Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Arranging / Composing fee

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Question
Hello there. I have been arranging music for college and high schools bands for several years. I recently have been hired to write an Alma Mater for a local High School. They provided me with the lyrics and I wrote the melody and the marching band arrangement. What would a respectable fee be for this service?

Thanks,
Bradley W. Jackson

Answer
Hi Bradley:

This is a hard question since a high school isn't a commercial enterprise with money set aside for promotion purposes. It might have been better if you'd negotiated your fee prior to doing the actual work -but having said that, youve performed to services:

composition of the song which I assume they accepted

you then arranged it for band

depending on the size of the highschool and how it raises funds for this type thing ( booster club, sprts department, etc ), you might try
to get  $500 for the composition ( and consequently assigning the copyright to the school ) and $250 for the arrangement

so : call it an estimated total fee of between $500 and $1000 ..with a median of $750 for both services.

..prepare to have to backpedal on this figure for a smaller school.... and you might manage to get $1200 -1500 for a large school in a major market.

In the future, I suggest you settle the financial issues BEFORE beginning the project.

Hope this helps you in some fashion.

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

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Phil Kelly

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I`m a semi-retired professional music arranger with over thirty five years in all phases of the commercial music production business. I can try to answer questions regarding music arranging, theory, orchestration , and/or composition for most acoustic ensembles .( jazz band or orchestral ) I can try to offer suggestions about studio music recording procedures and some basic MIDI applications , too. In the course of my career I`ve worked with such artists as Doc Severinsen and the old Tonight Show Band, Bill Watrous, Buddy Greco, John Gary, Mel Torme, Julius LaRosa, as well as the Pop programs of the Fort Worth, Dallas, North Carolina, and Houston Symphonies, as well as library music material for ABC, ESPN, and NFL Films.

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