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Read February 14, 2017, 03:00:13 PM #0

Production costs...ball park

Hi everybody
My songs are acoustic rhythm guitar and a voice...(with maybe some noodling here and there) quick question...does anybody have a rough idea what I might be looking at (in rough terms) for the hire of a studio and a pro producer. (Possibly to include the services of a drummer and base player) as I want to give two or three of my songs a bit more of a chance in terms of pitching to 'whoever'
I realise this may be a "how long is a piece of string" question in terms of money but I'd really like a rough idea before I start any negotiating! (Remortgaging?)
Cheers Phil

Quavers, Crotchets, Doritos. What's the difference?
Read February 14, 2017, 03:17:23 PM #1
Wicked Deeds

Re: Production costs...ball park

To be honest Phil, I wouldn't go for a professional studio recording.  It is now amazing what can be achieved with a home studio set up as long as you are willing to learn how to use the equipment.  You  will then only be tied by your musical ability and the time that you can devote.  I did some huge productions with Logic Pro 8 in recent years.   I now find I'm starting again, learning to use Logic X.  To be honest - they are so easy to use if you devote a Little  time.  In the meantime,   I'd suggest listening to some of the songs that are produced on this forum and then consider firing a personal  message to someone who's production style you like.  It should be fairly easy to negotiate a fair deal for the services of a reasonably skilled musician and producer. 

Hope this helps.

" I'm the thief who stole the riches in the night."
Read February 14, 2017, 03:21:46 PM #2

Re: Production costs...ball park

Boydie (our forum owner) does mine. He does great work and is very reasonable. And he does it all remotely. I couldn't afford it if I had to travel to England for every studio session.  Grin I recommend asking him. He could probably do any style you wish.
Read February 14, 2017, 04:04:44 PM #3
The S

Re: Production costs...ball park

First off I'd like to adress some far more important factors before you invest in a pro studio. A pro studio doesn't do anything if you can't answer these questions first.

Who's the song for? What genre/style is it? Is there a market for it? Is it aimed at pop (top 40) or is it a more difficult (to sell) genre? Will it stand against the competition out there? Is it top 10 or top 100 material? In your honest opinion. Is the song truly good enough or is it just one of your personal favourites?

Who do you have in mind, before and after a pro studio recording, that's going to listen to your song?

It is a business and you need to have a plan if you want to stand a chance.

Because these are questions you WILL be asked after you've paid for a pro studio, so why not ask them beforehand?!!!

If I come off as a bit harsh I truly don't mean to, it's just I've been in the business and if you ask yourself these questions, and give them your most honest answers, use others to help if you can't answer them yourself, your time, money and efforts will be wasted less and much more successful at the end of day that's all.

There's really no set answer to your original question, it all depends on what end result your after and what studio you choose and can afford to get there. It all comes down to budget as always. Sorry.

Whichever way you choose I wish you the best of luck though!!!

Have any questions I'd be thrilled to help out if I can.



Read February 14, 2017, 06:41:57 PM #4

Re: Production costs...ball park

Hi Boolio

In addition to what the others have said above, I'd like to add that there are a few quality producers on these boards who I'm sure would love to collaborate with you, Boydie being one ( you can check out his production of my song 'straitjacket' here from my piano/vox demo (

Also, I made a studio album with a producer which you can listen to here or preview here - if you like the sound/ style of that I'd be happy to put you in touch with him. We did a lot of the album remotely as travelling became difficult for me after the first few songs...

My new album "Look what we've become" is out now -- Click to listen/ download -- Thanks!

Listen to my album teaser here

Please read the rules before posting in the feedback forums
Read February 14, 2017, 09:28:48 PM #5

Re: Production costs...ball park

Interesting question Phil and many good points made already. Like the others have said studio time is very expensive, plus you are under pressure from the word go to get stuff finished. I personally would invest your time and money in a DAW. If I'm right you use audacity at the moment which I can't knock as an entry level piece of software but there are other cheapish sophisticated options and its an initially frustrating but ultimately rewarding experience. As others have also commented there's some top producers on here. I would be more than happy to add some bass parts and drop in some EZ drummer stuff if you want as long as you've got a track assigned to a particular BPM, obviously no charge. Anyway, lots of options to think about. Drop me a pm if I can help in any way
Read February 14, 2017, 11:02:50 PM #6
Neil C

Re: Production costs...ball park

I'd be happy to show you my studio so you can see a home studio in operation. I think you live around Salisbury which is less than 30 mins away?
For me the ongoing ability to produce decent quality material one of the attractions as once you've invested in you studio and learning it, its then just a question of time. One consideration is having a space to use though.

songwriter of no repute..
Read February 15, 2017, 12:10:42 AM #7

Re: Production costs...ball park

First of all thanks everyone for the advice I’m still taking it all in TBH and evaluating my options. I’m massively grateful for ALL opinions


Thanks for taking the time dude but I have to say I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to computer programmes (I still use a graphics editor that was intended for use on windows ’98!!) but I can see that I may just have to bite the bullet and TRY and learn but In the meantime I may still pay a producer…really appreciate your advice on this   

In answer to The S’s point about managing expectations before wasting money etc...

Peter, it’s a good point well-made and I appreciate your honesty - as for my expectations and honest appraisal of my likely future success (even with a polished product) I would say plainly this isn’t 1973! Therefore my style/genre probably wouldn’t chart at all…However, I’m not looking for chart success…per se

I guess what I am looking for is perhaps  film/tv/video outlet for my work??? (crikey that sounds presumptuous!!) but really whatever my ultimate intended direction of travel may be (if there even is one)  I feel I need as professional a product as I can before trying to peddle it or use it as an example of “what I do” Does that make any sense at all?

Ultimately I guess I’ve realised this life malarkey isn’t indefinite and I’d like to actually have a go at achieving something. I really hope that doesn’t sound self-important or narcissistic or whatever, what can I say?

I just want to “roll the dice”   Smiley

Vicki, Tone

You both have mentioned Boydie and coming from you both this is a glowing recommendation  Smiley I will be contacting him methinks... 


Thanks so much for your offer help

 I have a folksy Spanish bi-lingual song “Tequila Diva” on the drawing board at the mo which I have pretty much finished and the chords to which I’ve fed through a virtual band pedal (trio plus - it produces a drum and base line) and I have to say it works very well - and didn’t get in the way of the melody?! But If you don’t mind ‘running your eye over it’ sometime…I’ll sort it out over the next few days and send you a link to the acoustic sketch plus the backing that the pedal produced to see what you think my next step from a production standpoint should be…I’m a BIG fan of your work John suffice to say any pointers would be fantastic!!!  Smiley

Thanks for the offer I’m a ‘visual’ kind of person so seeing a home studio in reality could be a MASSIVE help - I’m often on the “303” (my route 66!) I believe you’re Winchester way? So I’m sure we could work something out - I’ll pm you. Cheers…

Once again thank you one and all I have been really taken aback by the all the advice and offers of help on this. MASIVELY appreciated  Smiley Smiley Smiley :

Quavers, Crotchets, Doritos. What's the difference?
Read February 15, 2017, 07:49:06 AM #8

Re: Production costs...ball park

Interesting thread. I can also recommend Boydie's work, too, Boolio.

But I'm actually going to go against the grain here - I love having a well produced finished song/product but I have absolutely zero interest in the process - and it may turn out you're the same. I'm happy enough to let others figure out what microphone to use and where to place it, which of ten dials to turn on the compressor and how far and when, and under what menu to search for that command that allows one to select an individual note and shave it's edges...For me, every second I'm battling to learn a DAW is a second that I'm not battling to learn the acoustic guitar - and it's that second battle that I'm keen on, not the first. You said yourself you've realised this life malarkey isn’t indefinite and it's that realisation that drives me away from home recording.

Just another perspective :-)

West Country Country Boy
Read February 15, 2017, 05:05:26 PM #9
The S

Re: Production costs...ball park

Actually, I'm all with you Derek, it's just recent years I've developed the slightest interest in producing. I had no wish whatsoever back in the day and were much like you are in that regard. Let people who love it do it, simple as that.

But, I still stand by my words, if you're going for it, it's truly worth it to just take a moment and think through why you want a song well produced and what you plan to do with that recording, because a polished recording doesn't do any work by itself. That's all I'm saying.

We musicians and songwriters tend to, sometimes, to get our hopes up too easily (not saying you are Boolio, I'm only generalising here.), and this is like any other business, nothing comes easy. Not only do you have to know and master the musical side of things, there's the business and networking side too, it's easy to forget and both sides are equally important if you want to make it as a songwriter/producer.

But hey, these words are just advice, nothing else. If I would want to have one of my songs well produced because I'd like to try at pitching it, I'd just go for it!!!  Grin

So Boolio, there's no harm in trying, go for it I say!


Read February 15, 2017, 07:54:42 PM #10

Re: Production costs...ball park


Think we may be on the same wavelength with regard to technology! Thanks for your eloquent input


Thanks again for your subsequent reply… you’re absolutely right we must, as songwriters, retain our objectivity… with that in mind;

Coincidently I heard (briefly) from a friend today who I haven’t seen for ages. He’s an IT professional and a hugely talented songwriter.

He took some time out a while back to concentrate on music, writing, recording and producing with requisite musicians/ producer/studio. As a result he created an expensive but highly creditable and radio ready body of work (some of which is on sound cloud)

He’s had radio plays, I think at a local level and some ‘interest’ etc. but after having produced some truly superb work, the hardest part, the pitching, continues (but I need to catch up with him properly to find out what the latest situation is) I won’t name him just in case any negotiations are at a delicate stage)

Obviously this is a sobering and timely reminder (for me) to remain grounded as I’m likely to get. Honestly his work makes mine seem pretty amateurish but my thought is I’ll get a few of mine produced professionally and see how they stack up.

 They WON’T ‘sell’ but they may give me a more ‘bone fide’ presence as part of a wider portfolio perhaps for when I approach a web designer , an independent film maker or local business… (or more likely the coffee shop owner or  the local authority busking officer!)  I guess that’s what I’m really after i.e. to do the best job I can just to increase my chances even slightly

Thanks again for your input, really appreciate it
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 08:36:11 PM by boolio »

Quavers, Crotchets, Doritos. What's the difference?
Read June 14, 2017, 12:43:52 AM #11

Re: Production costs...ball park

I realize this is an old thread and that a wide swath of topics covered throughout the conversation, but I wanted to put a plug in for a group online here in the US (Nashville) that teaches and supports beginning songwriters. This is the website that got me started on my way.

I'm of the same attitude in that I'd like to give it my best shot and see where the road leads. I have been in business for myself in the past and know that marketing is all about the numbers. The more songs you write and the more people who hear them, the more likely it is you're going to find that one person somewhere that hears what you hear and helps you along your way.

This place gives you those opportunities to get your music out there to the people on the teams choosing tracks for artists. Your pitches are guaranteed a listen. The only downside I've seen with it is they can put one on hold for two years and then never produce it. For anything with a shelf-life, that's not what you're going to want, but for those timeless evergreens, it doesn't matter.

Their contracts split 50/50 between them and the artist. They have a lot of great information on songwriting from writing lyrics to production, legal pitfalls, etc.  The other downside is that they do charge a membership fee every month and I think a tad bit steep at $30/US, but you can cancel anytime. The best strategy is to pile up your songs, have them ready with professional quality MP3 demos, maybe use their live class offerings for feedback from the pros (very useful, btw), and submit for pitching as many as you can during that one month you subscribe.

If you do choose to sign up for a platinum membership (unlimited pitching opportunities and access) and you'd like 15 free credits, let me know and I can pm you my affiliate code number. We'll both get 15 free credits that way. Wink

Read June 14, 2017, 07:44:51 AM #12

Re: Production costs...ball park

Yeah I wouldnt bother with a studio.
I've had the pleasure of working with a few good live sound engineers and talking to a couple of pro recording engineers; they all agree the same thing - great sounding records can be made without the studio. A good engineer with decent gear will be able to coax good sounds from most locations. Plus there are generally plenty of excellent recording spaces around if you need. Your local village hall or church will probably be more than happy to rent out for a small fee if you need a more open sound. Or maybe you have a neighbour/friend with a large room, conservatory, pool house, shed.... Cheesy

As others have pointed out, there are a few on this forum who probably have nice setups and can knock out a good mix!
Also just keep asking if you need help setting up and recording (mic positioning, preamp settings and so on); plenty of opinions here that can give you pointers!
I'd be quite happy to loan you some gear as well if you need extra stuff for recording.
Read August 02, 2017, 06:48:00 PM #13

Re: Production costs...ball park

Hi Guys,
I am sat at the other end of this, More a producer Engineer than a songwriter.

Sure I can write a song and make it sound great but when you hook up with someone who can play, sing and write really well, I willingly take the back seat and stick to what I know, Engineering and sound.

I guess thats what collabing is all about, let the Producer/engineer do his job while the songwriter does His/Hers. Perfect combo.

Just my five pennies worth

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