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How much to charge for recording pieces for a composer? (Read 200 times)

Offline freebagels

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How much to charge for recording pieces for a composer?
« on: September 28, 2021, 12:58:55 PM »
Hi friends,

I've been commissioned by a composer friend of mine to record two pieces of his.  The pieces are not premieres; he simply likes my playing and would like to hear my take on them for use on his youtube channel and website.  How much should I charge him, and what in your opinion might effect the charge?

For context: I have recently finished my Artist Certificate in piano at University of Missouri-Kansas City and have a full-time gig as an accompanist at a high school, so I would like to take my credentials into account.  Also, the pieces are not *hugely* difficult and won't completely hijack my practice time in the coming weeks, but they're musically substantial enough that I won't just be sightreading them either.  In your opinion, should I take practice time into account as well?

I've done tons of work as an accompanist for instrumentalists and singers and have established rates for that sort of gig, but (despite how long I've been doing this) I'm pretty new to the whole recording-pieces-for-composers thing.  Any ideas or advice would be awesome! Even just hearing what any of you may have charged in the past would be helpful.

Thanks!!
In between music degrees...waiting to see what the future brings!

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: How much to charge for recording pieces for a composer?
«Reply #1 on: September 28, 2021, 03:04:43 PM »
 "composer friend of mine..."
Could you learn the pieces, say, in an afternoon?  How long are the pieces?
Would you want to charge for your practice time?
And, finally, what would be the 'friend' rate? Maybe half of what you might charge?

Rates could be wildly different among those who do this sort of thing.
4'33"

Offline freebagels

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Re: How much to charge for recording pieces for a composer?
«Reply #2 on: September 28, 2021, 05:40:29 PM »
- I'll spent maybe 20 minutes on the pieces each day for the next two weeks until recording day. The pieces are about 15-20 minutes in length in total.
- Normally I'm not in the habit of charging for practice time when I learn music for instrumentalists unless I determine a piece to be exceptionally difficult or the time frame to learn the piece is exceptionally short.  At that point, I tack on an "overtime" fee at my own discretion.
- Finally, this composer has no expectations that I offer him a discount due to us being friends. I plan to charge him as I would any other professional gig.

I suppose what I'm looking for is just examples of what other pianists have charged for this sort of thing in the past.  I realize there are tons of variables that determine the amount, but any sort of ballpark figure would be most helpful  :)
In between music degrees...waiting to see what the future brings!

Offline quantum

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Re: How much to charge for recording pieces for a composer?
«Reply #3 on: September 28, 2021, 06:35:32 PM »
I recommend using your accompanying or recital fees as a starting point.  Take into consideration time needed for the following: studio time recording all necessary takes, splicing and editing, mixing, video production (because Youtube wants videos even for plain audio files).  If you are doing the recording yourself, account for time used in setting up the recording equipment and post production. 

There is a lot of back end work involved with recording, especially if you are the one doing the production work. It's not like you just show up to an accompanying gig and play.  There is work to do before and after the actually playing, so take that into account when setting your fee.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline lelle

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Re: How much to charge for recording pieces for a composer?
«Reply #4 on: September 29, 2021, 09:21:59 PM »
There are usually organizations that act in the interest of musicians that offer info on minimum fees you should accept for different types of gigs. Kind of like unions but not really. Google for such organizations that operate in your country and check what they say.