'The Question' I'm asked most
Updated: Aug 30, 2021
So how much does it cost to make an album?
The laziest answer would be to simply say 'how long is a piece of string?'.
That answer does have some merit though, as there are no two projects the same, but assuming you're in a band with say *four musicians, and you may require two Session Musicians, then it is possible to *indicate what you may likely need to spend to bring an 11 track album to life.
I'm going to make some wild assumptions. These are that you as a band are well-rehearsed and tight. Pre Production is only going to take three rehearsals sessions, you have some studio experience and you are used to playing to a click, in fact, you've been rehearsing to a click.
So who and what do we need?
Responsible for planning the sessions, running the schedule and budget. Working with you creatively to communicate your musical outcomes to all that are involved in the project, ensuring that they are achieved, and providing experience and sonic/musical idea's to enhance and bring to life your music.
Sometimes this is also the guy above if the budget won't stretch, but I can tell you hand on heart, for the absolute best results, having an engineer focussed on the technical stuff while the Producer works with you on the creative delivery massively improves the outcome.
3. Session Guys.
You may not need them, but sometimes a Horn part, extra Keys or backing vocals just bring the magic the project needs.
4. Mix Engineer.
This is sometimes one of the two guys above. I often mix the projects I produce, because I know how I and the artist want the project to sound and I enjoy it, but it isn't always the case. There are often times I'm asked to mix someone else's recording project and that's also fun :)
5. Mastering Engineer.
From my experience, hire the most expensive person that your budget allows. You are paying for their experience.
6. Other Stuff.
If you're making vinyl, you'll need to budget for Lacquers and plates being made. You will also be needing a Graphic album art designer (You do need this. Trust me, no matter how good you are on photoshop).
In fact, this list goes on and on depending on what you count as being 'A Project', but I think for the purposes of this discussion, our budget ends at the supply of Plates for vinyl to be pressed.
3 Days Pre Production
10 Days Studio Recording
4 Days Mixing
11 tracks mastered (Multi Format)
Example Budget based on above assumptions (Example only, not a quote!)
Producer & Engineer Costs $12,000.00
Session Musos (2) $ 1,400.00
Studio Hire $ 9,800.00
Misc expenses (travel etc) $ 1,400.00
Mastering $ 1,650.00
Lacquers and Plates $ 1,200.00
$27,450.00 + TAX