how much $$ do professional studio engineer makes a year?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kingofjeff, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. kingofjeff

    kingofjeff Guest

    Hello this may be somewhat of a "taboo" topic...but im very curious an no one can seem to give me a figure. I was wondering how much, on average, a professional studio engineer makes a year. Any ballpark figures would be nice...I know it depends on may factors...but just humor me. Thanks. (if any actual professional engineers wouldn't mind sharing, that would be great)
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA

    I think the price ranges between 2 cases of Budweiser a year to 6 figures or more per year.

    My studio grosses about $50K annually but has an operational budget of around $40K annually. Of course, some of that is salaries/wages.
  3. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    Is that one can at a time?? :shock:
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Depends on who you're working for...
    Religious projects...It's one beer at time of labor and maybe...eventually the other 23.
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    Cucco is correct, There are some engineers who do audio for fun and some who make quite a decent living off of it. I read the stats from the US GOV and it said the "Average" audio engineer earns between $23,000 and $43,000 per year. Here is the website

    You get paid what you are worth and how much you are worth depends on how good you are at your profession. I know engineers that are taking home less than minimum wage for their concert sound work but they love to do it so it is more of a hobby than a real job. I also know some touring audio engineers that are getting in the high $60 to $80,000 for their work. Full time professors who have a PHD or Masters in audio or a related field can make very good money and have lots of benefits. A roadie working for a touring act is lucky to be working at all and may make $200 per week plus a per Diem and transportation. If you are the boy friend of the lead singer of the group and are also their audio engineer all bets are off and you could be making a couple of thou a week. My best friend's wife's brother was Michael Jackson's personal manager (nothing to do with audio). He was paid 1 million a year PLUS expenses.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA

    ....AND ...FULLY ...DESERVE...IT
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA

    Was he by any chance 12 and like punch?


    There's a better way to get that kind of money from MJ...settle out of court.

    Sorry...couldn't resist.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I make between 60K and 100K a year and NONE of it applies to recording.

    I do, however , get a lot of very good Scotch......Single Malt, Highland bred....(dont like the peat) and MOST of it comes from recording.
  9. Brian_Holmes

    Brian_Holmes Active Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Recording Engineer's Income

    This is quite easy to answer.

    Most so called 'recording engineers' make zero. ie work for free. The very lucky ones (i.e. .01 % of all recording engineers) are lucky to make about $5/hr. And only part time.

    The dozen or so world's top engineers make about $15/hr, and only part time.

    Most recording engineers are broke and unemployed. If they have been suckered in to paying $50,000 or more for a (completely useless) so called 'qualification' as a recording engineer from Full Sail, Trebas, etc, they will be essentially personally bankrupt as well as being un-employable.

    Studios are now charging about the same as they were 20 years ago, that is, the ones that haven't gone broke yet. The few that remain have less income than 20 years ago, but 10 times the expenses.

    Do the math.

    Being a full time 'recording engineer' is a quite a few steps income wise below McDonalds burger jockey or security guard, with no benefits and no future.

    If you really want to become a recording engineer, find out if you have a trust fund from your parents to live from. If not, forget it.

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