$$$Series Fee Range for Composers?

Discussion in 'Working in the Industry' started by Bropecia, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Bropecia

    Bropecia guy

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    Los Angeles
    Anyone who can weigh in would be helpful. The producers of the show I am on are putting together a budget should they get a re-order. First season they just got the budget they were handed — going forward they’re going to put the pressure on network for a bit of a raise across the board. It’s basic cable, 10 eps, could extend to 13. Opinions of how much I should be making per episode so I can advise? Industry standard?

    Thanks.
     
  2. chillbot

    chillbot Sock Muppet

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    These days $2,000/episode is fairly common for basic cable. Budgets ain't what they used to be. And these questions always depend on situational context. If you can manage to keep the publishing, $2,000/episode + publishing is totally worth it. If not, I would base it on $100/minute so if you're averaging 40 minutes per episode ask for $4,000. In fact you could ask for $4k and then if they say that's too high you can counter with "well I could do it for $2k IF you let me keep the publishing..."
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Bropecia

    Bropecia guy

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    Jul 12, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Awesome thanks. Good call.
     
  4. miket

    miket Team Dany

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    Man, I just want to say how much I appreciate when you share your insights on stuff like this.

    Sometimes I pick up bits of VI/musical knowledge on here, but it's the feeling of being more equipped to think as a business person after reading a chillbot post that I really like. If I'm ever in the position to actually do business as a composer, I think I'll be in much better shape than I might otherwise be, thanks to you.
     
  5. Fitz

    Fitz Member

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    For what it’s aorth, I currently get $3500 for a 10 min episode... so it varies.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Bropecia

    Bropecia guy

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    Los Angeles
    Fitz, 10 mins of music or... 10min ep?
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Bropecia

    Bropecia guy

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    Jul 12, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Totally agree.
     
  8. Fitz

    Fitz Member

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    Apr 14, 2018
    11 min ep
     
  9. chillbot

    chillbot Sock Muppet

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    Yes it varies. If you're a member of any number of FB groups you've seen the same question come up 100+ times. It's impossible to answer definitively, you might as well ask "what color clothes does the producer generally wear". If you have a gig writing for a series you are damn lucky, especially for basic cable which has almost entirely shifted to library music in the last 10 years. But none of that really helps answer the question so I would still go with my original answer, $2,000/episode is fairly common for basic cable. It's the best figure I can offer without knowing the context and may be completely off by a couple thousand either way.

    $3,500 for 10 minutes is fantastic, congrats! I don't know what you're working on but I haven't seen any basic cable series (in the US, at least) that are 11 minutes long.
     
  10. Fitz

    Fitz Member

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    It varies, yes. But not as blatant as your analogy makes it out to be. The most important thing for anyone getting on a cable show really isn’t the up front fee.

    It’s the PRO backend. In my experience, this is leagues more important for financial longevity of a business and could add but to much more than the initial fees.
     
  11. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Agreed. In my area, it would be insanity to ask for $2000 per episode for basic cable, the budgets just aren't there any more. For an 11 minute episode, I'm thinking something like $2000 upfront for the entire series, plus backend.
     
  12. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

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    $2K upfront?

    I guess that is enough to buy a few new sample libraries and to pay for internet for a few months. No budget for food or coffee though. Gotta keep that McDonalds job for that stuff.
     
    Wolfie2112 likes this.
  13. OP
    OP
    Bropecia

    Bropecia guy

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    Jul 12, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Pardon my ignorance but what is an 11 min episode? I thought 24 mins is the shortest basic cable show.
     
  14. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    11 minutes or 24 minutes, I still think IMHO that $2K upfront per episode on basic cable is crazy....but if you are successful in getting it, good on you.
     
  15. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Sure, but ten episodes would be $20k.
     
  16. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires To the stars through desire....

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    Oh, I thought you meant $2K for music for the whole season of the show.
     
    ka00 likes this.
  17. chrisr

    chrisr Active Member

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    an 11 minute ep will likely be for a children's series, for those that are wondering.

    best,
    Chris
     
  18. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    Yes, which seems more realistic. But from what I'm reading, it's per episode.
     
  19. chillbot

    chillbot Sock Muppet

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    This is why you've gone and confused poor Desire Inspires.

    $2,000/episode is extremely low but that's what it has come to. That can be around $50/minute for an hour-long episode, but hopefully they will re-use tracks so it's not quite that bad. At least it's livable.

    In your scenario, $2k upfront for an entire series, you are going to write potentially 400 minutes of music for $2k? And you think MY figures are crazy?

    Of course I agree that royalties are uber-important but I disagree that they are the "most important thing". What are you going to live on until they start rolling in... and it can be a very long wait for a slow trickle. Yes some people get fortunate and get a hit series that reruns like crazy for years. Other people score a 10-episode series where the first episode aired one time and they yanked the whole thing, never aired another episode (this happened to me). Royalties are down overall as well from 10 years ago with all the streaming services, hopefully they will catch up at some point.
     
  20. Wolfie2112

    Wolfie2112 Senior Member

    I thought was high lol! I could be so lucky :) In my experience (at least in my area) that is just not going to happen these days. Producers would rather license music for a fraction of that cost, and use it for the full series. It's obviously different in other demographics. I'm talking basic cable here.
     

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