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riuthamus

Music Costs

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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.

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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
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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

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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.

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 I am still working on all of the legal documents now

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

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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!

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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.

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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
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