How much does it cost to record an album?

The cost to record an album; when money is no object…..

Stienberg cubase
Cubase interface

If you have plenty of capital and can afford to use a top name studio like Abbey road or Air studios then it could cost you up to £1000 per day. If you book block sessions in advance the cost can then be reduced. The advantage of using a top studio is that you end up with the nice position of using their name in your marketing information! Not to mention the fantastic quality of recordings! When your act has recorded in the same studio as other well known artists from music history, it gives the industry something to respect you about.

A well rehearsed band can record a full album in three to four hours with an experienced and organised engineer.

Mixing is where time is more likely to be eaten up so It would make sense to leave the big studio at this stage with your stems from the session and then hire a good mixing engineer to deliver the final mix. If you can manage to use a top name then this would add prestige to the album, but; it could cost you significantly for the privilege! Everybody’s charges are different, so shopping around will be important. Again; by getting a known name on the mix credits will add kudos to your marketing info and help you become accepted easier by the industry. Taking the same approach with your mastering guy would then also render your product as having a fuller respect for effort on sound quality. It primes expectations and creates a biassed listener – in your favour!

This could all add up and leave you out of pocket by a good £20-40000 !

Record an album with a limited budget; Opting for a smaller local studio.

In this case you could easily book block sessions for as little as £10-20 per hour. By choosing a local studio with a good experienced engineer you can achieve a good low cost result. If we consider that a well rehearsed act can easily record three or four songs in an hour together with an organised engineer, then a ten track album could theoretically be laid down in three or four hours. Where time really gets eaten up is at the mixing stage so It would be wise to hire a mixing guy separately and then deliver your stems to him/her. But; it does often work out in these situations that your studio guy also does the mix with the band present. This stage can take a lot longer per track with the whole band having input, opinions, demands, moodswings, arguments and fits of rage!

If you are brave enough to go this route you could potentially get an album recorded and mixed and mastered for as little as £1500 -2000

How to record an album on a limited budget using a couple of decent mikes and recording software.

In this age of readily accessible technology, a band can very easily obtain a good DAW recording software and place mics in the rehearsal room to then record a live sound. This can be recorded directly into a laptop computer. Of course this method takes a little knowledge and experience in DAWs but can deliver surprisingly good results.

If you do not have the money for buying mics then you could opt to hire some in for the day.

For more controlled results, you could record the drummer in the rehearsal room first and then record the other band members in a home studio with instruments going direct to your audio interface. The singer can be recorded singing into a mic placed beneath a duvet hung over wardrobe doors! (How I started out!) With this approach a band can easily record a whole album at a nice relaxed pace and at very low cost!

Get advice from Basil Simon about how to go about doing the above solution

Check out Jumbojam recording deals here for low cost band recording in and around the Leeds-Bradford-Skipton & Keighley areas.

If you are really smart you could actually get your album recorded for free!

If your band has seriously good songs and is growing a solid live fan base then you may have power to attract a deal. You may be able to get recorded in a good studio in return for a production deal. An agreement between your band and the studio could stipulate that the studio profit from sales of the bands recordings. At an agreed share on sales revenues. The studio will usually be interested in doing this to gain the kudos of being the studio where your band made their debut album. The great album that launched everything! The way to approach this would be to meet with the owners of the studio and impress them with:

By doing all of the above you will deliver a real feeling that something special is happening around your act. A smart studio manager intent on building a growing reputation will absolutely want to be associated with any current success. If you seem to qualify as a current growing success then he will want a piece of you! He would absolutely consider your offer seriously! When you deliver this impression it gives you real power in the industry. Bands who get this and use this shamelessly often go far very quickly!

Basil Simon is a UK Producer-composer-artist and musical life coach.
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