What's the going pay for a session musician?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by junglebike, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    I'm starting to get calls for studio work (upright, fretless, fretted). I just got my first call from an actual professional :hyper: and he's asking me my rate.

    I don't know my rate :help:

    I'm not an unbelievable musician, but I'm passable, and responsible, which is all a lot of people want, I gather!

    He's recording 12 songs in 4-song sets. Anticipates 4hrs rehersal time, plus 4hrs studio time per set.

    Any idea of what I should ask? Don't want to go too high or too low. $160/set sound fair?
  2. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    around here I get $50 per hour or $50 per song, with (usually) a $100 minimum... that way I don't hurt myself financially if I can go right in knock out a song or three on the first take

    in big cities people make more. My friends in Chicago make anywhere from $100 to $150 an hour
  3. My band is currently in the studio, and my producer has said that any extra musician that we wanted him to bring in for us would be an extra $50 a song. I agree with AJ that $50 is a good going rate, maybe you can throw that number out there and see what the guy says.
  4. That's a hard question, you don't want to sell yourself short and you don't want to price yourself out of the market. The conventional wisdom of fee negotiations is that hte first party to mention a number loses. You'll do better if you can get him to make you an offer first and go from there.

    I was just looking at the local Musician's Union website the other day (L.A.) and they have a rate sheet on-line you can check out http://www.promusic47.org/. If your gig is non-union your rate will be lower of course (unless you're a great negotiator) but it's a reference point.

  5. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Yes, try not to name a # first. I always ask "What's your budget?" and then try to negotiate from there.