What Should Recording, Mixing and Mastering Cost for Music Artists?
In this article i’d like to talk about what it should cost to record, mix and master a single song or even a full 10 track album in a professional studio. This is a really difficult question to answer and i think that most engineers and studio owners will side step this question. And i understand why – the realty is that there are a variety of factors and variable that go into recording a record or a song.
I’m assuming you as an artist or your band as a whole has practiced this song and everyone can play their parts and are willing to work with the engineers and producers you hire to get your songs sounding their best. The price range can really vary because some people are quick and efficient in the studio while others need multiple takes over and over again which requires comping (or compositing multiple takes together to form one perfect take). In most modern recordings there is a fair bit of editing and comping but engineers like when someone can nail an individual take because editing and compositing increases the time and money required to complete the song.
For an individual song you could be looking at a mixing and mastering services online cost as low as $100 if you require an extremely minimalistic, basic recording or it could be as much as $500 if you have more elaborate things to do. For example, when you start getting into things like recording full drum kits, which requires multiple microphones and more setup time, the cost of recording can reach up to $1000 per song. A good ball park for a lot of independent recordings is the $100-$500 range if everybody is well prepared coming into the studio. Even at that low price, it can still sound like a great recording.
on the mixing side of things, it can vary greatly. If you are working with a top mixing engineer it can get into the thousands of dollars per song. But for most independent recordings you can usually expect to spend another $100-$500 per song and get a great mix. Once again this depends heavily on the complexity of your song. If you have a very dense song with lots of instrumentation and lots of vocal recordings then a mix engineer will have to put a lot more time into getting that song mixed right. A full mix usually takes between 2 and 8 hours per song.
Another factor is mastering. It’s not usually a very time consuming process and can range from $50 up to $200 per song. $100 per song can usually get you a very great sounding master and is a good amount to budget for mastering. This does depend on the type of mastering you choose to get. Stereo mastering (the most common form) is quick while stem mastering may take some more time, and therefore cost.
For a 10 song album, you’d simply have to multiply those costs out. You are now definitely getting into the thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars for a full album. But realistically you can budget between $3000-$6000 to get your album recorded and produced. It’s usually a good idea to start by recording a single song at a new studio which will give you a better idea of what to budget for the full album. At the end of the day one thing you definitely want to consider, especially in this era of music production, is to buy some inexpensive equipment, get educated and take on some of the recording process yourself. The tools and techniques are readily available for you and will help save you money when you do go into a professional studio.