admit, I deftly overlooked the entire professionalism aspect of composition. Funny enough, I am working with a potential client who has had a fair share of difficulties with composers in the past because of the sheer lack of professionalism.

[quote name='Daaark' timestamp='1351255548' post='4994122']
25$? That seems crazy. That's just above 2 hours of minimum wage. Even completely ignorant of your work, and the out of pocket costs, I'd expect to negotiate close to 1000$ at least, and even that may be low?
[/quote]

That's me, sadly. The reason I am doing this is so that I can stop selling myself short, as far as composition is concerned. I would love to compose for media as a living. I'm not trying to figure out rates for sustainability, but I am looking to price myself as something reasonable, and respectable. I want to thank you guys for the feedback, especially on professionalism. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I overlooked professionalism as a premise for hiring. Oddly enough, it's like any place else - Show up on time, or you're fired. Or, if you're consistently late, you're unreliable. The link to TIG forums was also very helpful (thanks a lot Moritz). Another useful forum to become a part of! (As well as a book to read).
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I enjoyed reading this thread.

[quote name='Moritz P.G. Katz' timestamp='1351236886' post='4994059']
Aaron Marks' book "The Complete Guide to Game Audio" has an excellent section on determining rates.
[/quote]

I just finished reading this book a couple weeks ago and the section on pay is phenomenal. It would do you, and every composer ever, to read the book, and of course the section hes referring to. I was scratching my head at some points wondering if people actually charged based off what he said, but it's legit and worth reading.

[quote name='bschmidt1962' timestamp='1351268796' post='4994191']
So the "qualities in a composer and their music" that let people charge a lot (per minute rates sometimes as high as 2,500), have as much to do about professionalism and reputation as the music itself.
[/quote]

Amazing point. Aiming to be professional is so important. I just cancelled working with this singer a couple hours ago because he's been late 5 rehearsals in a row. Professionalism is something I highly admire in all my colleagues and friends around me.
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Hello everyone,

It seems that you would want to factor in how much money it is going to cost you to make the music and who is paying for it.

For instance, are you making this on your home studio, by yourself, or are you paying people to play instruments in a somewhat “decent studio”.


Also, is this going to be exclusive or non-exclusive because selling one 10 min. song for $6,000 compared to selling a song a bunch of times for $25.00…Seems if they want exclusive music rights then you apply the appropriate zeros. (As Brian noted you will not be getting royalties, so go ahead and add an extra zero...) Thanks Brian!

No one is going to make Micros**ts next tune for $25.00…

I suppose you would want to figure in how long it takes you to make a minute a music as well 2,3,10 hours?? Days? Weeks?
Anyway, just found your site a couple of days ago, glad to be here, feels like a good place to meet game designers and discuss gaming music from top to bottom.

Sincerely,


liftedCREATION

p.s. Listened to your music Nathan and Sam, nice work!! Edited by liftedCREATION
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[quote](Plus you'll get the royalties)[/quote]

With the exception of small, indy projects, royalties are virtually unheard of in videogames. Years ago (in the 90's) occasionally we'd get "back end" but that changed over a decade ago.

And you are correct-- if the client is expecting "live orchestra" production quality, you certainly need to factor in those costs as well.

Brian
Executive Director [url="http://GameSoundCon"]GameSoundCon[/url]
President, [url="http://www.audiogang.org"]Game Audio Network Guild[/url]
[url="http://www.BrianSchmidtStudios.com"]Brian Schmidt Studios[/url]
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Afternoon Brian,


Thank you for correcting me on the royalties. With that being said, is $600/min the avg. for indie game producers to pay for “non-live orchestrated” exclusive music?

Also could someone point me to the person in charge of the Marketplace here??

Thank you,
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