fbpx

How Much It Costs To Make Electronic Music: Fully Explained

By Matthew Vultaggio

October 28, 2020

When first figuring out that I wanted to make electronic music, it was important for me to figure out how much it would actually cost me to make electronic music. I did a bunch of research first, and I’m writing about it here.

It costs a minimum of $500 to make electronic music. $500 will get you a half-decent computer or an all-in-one groove box that you can make electronic music with.

However, there can be a very large range when it comes to how much it costs to make electronic music. Depending on the equipment you already have and how ambitious you want your recording setup to be, this range can be anywhere from $0 – $5,000 and up.

Note: the majority of this article is written from the perspective of how much it will cost you to produce electronic music all by yourself. I go into how much it costs to outsource tasks briefly later in the article.

With that said, let’s dive further into the costs of making electronic music, my friend. 🙂

Costs To Make Electronic Music

The beauty of electronic music is that you really don’t need a lot to get going on creating really great tracks. There are countless producers that have created fantastic records with less equipment than you might think.

The main reason that it can be cheaper to create electronic music is due to the fact that you don’t need to record vocals, guitars, drum sets, and other instruments. Recording these things adds a lot of time, money, and expertise.

The fact is you can create really great music with a half-decent laptop and free software like Audacity or Ableton Live Lite.

So let’s look more closely at the first option available to you when figuring out how much it will cost you to create electronic music: making electronic music with a computer.

Option 1: Costs to make electronic music with a computer

One of the most affordable ways to make music is with a computer. And the best part is you probably already have everything you need to get started!

Here is a breakdown of all the potential options you have when budgeting out how much it will cost you to create electronic music using a computer:

ProductMin.Max.Necessary?
Computer$500$3,000Yes
Recording Software$0$1,000Yes
Audio Interface$100$1,000No
Headphones$50$300No
Studio Speakers$200$2,000No
Hardware Synthesizers$200$2,000No
Effect Plugins$20$1,000No
Instrument Plugins$20$1,000No

You will quickly notice that only two things are really required to start creating electronic music:

  • A half-decent computer
  • Recording software for your computer

Everything else can definitely help you make better music or make creating music more fun, but it is completely optional.

In fact, there are dozens and dozens of free instrument and effect plugins out there for you to sink your teeth into. You really don’t need to invest a lot of money when first starting out creating electronic music.

To be honest, starting off as simply and cheaply as possible is what I would recommend. This lets you dip your toes into the world of creating electronic music without busting the bank.

If you enjoy making electronic music, you can slowly upgrade over time. If you don’t enjoy it, you just saved a lot of cash.

But what if you don’t want to use a computer?

Option 2: Costs to make electronic music without a computer

If you don’t have a computer (or don’t want to use a computer) you can actually make electronic music without one! This is great if you ever catch yourself wondering why Abletons looks so bad.

The simplest way to make music without a computer would be to invest in a groove-box.

A groove-box is simply an all-in-one hardware device that allows you to create electronic music right from the box. Yup! Everything from the drums to synths, all-in-one.

This is great if you:

  • Don’t want to stare at a screen while making music
  • Don’t want to deal with finding and installing software
  • Want a dedicated device for focusing on creating music

The costs to make electronic music with a groove-box range from around $500 to over $1,000.

Making music with a groove-box is actually the first step into the “DAWless” world. If you’re interested in computer-less music-making like this, you will definitely want to learn how to go DAWless.

The two groove-boxes I would recommend for beginners are the Novation Circuit and the Elektron Model:Cycles. I actually own these and would recommend them as some of the best gear for Deep House and electronic music.

For a deeper look into DAWless setups, check out the 7 Best DAWless Setups for some inspiration.

What Equipment You Really Need To Make Electronic Music

When it comes to figuring what equipment you really need to make electronic music, it simply comes down to:

  • Your budget
  • What you want to achieve

In the previous section, I made it pretty clear that it can cost just about nothing to get started making electronic music. So when choosing equipment it is really more about what you want rather than what you need.

Bare minimum costs to make electronic music

We’ll start very simple here.

The bare minimum cost for you to make electronic music is $500.

With $500, you can get:

  • A half-decent computer or a groove-box
  • Cheap or free recording software

Once you have that sorted. Let’s move right along to the essentials…

Essential costs to make electronic music

If you want to be making electronic music with a little more than the bare minimum, there are a few items that could be considered essential to creating electronic music.

These essential items are:

  • A way to properly listen back to music using either headphones or studio monitors
  • A way to send the music to your playback device without lag using an audio interface
  • A way to input notes using a MIDI controller with pads or piano-style keys

Here’s a breakdown of what the essential items could cost you:

ProductMin.Max.
Audio Interface$100$1,000
Headphones$50$300
Studio Speakers$200$2,000
MIDI Controller$50$1,000

Now that you have the essential items down, what are some nice-to-haves that can take your electronic music production to the next level?

Let’s take a look, friend. 🙂

The nice-to-have items

Beyond the bare minimum and essential items, there really is an endless amount of nice-to-have items in the electronic music world.

In fact, it can get really overwhelming with all the toys that are available to music makers today.

I’ll list a few things here, but please keep in mind that these are nice-to-have items and I would personally recommend starting small when first starting out.

With that said, this can be a good way to see get the full picture on how much it can really cost to make electronic music.

ProductMin.Max.Necessary?
Hardware Synthesizers$200$2,000No
Effect Plugins$20$1,000No
Instrument Plugins$20$1,000No
Hardware Effects$100$1,000No
Microphones$50$500No
Recording pre-amps$50$1,000No

For my recommendation on the best drum machines, check out my article, 5 Best Drum Machines For Techno and other forms of underground dance music. 🙂

Total Costs To Complete A Professional Track

Finally, let’s have a look into what the total cost can be to fully complete a professional electronic music track.

Essentially, the costs here are dependent on two main things:

  1. Will you be performing the task yourself?
  2. What is the level of quality you are aiming to achieve?

If you are handling everything from the songwriting and production of your song to the mixing and mastering of your song, your costs will be much lower.

The only costs here will be what you paid for your bare minimum or essential items. This means that you can complete a full song for between $0 and $1,000.

Thankfully, the very same equipment you use to create electronic music is more than capable of also taking care of mixing and mastering. Thank God!

However, there is a big catch…

If you are not experienced enough to write, produce, mix, and master professionally, then you will not be able to achieve the quality needed for a professional track.

So what can you do about it?

You have two options to really step up the quality of your production. And none of those are options are to buy more equipment. You can either:

  1. Take the time to learn your craft more and find out how long it takes to learn Ableton.
  2. Hire someone else to handle songwriting, production, mixing, or mastering.

Simply buying new equipment will not achieve the results you want.

It can be easy to fall into the trap that buying a new piece of hardware or a fancy new plugin will transform your productions. It is how you use the tools more than what the tools are.

Finally, if you want to be able to release your music on Spotify, you will need to pay for a music distributor. The one I use, love, and recommend is DistroKid and you can use this link to save 7% off any of their plans.

If you need helping choosing the right plan, I also have you covered. Check out my article, DistroKid Musician vs Musicians Plus.

Related Questions

How much does it cost to start electronic music as hobby?

Great question! It costs nothing to start electronic music as a hobby. Luckily, there is plenty of free software if you already have a computer available.

How hard is it to make electronic music?

Another great question! Electronic music is easy to learn but difficult to master. Luckily, learning software can be easier than learning an instrument because there is less focus on physical dexterity, precision, and speed.

What is the best software to make electronic music?

Another great question! The absolute best software to make electronic music is Ableton Live. Ableton allows the most flexibility in both the studio and on the stage.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}