How Much Does It Cost to Mix a Song? The sense of achievement after your blood, sweat, and tears finally pay off is unmatchable. Now that you’re finished recording your first song in your home studio, you may be wondering, how much does it cost to mix a song?
When it comes to mixing and mastering, not many people prefer to undertake the task personally; and for a good reason. However, finding suitable mixing and mastering engineers to work on the compositions isn’t a walk in the park either. Once you scratch the surface, you’ll see that there’s a lot more to consider than just finding someone to do the task.
So what exactly is mixing, and why is it so crucial to song production? From finding the perfect mixing engineer to determining the costs involved each step of the way, here’s everything you need to know.
Turn Your Ordinary Track Extraordinary!
What makes an average song stand out from the over 60,000 tracks uploaded daily on Spotify alone? While there are several aspects to turning a song worthy of being released, we all know the importance of sound quality. This is what mixing aims to achieve by combining multitrack recordings into standard stereo tracks.
Think of it as the part of a production timeline that comes right after recording but shortly before mastering. However, more than using the right microphone or adding vocal layers, it’s the process of mixing that truly determines how the final product will turn out to be.
A good mix is what differentiates a catchy and audibly appealing song from the one that is too dull to be taken seriously. More than the recorded elements of a track, it’s how clear and polished it is that makes all the difference.
Musical Note: Wish to learn more about the production timeline of a song? Here’s a detailed read on how long it takes to produce a song.
Finding Your Perfect Rainmaker: But at What Cost?
Fortunately or unfortunately, there isn’t a specific pricing list you can rely on when it comes to mixing audio tracks. Here are some of the questions you need to ask during the process:
- What equipment is involved?
- How big is the studio?
- Are there any specific hourly rates?
- Are you an independent or a signed musician?
- How long does it take to mix a song?
All of these questions play a key role in determining the final cost you may incur. However, budget is only one of the many factors that play a role when looking for a suitable mixing engineer. Here’s everything else you need to consider.
#1: Find Out Your Mixer’s Strong Suit
Unless you’re planning to undertake the task yourself and making mixing mistakes along the way, it’s imperative you do some research on whoever you plan to hire.
Just like you wouldn’t possibly hire a metal guitarist for a jazz record, you also wouldn’t want to hire a mixer who doesn’t have enough experience with a certain genre. Hence, you can start by determining the style and genre of your song.
Is it a pop record? Does it have a certain tone to it? Should the mixer have some amount of expertise in a certain genre? All of these factors will greatly help you in the pursuit of the right mixing engineer who’ll bring out the best in your track. After all, mixing genres right is an art form in itself.
#2: Listen to Their Previous Songs
Before you ask “how much does it cost to mix a song,” do some research on the mixer’s area of expertise. The best way to determine their capability is listening to their previous records. As you go through their records, ask yourself the following question: Does it sound like a finished product?
Remember, a mixer isn’t a magician, and you cannot expect them to turn a song’s quality around if the production isn’t good enough in the first place. Before even casting around for a mixer, you must ensure the recording quality and performance of your song are decent enough to get started with.
#3: Dig a Little Deeper
The two most credible indicators of a mixer’s reputation in the market are reviews and credits. There’s nothing that tells you of what a mixer does best than feedback from other musicians. Not only does it tell you about their ability as a mixing engineer, but it also establishes whether someone is patient and professional enough to work with.
#4: Finally, Get Down to Business
So, how much does it cost to mix a song? Since the charges for mixes are usually determined on a per-song basis, there’s a wide range of prices to choose from. Here’s a general idea of what most engineers end up charging per song:
- Someone who may just have started out professionally may be looking to charge between $200 and $300 for a single track.
- If you’re a price-sensitive independent musician, but are also looking for an engineer with at least some recognized credits to their name, you may want to expand your budget to a range of $400 to $600.
- However, for somewhere between $700 and $1500, you may even land a renowned mixing engineer with a number of nominations and hits to their name.
Some of the best mixers in the market, with their songs making rounds everywhere on the radio, also charge up to several thousand dollars per song. In rare cases, they may even get a certain percentage of points on possible future royalties along with their fee.
Fixed vs. Variable Costs: Here’s Where It Gets Tricky!
While the cost of mixing is usually determined on a per-song basis, some costs, especially those pertaining to the setup, will always remain fixed. For the most part, they include the expenditure the engineer may have incurred while setting up their equipment.
On the other hand, some costs will always be subject to change depending on the type and complexity of the work that needs to be done. For instance, let’s say there’s an additional track to mix, and since it will take additional time to be completed, the hourly rates of your mixer may not suffice for it. Hence, you may have to pay some amount on top of what had already been decided.
Some tracks also require repairing, especially if they have noise interruption, while others may need additional processing or auto-tuning. In such cases, the total cost incurred may be different from what you may have presumed.
Musical Note: Wish to learn more about the breakdown of fixed and variable mixing costs? Here’s a detailed guide to help you get started.
Ready to Release the Next Ear-Candy?
Other factors considered, a good mixing engineer has the ability to turn your average audio track into the next big thing. Think about all the attention you’ll be able to garner with your soundtrack achieving its rightful recognition overnight.
So, how much does it cost to mix a song?
Whether it’s the soulful melody or the lyrics hitting the right notes, good mixing can make all the difference, especially when it comes to quality. Now that you’re familiar with the intricacies of costs surrounding a typical song mixing venture don’t hesitate to get out there and choose what fits your needs best!
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