The Cost Of Producing Music And Why It Affects Your Pricing

Recently, Akai released their iMPC app that allows you to produce music, specifically to make beats, on your iPad. At first it seemed that it was just something that you could do to jot down some ideas, but it actually looks like something that you can have at the center of your studio. Some producers choose to have a very simple setup in their studio, and some would rather have lots of keyboards and racks.

Regardless of which setup you choose to have, as a producer you will spend a lot of time and money purchasing the right equipment for your studio, and learning it as well. What you might forget, and mostly it’s your clients that don’t realize, is that your recording setup, along with many other factors, affects your pricing.

How You Should Set Your Price

This is always a tough question to answer, and even though there is no real answer, there are some things that you need to think about before you decide how much to charge a client. There are many different factors to consider, such as:
Have you worked with this client before?
How complex (revisions) do they want the beat?
How much time will it take you to make the beat?
Is the client easy to work and communicate with?
When dealing with a client that you have already produced beats for, it’s best that you lower your price a bit from your standard pricing. It’s simple: the client is coming back to give you more business, so why not return the favor by offering a price reduction?

Some clients are very easy to produce for because they just want a beat and they’ll be on their way. However, some can be difficult because they want to constantly make changes, and although I understand that they want to get what they’re paying for, there needs to be a limit to how many revisions you do for them.

There may be some producers that can throw together a beat in 10 minutes, but when you’re working with a client and getting paid, you should definitely take your time and deliver a quality product. By doing it this way, it will take much more than 10 minutes.

I have had some clients that were very difficult to communicate with because they wouldn’t answer certain questions I had in my email, and too often they didn’t know what they wanted.

All Of These Things Should Influence Your Pricing

The best way to calculate how much to charge is to use percentages. The reason being, it’s easy to calculate, plus it gives off the impression that you’re professional. Instead of offering “$50 off” your beat, why not offer “10% off”? It’s a classic selling technique.

With the four points I mentioned above, you could set each one at, for example, 5%.

Let’s break it down:
You’ve worked with the client before: 5% off.
They want lots of revisions: 5% added.
It took a long time to make the beat (because of how complex they wanted it): 5% added.
The client is difficult to work with: 5% added.
You can play with those percentages as you see fit, it’s entirely up to you. With that model as an example, your $500 price would then be $550:

$500 + 15% = $575 – 5% = $550

Now, let’s say with #4 your client was easy to work with, then you would be subtracting 5%, which would just even everything out at $500, your original price. But that’s still okay because you’ve covered all your points and reached a final price.

You could also use just a set dollar amount, so instead of 5% added or subtracted, you could just put $25, but why not play with percentages? It makes it more fun.

Your Experience And Skills Matter

Of course, it’s not just about certain key points that affect your pricing, but also the fact that your experience and skills come into play. A top name producer like Dr. Dre is going to charge tens of thousands of dollars for a single beat because of his experience and his name. You may not be a big shot producer just yet, but you might still have a decade of experience under your belt, and that’s something you must factor in. If you don’t, then potential clients won’t take you seriously.

You would be amazed at how many people will pay you a high price for your services.

Your skills are essential as well, plus the amount of time that you have invested in buying equipment and learning it. A rapper pretty much only needs a pad and pen, whereas you have an entire studio to maintain. This, of course, factors into your cost.

Conclusion

Never undersell yourself and know your value. There are some producers that charge TOO much, but that’s why it’s important to figure out your real value. Don’t kid yourself – if you’re not that good then don’t charge $10,000 for a beat! Be honest when you set your price and the clients will come – and stay.

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