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So I'm going to be writing 11-12 8 bit/chiptune style tunes for an iPhone game. The developer is basically freelance and has a freelance team, they've made games before but are in no way a big company.

 

I tried to get him to give me his budget but he said since they are using crowd funding that he is open to a quote from me.

 

what am I looking at here? $200? $500? $1000?

 

I figure a flat fee is the best way to do it since I don't know how the game will sell.

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I know some iphone game composers who work for very cheap, but get part of the gross sales, something like 30%.  I would say if there is not a lot of music, that would be the way to go.
Go for a 150 dollar upfront flat fee, and then take some percentage (like 20)
I love reading these posts. I too am new to the game of composing for others, and it is helpful to read others experience.
I'll say that I offered the guy $50 a track and he actually beefed up my offer. An interesting experience. haha. I am getting backend as well and they are selling the soundtrack digitally too!

Chris I totally agree with you. This is the reason for my joining this forum... to learn what are the going rates for intellectual properities. I believe that as well support one another, and we learn to value both the commercial and more importantly, ethical and foundational value of our art, then we will all prosper.

 

How much would you charge for a minute of music Chris?  For a video? 

Unless you have years of experience and are work on a big commercial project I don't think you can always charge as much as you want. If you start asking for so much from the get go you aren't going to get gig's or respect. Its just like every other job, you get paid more when you have more experience

I'm just saying, if you expect to find an iPhone app developer, small video game company, flash game developer or small time indie film maker willing to pay $1000 or more per minute of music (which yes is the norm for bigger companies in different mediums) you are not going to get many gigs. (if you really wanted them or not) unless you strike a deal with the creator of Angry Birds or something, haha.

 

But you still have the potential to make that much and more from backend and charging a reasonable price up front. I'd rather get paid a little less and add more projects to my portfolio than try and squeeze every last penny out of someone and therefore only work on 3 projects a year.

 

I'm all for us creating a perception for ourselves that we are worth money, but there is a line where that becomes unreasonable and unprofitable.

I love this discussion. Thanks Chris and Peter for your generous responses. Also, not wanting to hi-jack this thread, perhaps it is more appropriate to continue on th eother post I made (which is directly related to this current thread).

This is the response I received from the potential client (I asked him what the video would be used for and how?):

The video will be produced for a graduation ceremony next month. This is a private ceremony and it will not be streamed to the internet. However I can imagine that they would like to use  the video in the future for educational purposes and maybe next years ceremony. But first it's only this single event. The video has a simple structure.
 
A narrator tells the story of Puah and Shiphrah while graphic illustrations (paintings, graphics etc) and the story in Hebrew tekst are shown. 
 
It has a duration of about only one minute so the music will last the same amount of time. 
 
I replied that his interest was right on, since my music is connected historically to his subject matter as well. I too am a narrator. I sent him a link to my voice overs from broadcasting voice overs from the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games for CBS.  I offered to help with that as well. Hope it wasn't over the top - or too much.  Haven't heard back from him since.
Will wait until Monday for his reply. If not, will reply back. Doesn't seem like there is back end money to request. I am a total newbie at doing work through the internet - with composing work. It interests me greatly.  I appreciate learning from you all. It feels wonderful :-)!!!
Well put Chris!

Chris Alpiar said:
when you undersell your services, not only you lose, but every composer out there loses. Try hard, please, on my knees I beg for everyone's sake, to not undersell your valuable intellectual property :-)

Hi all,

New here, but I'd like to agree with the 1K per minute consensus. It's a good place to start with any project. And if the company/person wants to own the rights... triple it. There is most likely going to be some negotiation and at the end of the day you need to be comfortable with the time/money ratio.

 

Creating a detailed explanation of the costs of producing a track can help people who don't license music often understand what goes into a professional recording. And it is true that unless people stop working for next to nothing or free, we all suffer.

 

Here are some questions I ask myself when considering a project's budget: Do they want to license or own the track? Am I building a relationship with a client that will bring subsequent work? Do I have to hire outside talent? Is the track something likely to be licensed again for another gig? Hopefully these will help you find a price point that doesn't exclude you from a job or keep you buying Ramen noodles in bulk. :)

 

Oh, and make sure you have a good entertainment attorney. In my experience, smiles and handshakes rarely end up in the artists favor.

 

Best of luck!

Thanks Joe,

 

Unfortunately I have to say in this case I did not go the $1,000 a minute as is typical. There are a few reasons though, that kind of go along with your third paragraph. This client has already recommended me to his other developer friend so this looks like something that could be a lasting relationship and good networking op. This music also isn't necessarily taking a lot of production work that would typically be found for orchestral or pop/rock/other music.

 

I COULD ask for $1,000 a minute but if that was the case it would just take more time to raise the funds (they are using kickstarter to fund the project) I like the idea of the game and they developer has had success with 3 other previous iPhone games. He is also paying me for more internal sound design.

 

For my first real project I'm content, even if it isn't necessarily seen in my "favor" from an established outside perspective.

 

I'll be sure to remember this consensus in the future ;)

I think it is great that you are going for it. You will learn so much and this will bring you more. 

The project that I asked $1000 for a minute, did not fly. They didn't have the budget for it. I was willing to negotiate, yet they found music they wanted to use.

 

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