Do you guys feel bad charging friends for mixing/mastering work?

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by MBC_Music, Apr 2, 2024.

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Do you charge the same rates for friends/family?

  1. Yes

    8.2%
  2. No

    91.8%
  1. Grape Ape

    Grape Ape Platinum Record

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    im not a pro on the engineering side; but im doing very well as music artist and very familiar with this topic. family members and friends are always trying to make songs with me or have me give pointers to some kid, introduce someone to me, etc. like its a frequent thing people want to work with me

    theres no way most of them could afford to work with me, other than homie rules. like recently my grandpa, he writes poems. i flew him here and let him stay in one of the rooms in my house, got him a full-time nurse to come help him while he recovers from the surgery he had. and hes like, “well while im here, why dont we collaborate? i brought my poem book and you have this nice studio in here, id love to recite some over some of your music and use that nice mic”…..like im not gonna charge my grandpa to make music for him lol - its not that deep

    even my artist friends in the industry, like we’re not stressing each other about money with collabs, that just makes you look broke and ingenuine. everyone at my level and up is good for it and majority of the time, theyll pay me more than what i wouldve charged someone i wasnt cool with. you dont make a lot of friends and open doors being annoying to work with, worrying about payment is one of those things, people want have fun and be in a relaxed environment when creating, its a vulnerable thing. sometimes youre just in a situation where you end up creating with someone as the day goes on, a lot of relationships go that way; turning that into a business transaction just kills the vibe and is rarely necessary. on the other side, word gets around fast of people who try to take advantage of that and rip people off, which closes a lot of doors for them, people dont want to kick it with the scammer. so its kind of like a social thing you learn

    i keep that same ethos pretty much, though i know most smaller artists couldnt afford to pay me. but if i think theyre dope and if it makes sense, ill work with them without charging, id love to get credit for putting someone dope on. if i dont think im a good fit but i really dig what they do and we’re cool, ill see if one of my friends want to work with them or knows someone who would. family and friends for sure get max homie rules, if im able to help them i will; because they actually know me and care about me for the most part. flip that scenario and im a well known mixing engineer and my grandpa wants me to mix his song, its still the same for me personally
     
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  2. sowhat

    sowhat Ultrasonic

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    I frikkin charge my kids when i teach them something.
    If school and its teachers aren't doing their job, not my problem, ain't got no time for that!
     
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  3. Moofus

    Moofus Ultrasonic

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    If I ask a friend to do something I will pay them more than the usual to support them.
     
  4. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    I have no family involved in music. For a commercial project, I will charge the same rate as I would anyone else. They intend to make money too, so why shouldn't I get paid?

    Otherwise, I will usually just ask what their budget is. How much do you want to spend? And then that number will pretty much dictate how much work is going to happen for their money. It may even determine how long it takes. Anything with a firm deadline is a commercial project, as far as I am concerned.
     
  5. JMOUTTON

    JMOUTTON Audiosexual

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    There are friends are they are friends.

    Type A) They are family and friend, they are also my family physician. I've never even been presented with a bill from their office and have gotten appointments the same day, or they've come over to the house when I, the kids or the old lady have been sick. All of this still happens. They do some music here and there, mostly church stuff. I also gave on their kids extra tutelage when they were taking piano lessons, they'll never get a bill from me. I've gotten more value out of that than I have put in. This is America and we don't get medicine for free, and it's not that I can not afford it or don't have insurance. It's just always been like that between the two of us.

    Type B) They are friends but they are also amateur musicians who just happen to own a construction company. I get building tips from them and I help out with some DAW or interface problems from time to time that is free, but more than just advice, a quick look at something to identity a problem or talk over bbq and they charge so, I do too.

    The last construction job they did for us was the kitchen in the farmhouse we have in PA. It needed a new foundation slab poured in to bring it up to 2021 code, it was just packed earth and gravel, under the wood joists. They put in an in floor heating system had to redo some of the wood work that had been around since the late 1800s. They charged me, probably less than some random but they didn't loose time or money and I knew they would not cheat me, but it wasn't chump change, big machines were involved and lots of gear and tools that need to be paid for. That's the standard then. My gear and tools might not come off the back of a low-boy trailer but they still cost money to acquire and so on...

    Figure out what kind of friend/family you are dealing with an work accordingly.

    I also wouldn't perpetually drop my rates, but friendship is a two way street. Just knowing someone isn't friendship, that just makes them an acquaintance.
     
  6. WillTheWeirdo

    WillTheWeirdo Audiosexual

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    You have devalued yourself and are working basic minimum wage at that price, lol.
    If you don't see value in what you do, how is anyone else going to see value in what you do?
    IMHO, set a reasonable price for your services and stick by that.
     
  7. Zoketula

    Zoketula Producer

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    10 bux a track and then you do 8 revisions? I don't mix music for other people and don't know the prices, but at his rate you could flip burgers or push boxes in a warehouse and have a fixed income and stability and not beeing exploited by some douchebag. Or tell him it's a 100$ now and he will look for someone else.
     
  8. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    When asked about my rate by friends and family they're always impressed by my professionalism because of how much that I charge and so happy about the steep discount that I afford them. See, what I do is quote my rate up higher by 100%. and then offer them a 50% discount because they're friends...family, 75%...because, well, they're family. Everyone is happy.

    I'm only kidding..or am I?
     
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  9. eXACT_Beats_

    eXACT_Beats_ Rock Star

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    Some stingy mf'ers up in here. :rofl:
    Seriously? The whole "Business is business, personal is personal" only applies to the drug game. If I have the time, I can usually adopt a sliding scale for people who run in close circles, depending on their finances. Family—blood or otherwise—get work gratis if they need.
    In that vein, I got a friend who's currently the epitome of the working poor through no fault of his own, and his solo music outside his band is just sitting around unmixed, not doing anybody any good, and since I have the time available right now, I'm mixing some tracks for him, free of charge. And, in this particular instance, though I've mixed tracks in quite a few genres, I'm mixing even farther outside my wheel-zone, so it's actually a good exercise for me, taking my skills down a slightly different avenue, so that's a sort of payment in my eyes. Every new angle I can get on mixing is helping me in the long run. His music has an intimate Southern Rock, kinda Bluegrass, almost live-but-not type feel, like a mash-up of Drive-By Truckers, Bob Wayne, and Mojo Nixon, so it's a balancing act of studio mix but still... raw-ish. I'm enjoying the challenge.
     
  10. MBC_Music

    MBC_Music Producer

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    That's a good point. The one friend I would do work for completely free would definitely help me if I asked him to come over and help paint my apartment with me. Not sure if he'd do it alone for free tho :rofl:

    Idk nowadays physical labor and computer/creative work are never put on the same level of value and importance (even though they should be).

    I'm a bit of a sucker and as I said I'm afraid of losing my remaining clients who also happen to be friends.

    I don't think I'd have any issue being more firm about my pricing with a random person who wanted me to do audio work for them. I currently get paid to edit videos and audio for an education company and there's absolutely no way I'd change my rates for them. I already get underpaid for that lmao.
     
  11. MBC_Music

    MBC_Music Producer

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    I really appreciate everyone sharing their experiences and thoughts about this topic!

    I'm obviously not the only person caught up on this. Hearing how other people approach these situations in their own work and lives is interesting and useful.

    I'll have to sit down later when I have some time and try to thoughtfully respond to everyone.

    Edit: One thing I want to clarify because I've seen a bunch of people bring it up -

    The friend clients I'm working for are DEFINITELY NOT making money with their music. If they were, I'd have absolutely no problem charging more. I'd probably also have a lot more work haha.
     
  12. MBC_Music

    MBC_Music Producer

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    You're right that I've devalued myself. It's hard to keep clients now that I've left Nashville. No more in person meetings with people where I can show off my skills. Now I'm competing with the entire internet (Fiverr style).

    I don't have many clients left and they also happen to be friends. I like doing the work and don't want to stop out of greed, especially towards friends. I'm hoping there's a payoff down the line but I might be kidding myself.

    My rates with friends are so low tho that the actual motivation to do the work is disappearing.
     
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  13. MBC_Music

    MBC_Music Producer

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    If I have the money I try to be the exact same way. My friend who wants to pay me significantly more is like that.

    In reality tho I think he just feels bad hahaha. I want him to get the best product so I told him to check out Fiverr and then we can compare my work to that to see if I can perform in line with the Fiverr engineer (mixing not mastering).
     
  14. MBC_Music

    MBC_Music Producer

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    Yeah it got pretty bad at one point. To be fair this isn't my main paid audio-visual gig. This is my side work.

    I also literally can't move boxes or flip burgers anymore. I used to be an audio video installation tech, but I can't use one of my arms anymore after a medical accident. Work is pretty physically limited as a result.
     
  15. MBC_Music

    MBC_Music Producer

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    That's really good advice. There at least needs to be a trade off (work for work). I don't feel like I know how to implement that with my existing remote work though. Unless I want to spend $300 flying my friend to my state to mow my lawn :hillbilly:
     
  16. Lad Impala

    Lad Impala Producer

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    Agreed with @WillTheWeirdo
    You're devaluating yourself, and the value perceived for your services.

    if i were you i'd run a little risk of losing my friends as clients, and explain that this kind of job is taking too much time and is just not worth it to do it at that price.

    set a reasonable price and stick to it. stick to the plan
     
  17. Barncore

    Barncore Platinum Record

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    No, cos my friends understand it's my job.

    I wouldn't go to their job and expect them to do it for free

    If a friend expects it for free then it shows they don't respect my time

    I will occasionally offer one for free but that's more if they're a best friend or a family friend, or if they did me a favour with something else
     
  18. Haze

    Haze Producer

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    Before answering that question we first have to define friends.

    For me, friends are the people that I would donate a kidney to, that I will look after when they have a relationship breakdown, that I will give money to without expecting it back when they're broke, that I'm happy to sit there and listen to the same story that I've heard a thousand times before, that I wouldn't think twice about dropping my pants in front of and taking a shit, wiping their arse if they were unable, that I eat with, that I drink with, that I talk with, that I listen to music with, that I mourn if they die.

    They are not "mates" down the pub that you hang with occasionally, that only know you by your nickname and have no idea where you live. They're not even the people that you've known forever because they're part of your wider social circle, partners of friends, people that you've worked with, people that you will turn up to their funeral out of courtesy.

    Friendship is love, love is generosity, generosity is the greatest gift that a human being can bestow on another, it is humanities greatest asset.

    Living life with an "invoice" mentality is a direct result of capitalist conditioning, that every action and deed has a monetary value, that the market usurps all other human transactions, that generosity and charity are valueless commodities only to be exploited for self-serving gain.
     
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  19. mercurysoto

    mercurysoto Audiosexual

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    I've tried to apply the gig-rate mentality from my local scene to my studio work. This is not a rule or even something openly discussed, but it kind of goes like this:
    • An A-list musician or a popular artist will charge their full rate for strangers contacting them.
    • If you are in the know, the same artist will charge you less, say, the "acquaintance rate" for a fellow musician. They know your name, you'll pay about one third less.
    • Friends rate, which means that you are a convenient contact --close or valuable enough to return the favor at the same face value, will make you charge about half your rate to gratis depending on how much extra value you get aside from money.
    As you can see, this is all about perceived value. The "closer" the friend, the more discount you get/give not because they devalue you. It's just that you are building relationships with other artists, A-listers, musicians, fellows who might call you for another gig, a better paying one, a tour you won't be passed on, etc.

    As for my studio work, strangers get to see my full rate on my site. I'm not super pricey, but I charge for every service. From that point onwards, if the potential client sees value in my work, they'll stay, but I'm also trying to up my perceived value, so strangers can see the added benefit of working with me. An example of this is my amps. I barely use them on recordings, but potential clients see I have amps to offer and that is perceived as an advantage. Friends of mine know I prefer amp sims and IRs, and if they work with me, I'll charge less, but I won't mike up an amp for them. They know I can handle myself in software. If they insist on me doing otherwise, I tell them I'll have to charge for the extra work.

    EDIT:
    With family, the more they see you as a hobbyist, the more they'll want free from you, but if they see you as a pro in the business, they'll pay you. This came to mind because my family actually get me good-paying gigs with their friends, and they support the shows I play for bigger-name artists. If they see value, they'll back it up with money.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2024
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  20. Strat4ever

    Strat4ever Rock Star

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    Enough is enough If friends are constantly asking for free work ask them if they would they be willing to work for free at their jobs, then explain that your time is also worth getting paid for and you need to earn a salary also. All of my friends insisted on and paid me very well when I did session work for them, without me even asking them for any money. That is the sign of intelligent, respectful, thoughtful and true friends and not moochers, which seems to be your problem and they are taking advantage of you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2024
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