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Charging for Mastering

Member for

20 years 7 months
What is the average rate for mastering? Do you charge for Hard drive space as well as hours? What expenses do you incure that you need to charge for etc etc...I just mastered a Spanish Church band for a friend and it came out awesome! This band was pretty much a friend thing so I didnt charge too much for it but he wants to start using me to master more of his stuff that he records for people and he asked me what will I charge. Thanks in advance
P.S...I transfered the DAT into Nuendo's 32bit Mastering program...used the Waves L1 Ultramaximer..Nuendo 4 band compressor..Nuendo EQ
Had to do some splicing since they messed up on the mix . Exported the files to Wavelab and used the audio montage feature to create the tracks. Got to say I love the two programs I used very much! Just thought I'd share that with ya all
Computing Moderator


Member for

20 years 4 months

audiowkstation Mon, 02/17/2003 - 14:08
Each mastering engineer charges what is appropriate to each project.

Flat rate usually do not work. Reason?


You may get a series of killer mixes that requires just a shade of seasoning each track, head tail edits, rearranging the order and level adjusting the tracks to coincide with each other.

Based on this, The entire project can be wrapped in 12 to 14 hrs with listening on other systems.

Projects like these run anywhere from 400 to 800 dollars depending on engineer, etc.

Some of the big boys charge 12K for this as well AND do not do a tight job. None of the mastering enginers here (mods, a few others) I know does this, if they did, large and kudos if they can get it.

Some projects are a B i t c h!

Requiring listening, suggesting remixes for each song, producers involvement, artists involvement, just a hard deal, lots of work. This is when a flat rate is not prudent. It is best to know what you are working with before declaring rates.

Face it, If I have to put 3 weeks into a mastering project because it is a major amount of work, Major, I would be working for less than minimum wage.

I love it, but damn, putting your head through sheetrock seems more fun. Hurts less too!

I thing that the way it should go is to do a song for free for demonstration (edited in case they want to shop 12 mastering engineers for freebees to get album done (freeloading)) with having all the songs at your fingertips so you know what you are up against and then a price should be settled on.

No mastering engineer wants to put out "unmasterable" product that is a total compromise and an injustice to the art and artist (although some do).

If my name is going on a project, everyone, especially =me= should be pleased with the final.

If it take requesting more production, better mix, a split mix (2+2) or other things from "said" artist, the mastering engineer should be able to call this out and get what is needed to do the work that is appropriate for the album.

I know, in a perfect world you 'can' get this...but actually, the mastering engineers I know (the ones here as mods) demand it.

Hey, it is a reflection of your latest, finest work...make it the best!

Overall, it is nice to work with artist during the mix if you are selected for mastering, saves them time, money and makes for a better product.