An excerpt from "Modern Record Production" by John Boylan - From Section IV, Chapter A "Finances, Budgets, and the Paper Trail."




Every project which is given a green light by a major record company (and most minor record companies) has to have a budget, which must be drawn up and approved by all the interested parties: the record company, the artist, and the manager. And the person responsible for that budget? The producer.

Make no mistake about how important this is. Potential record producers with a strong creative sense and a weak business sense may be tempted to ignore this section of the book, but I have seen situations where a well drawn-up budget, delivered in a timely fashion, made the difference between a producer getting the job and losing out on it. To be sure, the producer can hire someone else to draw up a budget; there are many freelance accountants who are very good at it and ready to deliver a terrific-looking document that will satisfy the most demanding A&R Administrator. In my opinion, however, it is a mistake for a producer to remove himself or herself too far from the budget process. Even if you have someone else preparing it, you are well advised to keep your hands firmly on the wheel. And if you know how to forecast an accurate budget yourself, you'll be much better able to oversee an employee who's doing it for you. Working with your production coordinator, and following a few simple guidelines, you can easily prepare a budget yourself. In order to make the process a little less academic, I have included a number of different sample budgets in Appendix C. Among them you will find something to cover almost any type of album project. For this chapter, we'll set up a sample budget step by step, allowing you to become familiar with the process as we go along.

The first step in the budget process is a very obvious one - you must find out how much money the record company (or, in some cases, the artist) is prepared to spend on the project. This can be tricky because the amount the artist is given is not necessarily the amount you can spend. Many contracts call for the record company to provide the artist with a "fund" for each project. In most cases that fund has to cover the album budget plus a number of other expenses that have nothing to do with record production. So, you must find out if any of that money is earmarked for fixed expenses of some kind, such as compulsory payments to agents, advance payments to members of the band, or even your own production advance. Once you've ascertained the amount you have to spend on actual recording, you can go about allocating it.

 homebut2.GIF (2538 bytes)