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What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

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What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby Lashmush » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:31 pm

I have a fully sequenced metal album at 65 minutes or so of music that I would love to one day have fully recorded and performed by professional musicians as well as produced, mixed and mastered by pros as well.

I am fully aware that this would cost a fair bit of money but I'm mainly interested in knowing so I can figure out what span of time it would take to save up and if I would supplement with bank loans, etc.

So the people required would be:

  • A very competent drummer, specifically within power/black/death metal genres
  • A really good guitarist
  • A solid and competent basist
  • A keyboardist to add pianosegments and any other instrumentation that was sequenced but would be better sounding recorded.
  • (Optionally) An orchestra to record symphonics (although this would probably be really expensive even if I looked in cheaper nations)
  • A sharp producer that could add high end sequenced layers where live recordings are not possible or necessary as well as help organize the project
  • A mixing specialist and a mastering specialist. Possibly the same person, depends on the difference in cost, I guess.

So I'll just link to the full album on youtube for reference. I'm very satisfied with it creatively speaking but I also realize that I have clear limitations technically since I can only sound as good as the VST instrumentation and mix/mastering skills I have at my disposal, which is where the idea of getting it performed, recorded and produced by pros came in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMAebjDU_Qw

Any ballpark figures are welcome. c:
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby ReadySaltedChris » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:09 pm

Hmm...dunno. 20k-30k? Forum member Mr.Bladder should be able to give a better idea as he's like a proper studio pro.
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby Lashmush » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:15 pm

Well, if it's within that range then I believe it's a realistic endeavor at least. Still, I suppose I have to factor in that the instrumentalists have to learn the entire album too. But maybe that's peanuts for professional session guys. I'm not sure.
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:25 pm

Lashmush wrote:A mixing specialist and a mastering specialist. Possibly the same person, depends on the difference in cost, I guess

For a professional project they would never be the same person - in fact I'd always be suspicious of anyone pushing the idea that they can mix and master (although I've done both where the client really didn't want to use someone else).

I can't really help with the other costs as it totally depends on how you want to work. You may well find that the producer can contribute various instruments and the producer is probably the best person to talk to about costs. Do you have a producer in mind?
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby Lashmush » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:18 am

James Perrett wrote:Do you have a producer in mind?

No, this is all at the conceptual stage rather than being something I'm realistically in a position to fully pursue at the moment. I'm in Sweden but I guess I could get the project running anywhere really and look into progress and ideas via cloudstorage and whatnot. Ideas of good producers for this type of project would be most welcome! c:
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby BJG145 » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:31 am

You could spend a fortune, but don't necessarily have to. Remember that White Ladder was "made mainly in my bedroom with zero cash and basically zero equipment", and is one of the longest-charting albums in UK chart history.
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby Lashmush » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:46 am

Well, I definitely don't need a super-studio. I just need the people and the gear to do it. I don't have any instruments or hardware to really do it efficiently so a smaller studio just to record drums would be good. Guitar and bass I suppose could be recorded in any number of ways but I want a very good sound for both of those as they are cornerstones of the album for obvious reasons. I think the instrumentalists and producer could probably discuss the best methods for that with me just chiming in with some references to good sounds from other projects. in terms of keyboardist, i mean... you don't really even need a studio for that since it's midi. unless theres some really sick samples in the hardware i guess but i'm pretty sure VSTi is the thing these days?

Anyway, studio will definitely be a must for the drums and guitars so might as well get it all recorded there. But I'm not gonna spend fortunes just to get the flawless recording or anything.
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:46 pm

ReadySaltedChris wrote:Hmm...dunno. 20k-30k? Forum member Mr.Bladder should be able to give a better idea as he's like a proper studio pro.

Fame at last!

This is an interesting (theoretical) question! We did all sorts of calculations looking at all aspects of putting out projects and the consensus of opinion was c.a. £10,000 at 'mates-rates' and £50,000 if you played it by the book and payed MU session rates.

I say 'theoretical' because if you happen (like me!) to own a commercial studio and know a shed-load of musos that owe you favours and you have a couple of months to spare (unlike me!) then the whole gig can cost you nothing. On the other hand, if you are a big-shot movie distributor and you go to an established agency for commissioning something like a movies score, millions can be spent very easily - Lord of the Rings III had a music budget of £5m.

The same guy who edited that score, also did the music for some ghastly urban drama commissioned by the BBC (one of those "Look out! He's got a knife!" and "Dad, I'm pregnant!" films) at our place and got just a couple of thousand. Swings and roundabouts, as they say!

That fore-mentioned £10-50k of course does not include an orchestra and a small 15-20 piece orchestra plus a conductor will set you back about £10-£20,000 a day, depending on who you get and where you want to record them.

Orchestras need music written down, so you will need an arranger and this gig often goes to the conductor, who should be able to do both tasks for a set fee.

Producers come in all shapes and sizes and a friend told me about one fat producer who just ate fried chicken (rather noisily) at the back of the control room for about an hour, told everybody that they were doing a great job and otherwise had almost no input into the project whatsoever. He was paid $50,000 and got an Grammy for his efforts!!!

In today's cut-n-paste world, the editor/mixer is the most important turd-polisher involved and a good engineer will set you back £50 an hour at the very least. He or she is the guy that makes something that sounds sort-of-OK into something perfect. Here you are looking for someone with a first-class formal musical education and is able to fly his pet DAW at ninja level (Def-Com 5).

So the final answer is - how long is a piece of string really?
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby ReadySaltedChris » Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:48 pm

So not much at all then really.
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby The Red Bladder » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:48 pm

And whilst I'm here and taking time off from building our new post production room, let me stress the need for marketing.

You could produce the next Rammstein, Pink Floyd or ACDC and get absolutely nowhere. You could produce the greatest music known to mankind and in today's world, nobody would even notice or care. To make them care, you need marketing.

Whatever you spend on making the music, you should spend ten times that amount on marketing your music.

The first step to marketing is to have the most amazing stage show with an exciting concept in the design. Never mind flash new instruments and a sexy, thumping PA system. The most important investment you can make as a musician is a fantastic stage show and back that up with loads and loads of marketing through social media, websites, posters, radio ads, festival presence and anything and everything in-between!

The purists amongst you will be shouting "My music speaks for itself! I don't need gimmicks and I don't need giant stage shows and SM marketing people pushing my stuff!"

And you'd be right! You don't! (Unless of course you want to be successful.)
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Postby CS70 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:22 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:And whilst I'm here and taking time off from building our new post production room, let me stress the need for marketing.

Absolutely true. :clap:
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:20 pm

The Red Bladder wrote:The purists amongst you will be shouting "My music speaks for itself! I don't need gimmicks and I don't need giant stage shows and SM marketing people pushing my stuff!"
I have this debate regularly with my band. It's a debate I regularly lose. This is just one of the reasons you've never heard of my band! :)
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby CS70 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:25 am

Well it all depends on your aims of course. Ars gratia artis has a lot going for it, so long you can eat some other way. :)
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:39 pm

CS70 wrote:Well it all depends on your aims of course. Ars gratia artis has a lot going for it, so long you can eat some other way. :)
I always thought that art involves communicating with others. 'Ars gratia artis' (art for art's sake) is when nobody hears your music, reads your poems or sees your movies or paintings.

There was a time when 'Build it and they will come!' and 'Play it and they will listen!' was true. Those days are over!

Today, everybody is shouting and nobody is listening. Everybody is on Facebook. Everybody is on Skype. Everybody is on Instagram. Everybody has a website. Everybody and their stupid cats are on YouTube. Everybody Tweets. The noise is deafening!

Bigger! Better! Broader! Bolder! Brasher! And more Space-Monkeys!

Time to reread the story of Momo. Time to listen!
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:52 pm

Can't go wrong with more space monkeys surely?

It's a fairly natural outcome of the democratisation / consumerisation of the music production process. When you needed a studio, an engineer, a producer, a publisher, a manufacturer, a distributor and a retailer, the system introduced its own limits on the amount of content that could be created.
Now those roles have been subsumed into the bedroom-creator the system limits are negligible. For a while the problem was finding the good stuff above the noise, then (as tools and techniques improved further) it was finding the great stuff among the good stuff, now it seems (to me at least) that the challenge is simply that there is so much great music being produced there simply isn't enough time to listen to it all.
Which is great as a consumer (though we are definitely in the 'too much choice' arena), but maybe not so hot as a creator...
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby Mr Showbiz » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:53 am

I'll qualify my opinion by first saying I know nothing about this type of music, but;

Don't buyers of this kind of music want 'authenticity'? Don't they want to see the band play live?

Won't finding out that it's been played by session players, rather than by a real band who 'believe' in what their doing render it musically valueless?

So there's no point in even considering it, is there?
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby The Red Bladder » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:55 pm

Mr Showbiz wrote:I'll qualify my opinion by first saying I know nothing about this type of music, but;
Don't buyers of this kind of music want 'authenticity'? Don't they want to see the band play live?
Won't finding out that it's been played by session players, rather than by a real band who 'believe' in what their doing render it musically valueless?
So there's no point in even considering it, is there?
The above applies to ALL types of music - you should see the number of edits and drop-ins required in classical music! Those classical guys are bonkers! Everything has to be perfect and almost nothing is real! The singers are Autotuned, the soloists are recorded separately and that brilliant and perfect piano recital is cut together bar-by-bar.

As for live playing . . . many of the larger acts that put just three or four band members on stage, have session musicians playing the real parts off stage. That's how major heavy metal acts get such full and rich sounds - by having a keyboard player or two in the wings.

I have worked on a few projects where everything had to be real and authentic, but nearly everything I have ever either recorded myself or was recorded in my presence was the very opposite of live. Live and authentic is just not how the cookie crumbles!

Millie-Vanillie, Boney M, DJ-Bobo, Far Corporation, Eruption were all produced by German former 'Schlager' singer Frank Farian. It's amazing how similar they all sound - especially the voices! In fact some of the lines and harmonies sound just like the magnificent basso-profundo voice of Farian himself! The other voices sound just like session singers Brad Howell and John Davis and the female voices seem to sound just like the Rocco Sisters.

Funny that!
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 05, 2018 2:19 pm

Mr Showbiz wrote:I'll qualify my opinion by first saying I know nothing about this type of music, but;

Don't buyers of this kind of music want 'authenticity'? Don't they want to see the band play live?

Won't finding out that it's been played by session players, rather than by a real band who 'believe' in what their doing render it musically valueless?

So there's no point in even considering it, is there?

Don't know where you got that idea, but no, it doesn't work like that at all.
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby BigRedX » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:01 pm

But... if you can't promote the f*** out of it after you've finished and released the recording you'll sell about 5 copies to your friends and family, and that will be it.

And for that genre of music one of the most effective ways of promoting it will be to have a band that can play it live (while putting on an awesome stage show).
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Re: What would it cost to get an album produced professionally?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:48 pm

Perhaps one approach would be to find an already established working band, and bribe them to love your project ?
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