VO Rates Rants

by | Feb 1, 2011 | Pricing | 1 comment

Maybe the economy is wearing us all down.
Or maybe changing VO rates have come to roost in on our radar screens for real.
Could it be that nerves are more frazzled that we think, or livelihoods are being threatened?

I’m not sure.

But I DO know that recent discussions about rates for VO work are getting more intense.

Take for instance the public LinkedIn group I started called “Setting VO Rates”.  An initial post reflecting disdain for low rates, at last count had more than 150 posts. The dialogue drifts back and forth in a passionate and philosophical thread that at times gets testy, but is more marked by a roundhouse discussion that goes DEEP into the core of this question.  If you have the time, take a half-hour and read through every word.  Lots of great points made on all sides.

Also, on the FaceBook group “Voice-Over Friends” (yep, ‘started that one, too), one of the members posted a couple of instances of VO talent who have existing ads on Ebay that offer rates with which the member took issue.

Never before have I seen members of the VO community so willing to vocalize their feelings on this issue.  Clearly the voice over business is in the throes of changes that are challenging old paradigms…rewriting established assumptions…and forcing a hard look at the marketplace.

Freelancers of all walks traditionally struggle with setting a level of compensation that they feel is commensurate with their worth.  It’s a highly individualized cipher.  Typically, a great deal of acceptance is granted all around.  Those entering the profession usually accept a different scale than the seasoned pro.

Lately, however, even talent with a mature portfolio seem to be edging downward in their asking price.

Should the market seek its own level?…or should minimums be enforced?

Do the so-called P2P sites contribute to this bickering,?… or are they merely designing new acceptable standards?

I take no sides for now, nor am I sure, yet, where my allegiance lies…but whatever the discussion…maybe we can all gain from a tempered discussion, and eschew polarizing statements, and inflammatory language?




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1 Comment

  1. Andy Bowyer

    The biggest challenge faced by the question “should minimums be enforced” is who should be the one (or ones) to enforce it?

    If a person is willing to provide their voice for “a dollar a holler” who is going to tell them “no, you can’t do that” if they are their own entity? It’s not unlike Texas Hold ‘Em…you can’t force someone not to bet their life savings before the flop…nor can you force the cards to “teach them a lesson” about strategy. Anybody can get lucky–some more (and more often) than others.

    There is no question that the market is flooded with more supply than the demand can equitably support. Hopefully it is the voice seekers who will learn to recognize that quality is key, and is worth paying a commensurate amount for, rather than accepting inferior work for a ridiculously low price. Still, there are some quality people out there who also are willing to accept what is offered, and sadly, savvy voice seekers know this as well…

    There are no easy answers, and the situation will undoubtedly worsen before it improves…the best we can do is…well…our best, and continue to provide not only excellent work–but excellent *service*…



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