Pricing for freelance work varies so much, especially in composing where there isn’t really a standard rate.
I’d suggest the following when considering your rate:
Take into account some or all of:
- Your education. (more education, higher cost).
- Your experience. (more experience, higher cost).
- Your overheads / equipment costs (more gear, higher cost).
- What people have paid for your music in the past.
- Whether you actually like the project (really important, the more you like it, lower your cost).
- How much the project will benefit your career (linked to the above point, if it’s early on in your career, consider keeping it low).
There are plenty of freelance gigs to be had on/from Audiojungle. The main problem is potential clients not being able to distinguish between ‘stock audio’ prices and ‘custom work’ prices. It’s your responsibility to make sure they are aware of why things are priced as they are, as it helps everyone out in the long term.
Undercutting and lowering prices for custom work just for the sake of actually getting the work helps no-one in the long run. Even if you are desperate for work, you’re not helping yourself by undervaluing your services. Emmet Cooke’s quote is correct, better to get 1 gig for a rate you are happy with, then to do multiple gigs for a rate you are not happy with. Once you consider the things I mentioned above, you will be able to establish a rate that won’t depress you when you complete your job!
Totally agree with Sam and Gareth here. When I first started on AJ and other stock libraries I did get a few freelance inquiries and I lowballed pretty seriously because I was just excited to get to work on something like that. I’ve learned very quickly that doing this is not in the best interest of anybody, including the buyer.
If you feel like you’re losing money in the studio you’re more likely to rush a job, or resent it when a client comes back and asks for another change, etc., because there’s some pretty big opportunity cost involved (writing more stock music, another potential job, your family, your day job, etc.). The best advice I can offer is don’t undervalue yourself, and don’t underestimate the time it will take to do freelance, including all the endless tweaks it’s going to take to fit the client’s needs.
Gareth’s list makes a lot of sense and is a great guideline. For myself, I estimate what I make per hour doing stock music given a period of 3 years of sales, and then I quote that much. Otherwise, I figure I’m losing money by taking on freelance.