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Commission Fees Survey 2010/11

How the Survey Works

At BASCA, we want composers to have all of the relevant information to enable them to negotiate fees and equally, we want commissioners to be aware of the cost of commissioning new music.

As such, BASCA launched a comprehensive survey to gather information on the cost of commissioning live music in the classical concert, electronica and jazz arenas. The survey was open to composers, publishers and commissioners between 8th December 2010 and 9th March 2011.

The survey asked for historical information on fees paid for commissions over the five year period between January 2005 and December 2009.

The aim was to present the results of the survey not as a recommendation on price, but to help those concerned to calculate their own cost price structures and enable them to establish their selling prices independently.

The survey was extremely comprehensive, and sought data across a huge range of musical genres. The categories were:

  • Solo including Jazz (includes works for harp or keyboard)
  • Duo including Jazz (two instruments, one of which may be a keyboard)
  • Unaccompanied Choral including Jazz (may include vocal soloist)
  • Small Chamber Ensemble including Jazz (3 to 9 players)
  • Accompanied Choral including Gospel and Jazz (accompanied by keyboard or solo instruments, with or without vocal soloist)
  • Electronica (A) Electronic Music as Fixed Media (ie no live involvement other than diffusion)
  • Electronica (B) Electronic Music Small Ensemble (Up to 5 instrumentalists/vocalists)
  • Electronica (C) Electronic Music Large Ensemble (more than 5 instrumentalists/vocalists)
  • Large Chamber Ensemble including Jazz (10 to 20 players)
  • Chamber Orchestra (may include solo instruments)
  • Brass Band (may include solo instruments)
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble (may include solo instruments)
  • Choir with Chamber Orchestra (may include vocal soloists)
  • Orchestra with One or More Soloists (soloists may be voice or instrument)
  • Chorus and Orchestra (may include vocal soloists)
  • Jazz Big Band
  • Jazz Orchestra
  • Stage Works including Opera

BASCA will carry out similar Commission Fee surveys every two years, to enable us to provide composers with the most up-to-date data.

Survey Results

Here is a comprehensive analysis based on the results of our 2011 Commission Fee Survey. The full statistical report is available to download on the right hand side of this screen, and makes for fascinating reading — we urge you to take some time to read the report in full.

The report extrapolates lots of interesting information regarding the level of commission fees currently being paid to UK composers, but we appreciate that what most composers will be seeking is an indication of fees per minute for the various musical works they are writing. As such, we have reproduced a table from the analysis below, which shows the average cost per minute of music composed across the full range of genres. Please see page 5 of the full report for details of how we arrived at these figures.

We would again stress that these are not recommendations as to what you should be charging, but rather a representation of what composers have been charging during the past five years.

Cost per minute table