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This article was written by Studiomatic, one of Bridger's partners.
It feels like music production has never been easier than it is now, in 2023. With more accessible equipment, more tools to record and mix your sounds, and more digital tools to promote your music around the world, creating and producing your music has become a breeze, right?
Yes, but too many artists still struggle to optimize their production costs, especially when it comes to promoting their work internationally. If this is true for you, here is all you need to know to be able to produce your music without breaking the bank.
A punk band doesn’t have the same equipment needs as an electro artist, to be sure. But for any type of music, equipment needs represent a sizeable proportion of overall production costs. Depending on your budget, the cost of your equipment can be anything from $1,000 to $7,000.
If your band needs to rehearse, you will also have to factor the rental cost of a rehearsal space into your expenses.
In large cities, the average rate is around $15 to $25 per hour.
So let’s imagine for a moment that you will need two full days a week of rehearsal time, over a period of two months, before you are ready to record... Yes, that’s right, the cost will be around $2,000 just for rehearsals.
You may also need to hire professional musicians to rehearse your compositions if you are a singer or songwriter. In this case, you will have to add in their fees as well.
Your musical creation has taken shape, and you finally decide to go into production – congratulations! On top of what you have invested so far, you will now need to start paying for some of the most expensive parts of the process.
You are feeling ready to record your tracks, so you will need to rent a recording studio. Here again, we can say that, on average, this will cost $200 an hour in big cities. To optimize such an investment, don’t forget to read our blog post for some tips on how to make your recording session a success before your session.
There is an important variable to consider here: whether or not you will also require the presence of a sound engineer. If a technician is present, it will be more expensive. So this cost may also need to be added to the hourly rate. Some studios can “block” your slot for 10 to 15 hours in a row.
You can find affordable studios with good recording equipment available without a sound engineer. This is what we offer at Studiomatic, with recording and rehearsal studios available 24/7 from $99/month (come whenever you want).
Of course, you can also send your recordings to a sound engineer afterwards. Either way, you'll need to have a budget allocated for this.
This is a fundamental component of your music project. Mixing will give the sound engineer’s recordings the extra polish it needs.
To get some sense of the costs here, you can start by budgeting mixing costs per track. It’s difficult for us to estimate an average cost, as e-mixing has made the market very competitive. You will be able to find studios that charge a rather reasonable rate (~$75 /track) as well as those that specialize in musical styles at the high end (~$250 /track).
Here again, depending on the geographical location of the chosen service provider, the tools used, the quality criteria, and the work that has already been done, the mastering rate can vary from around $100 up to twice that amount.
As the final step in the production of your sound, mastering is what guarantees the overall quality of your recording. It’s what will give your whole musical project homogeneity and coherence; you’ll need to pay serious money for a professional job.
You can also turn to online mastering platforms like Major Mixing that offer monthly or yearly subscriptions to prepare your tracks for streaming platforms.
Now, let’s talk about communication and the diffusion of your production.
There are many resources on this subject on the internet; from the cover and the promotional visuals to the digital kit for the press and the merchandising, you will have to dig deep into your wallet to ensure you have competent communicators working for you.
When calculating overall production costs, we should not forget to include all the various communication supports that will help to maximize the diffusion of your work. The first step is to have as many photos as possible of your musical group, both on and off the concert stage.
If you are aware how much goes into preparing a simple photo session, just consider for a moment all the additional logistics behind a video clip. It is important to bear in mind all the various parts of your project:
Speaking of art direction, you’ll also need to think about the overall “guidelines” for your digital communication. It Is important that whatever you put out into the world is coherent. One way to ensure this is to call on the support of an agency, which can take care of your website, but also your social media accounts.
Otherwise, you can do this yourself, as many artists do, as a way to reduce your promotion costs. In this case, it is your own time and energy that you will have to invest in the project. And if you’re aiming for the international market, you’ll have to work twice as hard.
This is the firts part of the article. You can find the second part here.
Our partner, Diggers Factory, explains the best way to press and release your music project on vinyl records.
In this second part, our partner Studiomatic explains how to save money on distribution, rights collection, and music promotion.
Learn how to take advantage of TikTok to advance your music career.
Our partner RekYou gives you precious advice to succeed in your studio recording session.
In this article, our partner Major Mixing gives you some tips and advice to level up your music production skills.