What you need to know!
A screen composer’s income can be split into three parts; an upfront fee, royalties generated from the public performance of your works, and royalties generated from the mechanical reproduction of your work on recordings and streaming services.
The Upfront Fee
The upfront fee covers your costs to create and produce the commissioned score. Depending on the nature of the commission these costs will vary, but at the very least the upfront fee needs to cover the cost of your time and your craft. Typically, this portion of the upfront fee is referred to as the composer’s fee.
In addition to your composer’s fee, the upfront fee almost always has to cover your music production costs in what is commonly known as a ‘package deal’. These costs may include live players, recording engineers, mixing engineers, studio time, orchestration, score preparation, orchestral contractors, assistants, and other costs that may be associated with deliverables such as 5.1 mixes or stems.
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