POSSIBLY OT: Hourly Mastering Rates


What’s the going hourly rate for mastering?

I imagine, the rate will be adjusted according to the project, meaning, a ten-song album might carry a lower rate than a 30-sec jingle; that kind of reasoning.

Thanx in advance for your advice.

The range is pretty large depending on the quality of the studio, how well known the engineers are, and which well-known artists have done work there - studio reputation, etc. It could be anywhere from $25/song to maybe $250/song… maybe more/less in a few cases. I’m guessing average though is $75-$100/song + master discs, and whatever additional fees apply depending on your specific needs.

Thanx for the response!

You’re right, and I should have been more detailed.

I notice, you cited per song rates, as opposed to hourly rates, however, your breakdown given me an idea of where to place myself. :wink:

Thanx again!

I no longer do hourly rates and attended sessions. I prefer a fixed rate per song (plus project variables) so there are no surprises for either party. No charges for revisions unless it requires that a new mix be sent in, because that can take some more significant time to reprocess etc.

I find that unlike recording and mixing, it’s pretty easy to determine how long a project is going to take.

I have a form on my website that lets people see the cost of their project based on all the variables. Now and then a project takes less time than normal and then I apply a discount.

The “per song” arrangement seems to lock the engineer in, because some songs might require more “fixing” than others. Having said that, I know one engineer who will send a song back, with suggested fixes, if he thinks it will take more than an hour to work on.


Thank you, for this! This is the proverbial “sky” at which we should aim. :slight_smile:

It gives me an idea of how I can structure my “prosumer” operation.

Thanx, again!

I’ve not seen hourly rates for mixing or mastering in over a decade. The internet really shifted things to “per song” or “per project, up to XX tracks, +$xxx per additional track”

I’ve also seen AbbeyRoad (mentioned above) drop to absurdly low prices to let interns do it I guess and compete against the million studios all getting online now. I wouldn’t fight on price. I’d build a reputation and then let your quality justify your normal price so you can earn a real living.

I used to mix like this (not mastering, there is a difference!), and the amateurs hopping online talking about $15 per song really eroded the amount of paying customers. They’d pay someone $15 and basically get scammed or get poor quality back and then not trust anyone after that. Of course, many of those people weren’t going to pay a realistic fee to a professional anyways.

I veered off-topic there. My point was to charge by song and maybe give discounts if you take entire albums. And the best way to promote is to join a small community and become THE guy there, then use those credits to jump to the next bigger pond, and so forth.

Last time I checked, if you simply cold called a top ME (i.e. ones that are well known such as from the North East state or LA), the rate for just 1 track only would be $300-$400 range. Hope that gives perspective.

Thank you, for alll the responses.

Could someone share the “cons” regarding the hourly rate? I mean, won’t some projects take longer than others?

Tell me what I’m missing.

From customers point of view per song/album is better simply because you know how much you pay for the job done. Most of the time you probably don’t sit there with the mastering guy to be able to check he spent x hours on your project.

That’s a point, too.

This reminds me of a policy I apply to record/mixing projects. You can get a “flat rate”, if you want, but EYE decide when it’s finished. Failing that, you can get an hourly rate where, you sit with me and YOU decide when it’s finished.

I’ve had clients re-write the entire song in the studio … “tick-tock-tick-tock”, and my accountant is happy. :laughing: