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Just wondering, I know it will vary. BUt what is an average for a music recording Engineer ?

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anonymous Thu, 12/29/2005 - 15:37

greetings hodge. Here is a link to a talk given by ubercool engineer Steve Albini it is essetial viewing. Towards the end he reveals how much money he makes... not very much... but i suspect there's more to it than that. I make about that amount from three days-a-week tv work, hpoefully going up in jan : ) music stuff is extra between £50-150 a LONG day at the mo'. Song writing, co production, record releases on top. I live, carefully to ensure i can buy equipment. I dont sell drugs, i pay rent, i have no kids, i am 26. 2007 i should start thinking about putting money aside.

Watch this video....

anonymous Thu, 12/29/2005 - 17:26

It really depends on what the engineer does and what their position is. I live in nashville i know a couple of engineers that the house engineers for welknown studios that make about 18, 19 grand a year and work about 70 hours a week on average. I also know some engineers that get paid 20-30 bucks and hour mixing. I charge 20 per hour to mix on projects that dont take a lot of time. For the ones that do take a long time it is usually 10-15 per hour. Most guys that do autotune get about 20-25 per hour. I am finishing up college so i am still learning, once i get out in the world and doing projects my rates will go up

audiokid Thu, 12/29/2005 - 21:11

@ $18,000 a year into 70 hrs a week... this comes out at around $5 an hour = poverty level.

I feel sad to read this if it is indeed true. I do know that USA is a tough grind. I personally don't produce on a regular basis but I have made more on a demo than this example earns in 6 months. I do more than mix though. And I do offer packages and a cool environment for writing.

Every trade or profession's salary varies. Some people make crazy money, others are so under paid it's hart to watch. Some aren't worth a dime and we wonder how they are doing it. We are worth what we can get consistently. The rewards of being exceptionally creative are limitless. The benifits of independence is worth the suffering, money isn't everything. A crazy business full of unknowns surrounded by fashion and all sorts of ego and talent.
I would say, learn, learn and learn. Protect your ears. Be honest with yourself, open minded and find your "top" strenghts and go for it. You will make what you can get. You are who you settle for.

my two cents...


P.S. I'll move this topic to the Business Forum because this forum and the Classsifieds forum are pruned every 14 days.

anonymous Fri, 12/30/2005 - 08:50

The government keeps track of statistics like these (at least in the USA). I had found a report that gave a range of income for various parts of the country, etc. about six months ago. It appears I didn't save that link in my "favorites" though, because I can't seem to find it and don't remember where to find it. As I recall, I got to it through a search engine.

As has been stated by other people here, it depends on several different things and can vary greatly. For example, someone like me who is currently living in the middle of nowhere (nearest city is home to about 100,000 people) has made about $5,000 this year from my freelance work, which has included anything from CD cover design, to stage hand, to sound engineering. Most of the reason why that is so low is because there isn't a whole lot of work in smalltown, USA and because this is the first year I've put my full focus into my freelance work. However, if you are someone who has been at this a while and is well-respected in a city such as Los Angeles (around 3.7 million people), then you might see income nearing $100,000 (assuming I'm remembering the statistics right). Big cities also mean more competition to stay on top, too.

So it depends on several variables including location, knowledge, experience, personality, how well-known and sought-after you are, and what you'll settle for. Being flexible about what you'll do and where you'll go also helps too. For example, if I got a call from company x in Corpus Christi saying they need an electrical stage hand tomorrow morning for six hours work... I could be on the road in an hour. Corpus is about a three or four hour drive one way and its not sound engineering work, but the pay would be more than expenses, they'll remember I was willing to work on short notice, and it's better than sitting on my butt at home looking for work nearby that may or may not come.

At any rate, if I come across those government statistics soon that I mentioned, I'll come back and post it.

anonymous Fri, 12/30/2005 - 16:35

sorry to bum you out. I will let you know that if you do get to the level that you are on demand you will make a nice living. Producers are the ones that make the money, between advances and royalties they can make a nice chunk of change. Basically look for bands to do a first album with and sell it, you get half the advance and royalties if you set up a production deal right. I do know a few engineers/lots of other titles that make anywhere from 100K-300K per year depending on work flow and things like that.

Guest Sat, 12/31/2005 - 09:06

Hodge, you can make a lot of money, or be completely broke. The chief engineer at the studio I did my internship made, at one point, $10,000 a week and no, he was not the owner. While this is rare, it does happen if you're a top mixing engineer in a city and have lots of label work coming in. There are also major facilities that will go quite some time without work so. . . .

Best advice-keep your day job. Get business cards and get a show reel that will demonstate work you have recorded and mixed. Do your work on the weekends and at night for extra money until its enough to go full time. THIS IS A SALES JOB now, because of a new technology, so many people trying to engineer or artists trying to record themselves, etc, etc/ If you don't get the sale you won't do the music. Good luck