Factors that influence the cost of producing digital music

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Technology has transformed the way music is produced, with new formats emerging in almost every decade. Gone are the days when buying cassette tapes, CDs, and Vinyl was the only means of measuring the financial strength of recorded music. The advent of digital music production made it easier for artists and record labels—both mainstream and independent—to be more creative with their work without burning a hole in their pockets. The very same technology has also allowed smaller musicians to become adept at recording, mixing, and eventually, distributing their own tracks—effectively democratizing popular music. The likes of iTunes, Youtube, and increasingly, Spotify, completely changed the game in the business.

However, the creation of an album is still a costly endeavor regardless of how advanced technology has become, and this is especially true for those who really want to release high-quality tracks. As such, one of the most important factors to consider when producing an album is the production cost itself. Here are some of the main factors that may dictate how expensive an album will become:

  1. The cost of studio time

A professional studio is where most of the action happens, and is therefore, an essential part of the whole process. Today, music recording is way cheaper and more accessible than ever, all thanks to relatively affordable but highly developed equipment and facilities. However, the time spent in a studio varies widely.

Sometimes, a musician spends more than a year to complete a full-length album which includes the editing, mixing and mastering. In other cases, musicians are charged based on either a “per hour fee” or “flat rate,” for an amount of $40 to $50/hour and an average cost of $5,000 and up to complete their recording session.

  1. Music video production

Globally, there are billions of people streaming on different social media platforms every day, mainly Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. In fact, most of the most popular celebrities like Justin Bieber, Psy, and Luis Fonsi have gained billions of audience and made millions of revenue out of Youtube alone.

Creating a music video is probably the best promotional method to increase the popularity a certain song. However, music video production can be very time-consuming and often costly—unless very simple methods and visuals are used. The major expenses artists will have to consider are basically production equipment, props, the location/venue, talent, and crew.

  1. Producer fee

Hiring a music producer has a lot of perks but can make a big impact on the budget. They are one of the most important elements within the music business, hence the very high price tag. If you’re an independent recording artist who aim for a successful album, working with a professional music producer is a great advantage for you, as her or she has a larger network to help increase the marketability of your album. Technically, a producer is most likely responsible for selecting a song, talent coaching, and overseeing the entire recording sessions and album production.