Getting a song on the pop charts takes big money from a label. While we recognize that there are other scenarios in which a song can become a hit, we are presenting what is a typical Label’s process in producing a pop hit.
The Writing Camp
Often the process begins with a writing camp where a record label hires the best music writers in the country and drops them into the nicest recording studios in town for about two weeks. “It’s like an all-star game!”
Here’s who shows up at a writing camp: songwriters with no music, and producers toting music tracks with no words.
At a typical writing camp, the label might rent out 10 studios, at a total cost of about $25,000 a day.
A writing camp is like a reality show, where top chefs who have never met are forced to cook together. At the end, the artist shows up like the celebrity judge and picks their favorites.
Thus, to produce an album with 11 songs , a writing camp cost about $18,000 per song.
The songwriter and the producer each got a fee for their services. even before the artist even steps into the studio with their vocal producer.
The Vocal Producer
The vocal producer’s job is to make sure the artist sings the song right.
Not only that, the vocal producer has to deal with the artist’s rider. The rider is whatever the artist needs to get them in the mood to get into the booth and sing.
A typical vocal producer fee starts at $10,000 to $15,000 per song.
Mixing and Mastering
The last step is mixing and mastering the song, which costs another $10,000 to $15,000
Rough cost tally thus far;
The cost of the writing camp, plus fees for the songwriter, producer, vocal producer and the mix comes to $78,000.
We’re not done yet – Marketing and Promotion
But it’s not a hit until everybody hears it. How much does that cost?
About $1 million, according to many industry insiders.
The reason it costs so much is because your marketing has the click all at once; radio, TV, posters, promotions, Billboard charting, the iTunes chart, That’s what a hit song is: It’s everywhere you look. To get it there, the label pays.
Every song is different. Some songs have a momentum all their own, some songs just break out of the blue. But the record industry depends on hits for sales. Having hits is the business plan. The majority of songs that are hits — that chart high, that sell big, that blast out of cars in the summertime— cost a million bucks to get them heard and played and bought.
A typical breakdown of expenses is roughly: a third for marketing, a third to fly the artist everywhere, and a third for radio.
“Marketing and radio are totally different; Marketing is street teams, commercials and ads. Radio is the cost to establish relationships with radio stations to get your song pushed and added to more spots on a radio playlist.