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The Mystery of Voice Over Rates, Pricing and Usage: What Do You Need to Know?

Would you like to gain insight into how voice-over rates, prices and usage rights are determined and why they vary? Before I give you the details, I need some information from you to prepare an accurate quote. This helps you understand why a standard rate is not always possible. Each project has its own unique characteristics, so every rate is different.

Man sits on a bench in a park
Serge on a bench in a park

In order to make a customized quote, I need the following information:

  1. Script or preliminary script : At least the word count or estimated duration of your project.

  2. Use of the audio : Is it used in a commercial, e-learning module, web video, etc.?

  3. Advertising plan : Will the project be promoted through platforms such as Facebook or YouTube? Or is it limited to your customer's website and social media?

  4. Duration of the project : For example, is it a 30- or 60-second commercial, or a 1-minute or 15-minute web video?

  5. Name of your client : Do you work for a major brand like Coca-Cola or a niche company? This helps estimate the potential reach of your project.

Now let's delve deeper into the rates and fees!

Why Don't Voice Actors Post Rates Online?

Many voice actors do not post their rates on their website, which can be confusing. I strive for transparency so that you quickly know where you stand. Speed and clarity are crucial, but a fixed rate is difficult to give because every project is unique.

Understand How Voice Over Rates, Pricing and Usage Rights Work

The voice-over market has different pricing structures for different types of work such as web videos, explainers, IVR, e-learning, commercials, and instructional videos. This structure is common internationally.

The rates depend on several factors:

  1. Medium : Where is the recording used (radio, TV, non-paid online, paid online)?

  2. Reach : How many people will see or hear the recording (B2B or B2C, major advertising campaign or internal use)?

  3. Project size : How big is the project (e.g. a 20,000-word e-learning or a 60-second commercial)?

  4. Complexity of the script : Does it contain a lot of jargon or technical terms?

Basic Studio Fee

The basic studio fee (BSF) is the hourly rate for recording the text. This rate covers recording, adapting the script to spoken language, and editing the recording. My BSF is 300 euros per hour. A minimum of 1 hour is charged, regardless of the length of the script.

Projects without Usage Rights

For some projects it remains with the BSF, without additional user rights. This is true for:

  • E-learning : Calculated per word, starting at 0.25 euros per word depending on the complexity of the project (e.g. medical elearning), with a minimum of 1000 words/250 euros.

  • IVR or voice mail : Send me your script for a quote.

  • Explainers and product videos : If these are not advertised.

Usage Rights or "Usage Fees"

Usage rights are the right to use the voiceover voice in your project. The voice actor retains ownership of the recording and only grants the right to use it in a specific project, similar to how music rights work.

Unlimited Use Rights

Sometimes clients ask for unlimited usage or in-perpetuity rights, but in practice this is rarely necessary. Commercials, web videos, and product videos are usually advertised for 3 to a maximum of 5 years. Usage rights may be re-established for renewals. I will never give broadcast or advertising rights in-perpetuity as a majority of my income comes from voicing ads. In-perpetuity rights could cause future conflicts when a client would like to get exclusive rights for a certain amount of time in a specific category.


The Beijing Convention on Audiovisual Performances, which came into force in 2020, protects the rights of performers, including voice actors. This treaty gives them the right to receive royalties or fair compensation for the use of their work.

Hopefully this gives you more insight into why usage rights are needed for voice recordings. Send me an email for a quote:


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