Sign in to follow this  
YoungProdigy

Trying to get into commercial composing. How much should I charge for my music?

Recommended Posts

Hey, YoungProdigy here. I want to try to and make money off of my music. I know I don't have the best samples; but I think I'm a pretty decent composer.

 

Here's my soundcloud:

http://www.soundcloud.com/youngprodigymusic/

 

Overall, how much should I charge for music?

 

Should I charge on a per minute basis or charge for each track?

Edited by YoungProdigy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I don't have the best samples; but I think I'm a pretty decent composer.


Your opinion isn't what counts - it's the opinion of your potential customers that counts. And
the way to influence that opinion is with the best samples. So keep improving your samples.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I know I don't have the best samples; but I think I'm a pretty decent composer.


Your opinion isn't what counts - it's the opinion of your potential customers that counts. And
the way to influence that opinion is with the best samples. So keep improving your samples.

 

Well it's not just my opinion. A lot of people on the forums I post have given me positive feedback on my compositions.

 

If I get any criticism it's mostly to do with my samples or the production of my music.

 

The only way to improve samples is to buy another library.

 

Still, as I've stated; a lot of people have given me good feedback on my compositions. Can I improve? Of course.

 

But I think I'm at the point where I want to start monetizing my music. I think my samples would be fine for indie games.

 

Now, for a big triple A CoD-esque shooter would my samples cut it? No. But for indie games they should be fine.

Edited by YoungProdigy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The kind of indie games that will take music even though the samples aren't good, are not the kind of indie games that will pay for music.

 

If you can't afford another library, I suggest using synth VSTs and aiming at electronic genres, where sample quality is not an issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The kind of indie games that will take music even though the samples aren't good, are not the kind of indie games that will pay for music.

 

If you can't afford another library, I suggest using synth VSTs and aiming at electronic genres, where sample quality is not an issue.

The thing is I can't really afford another library right now. My current sample library costed $300. Plus FL Studio, that's $400.

 

Even if I did get another library like Hollywood Orchestra; I wouldn't charge for cheap.

 

A one minute full orchestral piece takes 2 hours for me. Add super realistic samples to that and I wouldn't charge for cheap. I would charge about $300/minute at the minimum if I had something like Hollywood Orchestra. Composing a full orchestral piece is work  and requires a lot of experience. Plus mocking great samples up to sound like a real orchestra? That's a lot of work. and thus a lot of money.

 

But I've gotten positive feedback here and elsewhere on my music. So I may just start out charging at cheap rates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This article can be useful too: http://www.gamesoundcon.com/#!Becoming-a-Game-Music-Composer-What-Should-I-charge-for-Indie-Games/c19u6/56e34f8c0cf26c26a9f3bd1d

 

I listened to your music, you have talent for sure.

 

Until you have more money to invest in realistic samples, just advertise yourself as a 'retro' composer. It is just the impression I get when listening to your music. It would sound just great on a 'pixel art' platformer or RPG. I am sure a lot of indie studios are looking for that.

 

If you take a look on assets stores... music like yours is sold for 3$ a piece:  https://www.scirra.com/store/royalty-free-music

Or here: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/search/page=1/sortby=popularity/query=category:78

 

It can be depressing, but there is a ton of musicians out there dreaming of doing video game music. Maybe it is a good place to start...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This article can be useful too: http://www.gamesoundcon.com/#!Becoming-a-Game-Music-Composer-What-Should-I-charge-for-Indie-Games/c19u6/56e34f8c0cf26c26a9f3bd1d

 

I listened to your music, you have talent for sure.

 

Until you have more money to invest in realistic samples, just advertise yourself as a 'retro' composer. It is just the impression I get when listening to your music. It would sound just great on a 'pixel art' platformer or RPG. I am sure a lot of indie studios are looking for that.

 

If you take a look on assets stores... music like yours is sold for 3$ a piece:  https://www.scirra.com/store/royalty-free-music

Or here: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/search/page=1/sortby=popularity/query=category:78

 

It can be depressing, but there is a ton of musicians out there dreaming of doing video game music. Maybe it is a good place to start...

"Realistic samples" are not cheap. Something like Hollywood Orchestra is $400 easily.

 

I wouldn't consider the stuff in that assets store "music like mine".

 

My music has more instruments, more sections and more chord changes. My songs are also more melodic than those songs.

 

I will advertise myself as a retro composer, like you said. But $3 is way too cheap for a full orchestral piece.

 

Maybe if I make a song with the same chord progression the whole song, with 4 instruments and a lack of melody I'll charge for $3.

 

For my stuff I would probably charge about $50-$100 for exclusive rights.

 

I paid $400 for my samples and DAW, why should I give my music away for so cheap?

Edited by YoungProdigy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much should you charge? As much as you possibly can. Seriously! For several reasons: 

 

- you want the client to value you and your craft

- you want the client to value audio as well

- you want to stand out from the rest. Make great content and don't be afraid to charge for it

- you want to keep the audio profession alive and thriving. 

- you want to make this your business. So aim as high as you can!

 

Try to avoid: 

 

- working for peanuts (or even worse, for free!)

- being vastly undercut by counter offers. In other words, don't be afraid to say no

 

Some advice: 

 

Set a number that makes you feel good about yourself and your work. A number that will make you feel good about the transaction. Nobody likes working for super cheap. Don't fall into some of the common traps some devs will try and throw at you (i.e. "I'll pay you on the NEXT game!" "This will be a HUGE break for you!" "We'll do profit sharing and we'll all get rich") Be picky about who you work with and what you are work. 

 

Figure out how much it costs for you to pay rent/mortgage, pay your bills, have a little bit of fun, eat food and live your life. Then figure out how much time it takes for you to finish a track. And I don't mean when you, the composer, feels done but rather when your client feels supremely happy with your work. 

Here's a big one: you mention often how much money you've spent on your DAW/samples. That's only part of it. You've also spent your time learning, practicing and studying music/production/etc. Consider that as well. 


One follow up: 

 

If you set a rate and then after 6-8 months you've had zero sales, something's off. Either in your rate, your actual music or the way that you're marketing/promoting/branding yourself. I never freak out when a dry spell of a month to three months comes along. They always do and then it passes. Remember the saying "feast or famine" applies heavily to freelancing. But after 6-8 months, you SHOULD have at least one sale/commission/gig for your work. If not, then it's time to reassess and try new tactics, write/produce different music or adjust your rates. 

 

Best of luck! 

Edited by nsmadsen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I paid $400 for my samples and DAW, why should I give my music away for so cheap?

 

I realize that good samples can be pricey.  Unfortunately, you are competing with composers who have spent thousands on their rigs: Computers, $2-4k worth of sample libraries, breath controllers, etc.  Or even composers who, for their demo reels, paid the $ to hire an orchestra or have some live instruments to play on their demos.

 

You are correct in that your compositions are good. But many (most?) game developers won't hear past the mediocre production values due to your sample libraries. That may not be 'right' but that's pretty much the way it is. So you may lose out to a 'worse' composer, but who has better production (samples).

 

One thing you might want to look at that's relatively inexpensive is to try out "Composer's Cloud" by east west. You can pay by the month, and there is a 30 day free trial.

http://www.soundsonline.com/composercloud

 

Get a couple pieces in really good shape with your existing samples, and then signup for the trial version. Youll have to spend some time learning the library (learning how to use a sample library can be like learning an instrument--it takes some practice to make it sound good). At the end of the 30 days, you'll have a couple of really good demos. And you know that when you get a gig, you can always pay $30 ($15 if you're a student) and have all those sounds again for only as long as you need them.

 

(Note: I am not affiliated with East West in any way)

 

Good luck!  I challenge you to re-post the music you posted above, but re-recorded with EW composer cloud samples!

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup, another suggestion for Composer Cloud as a possible solution. I've made this suggestion before to you Young. I think you'd be very wise to look into it. At $30 a month (or cheaper for students) you can most likely make this fit your budget and it would be a huge improvement for your productions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, yeah OP I'm starting to listen to your SoundCloud and you have some great stylized stuff! :)

 

I worked at a start-up and started with built-in samples for sounds at first. Then I got EWQL as a really delayed graduation present, actually, and you're exactly right, it takes a LONG time to make a work with that. You're micromanaging pretty much every single note in literally ten or more different ways! O_O Likewise, looking into freelance, I'm wondering what kind of rates I should charge for doing work with that for someone too, and it's one of those things where it's as much work as your ambition level.

I mean, there's a huge, HUGE difference for getting someone a minute of music with five instruments versus 20 more with a virtual orchestra software! That's where I think I'd have to have a dialogue with a client - it's not just the amount of time, it's the complexity. After that it might come down to a rate more based on how much time I think it will take - I have an array of samples on my SoundCloud fortunately, some with the virtual orchestra software and some not. Maybe it will be a conversation like, "if you want THAT kind of work, I'm looking at 'x' number of hours so it will be 'y' amount."

 

Those are my thoughts, being someone just about to try freelancing.

Edited by JoshCzoski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other thing about samples is that almost every library maker or site offer periodic discounts, sometimes of 50% or more. Get on their mailing lists and save up in preparation for the sales.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've listened to "Endless Courage," "A March Towards Victory" and now "A Courageous Fight." I thought I heard some weird skips in "Endless Courage," but I'm really liking "A Courageous Fight!"

 

Admittedly I'm not a samples/synth expert, but these sound good to me as they are. The only thing I think they need is a better EQ; a more powerful bottom end and cleaner high end.

 

The vast, vast majority of people won't know or care if you have the latest oboe sample. Not having the newest this or that is often an excuse for inaction. "I'll finally do ____ when I have _____." In the meantime, your audience doesn't know the difference between a Stratocaster and a Squire, they just know if they like the song.

 

The idea is to make money, not spend money. Get all you can with what you've got and improve as you go along!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey YoungProdigy, I've been listening to your tracks and I think they sound great. I don't think you should worry too much about stuff you can't afford right now, just work at composing good music and pick up software as you go. One thing about libraries is that your goal is to try and make it sound realistic, which kinda limits what you can do creatively. Consider the guy who wrote the music for Bastion. He was just messing with the stuff that comes with Logic. I don't know if he was using samples or synths, but everyone loved the soundtrack because it was really creative. 

 

Anyway, good luck to you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice guys. I think until I get super realistic samples; I'll market myself as a retro composer.

 

I think marketing myself as a retro composer; that I could get away with charging $100/minute or $100/track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this