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Calculating a Music Budget

October 13, 2011




You’ve briefed a composer: how do you define a budget for music within your PR campaign? Gareth Cousins explains:


PCAM (The Society Of Producers and Composers Of Applied Music) publish a guideline for composers fees, which may be used as a very rough indicator of how much it will cost to commission music. The truth of the matter is that there are not set fees for this type of work, and budgets will be vary greatly, both below and above the figures they suggest.

  1. BASIC FEE – A composer’s basic fee is variable, and depends on their experience, how busy they are, and what they feel they should be charging. A figure of £1500 to £3500 as a creative feefor a composition is commonplace.

  2. Should a cut-down be needed after the initial terms are agreed, a fee of around 50% of the original can be charged. For example, if the original fee was £2500 for a 1 minute advert, but a new 30 second version of the ad is made later, a fee of £1250 could be negotiated. If both are lengths made at the same time, the initial fee would usually cover both versions.

  3. On top of the creative fee, a production fee is usually added separately. This will be dependant on the complexity and costs involved, and will be more expensive depending on the number of musicians and/or third party facilities needed. This fee can sometimes be reduced to zero if a composer with the necessary facilities and skills is engaged. Singers’ fees are calculated using Equity rates, and usually substantially inflate the budget.

  4. USAGE FEE – These fees are charged in addition to the basic fee using the a percentage of the Basic Fee:

    1. Satellite & cable TV: 100%

    2. Terrestrial TV: 100%

    3. Cinema: 100%

    4. Network radio: 100%

    5. Cutdowns: 50% (normally 1 or 2 cutdowns are included)

    6. Client or Agency Website: Free

    7. Streaming and Non-Downloadable: Typically 150% of composition fee.

    8. FREE Internet – Streaming or Downloadable: Typically 150% of composition fee or arrangement fee.

    9. Paid Internet – Streaming or Downloadable: Typically 100% of composition fee or arrangement fee per URL.

Author Gareth Cousins – www.garethcousins.com – has 25 years experience in working on music for picture. Originally trained as an engineer/producer at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, he has since become a busy producer and composer of music for film, television and advertising. Recent commercial work includes FIFA (2014 World Cup), Rolls-Royce, MIG, Motorola and Cadbury.

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