If you’re reading this, then most likely you’re an artist, producer or someone in the music industry.  Whether you are a serious artists or just someone who dabbles into the music world as a hobby, you may or may not know about the cost associated with chasing your dream of stardom.  This blog will give you a very realistic idea of exactly what those costs are from a high, moderate and low level perspective.

In this case we will be addressing the area of studio time costs taking into account that you are an artist who wishes to record, mix and master a single song.

High end:

  • Major Hollywood studio price per hour: $175 to $250 on average (engineer not included).
  • Add $300 to $550 an hour for mix engineer.
  • Add $150 to $500 an hour for mastering.

Let’s assume that it will take the engineer about 4 hours to mix your song, now you’re in the hole for roughly $1900 to $3200 dollars.

It takes an average of about 1 to 2 hours to master a song, (usually with a 2 hour minimum) which will cost you between $300 to $1000 dollars bringing your grand total to $2200 to $4200 dollars per song.  Keep in mind these are actually low ball figures for mix engineers with major label industry credits working with an indie artist who is not signed to a major label.  Major label artists would be charged a lot more.  Sure it cost an arm and a leg but hey…you get that “I’m in the big studio vibe” that will for sure gain you countless selfies that you can post on social media to get tons of likes.


Mid-range studios are moderate to high end equipped and are usually in small to medium sized office spaces.  These studios usually charge a 2 to 4 hour minimum.  Depending upon the skill level and speed of the engineer, it will still take you approximately 4 hours to record, mix and master a song and perhaps more if your song is complex and has a lot of tracks.

  • The going rate is usually around $40 to $75 an hour and in most cases will include the mix engineer.
  • Mastering is about $40 to $80 per song.

Again, assuming that it takes about 4 hours to mix and master a song, you’ll be in for $160 to $320 a song on recording and mixing and add $60 to $100 for mastering bringing your grand total to about $220 to $420 for the entire song.  Prices at mid-range studios will vary based on location and industry credits.  If you are an artist perhaps signed to an indie label that has ponied up somewhat of a decent budget, then this may be a good balance of a “studio vibe” and quality on a budget.

Control Room Side View

Low end:

The most affordable solutions in the bunch are what are known as “home studios”.  These studios in some cases are equipped with consumer to pro level gear.  The quality level varies greatly as some home studios are equipped as well as major studios and are ran by engineers with years of mixing experience and major label industry credits.  They are perceived to be “low end” simply because they are not located in a commercial facility.  The draw back to home studios is obviously the noise factor and customer traffic due to the fact that they are located within residential areas.  Taking all the cons out of the equation, for the budget challenged indie artists, in most cases this is where you will get the most bang for your buck.

  • Prices typically range from beer money to $40 an hour and may or may not include a 2 hour minimum. The mix engineer is included in that price.
  • Mastering is about $0 to $30 per song.

Using the same time allotment of 4 hours to complete a song, your grand total to have your song recorded, mixed and mastered at a home studio will be about $0 to $190 per song.

Usually in life, you get what you pay for but that doesn’t always necessarily hold true in the music production/recording/mixing industry.  In some cases you get more than what you pay for due to the hungry drive of aspiring musicians and engineers who will do whatever it takes to be heard or have people use their services.  Now days you can hear industry quality mixes on radio/tv/film that were literally made in the comfort of someone’s bedroom.  Not to take anything away from the big studios but technology and readily available information on how to make beats, record, mix and master has leveled the playing field in many aspects allowing for many talented yet budget challenged artists to enter the game and turn out superior sounding products.

This blog was written to provide realistic information about the cost of recording a record, the choice is yours as to which road you decide to take but one thing is for sure.  If you want someone to pay for your music, you must first invest in your music.  You must have the passion and enough confidence in your talent to invest all that you can in it knowing that you may not receive a return on your investment.

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