How Much Does A Music Video Cost? (2023)
A professional music video costs anything between $2K and over $50K. If you want to count on the services of a serious filmmaker and a small crew, you should expect to spend about $5K. However, with enough creativity and hard work, you can make a great music video without spending nearly as much.
The filmmaker Garrett Wesley Gibbons has produced music videos for both indie and major artists. In a Medium article, he listed some of the budgets he’s worked with in the past. For a minimum of $2K, it’s possible to make a professional music video. Realistically, though, an average music video should cost about $10K.
For big artists, music videos tend to cost much more. The average budget for a studio-sponsored music video sits around $200K to $500K. Some music videos have million-dollar, film-like budgets. There are some exceptions, though: the music video for “Wings,” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, cost a mere $18K.
Average music-video budgets
|DIY music video||$0 to $1K|
|Simple music video||$2K to $5K|
|Professional music video||$5K to $10K|
|Ambitious indie music video||$20K to $50K|
|Studio-level music video||Over $50K|
The costs involved in the production of a music video
|Director||$500 to $2K per day|
|Producer||$500 to $2K per day|
|Video editor||$500 to $1.5K per day|
|VFX artist||$75 to $150 per hour|
|Screenwriter||Approximately $1K per project|
|Actors||$200 to $2K per day an actor|
|Wardrobe||$20 to $1K per outfit|
|Camera (operator and equipment)||$500 to $3.5K per day|
|Lighting gear (operator and equipment)||$1K to $2K per day|
|Props||Approximately $1K (possibly much more)|
|Location fees||At least $250 per day|
|Catering||$10 to $100 per person|
|Legal permits||$250 to $1K per day|
These costs are extremely variable, and the table above is nothing but a guideline. You can save a lot of money in the production of a music video by finding cheaper (or even free) alternatives in the market. The music video producer Moses Israel talked about how many of these costs can be cut down in this Indy Mogul YouTube video.
Considering the vast majority of the costs involved in the production of a music video are charged per day or even per hour, time is of the essence. Having a solid plan before starting filming is essential, so make sure you rely on the knowledge of a good producer and that you know exactly what you want for your music video.
Can you make a music video with a small budget?
While even the simplest professional music video will cost you at least $2K, it’s possible to make a very good music video with a smaller budget. All it takes is a great idea, excellent resource management, and a lot of enthusiasm.
The greatest example of an excellent DIY music video that (probably) cost less than $2K is the seminal one-take masterpiece “Here It Goes Again,” by OK Go. If you don’t take into account the hours the band spent choreographing and rehearsing the video, making “Here It Goes Again” required nothing but an empty room and six treadmills. They could’ve easily made the music video for free with the support of a local gym, for instance. The point is that, with nothing but creativity and hard work, OK Go has managed to make a Grammy Award-winning music video without spending a dime.
There are other great examples of low-budget music videos out there. “Double Helix,” by Death Grips, is a music video based on a simple but appealing idea that required nothing but an average car and MC Ride’s charisma.
There are even some major artists who have released extremely low-cost music videos in the past. Grimes’ “You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around,” for instance, was filmed in front of a green screen so fans could edit the footage and create their versions of the video. The production cost was probably under $2K, even though Grimes’ prop metal wings do look expensive!
Some artists have even used the idea of saving money on the production of a music video as the plot for a music video. Lil Dicky’s “$ave Dat Money” makes for one of the best examples, and the result is both fun, original, and, most importantly, very cost-effective.
There are many ways of making money as a music producer, but being an artist is also about putting your money where your heart is. Professional music videos aren’t always affordable, but they can make a huge difference in a musician’s career. A great music video for a solid tune can help you to take your career to the next level.
And since money isn’t the only resource a musician has, you can always rely on your creativity and hard work to come up with a DIY music video that hits the mark. It’s not easy, and you should count on the support of at least one friend who has some experience in the field, but it’s far from unachievable.