Creating a song can be a lengthy process that requires the assistance of many professionals. This includes composers, performers, producers, and mixing engineers. The latter plays a vital role in helping complete a song and making it sound like a finished product.
If you are interested in becoming a mixing engineer, you may be wondering “Do mixing engineers get royalties?”. Let’s examine this question in more detail and discuss situations in which mixing engineers may receive royalties from song sales.
Before we answer the primary question this article is centered around, it is important to understand what a mixing engineer is and what role they play in completing a song.
A mixing engineer is essentially a trained professional who helps process the audio mix for a song. They balance the various instrument groups in the mix to produce a final result that is sonically pleasing.
You may be inclined to believe that mixing engineers play a relatively minor role compared to the composer, performer, and producer. However, a good mixing engineer can make an ordinary-sounding song truly shine. They may be partially responsible for elevating a track to the top of the music charts.
After learning about the importance of mixing engineers, you may be inclined to believe that these professionals should be compensated appropriately for their contribution. So how do mixing engineers get paid?
A mixing engineer employed by a studio is usually paid an hourly rate. Alternatively, they may be paid on a commission basis. Such engineers may charge a higher commission for projects that are more complex and require more time and effort to complete.
You may already be aware that artists often receive a cut of the royalties generated from their music sales. These artists are usually involved with composing and performing the song. Therefore, they definitely deserve to receive royalties.
As mentioned above, mixing engineers play a vital role in ensuring that the finished track sounds pristine and ready to share with the world. It makes sense that these professionals should also receive royalties.
The truth is that mixing engineers do receive royalties under certain circumstances. They are usually entitled to a portion of the sound recording or master royalties that are generated from digital streams. However, they must be registered as affiliates or creative participants to receive royalties in the first place.
Unfortunately, mixing engineers receive a very small percentage of royalties. Producers typically get 3% of royalties, while mixing engineers get only 1%. This can seem unfair until you realize that the producer’s contribution tends to be more time-consuming than that of the mixing engineers.
For this reason, many mixing engineers prefer to be paid by the hour or on a commission basis.
If you are someone who loves listening to music, you may enjoy becoming a mixing engineer. Many of the people who end up becoming mixing engineers share a passion for music and have a keen ear for detail.
This profession does require you to listen to music for several hours of the day, so you should ensure you aren’t the type of person who suffers from music fatigue easily. Mixing engineers who charge by the hour typically earn $22 to $26 per hour.
Experienced mixing engineers may earn around $5,000 for mixing a single song. These potential earnings make the audio engineer profession quite popular with many music enthusiasts.
You may not need a degree to become a professional mixing engineer. However, most studios prefer to hire individuals who possess a degree in music production or in sound engineering. If you’re willing to put yourself through a two-year college program, becoming a mixing engineer may not be a bad idea.
Once you graduate, you can start working as an assistant engineer at a recording studio. You can then gradually work your way up and become a lead mixing engineer.