$30 per avg. length song – 3-6 minutes long, $7 per recorded minute for songs longer than 6:00 min.
This step is often considered the secret weapon of major artists and labels. In a nutshell, it addresses the overall clarity, tone, volume, and spacing of the individual tracks within the greater context of the whole album. Mastering is the final step in the creative process before mass production and/or distribution, whether the end format is physical or digital.
Think of mastering like icing a layered cake. All of the ingredients have been mixed together into many great layers. The icing is what binds the layers together into a complete and polished whole.
Another aspect of mastering is to increase the overall volume of the program material to a commercially competitive level. I prefer not to participate in the arguably defunct loudness war because I think it’s bad for music. However, if you want it louder, I can make it louder. Just keep this in mind: louder isn’t bigger and better, it’s just louder (and usually sounds smaller).
If you hire me to mix, I will strongly encourage you to hire a separate Mastering Engineer. This is the last opportunity to get a fresh perspective on your project before it is finalized. However, sometimes budgets don’t allow for another engineer and I’d be happy to mix and master your project.