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Planning your Project: Part Four


Building a budget for a recording project without missing some costs you might not think of can be a difficult thing. We're always available to help build a budget with you, but if you'd like to take a look at things yourself, here's generally how we build ours. Typically, to make sure that I don't miss anything, I like to break the budget up into three categories: studio time, players, and additional costs.

Studio Time

Tracking: This varies, depending on how many songs you want to get done and how much time you think you'll need. Tracking is different from the rest of the studio costs, because it is per day as opposed to per song. If you are a solo artist using session players, it might be beneficial for you to have your bed tracking days separate from your vocal days. 

Mixing: Mixing varies as well, depending on the size of your project. It might be a per song rate, day rate, or an album rate.

Mastering: Mastering is typically per song, and the rate often changes depending on the number of songs.


STANDARD PRODUCTION (typical set-up for a solo artist):

Guitar: $150 per song

Bass: $150 per song

Drums: $150 per song

Keys: $150 per song

** Average rate of a session player in Calgary, AB.

ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION (optional - for solo artists and/or bands):

Background Vocalists: avg. $100 per song per vocalist

Strings: avg. $250 per arrangement + $150 per player per song + $50 conductor fee per song

Horns: avg. $150 per player

Misc. Instruments (pedal steel, etc.): avg. $150 per player

Additional Costs

Some possible additional costs to consider:

Piano Tuning

Gear Rental

Arrangement and Charts (if you are using session players you will need to provide charts for the players)

Budget Templates

A Solo Artist using session players:

Tracking: ___ days at $_______ per day = $__________

Mixing: ___ days at $_______ per day
OR ___ songs at $_______ per song = $__________

Mastering: ___songs at $_______ per song = $__________

Guitar/Bass/Keys/Drums: $600 per song x ___ songs = $__________

BGVs (one vocalist): $100 per song x ___ songs = $__________ 

Total: =$__________

** Keep in mind that while pro. session players look like they have a high rate, they are pros for a reason. They're able to come in for a day and lay down several bed tracks, which ultimately saves you money and time in the studio.


Band playing their own instruments, doing their own BGVs, and using strings on selected songs for higher production:

Tracking: ___ days at $_______ per day = $__________

Mixing: ___ days at $_______ per day
OR ___ songs at $_______ per song = $__________

Mastering: ___songs at $_______ per song = $__________

Strings: ___ songs at $250 per arrangement + $150 per player + $50 conductor fee 

** While it looks like a band requires significantly less budget than a solo artist using session players, bands generally need to schedule more tracking time, as it can take longer to lay down beds and get the best vocal takes.

Read Planning Your Project Part One: Tracking

Read Planning Your Project Part Two: The Recording Process

Read Planning Your Project Part Three: Mixing

If you have questions, please contact our studio manager at: