Music composers create songs by choosing notes, rhythms, and chord progressions. Composers implement music theory and sound design to intentionally set the tone of each piece of original music. If you want high-quality custom music, you will likely want to work with a professional music composition freelancer.
Music composition freelancer costs vary depending on their years of experience, your project scope and timeline, and the freelancer’s geographic location. Composers write music for a song but don’t typically write lyrics. They might be songwriters, and both compose music and write lyrics, or they might collaborate with lyricists and songwriters. Music composition freelancers might charge an hourly rate or per minute of finished music.
Experience and expertise
The years of experience and level of expertise will affect freelancer rates, typically ranging from $20-$100 an hour or $50-$1,000 per minute of finished music. The music industry can be non-linear, so there’s not necessarily a typical or direct progression in all composers’ careers.
An entry-level music composer might write music for a low-budget, indie short film. An intermediate composer might work as a songwriter or music producer for an indie video game. An expert music composer will have the most comprehensive music composition knowledge and might specialize in film scoring. The most famous modern composers like Hans Zimmer and John Williams charge much higher rates than other expert composers.
Scope of work
The scope of your project will also factor into freelancer rates, with more involved projects commanding higher fees. If you need a jingle for a podcast or short video, that is a smaller project than working as the music composer on a feature film and will most likely command a lower rate. The more complex or specialized your composition needs, the higher your rates.
Your project timeline also impacts costs; the longer you work with a freelancer, the more you will likely pay. If you need film music and want to work with someone long-term who can provide sound engineering and revisions, you will have higher final costs than if you only need one sound or jingle on a short-term project. If you need a finished song on a tight turnaround, freelancers will often charge a premium to get you your song quickly.
Some composition projects require freelance talent to be physically present, for example, if they are an orchestral composer. Depending on the project, some music composition freelancers can work from home, so you might be able to work with professionals all over the world. Freelancers living in cities and countries with higher costs of living will likely charge higher rates, so consider geographic location when choosing the right composer for your music needs.
Popular music composition projects & costs examples
Jingle composers write commercial jingles. Composers might create the music, the lyrics, or both. A jingle writer typically charges $100-$8,000 per package, but rates can go much higher depending on both the client and the composer.
Game music composer
The video game industry is massive, and rates can vary quite a bit here. Video game composer rates can range from $1,000 to $10,000 per finished audio minute. Indie games might have lower budgets, and mainstream games might have higher ones.
A film composer will likely charge per film rather than per minute of music or song. A low-budget studio feature will likely pay $60,000-$250,000 and potentially between $400,000-two million for one with a higher budget.
Find talent in the world’s work marketplace
Find a music composition freelancer on Upwork! Composers have profiles with their skills and portfolios alongside client ratings and reviews. Look through independent talent profiles to be sure you’re finding the right fit for your music composition needs.
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