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Marcussen
01-09-2005, 04:41 PM
I know points of gross for freelancers is very unique. But what would be a fair deal if one could get points? What do inhouse composers normally get?

Scott Cairns
01-09-2005, 05:04 PM
Hi Marcussen, Im not sure that inhouse guys get anything except a straight wage. Unless the company has some sort of reward scheme for their staff.

Here's something I pop in for every contract;

$10,000 bonus for first 100,000 copies sold
$25,000 bonus for first 250,000 copies sold
$10,000 bonus per 100,000 copies sold thereafter

$10,000 bonus for each platform or SKU the game is ported to*

*Fee includes any neccessary conversions required for different platforms.


Haven't actually had anyone agree to it yet. http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif

lukpcn
01-09-2005, 05:50 PM
Hi Marcussen, Im not sure that inhouse guys get anything except a straight wage. Unless the company has some sort of reward scheme for their staff.

Here's something I pop in for every contract;

$10,000 bonus for first 100,000 copies sold
$25,000 bonus for first 250,000 copies sold
$10,000 bonus per 100,000 copies sold thereafter

$10,000 bonus for each platform or SKU the game is ported to*

*Fee includes any neccessary conversions required for different platforms.


Haven't actually had anyone agree to it yet. http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif

i can only say "WOW".... i can't even imagine such pay for a music here in Poland :( in fact the developer i work for always put the music on the last place :( but i'll show him one day when someone from the big game industry will let me do music for him... i know i need to stop dreamin' ;)

dwdonehoo
01-09-2005, 08:55 PM
It surprises me in a "as I expected" way when people (composers and clients) look at pretty normal PFM rates and bonuses and think they are high. It's probably why in game business, there is still a hobbyist sort of mentality, like composers just sling stuff together in their spare time, when in reality it is just as work intensive as software engineering (I know). The point is, if composing is done for a living, then one has to charge a living wage. Is making 68$ K a year a living? If so, how does that break down for a composer? The Fat Man did break it down at his great site, so look here:
http://www.fatman.com/compose.htm
Go towards the bottom to A comparison of in-house vs. contract music cost:. It is one of the better examples of a living wage cost breakdown that I have seen. Check out what the PFM rate is. Keep this page in mind when you are thinking of costs and charges (etc.).

midphase
01-09-2005, 10:52 PM
I liked it. Pretty cool comparison. Personally I have never been particularly fond of the Fatman's work and like many others in the biz....(IMHO of course) he got where he is by being at the right place at the right time. But nonetheless, I do have to admire his business sensibility and I do agree that his rates are actually quite reasonable considering the amount of credits that he carries. Some might argue that $800 for 1 minute of fully orchestrated finished music is very cheap.

As far as points, Tommy T. always bring up the idea of asking for a bunch of stuff up front, then as they turn things down, you can counteroffer and eventually end up with a happy medium where everyone feels like they "won" the negotiations.

Lastly, about the bonuses per sales milestone, I find those figures to be also very reasonable. At $50 a pop, a game which sells 100,000 copies has just grossed $5 million! Giving a $10k bonus to the composer seems like good practice and comes down to less than .2%


One more thing, I do agree that the current state of the game industry is a mess due to the incredible rate of growth without an established pricing structure and history. Big changes are coming in the next few years, I believe we'll be seeing the unionization of a lot of the disciplines involved in the creation of games due to an embarrasing lack of guidelines for proper treatment of employees. The current system is risking a collapse under its own weight if things don't change quickly with some massive lawsuits in the works.

lukpcn
01-10-2005, 02:11 AM
It surprises me in a "as I expected" way when people (composers and clients) look at pretty normal PFM rates and bonuses and think they are high. It's probably why in game business, there is still a hobbyist sort of mentality, like composers just sling stuff together in their spare time, when in reality it is just as work intensive as software engineering (I know). The point is, if composing is done for a living, then one has to charge a living wage. Is making 68$ K a year a living? If so, how does that break down for a composer? The Fat Man did break it down at his great site, so look here:
http://www.fatman.com/compose.htm
Go towards the bottom to A comparison of in-house vs. contract music cost:. It is one of the better examples of a living wage cost breakdown that I have seen. Check out what the PFM rate is. Keep this page in mind when you are thinking of costs and charges (etc.).

Hi,
I don't want You to think that i'm surprised about the rates... i'm only surprised about those bonuses because here in Poland You're payed up front and for 100% You won't get anything more or You don't get paid for the music and only get royalties...
My latest gig was fine for me i think... i got 225 USD for a minute of music which is I think great rate here in Poland... so i got 16% of the whole budget... of course the 70% of it went for the sample libraries but i said to me once: "If I want to compose and be paid for it then i won't steal sample libs (use it from hackers)".... 95% guys here in Poland are using 100% illegal soft. I have 100% legal... even Windows ;) but it costs... so i understand that my rate is far from what should be but i live in Poland and they won't pay me 50% of the whole budget... Maybe some day i'll get a gig abroad that will give me the oportunity later to make real investments in libs/instruments/hardware etc.
You can hear an excerpt of my work for mentioned game at my page: www.kulmusic.com (in Demos/Games) it's called "Project X"
Just my two cents....

Marcussen
01-10-2005, 03:49 AM
Hi Marcussen, Im not sure that inhouse guys get anything except a straight wage. Unless the company has some sort of reward scheme for their staff. Well... luckily the company I work for (as a freelancer) pay their in house staff bonuses. I think its fairly common.


$10,000 bonus for first 100,000 copies sold
$25,000 bonus for first 250,000 copies sold
$10,000 bonus per 100,000 copies sold thereafter

$10,000 bonus for each platform or SKU the game is ported to*

*Fee includes any neccessary conversions required for different platforms.


Haven't actually had anyone agree to it yet.
hehe exactly... Well. Cant blame a guy for trying :D


I don't want You to think that i'm surprised about the rates... i'm only surprised about those bonuses because here in Poland You're payed up front and for 100% You won't get anything more or You don't get paid for the music and only get royalties... Nah dont worry... getting bonuses is EXTREMELY rare for freelance composers. Thats why I personaly would have no idea what to expect should I get them.

The reason I asked is that my client is playing around with the idea of hiring me for a more "secure" position. So it looks like I might be going from freelance to some kind of hybrid freelance/inhouse posistion. That is doing music for them, but from home... a dream huh? :D

Thats why I just need the info regarding points so I have some kind of idea what to expect

cmrick
01-11-2005, 07:54 AM
Personally I have never been particularly fond of the Fatman's work and like many others in the biz....(IMHO of course) he got where he is by being at the right place at the right time.

You've obviously never met the man. He's incredibly sharp, in tune with the business, completely original, a hard worker, and one of the most positive people I know. While you can have your opinion about his music, making a blanket statement like that is just completely misinformed. And in this day of John Williams/Danny Elfman/whoever ripoffs (myself included), he ignores those trends and does his own thing. Very admirable in my book whether or not you like his sound.

Sorry to hijack the thread. As for what is "fair" for a freelancer. You ask for them and hope you get them. It's just another bullet in your negotiating arsenal. I'd be suprised if anyone but the larger publishers actually gave them to you, but you won't know if you don't ask.

Marcussen
01-11-2005, 08:03 AM
The point is rather what to ask for.. I have no idea what would be alot, or little or fair :)

cmrick
01-11-2005, 10:39 AM
The point is rather what to ask for.. I have no idea what would be alot, or little or fair :)

Scott's rates are the standard "Tommy Tallarico" answer, but it all depends on the publisher and their budget. You should try to find out the publisher's budget and decide if your numbers will fit in there. You also should try to find if there is even a possibility of moving 100,000 units. Are they releasing world-wide? just in the U.S.? just in Europe? Is another publisher doing the international distribution. Then after you've done your research, you have to decide how much YOU are worth.

Also keep in mind that you can ask for a percentage of the net instead of a bonus. Then, if they shoot that down, ask for the $10K per 100,000 units. Then, if they shoot that down, ask for the $5K per 100,000 units. Then, if they shoot that down, shake hands and move on (if that is your threshold).

But as someone mentioned earlier, there isn't really a standard and it will vary with every deal. You have to know with whom you are negotiating.

lukpcn
01-11-2005, 11:05 AM
$10,000 bonus for each platform or SKU the game is ported to

Ok what is this SKU... i found that this is "Stock Keeping Unit, referring to a particular item included in a data base."
But i really don't know what does this mean in this particular situation... :confused:

Any1 can describe it to me ?

Marcussen
01-11-2005, 11:08 AM
Yep I know... as I said its a quite strange situation as what they might offer is a strange hybrid between in.house and freelance. So points are a posibility - their motivation is that they want me more exclusively - securing that I am available for their projects. So its quite strange...

Their previous publishers include codemasters and EA - so their budget is quite hansome

cmrick
01-11-2005, 03:23 PM
So points are a posibility - their motivation is that they want me more exclusively - securing that I am available for their projects. So its quite strange...


Aha, so that means you have the upper hand my friend. Good luck.

SKU - Each platform (Xbox, PS2, DS, PC) will have a different SKU so if you compose music for the Xbox version and they end up releasing a PC version using your music, your contract could state that you get a kickback.

Scott Cairns
01-11-2005, 04:11 PM
SKU - Each platform (Xbox, PS2, DS, PC) will have a different SKU so if you compose music for the Xbox version and they end up releasing a PC version using your music, your contract could state that you get a kickback.

Just to add to what Chris said, a new SKU can be generated for also having the game converted to another language; Xbox Halo in French, Spanish, German, etc.

lukpcn
01-11-2005, 04:16 PM
Just to add to what Chris said, a new SKU can be generated for also having the game converted to another language; Xbox Halo in French, Spanish, German, etc.

So... what You're saying to me is that i should make a one language contract and be paid for all the localisations ? :eek:

Marcussen
01-11-2005, 04:25 PM
I doubt thats very common... anyway the contracts I have had have been for all systems at once. But the games were also made to begin with for each system

Scott Cairns
01-11-2005, 04:27 PM
Well some savvy composers have successfully negotiated bonuses for each and every SKU that comes out. ;)

lukpcn
01-11-2005, 04:29 PM
I doubt thats very common... anyway the contracts I have had have been for all systems at once. But the games were also made to begin with for each system

Ok let's supose that the company makes a PC version of the game... but XBOX version is not foreclosed... so how much then i should be charging ?
Keeping in mind that i will not have to do anything to convert tracks to XBOX... 10% 20% ?
I don't know XBOX but i think it's similar to PC.

lukpcn
01-11-2005, 04:30 PM
Well some savvy composers have successfully negotiated bonuses for each and every SKU that comes out. ;)

I think that Scotty is one of them (the mentioned lucky ones) :D

Marcussen
01-11-2005, 04:42 PM
yes.. a real bastard he is ;)

lukpcn
01-11-2005, 04:46 PM
yes.. a real bastard he is ;)

I didn't want to call him a "lucky bastard"... thanks for saying that for me ;)

Scott Cairns
01-11-2005, 04:46 PM
I think that Scotty is one of them (the mentioned lucky ones) :D

LOL I wish!! Just because I ask for those things does not mean I get them. :)

Yet. :cool: :)

lukpcn
01-11-2005, 04:47 PM
LOL I wish!! Just because I ask for those things does not mean I get them. :)

Do You get a cangaroo for a XBOX conversion ? :eek: