Composing Career Bootcamp

๐Ÿ’ฐย Is The Music Budget Too Low? Try This.

โญ๏ธ highlights ๐Ÿ’ต money Oct 24, 2023

 In the beginning of our composing careers, the reality is that we’re often not paid what our time and work is worth.

There’s a number of reasons for that:

  • We lack credibility, and therefore can’t command trust.
  • We lack work, and therefore can’t command competitive demand.
  • We lack experience, and therefore can’t deliver quality customer service.

But working with low budgets is not a zero-sum game.

When a potential client comes at you with a low budget (but you still want the job), here’s a few things you can try:

1: โš“ Reset the anchor

Before negotiating, try asking for another number. We often feel pressured to work our rates around the first number we hear, so flip it—ask them to try again.

Example: “I’m sorry, but I can’t make that work. Could you come up with another number?”

2: ๐Ÿ”Ž Reduce the scope

One of the easiest ways to work with a low budget is to reduce the workload you accept. If they want 5 minutes of music for $500, accept the $500 with a condition of a 2-minute limit.

Example: “For that rate, I’d ask that we keep the workload to 2 minutes. Does that sound reasonable?”

3: ๐Ÿ” Limit revisions

Revisions multiply the amount of work we need to exert. If a client is below your budget, put a limitation in place to ensure that you’re not working longer than you expect (or deserve).

Example: “I can make that work, but I can only offer you one revision maximum for the project. Are you comfortable with that?”

4: โŒ Turn it down

If you’re willing to take a gamble, say no. You might be surprised to find that a client will raise their rates to make it work—especially if they approached you.

Example: “Unfortunately, I can’t do the work you need at that rate. I’d love to work on the project, but to do it justice I charge double that. If your budget changes, please reach out anytime and I’m happy to re-discuss.”

(For more negotiation scripts, tactics, and templates, be sure to enroll in my Composing Career Bootcamp!)

๐Ÿ‘‹ Want More?

Join overย 3,500 composersย readingย myย ๐ŸŒŽย Compose & Conquer Newsletter, and every week I'll send you free resources and strategies to help you master your composing craft and get paid to do it.