How Much Does It Cost to Produce an EDM Song?

Costs as text written on a chalkboard

How much it costs in time and money to produce an EDM (electronic dance music) song depends on many variables, making it hard to determine such costs. However, it is possible to give cost estimates determined by some research.

How much does it cost to produce an EDM song? Producing an EDM song can cost time and money. An estimation of how long it takes to produce an EDM song is 25 hours and 45 minutes. Generally, the minimum costs in money to produce an EDM song are the costs of a laptop, but making more costs can make it easier.

First, this post gives a summary of how much time it costs to produce an EDM song. The section after that summary provides information about the minimal money costs to produce an EDM song. After that information, this post explains some optional money costs to produce an EDM song.

The Time It Generally Takes to Produce an EDM Song

This website has a blog post about how much time it takes to produce an EDM song, which I made with some pretty good research. A summary of that post is:

  • An estimation is that it generally takes 20 hours to produce a song, without the mixing and mastering.
  • An estimation is that it takes 5 hours to mix a song.
  • When a person does the mastering of a song, an estimation is that it would take around 45 minutes. We can also use an automated online audio mastering service, which takes as good as almost no time to master a song.
  • Many variables influence how much time it takes for someone to produce, mix, or master a song, such as a person’s experience.
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The Minimal Costs in Money to Produce an EDM Song

A DAW is software or a device that we can use for producing, recording, and editing audio files, according to the Digital audio workstation Wikipedia page. As far as I know, most people produce music in a digital audio workstation (DAW), such as Ableton Live. However, some DAWs are not free of costs, such as Ableton Live.

It is probably possible to produce EDM without a DAW. However, since 2012 I have been producing EDM, and in all that time, I never saw someone making a complete song without a DAW on some computer. I also recommend using a DAW as computer software since there is much information online about using such DAWs.

Choosing a Free DAW

There are free DAWs in which we can produce complete EDM songs, such as those mentioned by a Bedroom Producers Blog page. That page also mentions that some of the DAWs support VST plugins.

According to the Plug-in (computing) Wikipedia page, a plugin is a software component that adds a computer application feature. In my opinion, choosing a DAW with VST support is a good idea since we can then extend your DAW possibilities. For example, when we want to use the u-he Diva synthesizer, we can use it as a plugin.

The Bedroom Producers Blog page shows information about DAWs, such as if they have VST plugin support and on which operating systems (OS) they can run. Some of that information is visible here in the table below.

DAWOSVST support
Studio One PrimeWindows, macOSno
Pro Tools | FirstWindows, macOSno
GarageBandmacOSno
Waveform FreeWindows, macOS, Linuxyes
Cakewalk by BandLabWindowsyes

As mentioned by the Bedroom Producers Blog page, Waveform Free has an unconventional workflow, which might be a problem when we want to switch from/to another DAW. Therefore, when I choose a free DAW, I would pick Cakewalk by BandLab since it also has VST support.

Choosing a Laptop

The most less expensive computers I could find for music production are laptops. Laptops can provide a relatively cheap solution for a combination of a computer, computer screen, mouse (touchpad or trackpad), keyboard, and speakers.

As a minimum DAW requirements example, a BandLab Technologies page provides such requirements for Cakewalk by BandLab. When looking at these minimum requirements, we see that they are not that high, and probably every laptop around 325 dollars (275 euros) at least meets these requirements.

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Optional Costs in Money to Produce an EDM Song

It is possible to produce a professionally sounding song with only a free DAW on a laptop. However, by making more costs in money, we can get faster results.

For example, external speakers sound better/clearer than laptop speakers, at least in most cases. By hearing the sound better/clearer, we can better hear the changes we make to it. However, we can still learn the flaws that the laptop speakers make in sound, which takes extra time.

We can divide the optional money costs over hardware, software, and other things. In the sub-sections below are some of these optional costs, but it is not a complete list.

The prices in this section may not be correct since these might change over time. Also, I did the euros to dollars conversion myself, which might differ from a store where we can buy the product. However, these prices might provide an optional costs indication.

Hardware

As explained in another post on this website, I would always recommend studio headphones to music producers. Compared to studio monitors with acoustics, headphones provide a good clear/flat sound for relatively low costs.

The basic studio headphones that I can recommend are AKG K-702. Such basic studio headphones cost around 210 euros (255 dollars).

When we want to record vocals with better quality than our laptop microphone, we probably need a studio microphone. However, it is possible to create professional music with recorded vocals through a laptop microphone, such as visible in a YouTube video.

Some other optional hardware costs are:

  • External audio interface. An example of such an audio interface is Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Gen, as visible on a Focusrite page. A basic external audio interface is around 175 dollars (150 euros).
  • Studio monitors. KRK Rokit Classic 5 is an example of such a studio monitor, which we can see on a KRK Systems page. Basic studio monitors are around 400 dollars (350 euros).
  • Desktop PC/monitor/mouse/keyboard, all for around 600 dollar (500 euros). Desktop PC’s generally have more work power than a laptop and might feel faster for some people in some cases. However, some people might also feel better using only an external monitor, mouse, or keyboard.

There are some other optional hardware costs, which are arguably replaceable by cheaper software. I would probably never buy such hardware since it generally costs more than the software alternatives below and takes too much space in a room. Some examples of such hardware are:

  • Synthesizer
  • Compressor
  • Limiter
  • Equalizer

Software

I recommend using some software since I use them almost daily, by which most of them are plugins. These recommendations are:

  • Synthesizer. Some great synthesizers are Diva by u-he, Sylenth1 by LennarDigital, Spire by Reveal Sound, and Serum by Xfer Records. These synthesizers have prices from 139 euros (168 dollars) to 179 euros (215 dollars).
  • Equalizer. Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter, which costs 149 euros (175 dollars).
  • Compressor. Pro-C 2 by FabFilter, which costs 149 euros (175 dollars).
  • Limiter. Pro-L 2 by FabFilter, which costs 169 euros (200 dollars).
  • LFO Tool by Xfer Records is great for shaping the volume of sounds, which costs 49,49 dollars (40 euros). An example use of the LFO Tool could be sidechaining (ducking sound). LFO Tool can also show waveforms, which is useful to determine the length of sounds, as an example.
  • Distortion. Trash 2 by iZotope, which costs 99 dollars (82 euros), but maybe it is the price of when it is on sale. Trash 2 is great for subtle and extreme distortion.
  • Mastering software. Ozone 9 by iZotope, the standard edition costs 249 dollars (205 euros). This software includes an exciter (distortion), multiband compressor, stereo imager, equalizer, dynamic equalizer, match equalizer, and a limiter.
  • DAW. Live Standard edition by Ableton, which costs 349 euros (425 dollars). The DAW I like to use the most, and I think that most tutorial videos use Ableton.
  • Sound calibration software. Reference Headphone Edition, by Sonarworks, which costs 99 euros (120 dollars). If this software supports your headphones, it can make your headphones sound flatter (accurate).

When we buy one synthesizer for 159 euros (193 dollars) and all the other software from this list, the total costs are around 1400 euros (1700 dollars). As already mentioned, it is not needed to make these costs.

Other Things

As explained in another post on this website, the environment in which we listen with studio monitors does have an impact on the sound we hear. We can improve our listening environment by improving the acoustics, consisting of placing panels or even changing the listening room itself.

Prices of acoustics improvement can vary from 10 euros (12 dollars) for a panel to a complete acoustically threatened room. I don’t know the costs of such rooms.

Some people like to use sample packs. Such a pack consists of multiple sounds that we might use in our productions, and costs around 20 euros (25 dollars).

Closing Words

Hopefully, you have learned something about how much it costs to produce an EDM song in time and money.

If you like this post, you may want to look at some posts on this website’s production part since this post is also part of it.

When you know someone who likes to learn more about its costs to produce an EDM song, feel free to share this post. Additionally, do you know any not mentioned costs about producing an EDM song?

By Markus Kreukniet

Markus Kreukniet is an electronic dance music (EDM) producer and founder of Passion for EDM. He wants to share his EDM knowledge with the rest of the world. Read more about Markus Kreukniet

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