How much is a voiceover?
In the service industry, different products usually cost different amounts. For example, the cost of a haircut will vary, depending on whether you're booking a minor trim or major restyle and if it includes a hair wash and blow-dry, colour (highlights or full head) or a bespoke treatment like extensions or a perm. The price might also vary depending on the experience of the stylist and the products they use.
Voiceover is the same. You will pay more for the services of a professional, experienced voiceover artist with a broadcast quality studio, than you will for a part-time newbie recording on their phone under a duvet. The price of a voiceover includes the service you receive.
Just as prices vary depending what you select at the hair salon, different types of voiceover are priced differently. For example, E-learning jobs are priced by the word, whereas commercials are usually priced by "session fee" plus "usage fee". (A usage fee is a licence to use the voiceover for a limited time and in a limited way. See below).
CORPORATE VIDEOS are usually priced in this way = BASIC SESSION FEE + USAGE FEE.
BASIC SESSION FEE: £300
The Basic Session Fee (BSF) is a bit like the "hourly rate" or "job fee" which most professional voiceover artists in the UK charge for their services, usually between £250-£300.
My BSF is £300. At the moment I am not registered for VAT.
These are the services you receive for the £300 BSF:
preparation and script consultation in advance of the session
hire of my professional studio and audio engineering service
optional (recommended) live directed session
my professional performance as many times as required in one session to ensure you get exactly the take you need, with the correct pace, tone and style
a raw recording of the whole directed session if required
post-production: a full edit finished and produced to broadcast quality standards
supply of audio within 72 hours
audio storage for 2 years
The BSF covers all types of voiceover including corporate VO of 1-5 minutes. However, if the voiceover is to be used online or broadcast, there will also be an additional USAGE FEE.
USAGE FEE: COST DEPENDS!
When you order a voiceover, you do not own the recording. Instead you buy a licence to use the voice recording. Even if you own the copyright of the script, the voiceover artist, by law, owns the rights to their actual performance. This method of licensing commonly has the term “usage" because you are paying for the use of the recordings.
For some types of voiceover (eg Corporate videos for use within the company only or e-learning / training modules), usage will be included in the price.
But most professional voice over artists will charge you a usage fee of some kind. This is sometimes a percentage of their Basic Session Fee or sometimes a fixed price.
The cost of usage is worked out based on:
The number of geographical locations the voiceover will be heard in
The amount of people who will see or hear (or use) the product which features the voiceover
The number of platforms the voiceover will be heard on (eg online, TV, radio)
The duration of the licence that is granted
The licence cost for use of a recording in one geographical location, on one platform for just one year may be fairly low. Whereas the license cost for use of that recording globally for 3 years, on radio, TV and online would be higher.
For example the voiceover for a single 30 second advert for one independent local radio station will (probably) cost £26.70. But if the same advert was to be broadcast on Spotify or smart speaker it would be significantly more because that has a wider reach.
A voiceover to be used just on a client's website might incur a usage of 50% of BSF for one year. But if the client wanted to use it in facebook advertising, youtube pre-roll, on smart speakers and its own website for 5 years, the cost would be a lot higher as that same voiceover would be heard many thousands more times.
Sometimes hiring companies wish to license the recordings globally, on all platforms and for ever ("in perpetuity"). In this case the cost is much higher and can be prohibitively expensive.