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Hourly rates for musicians

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Kemble, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. Kemble

    Kemble Active Member

    Mar 4, 2002
    As the subject says, I'm interested in what some averages/expectations are to pay musicians in the studio; or be paid myself which would be a LOW rate, I assure you (if you've heard me play...)

    My reality it this- I can conceptualize some guitar parts in my head that I can't get my left and right hands to cooperate with. So we might have someone fill in for my lack of skill in certain spots.

  2. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    Jeff, I guess every market's a bit different...for project level sessions here in Nashville the average is about $50 a song per session (a guitarist would make that for each round, basic tracks, overdubs). Obviously for master sessions the union dictates scale for a standard length session. Hope this helps.
  3. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    jeez, used to be 50 bucks fifteen years ago...
  4. Kemble

    Kemble Active Member

    Mar 4, 2002
    Nashville! Thats actually what I have been lookin around the net for; I figured that there would be some "Nashville Association of GuitaristS" NAGS? rate scale or something.

    Sometimes I feel like Salieri-
    "All I ever wanted was to sing to God. He gave me that longing... and then made me mute. Why? Tell me that? If he didn't want me to praise him with music, why implant the desire? Like a lust in my body? And then deny me the talent?"

    Then again, maybe I should just try practicing.... :D
  5. GT40sc

    GT40sc Active Member

    Jan 14, 2001
    Seattle WA, USA
    Even Muzak used to pay 50 bucks an hour... :D

    ...a few years ago. Not many "real" sessions these days...

  6. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    Jeff, Ironically, the best guitar player I know here is from Cleveland! Ever heard of Steve C? We work together a lot, he's coming over to cut some tracks tomorrow.
  7. henryrobinett

    henryrobinett Active Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    $75 an hour is what I charge. That's a technicality. I generally work out deals if I like the person. Sometimes it's more like $75 a tune. Sometimes it's $100 or more.

    Sometimes guys charge me $250 a session. That's on the low side. It's whatever the market will bear.
  8. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Mar 31, 2002
    Around here the really good guys get about $250 per session. The session can be 1 hour or even 5 or 6 hours.

    Its $250 to show up. If they do any arranging I get them an extra $100 to $200 for the gig (I am talking about simple arrangements).

  9. mfedderman

    mfedderman Guest

    At my studio, I charge anywhere from $100 - $1000 per musician PER SONG. It depends on the "resume" of the session musician. $50 per song seems REALLY low. Almost, unreasonable. I agree it depends on the market though!
    Remember, if you pay fairly, or MORE than fairly, you'll get a GREAT reputation, and will gain access to the BEST musicians!
    Realize, if you pay a musician $100 per song, you could can be making that back in future album sales for the rest of your life, while that session guy collects nothing but his $100!
    Keep that in mind.

    -Matt Feddermann
    Phase Recording Studios
    Highland Park, IL
  10. Kemble

    Kemble Active Member

    Mar 4, 2002
    I'm smart enough to know I'm not good enough for certain parts/certain songs.

    But I'm also smart enough to at least consider that the $250 might be better spent on some LESSONS! :D

    I thought having Steve Vai sign my guitar would help me play better, but alas, no such luck. :confused:

    This is great info. Thanks everyone.
  11. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    I agree, $50 a song IS really low. It's a supply and demand issue here....there are so many players in Nashville for the number of sessions going on. The master sessions are locked up by "The A Team" which is a group of about 20 players that play on all the label releases. I guess that's why all Nashville records sound the same! On the other hand, the project level players here are good enough to get a keeper within an hour of looking at the chart for the first time, so everybody makes about $200 for a half day session. The cost of living is also pretty low here, so that contributes.
  12. drbam

    drbam Guest

    You should inquire with the AFM (musicians union) as to what the different session scales are. http://www.afm.org/

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