The Cost Of Releasing New Music

A few people have asked recently about  how much it costs me to release new music.  Obviously it’s much cheaper than it was even just a few years ago.  But it’s definitely not free.  So, since I have a new single coming out this Thursday (watch here for an announcement…) and all this is fresh in my mind, I thought I’d break it down for you.

Recording – $0-ish
I have a home studio that I built in my back yard that I’m still paying for.  Spent about $12,o00 getting that all built.  But I don’t pay for studios or engineers anymore as I do it myself.  To record and mix a single song takes me about 8-10 hours of work depending on the complexity of the arrangement.  That doesn’t count the time I spent writing the song.

Mastering – $50
Mastering is the final processing that goes on a song to make it commercially listenable.  It takes well-trained ears and specialized equipment.  Neither of which I have.

Copyright – $35
The government gets their piece of the action so I can protect my copyrights on the song.

Digital Distribution – $10
I don’t do this until after I release the song on my own website.  But this distribution gets the song into iTunes, Spotify, Mog, etc.

Total: $95.

So on release day for just one song, I’m into it for nearly a hundred bucks.  There are a few economies of scale for full albums, but you can pretty much do the multiplication.

This also doesn’t take into account promotional costs for the song.  That’s a whole other deal.

Of course, this is much cheaper than the thousands of dollars that a larger act might spend on a single.  But my market share and budgets are considerably smaller.

So I’d like to thank the people that are generous enough to pop a buck or two into the “name your own price” box for my downloads.  The act of music patronage doesn’t get much more direct that “you give me a few bucks and I’ll be able to give you more music”. 🙂

Want to chip in and download some of my songs and comedy bits?  Click here to visit the Phil Johnson and Roadside Attraction download store.


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