Backing Tracks

Are you looking for music backing tracks?

Live Music means Live Musicians

We can create backing tracks here at Arrangerforhire.com, although we’re not fans of their use in performance.

If a client wants a track for their own entertainment for use in their home, we’re happy to help.

We understand the desire for tracks by people trying to make a living by playing in subways, parks, malls, and street corners – but we will not patronize venues that hire musicians working to track, nor will we enable the destruction of potential jobs for musicians. We do ask about the intended purpose of a backing track before quoting it.

If the client’s intent is creating a means for their own personal survival, we’re happy to help – but, if you’re going to play on the street, why not round up a few buddies, go play and split the hat? Watching somebody play to a track evokes a profound sense of loneliness for us.

We follow a 3-step process; transcription, notation, and production.

  • Transcription is an essential part of the process, involving repeated listening and copying down the music note-for-note for later entry into software. It’s labor-intensive, with rates varying depending on the density of the source material.
  • Notation is part of our workflow for everything we do here. Notation software offers accuracy, complete performance data in midi (musical instrument digital interface) language, and printable parts.
  • Production can involve a wide range of options, from output from the notation software at no additional cost, to a studio production costing many thousands of dollars, depending on the nature of the source material and level of fidelity to the source desired.

Some production houses specialize in making backing tracks for mass market, skipping the notation step, entering transcription data directly into their production workstation. Economies of scale allow these tracks to be sold inexpensively to the consumer.

As a custom music arranging house, we notate everything.

Custom Arranging Is More Expensive Than Mass-Market Karaoke Tracks

Customers usually prefer to replicate the sound of the original track as exactly as possible. If there are humans on the original track, humans need to be hired in the production phase of the backing track. Producing master tracks in a studio with human musicians can cost in the thousands of dollars – well above the budget justified by solo gigs in cafés, subways, malls and street corners. For musicians on a budget, the sound of a track output from notation software is good enough to achieve their purpose of enabling solo performance with a semblance of accompaniment. Our fees will still include custom transcription and arrangement, and to be honest, we are not able to price competitively compared to mass-market karaoke track houses. Many performers acquire the skills to create their own backing tracks and do quite well at it.

We Will Not Enable Destruction Of Jobs For Musicians

As lifelong American Federation of Musician members, we are profoundly reluctant to create backing tracks for commercial use in venues that receive any public money, or are owned by publicly traded companies. We believe that music is the sound of people in collaboration, and musicians need work. We are reluctant to participate in anything resembling a conspiracy to deny musicians livelihood for the sake of stockholders profit. We were approached (for example) by a venue that wanted to mount a show in the bar area of a museum that receives public funding. We passed on the job – we won’t do that to our fellow musicians.

About Jon Burr

Staff Arranger Jon Burr is also the site administrator for arrangerforhire.com.

Active as a bassist, composer, and arranger since the beginning of his career, Jon's work has appeared on recordings by Chet Baker, Sir Roland Hanna, Mark O'Connor, Barry Miles, Arlyn Valencia, and many others. As a bassist he's performed or recorded with Tony Bennett, Stan Getz, Horace Silver, Stephane Grappelli, Mark O'Connor, Rita Moreno, Barbara Cook, Eartha Kitt, and many others.

Jon writes in a variety of styles, ensembles large and small, with experience in many instrumental configurations. You can hear his work on his websites jonburr.com and Jon Burr Quintet, and is receiving rave reviews from Arranger for Hire customers. His arranging reel is available on request (email us on using the site form). He also writes about cooking at The Improvising Chef.

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