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  • MariNation

Top 10 Expenses For Your Music Career (#8 Will Surprise You)

A lot of new costs can occur throughout your music career. At the beginning you were making it work with the bare minimum doing whatever you could to survive. Now you are at a point where you are hiring a team of people specialized in areas to grow your brand, sponsorships, and finances. Wherever you are at, having an understanding about the expenses you have and that will occur throughout your career can only help you.

1. Technology

Technology has made it so almost anyone can start to create professional sounding music. This comes with a price to be paid however. The standard setup for an artist or producer to start making music is a laptop, digital audio workspace (DAW), and headphones. The range can vary on features and level of technology, but this can cost from $500-$10,000. The low end being the cheapest computer that supports music production, free trial version of any DAW, and your apple headphones.

2. Touring

This can be one of the most expensive things for artists. From gas, rentals, hotels, food, and all other expenses around your shows and staff. If signed to a label, the label may put a budget on your touring expenses. If you are a new up and coming artist, you most likely will be paying these expenses out of your own pocket. Check out more info on how to tour on a budget.

3. Management

Percentages for your management team can vary but here are some industry standards. Your direct manager receives 20%. Your lawyer with 5%. Your business manager with another 5%. These people can keep your career moving forward and be valuable assets to you. That is to say they will be entitled to percentages of your earnings because of the work they have done for you. These are expenses that you can look at as you being fortunate enough to have a team of great people who work hard for you. To happily pay your management team can be your best expense.

4. Distribution

Distribution is easier than ever before. All it takes for you to upload your songs to sites that your fans listen to takes a monthly or yearly subscription. Sites like CD Baby, TuneCore, and DistroKid allow you to effectively upload and collect your royalties all in one place.

5. Studio Time

Prices can cost from $30-$200 an hour for studio time. A typical album can take anywhere from 60-100 hours to make. Typical studio time includes just the workspace. If you need studio musicians and engineers to help out with your project there most likely will be additional charges.

6. Marketing

Having your music reach not only a large amount of people, but the right people. Marketing allows you to reach your true fans. Pricing can range depending on the company or individual you go with. On a larger scale record labels will invest millions of dollars around marketing and promoting their artists.

7. Instruments

Pricing on your instruments can add up the more you accumulate them and have to fix broken strings etc. There is a violin that costs $16 million dollars, which is probably the highest you can go with buying instruments!

8. Music Videos

This range can be drastic depending on how involved your music video is. Music video shoots can cost anywhere from $300 to $300,000. This depends on all the factors of production, equipment, personnel, and location. It is said that Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson's song "Scream" cost an estimated $7 million dollars to make. Click here to see if you think it was worth it!

9. Engineering

To get a song to professional release quality, the song will have to almost be mixed and mastered. This will cost you to hire an individual or group of engineers to take care of this heavy lifting for you. Unless you are proficient at this on your own, you may have to hire someone. These engineers can work off of an hourly rate or any other form of payment like percentages of your song royalties.

10. Hardware

When it comes to having a professional studio setup, physical hardware takes the cake as being the most expensive. Studio monitors, mixing decks, and compressors can cost you upwards of a $100,000 to have a full blown professional setup. When it comes to more basic setups with speakers and an audio interface you can make it work for around $100 dollars.


A list of the top 10 expenses you have or will encounter with your music career can help you plan accordingly. You can make anything happen on a budget and some hard work, but there will be a time in your career where you may need others to help you expand to the next level!


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