Composition commissions survey results
The results of the survey of composition commission rates carried out by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) are shown below. You may find them a useful reference point in setting your composition commission rates.
|Type of commission|
Average commission value
|Average commission charge per minute of composition||Range of composition charges per minute||No. of responses|
|Choral (accompanied)||3,753||245||1 - 667||54|
|Choral (unaccompanied)||2,473||374||4 - 1,000||45|
|Choral (with orchestra)||12,119||443||33 - 1,500||21|
|Orchestra (symphony)||8,458||542||18 - 2,021||48|
|Orchestra (with soloists)||9,215||468||67 - 1,400||30|
|Orchestra (chamber)||6,352||370||48 - 1,333||44|
|Ensembles (large chamber)||4,974||263||13 - 1,000||45|
|Ensembles (small)||2,886||205||17 - 533||49|
|Ensembles (symphonic wind)||3,440||283||8 - 1,292||15|
|Duo||1,968||187||30 - 500||40|
|Solo||2,200||157||14 - 444||43|
|Brass band||2,810||223||10 - 656||14|
|Jazz orchestra||3,875||279||67 - 500||4|
|Jazz big band||3,667||135||33 - 182||6|
|Stage works||13,549||246||23 - 1,000||38|
|Electronica A||11,245||260||65 - 833||9|
|Electronica B||5,062||255||67 - 500||9|
|Electronica C||30,500||742||109 - 1,375||2|
The survey was carried out between December 2010 and March 2011. There were 517 responses (mainly from composers but also from commissioners and publishers) about commission rates charged and paid over the period January 2005 – December 2009 across a range of different musical genres.
Points to bear in mind in setting commission rates
There is a very wide range of rates charged, even within each individual musical category, and you need to consider carefully where your rate for a particular commission lies within the general range for that category. In particular:
- unsurprisingly, given the relative amounts of work involved, composition rates vary with the scale of the composition; the average charge per minute for a symphony orchestra, for example, is more than three times that for a solo work
- well-established composers will be able to charge towards the top end of the range for the genre while recently graduated composition students who are just starting out will be able to command only fees at the lower end of the range; in this context, most composers appear to have charged below the average charge per minute in all the categories except for jazz and Electronica B and C
- what you can charge will also depend on who is commissioning the work; a wealthy supporter of music is able to pay more than the local amateur choir; the survey results showed that, in most categories, overseas commissioners paid rather more than UK commissioners.
You need to ensure that, on the one hand, you do not under-charge for your services and, on the other, that you do not price yourself out of the market.
You may want to take account of price inflation since the 2005-09 period of this historical survey. For national inflation data, visit the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website.
You should also consider additional charges for “extras” such as:
- attending consultation or recording sessions
- providing a demo recording and
- orchestrating or arranging a composition.