I had a production house contact me for a series of 5-6 minute sponsored programs with associated trailers that needed a narrator & wanted full broadcast & online rights in perpetuity, worldwide. They’d shortlisted six male & six female voices.

I messaged the voices & expected some variance in the quotes for what would be a few hours of work: a big proportion of the fee would be in the loading.

From lowest to highest, the price varied by a factor of 700%. 3 of the voices wanted to get an extra 100% on top of their 2-hour session rate, others wanted more, but 2 voices wanted 7x that amount.

So who is right & who is wrong?

No-one. And Everyone.

The rate that will be paid is that which is set by the market. Let me repeat that because a lot of voices refuse to believe this:

The rate that will be paid is that which is set by the market.

Every few months, we hear of a new auction record for an art piece. Chat rooms buzz with derogatory comments,  but someone paid that amount for that item. Question the logic all you want, but once the money is banked, any accountant will tell you, “all dollars look the same”.

Maybe the production house will hire the cheapest. Maybe they’ll hire the most expensive and laugh cos their client budgeted 1500% the base rate. In an ideal world, they’d hire the right voice for their project, and pay the quoted fee. Alas, we do not live in an ideal world.

I am always mindful to call them voice over artists or voice over talents. There’s an art to what they do, but determining the market rate for any art is always going to be incredibly hard.