Session drummer advice


New member
How do you come up with a fee?

In the studio - Is it based per song or per entire performance?

Live - Flat rate or by the hour/time slot?

As you became more experienced did you up your price?

I'm getting myself into a situation where I need to throw out a number. I don't want to be unreasonable yet I don't want to short change myself either.

Any advice from the pros?



New member
my fee is flexible. I've done sessions for everything from $80 an hour to beer.

a few questions to ask:

what is the project's budget?
how much do you like the material?
how easy do you think the artist/engineer/producer are going to be to work for?
is it going to be something you would use later on as a reference to your work?
will this project open any subsequent doors for you?

I would usually charge anywhere from $20-$50 an hour, depending on how much I like the project, environment, etc. I'm not really doing hired gun session work any more. I find working during the day and playing the music I want to at night to be less draining on the ol' creativity.


New member
I work within people's budgets but generally charge $20-50 per song, depending on how much time I'll have to spend. To me, it's more important to make some change than stick by a set fee and turn people away. The amount of effort put into the product is all that changes.


New member
Usually around 50 bucks per hour. However, if you want to work for free , tell them you want a points or two, which is basically a percentage of song sales. I


New member
I negotiate based off of budget, but normally $25-$50 / hour....payable AT THE END OF THE SESSION!!!

It really sucks having to track down money afterwards. Always make sure you leave with a check or cash in hand, and discuss this requirement after you have been hired but BEFORE you show up to the studio and begin setting up. It's best for everyone to be up front about it, and nobody wants any stress while they're trying to make music happen in the studio.


New member
how many sessions do they want to bring you in for?

if it's one or two sessions then i'm a little more flexible.... I once did a one night session for 30 bucks because it was something that I hadn't done and knew it would be good to have a recording of that style for my demo clips. Plus i knew the budget was next to non-existent... it made the singer much more relaxed about the whole thing.
I onced charged 200 bucks for a single session because I was really busy at the time and had plenty of stuff in that style done... I didn't really need the work at that time and it was a pain, so i had to make it worth my while.

i find it's good to offer them a rate of so much per song (like 50-100 dollars a song) and also offer them an hourly rate (20-40 per hour for instance). chances are... you're not going to spend 5 hours tracking one song... so they will opt for the better deal on the per song rate... everybody wins then and if it takes a little longer on one song... they don't end up freaking out because the clock is running


New member
The first few times I recorded, I did it for drinks afterwards, just so I could have a little bit of a repertoire from which to charge. Now I charge based on how difficult the material will be to play. For example black metal costs the most $100-125 a song, reggae the least at $30 a song...

I never thought of charging per hour as well, thats a really good idea


New member
Depends upon the artist, situation, "do I really wanna do it", etc.

I've made 4 figures a day, and some days I do it for free.

Gotta trust your gut.


New member
BillRayDrums":169oe67m said:
Depends upon the artist, situation, "do I really wanna do it", etc.

I've made 4 figures a day, and some days I do it for free.

Gotta trust your gut.
I guess that's what it comes down to.

By the way, nice job on member of the year title. It's well deserved.


New member
Most club/covers sessions I've done I'll go an even split with the band. Then again most work I do like this is through friends etc. so it's usually good guys.
Club gigs I'll normally end up with £75 ($150). Set is normally about 2 hours or around 30 songs.

Price surely depends on the project, if you are just starting out maybe try and get some work through one or two specific producers/studios to get more familiar with the scene. That way you can build a fair and agreed rate and getting your name out there as a reliable drummer. Most work is through word of mouth as we all know.

A producer friend of mine pays his session drummer a day rate of £150 ($300) for studio recording work.

Nice work, if you can get a regular amount of it!