How Much Would You Charge?

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Fred G. Unn
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by Fred G. Unn » 21 Jun 2016, 16:00

MJCube wrote: Could be, but more likely she actually knows people who would do it cheaper. If so, I figure that’s good enough for her purposes; let them do it.
+1. There was a period when I was doing a ton of big band copying in NYC. Many times when I would get a call from a potential client, I'd listen to the description of their big band chart, lay out my basic rates, and then give an estimate only to hear them say, "What!? My usual guy does it for $75." My response was always, "have your usual guy do it then, I can't do it for that."

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John Ruggero
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by John Ruggero » 21 Jun 2016, 17:13

I was interested in seeing what the Local 802 copying scales were these days, but this page is closed to non-members. I found this interesting in itself, because the performing scales PDFs are all open to the public!

Back in the day (1970s) I seem to recall 3.75 for a basic single page or orchestral part on transparent paper, and 5.00 for a double-staffed part. According to an online calculator this translates into 21.48 and 30.69 in 2016. Transposed parts and lyrics etc. added on more. Pages of score were much more. All union members had to abide by these rates. The only exception I remember was autography, which was not regulated.

It sounds like the 70s were a golden age (literally) for copyists! Fred, you may have access to the present union scales. Am I way off?
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DatOrganistTho
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by DatOrganistTho » 22 Jun 2016, 02:35

MJCube wrote:
DatOrganistTho wrote:Do you think the reason your "band friend" is so shocked by the sticker price is because she is ill-informed? Have you thought about education and illumination for the customer, to show them the difference between your product and a "mostly-free job"?
Could be, but more likely she actually knows people who would do it cheaper. If so, I figure that’s good enough for her purposes; let them do it. Frankly I’m not interested in her band arrangements (musically), so it was easier for me to just stand my ground and avoid a long discussion. We had discussed the page rate in advance, but then she blanched at the total, after I’d worked hard on layout to keep the number of pages down.

As for educating customers, I agree it has to be done, but I’m not the person to do it. When someone doesn’t already see the value in what I do, I’d rather avoid the subject with them. Fortunately I’m not trying to make my living with just copying.
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Fred G. Unn
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by Fred G. Unn » 22 Jun 2016, 14:01

John Ruggero wrote:I was interested in seeing what the Local 802 copying scales were these days, but this is page is closed to non-members. I found this interesting in itself, because the performing scales PDFs are all open to the public!
...
Fred, you may have access to the present union scales. Am I way off?
I didn't realize the copying scales were for members only. That honestly seems pretty dumb, as prospective clients should be able to research what a job will cost. Anyway, here's the current scale.
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Music_Copying_Wage_Scales.pdf
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MJCube
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by MJCube » 22 Jun 2016, 16:17

Wow, it looks like an exercise in Let’s see just how ugly we can make this spreadsheet of important information! Verdana (possibly my least favorite font for text), heavy gridlines everywhere, and apparently saved as spotty JPEGs of rough bitmaps! It reassures me that I never want to even talk to the union. What a chore to even look at. (Thanks for the info, though, Fred!)

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Fred G. Unn
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by Fred G. Unn » 22 Jun 2016, 18:16

MJCube wrote:It reassures me that I never want to even talk to the union. What a chore to even look at. (Thanks for the info, though, Fred!)
Yeah, it's pretty much an indecipherable mess! If you ever need to use it, I find it's often easier just to contact Steve Danenberg at Local 802, explain the job to him and he'll give you the rates. He's also been cool and gotten me $ for copying jobs that were originally non-union if the project was later broadcast on TV or something.

From what I understand of it, the really cheap rates like $4.02 for jingles, etc., are basically throw away parts that are jotted out at a studio date. Once computer copying is involved, some people consider those really cheap rates "MASTER COPY FOR REPRODUCTION" and bill double, but I'm not sure if this is correctly applied or not.

Here's a thoroughly confusing union invoice I did a year and a half ago, using the rates Steve told me to bill. (I XXX'ed out the client and date.) This was for a non-union client and I had already been paid my usual non-union rates for the work probably a year or so prior to this. My client had a bit of a sore throat and at 8pm I got the call that she wanted a piece transposed down a half step before they did the pre-records for an awards show at 9am the next morning. I stayed up, got it done, and emailed off the parts. I'm not sure I would have even realized this was broadcast if she hadn't contacted me about transposing it. I contacted Steve because the TV show was a union production and this is what he told me to bill. As a TV show it counted as a "new use," so I got to bill these rates even though I had already been paid for the original work.

Image

I'm sure $1,200 was just a rounding error to the show so they paid it without blinking, but it was a nice chunk of change for me for only a couple of hours of work. Of course the transposition happened to take this song from C to B, so some lines for the strings now were out of range and had to be re-voiced, double stops no longer worked, harp had to be written in Cb, new pedalings, etc., so it wasn't exactly just hitting transpose and being done with it.

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John Ruggero
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by John Ruggero » 22 Jun 2016, 22:19

It appears that copying rates have certainly not kept up with inflation!
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Fred G. Unn
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by Fred G. Unn » 22 Jun 2016, 23:41

Actually now that I think about it, maybe that invoice wasn't "new use" but was simply the added costs to bring the original fee up to union scale, plus the transposition and overtime. I honestly can't remember how he came up with those numbers. It was an additional $1,200 for maybe 3 hours of work (at night) so billing union is a good thing when you can do it.

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John Ruggero
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by John Ruggero » 24 Jun 2016, 11:53

I finally had a chance to look over the union scales in detail, Fred. Thanks so much for posting it.

It is sad that the scales for single staff orchestral parts have not kept up with inflation; but some of the other rates are not that far off. The Broadway rates look much better. And your experience with the transposition points out the advantages of computer copying. $1200 for 3 hours of work is very nice. It probably evens out so that the present rates are very good if one does a variety of work, as you seem to do.
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by tisimst » 01 Aug 2016, 15:18

Discovered this today by accident. Could be useful to some.
URL: http://www.mattsmall.org/CommBasicGuide04.pdf
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Commissioning Music - A Basic Guide.pdf
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