Determining per-song rate for mixing

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

Post Reply
groover
gettin' sounds
Posts: 146
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:52 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Determining per-song rate for mixing

Post by groover » Wed May 07, 2014 5:19 pm

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.

User avatar
A.David.MacKinnon
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3266
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 5:57 am
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Wed May 07, 2014 5:51 pm

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.

groover
gettin' sounds
Posts: 146
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:52 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Post by groover » Wed May 07, 2014 5:58 pm

Gee, I almost NEVER do a mix start-to-finish. It's been a long time!

User avatar
Waltz Mastering
steve albini likes it
Posts: 335
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:22 am
Location: Third Stone From The Sun
Contact:

Re: Determining per-song rate for mixing

Post by Waltz Mastering » Thu May 08, 2014 6:02 am

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.

User avatar
JohnDavisNYC
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3035
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:43 pm
Location: crooklyn, ny
Contact:

Post by JohnDavisNYC » Thu May 08, 2014 6:09 am

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
i like to make music with music and stuff and things.

http://www.thebunkerstudio.com/

User avatar
Nick Sevilla
speech impediment
Posts: 4852
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:34 pm
Location: Los Angeles California USA
Contact:

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu May 08, 2014 6:50 am

Keep charging by the hour.
Realizing vibratory excursions from a paper widget.

User avatar
Jeff White
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3257
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 6:15 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Contact:

Post by Jeff White » Thu May 08, 2014 9:42 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:Keep charging by the hour.
+1000

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

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my home studio, Ch?teau Blanco, and in various spaces in the Philly area. http://jeffwhiteaudio.com/

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests