Writing projects (read: compositions and arrangements) are always up for negotiation. What I always try to do is let the person hiring me talk first. After we have discussed what is involved, I quickly calculate how much time it will take to complete it. I get a price in my head that I think is fair, but I try to let the other person make an offer. If he doesn’t come forward with a figure, and assuming I know the person pretty well, I might say something like this. “What’s your budget for this? Have you got any money?” He’ll probably come back with something like, “I think I can get $2,000.” Many, many times that figure will be more than I was thinking. Now, if I don’t know the person I won’t be so flip in getting him to talk. I’ll say, “What have you budgeted for this project?” I have found that often what seems like a lot of money to a musician is not that much to the person who is hiring you. It can work the other way too. A good friend contacted me about one of my unpublished big-band charts. “Can you get me a copy?” he asked. “Sure, how about $75 delivered?” I replied. Pausing, he said, “Look, I’ll give you $150.” That’s a good friend. I was trying to do him a favor, but he had the money in his budget, and he took care of me.
“I See Your Point, But. . . . “
Negotiating fees for music for a wedding or figuring budgets based on union scale do not require extensive negotiating skills. It is what it is, more or less. However, if you have to negotiate an Read more…