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Determining per-song rate for mixing

 
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groover
gettin' sounds


Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 145
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 8:19 pm    Post subject: Determining per-song rate for mixing Reply with quote

I have a project that I have tracked and am mixing at my studio for a client. So far I have been charging an hourly rate, but I am wondering if a per-song rate for the mixes would be more appropriate. I am referring to time I spend by myself in the studio, not time where the client is present.

I think a per-song rate might be more appropriate because of my process for working on mixes - It's not a matter of sitting down and mixing a song in one session and being finished. I tend to work on a mix a bit, live with it for a little while, go back in and make a few tweaks, repeat etc. (NOTE - I am mixing in the box, so recall is easy.)

That being said I think that I would like to come up with a fair per-song rate equivalent to a reasonable amount of mixing "time", but I am not sure how many hours to base it on.

What's a reasonable time to spend mixing a song - one hour? Two and a half hours?? I realize that all situations are different but am interested in other engineer's thoughts on this.
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
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Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 8:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Determining per-song rate for mixing Reply with quote

On days when you mix with the client present and do a mix start to finish how long does it take? Figure out what your average is and then add another hour for touch ups and anything else (vocal up, vocal down, TV mix etc). Use that as your starting point. I can do about 4 songs a day if I'm really motoring, more if I tracked the songs and lots of mix decisions are built into the tracks, less if somebody else tracked and I have to fix things.
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groover
gettin' sounds


Joined: 01 Feb 2005
Posts: 145
Location: Los Angeles

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 8:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Determining per-song rate for mixing Reply with quote

Gee, I almost NEVER do a mix start-to-finish. It's been a long time!
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Waltz Mastering
steve albini likes it


Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 335
Location: Third Stone From The Sun

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 9:02 am    Post subject: Re: Determining per-song rate for mixing Reply with quote

groover wrote:
I would like to come up with a fair per-song rate equivalent to a reasonable amount of mixing "time", but I am not sure how many hours to base it on.


Really depends and is usually project dependent based primarily on budget.

For attended session, hourly seems to work, if you're doing a combo platter attended and unattended, you could consider an hourly rate for attended and a set rate for un-attended. For fully unattended, a per song rate seems to work best..

Things to consider are budget, track count, expectations, and experience.
Attended or unattended? ..the shape the tracks are in when you receive them or if you tracked the project yourself.
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JohnDavisNYC
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 03 Oct 2003
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Location: crooklyn, ny

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: Determining per-song rate for mixing Reply with quote

I think the per song thing is in mot cases a highly flawed concept. it's nearly impossible to get it right, and in almost every situation, either you are working too hard for the fee, or the client is paying too much for the mix...

a piano trio record with 9 mics is a very different mix than an electronic rock mix with 60 tracks, there is no way that both of those things can be mixed at the same rate.

also, even in the box, once you've got your basic vibe on the first tune, you might spend 5 hours on that, then there might be a song later on the record that is super stripped down, and works in 25 minutes after you push up the faders (or mouse)...

anyway, these are my thoughts on flat rate mixing, after spending a long time trying to figure it out for myself, and finally deciding that there are just too many variables to be able to create a situation where no one is getting screwed...

maybe the only situation where that works is with larger budgets where you can just say 'i'll mix a song/day, here's my day rate'.... but those are unlikely and 90% of the time I'm trying to bring the record in as affordably as possible. and most of the time mixing efficiently on a day rate system is the most cost effective for the client.

John
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Nick Sevilla
speech impediment


Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4443
Location: Los Angeles California USA

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: Determining per-song rate for mixing Reply with quote

Keep charging by the hour.
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Jeff White
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 3257
Location: Philadelphia, PA

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 12:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Determining per-song rate for mixing Reply with quote

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Keep charging by the hour.


+1000

I can't imagine ever mixing on a paid-per-song basis.

Jeff
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