Monday, October 7, 2013

Budget Busted! How To Avoid Budget Problems

Thoughts from a Seasoned Music Producer on how to properly plan your budget and finish your project on deadline.

 Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to work with seasoned professionals throughout my career and have seen why they’ve always released on time and with satisfactory results. Two key items come into play.
  1. Objective
    1. How many songs on the album
    2. Live musicians/Producer/Beat Maker
    3. Engineers
    4. Hard copies or digital download
  2. Budget
    1. How much can I spend
    2. What is my break even point per single and/or album
These few points have helped me price a project and rarely go over budget.

For example, let’s use the typical mixtape promo release. What is a mixtape? The mixtape is a collection of songs that a hip hop artist would use to promote his songs. Usually the beats are leased or given to the artist by an upcoming producer for free to help promote the production as well. For my example I will assume you got the production from an up and coming producer and he didn’t charge you anything. This will be a 5 song EP.
Items Cost per Amount Total
Production/Beat $0.00 0 $0.00
Studio Time $50.00 1 $50.00
Mixing $50.00 1 $50.00
Mastering $25.00 1 $25.00

Per Song $125.00

5 Songs $625.00

An artist that is prepared can realistically record one song in one hour. We’re talking about two 16 bar verses and an 8 bar hook. In addition to the structure of the song, layer double, triple and ad lib vocals. Once these vocals are laid down to the 2 track instrumental then the engineer takes over the balancing act of mixing. The trick here is to make the vocals sit in the song and not like you’re rapping over a karaoke song.

An experienced mix engineer will get your vocal balance to the music in about an hour or two. This is dependent on the quality of the recording as well as mic choice used for the artist. That’s why it’s important to hire a professional recording engineer since he will be selecting the proper mic for your voice and room. Not all microphones work on all voices.

The last phase is the mastering of the song. The mastering engineer takes that mix and brings it to industry standard levels. The reason I would recommend mastering is because it makes your song competitive to the quality of a major recording artist.

To be competitive you have to think how your market is thinking. A major label is thinking in volumes and how they can monopolize on their target market. The music business is no different than any other business.
I know this seems very basic but you wouldn’t believe how many artists starting a project have no idea what their budget is. Having a road map to your destination keeps you focused and side tracks distractions. Writing it down saves you time and money.

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