How Much Does It Cost to Master a Song?

Mastering is an incredibly important step in the process of producing music, and one that cannot be skipped—at least not if you want to make music that sounds like it’s ready for primetime

Despite the importance of mastering in the music production process, many up-and-coming musicians often wonder exactly what mastering is. Another important query regards how much it will cost an artist to master their song and whether mastering will fit within their band’s budget

This post will explain why mastering is so crucial to the production of good music as well as how much you can expect to pay for music mastering services. Once that track is mastered and ready to be heard, take a moment before unleashing it. This may be the song you want to promote, and promotion is what Planetary does best.

In This Article:
What Is Mastering?
The Cost Of Mastering A Song
The Difference Between Mastering And Mixing

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What Is Mastering?

During the mastering process, a trained audio engineer puts the final touches on a song and prepares it to be released to the world to be heard by audiences everywhere. After you complete your recording sessions, an audio engineer that has been hired to master a production will adjust all of the elements of the track so it can be consumed as a cohesive, complete item on any device that plays music.

The Cost Of Mastering A Song

Musicians have several options when it comes to mastering their songs, and they all vary in cost. One way to have songs mastered masterfully is to hire an audio engineer to put the finishing touches on your songs.

The cost of hiring that audio professional will vary based on a number of factors. First, they will need to take into account the quality of the production they’re given. How well was it mixed, which is another process that happens before a mastering engineer becomes involved. It’s worth noting that many audio engineers will mix and master at the same time, though, so it’s likely that the mixing will be done by the same person that does the mastering. For those curious, check out our article: How Much Does It Cost To Mix A Song?

The cost of having your latest track mastered will also depend on the complexity of the song that you are trying to create.

The biggest determining factor in the cost of having your song mastered is the skill and expertise of the audio engineer. A person that is relatively new to the industry may charge a few hundred dollars to mix a song, while engineers with major accolades will likely charge upwards of several thousand dollars to do the same job (only likely better).

When deciding on an audio engineer to master your music, you should keep certain things in mind. Make sure that you choose an engineer who understands the style of music that you make or who is well-acquainted with your genre. You should also make sure to listen to the music that they’ve mastered in the past to ensure they’re as good as they say they are. Does their past work speak for itself? Does it sound like something you’d like to attach your name to?

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Perhaps most importantly, make sure the rate they’re asking for is in accordance with your band’s budget. If they’re charging too much for you to afford, it doesn’t matter how good they are.

Another way to have a song mastered is to send it to a studio. You’ll be able to upload your song and an engineer will master the song according to a package you’ve chosen. This usually costs between $50 and $200, depending on the extensiveness of the mastering package you’ve chosen. While this option is cheaper than hiring an audio engineer individually, it is far less personal and may result in a final product that isn’t aligned with what you had originally intended, so beware.

One more possibility is that you can master your songs yourself. Choosing to do so will require building a home recording studio, which will cost far more than paying someone else to master each song. It’s not a money-saver when it comes solely to mastering or mixing, but it’s an investment, and if you stick with creating tunes for a long time, it may eventually pay off.

The Difference Between Mastering And Mixing

Both mixing and mastering are steps that must be completed before a song can be shared with audiences. It’s important for musicians to understand the differences between mixing and mastering, and the role the two play in the production of a great song. Mixing entails combining various audio tracks to make one cohesive song. Mastering, on the other hand, involves putting the finishing touches on a song and preparing it to be played on various devices.

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Photo by Blaz Erzetic from Pexels

Mastering can be done to individual tracks, but the process can also be employed on entire albums to ensure that there is a consistent sound and volume. Many engineers charge for a full album or provide a discount for mastering multiple songs at once. While mastering an entire album, engineers may also put fades on the beginning and ends of songs so that they can be played smoothly in the order the musician wishes.

Another crucial aspect of mastering is compressing the song files so they can be played on different media and devices, such as the radio, streaming services such as Spotify, MP3 players, and others. During compression, ratios are adjusted, the files are moved from mono to stereo, and metadata is added to the song. Song mastering is also a form of quality control; it offers a last chance to fix any errors or imperfections before the song is considered complete.

When it comes to budgeting your band, things can add up quickly. But It’s woth it when you hear your newly minted track blasting through the airways. (How much do you get paid when you get your song on the radio anyway?) If you dream of hearing your songs on the radio, mastering is a must—and so is working with the right promotion company, who will help guide you, and help you make all that money back and more!