The Cost of an E.P. or Album???

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015 in How To's, Intrductions, Recording, Studio Advice | Comments Off

I receive a lot of emails asking about how much it should cost to make an E.P. or an Album, yet most of those emails aren’t ever certain about much more details beyond the question. I recently responded to one of those emails with a pretty simple breakdown of the details needed to figure out the cost, so I thought I’d post it here to help everyone think through the process.


Thanks so much for the email, XXXXXXXX.

You’re right in thinking that a career in music requires well recorded songs available on iTunes for people to consume. I’ll try to touch on everything a little bit, then I’ll be happy to answer any specific questions you might have to help you get started in the right direction.

The big question you asked was how much to make an EP. Not an easy question to answer. It could cost a few hundred dollars or it could cost several thousand dollars. There are so many variables. Below I’ll point out some of those variables so you can consider them each carefully.

  • How many songs do you plan to record? Most studio recordings cost a per hour rate, but sometimes we can work out a per song rate, OR in really rare cases, we can work out a project rate if we know all the variables.
     
  • For each song, what instruments (and how many) are we recording? This helps us figure out how long it will take to record each song and who we might need to hire.
     
  • What quality do you want the end product to be? There are 3 basic levels of quality for studio recordings.
    1. As cheap as possible – sounds pretty good and minimizes cost
    2. Really good but just for your friends and fans – The most common choice, a balance between cost and quality
    3. Read for the radio – Can sound amazing but can also cost a lot

     

  • How many CDs or download cards (physical copies) do you want? The cost per unit drops dramatically as the number increases.
     
  • iTunes is easy – Only costs $50 or less to get your music on iTunes…. but you NEED artwork.
     
  • Have you considered the cost of artwork? There are specifications that have to be met and if you can’t meet them with your own artwork you’ll need someone to do it which is an extra cost. Most places that make CDs or download cards can do the art for you.
     

I think that’s about it for the cost of things. If you don’t have money you’ll want to start saving as much as you can. It can take a lot of it to get started in music as a career and the payoff is never great at the beginning but it can become really great if you don’t give up. There are also grant agencies out there to help you get money. FACTOR.ca is one of the best. The Alberta Foundation for the Arts is another great one. Worth looking into, though they are a LOT of work, so be patient and prepared.


I hope that helps. I know it doesn’t spell it out in exact details, and that’s because every project can be really different. While recording isn’t often an assembly line process, it doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Answer the questions above, take those details to any studio you’re thinking of working with, and watch them draft a custom estimate for your project quickly and easily.

As always, I’m happy to answer questions and talk about anything in greater detail. Call, Text, Email. Talk to you soon.