Never Post Your Rates!!

Kenny’s Tip of the Day - Never Post Your Rates Online!!

If you are a record producer, recording engineer or own your own recording studio. Never post your rates. Online or anywhere else for that matter.

Why do I say this? For many reasons. One reason is that you can never charge more than the rates you have posted. You created a ceiling.

Imagine this - An Artist or band comes to you and wants to do a full record. Based on the project, the musicians needed and the time required, you quote this artist a price of 50k. You go on and finish that production and everyone is happy. Great.

Later on, you decide to post your rate as 25k to do a full record. Obviously, keeping that rate lower to entice people to record with you. But what happens when this artist sees this posted? You ripped them off. You charged them double!!! You can try to explain the differences but you probably just lost a client. A very high paying client I might add.

Another big reason for me not to post my rate is that it takes away a lot of negotiating power. If you post (for example) that you’ll produce a song for 10k, yet the artist in question would be willing to pay 15k or even 20k, you’ll never see that money. They came to you thinking that they’re going to pay 10k and you will have a difficult time convincing them to pay more. Even if you do have a good reason.

This works the other way as well. Just because I prefer to get (for example) 20k to produce a track, that doesn’t mean that I would never work for less. If I post that rate, I will lose any client who can’t afford to pay that much. No negotiation will take place as I will never get that call. And more importantly, I will never know why.

If I lose a gig because my price is too high, I want to know that information. So I can use it in the future and maybe change my rate accordingly. If I never get the call, I have no idea. Maybe nobody wants to work with me at all.

And finally, it takes away your ability to make a situation work. I chose this profession because I want to work with great artists and produce their music. I don’t want to turn down a great record to produce or mix. I want to do it. And I can make it work if I can get the client in a negotiation.

Let me give you a couple of very real world examples that have happened to me:

Artist calls me up and says they want me to produce their record of about 10-12 songs. They ask me my rates. I don’t answer that question. I ask them a question. “What’s your budget?”

This does two things, it starts a negotiation but it also allows me to realize where they’re coming from. If my rate (for example) is 10k per song and their budget is 200k, I may have left that money on the table if I told them my lower rate.

What it also allows me to do is work with them. Let’s say their budget for their 10-12 songs is only 50k. I certainly can’t do 10-12 songs at my preferred 10k per song rate (for example) for only 50k.

Had I posted this rate or even told it to them directly, I could have lost them as a client. They can’t afford anything close to 10k per song. What I can suggest at this point is to tackle this problem from another angle. They told me they have 50k. That will work for my if I fully produce 5 songs. And in most cases, pop or rock artists don’t need more than 5 fully produced tracks to get what they need. But they probably want 10-12 so they can release a full record. Mostly to sell their fans etc. No label or manager or agent needs 10-12 songs.

So I create this solution. We produce 5 songs completely. Full production. Then I bring the artist back in for a day and we record acoustic versions of the other 5-7 songs. Just an acoustic guitar or piano and maybe some percussion along with the lead and backing vocals.

This can be accomplished in about a day and I’ll throw that in. Free of charge. As I got my preferred rate for the other 5 songs and it only takes us one extra day to create these other tracks. It’s a win win. The artist gets 5 fully produced tracks (which is all they need) but still has a full record they can sell at their shows. Showing what they can do and also giving the fans a more intimate version of their other songs.

And more importantly. I got my rate. I didn’t lose the gig because the artist couldn’t afford me and I got to produce this artist that I really wanted to work with. All made possible by NOT posting my rates and creating a negotiation based on their budget as soon as possible.

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I hope this message finds you well. Kenny Gioia