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Clients calling you to talk about songs in progress or upcoming songs, opinion needed 500 Series EQ\'s
Old 7th September 2010
  #1
Registered User
Clients calling you to talk about songs in progress or upcoming songs, opinion needed

Hey,

I'm not really moaning about it, but I'd like to know.

Is it normal that some clients can call you almost everyday to talk about their songs, to talk about the progress being made, their next songs, what I'm up to personally etc etc?

It hasn't been a problem since lately because I started to book really tight (1 person at 2pm, work for 4 hours, then the other person at 7pm etc).

I try my best not to answer the phone while I'm with someone in the studio and I try to call them back when I get a missed call.

Then something occurred the other day:

I was working on someone's song, and while I was spending some time to edit and mix their track, he/she (I don't want to divulge) called me right in the middle of my mixing/editing session; I lost 30 minutes of my time talking to them when I could have spent it on their song. I don't charge hourly and I usually charge a certain amount per song etc.

How much time do you guys spend talking on the phone with the artists you work with?

Also, do you send mixdowns of their songs as they are being made or do you keep the songs in the studio until they are fully done? I have a big gripe with this, but I still do it nonetheless; I send them the song when I finish a process (Editing vocals, changing drums etc). The problem with this is that they can be real quick at saying, this needs to be fixed etc etc, when I'm basically going to fix it next anyway. It can get redundant at times, and not needed. It's like saying to someone, please put out the trash as they're getting the bags out, it's a bit useless.

Anyhow, your help would be appreciated. I am not a big studio and I don't have a receptionist who handles some of the things regarding calls. I just want to stop talking to people just because they want to talk to me, not because it's essential to the success of their songs, but I don't want to lose clients over this either.
Old 7th September 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
Every now and then I'll get a jabber-mouth client who calls/e-mails nonstop. It can be annoying, but sometimes you have to put up with it. I have one client who badgers me to death, but they've also spent $10k with me, so I put up with it. If it's e-mail it's not a big deal. I rarely answer my phone so people tend to e-mail me rather than call.

If it's relevant conversation, then obviously I'm all for it. If they start to get into way too much detail fussing over meaningless stuff that's not going to be relevant when the song is done, I educate them. If they just babble about irrelevant stuff, and it's entertaining, then I indulge - but there have been times when I've had to tell people that they don't need to send me 5 e-mails every day and they usually take it well.

As for sending mixes-in-progress... I don't do it. If I'm producing and there's some writing going on, then yeah, send scratch stuff. But as for the actual recording, everything is planned pretty detailed so there's no reason to unless something DRASTIC changes. Otherwise, I send a mix when I have something for them to approve. That said, I generally have a VERY high trust level with the artists I'm working with so it doesn't bother them. If I didn't have that relationship, it might be harder.
Old 7th September 2010
  #3
Gear Nut
 

I would simply tell him that you are with another client and that you will call him/her when time becomes available. If they don't understand then next time they are in the studio with you pretend to get a phone call and talk for an obscene amout of time!

Just make sure that the client knows that you are in charge, and that you know what you are doing. Sometimes these people just need reassurance that they were right in spending their hard earned money for you to produce/record/mix their project.

Chris
Old 7th September 2010
  #4
Registered User
You guys definitely have good points.

There are artists who call me almost everyday to know the progress for their songs (production wise), but sometimes I don't have time to work on their song on this specific day because I was working on another project. Most clients will call me 30 minutes before they show up to my door, or they will text (this is fine). Right now I'm doing a lot of producing with people, so should I send unmixed scratch tracks? I just don't think it's worthwhile sometimes because it will sound better once it's fully mixed/produced.'
'
By the way, most of the time there is 15% of the song production that is unplanned as I tend to add different things in the songs.
Old 7th September 2010
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

You have to spend as much time talking to a client as that client is important for you to have.

I'm not joking. If you were producing Madonna and she wanted you to take her calls at any time and at any place, you'll take those calls. Or not.

I know a manager that had a cash cow account that required a 4 hour phone call once or twice a week. He literally couldn't take another call from anyone for a 4 hour block of time on a business day. And it was anything but business they were discussing. The artist needed a friend who would listen to him orate for 4 hours. It comes with the territory.

Do I do it on a regular basis? No. Most artists don't need that. But I have lost a 100k record because I wouldn't be some artist's best friend. It wasn't as obvious as that but I know that this artist wanted someone to massage her ego on a nightly basis and was feeling me out. And I failed. I felt it. I got a call around 11:30 on a Saturday night and she was like "What's up". And I was like "I'll see you at the studio tomorrow unless you're calling me about something specific". And she wasn't. She was seeing if I was going to be the guy she could call right after each session and be her sound board.

Anyway. The reason I bring that story up is that this business is still about people. Managing people. And the most successful people mange people the best. Even if they're not the most talented. You'd be surprised how many producers are getting by right now by using the top mixers to finish off their productions.

Good luck
Old 7th September 2010
  #6
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
You have to spend as much time talking to a client as that client is important for you to have.

I'm not joking. If you were producing Madonna and she wanted you to take her calls at any time and at any place, you'll take those calls. Or not.

I know a manager that had a cash cow account that required a 4 hour phone call once or twice a week. He literally couldn't take another call from anyone for a 4 hour block of time on a business day. And it was anything but business they were discussing. The artist needed a friend who would listen to him orate for 4 hours. It comes with the territory.

Do I do it on a regular basis? No. Most artists don't need that. But I have lost a 100k record because I wouldn't be some artist's best friend. It wasn't as obvious as that but I know that this artist wanted someone to massage her ego on a nightly basis and was feeling me out. And I failed. I felt it. I got a call around 11:30 on a Saturday night and she was like "What's up". And I was like "I'll see you at the studio tomorrow unless you're calling me about something specific". And she wasn't. She was seeing if I was going to be the guy she could call right after each session and be her sound board.

Anyway. The reason I bring that story up is that this business is still about people. Managing people. And the most successful people mange people the best. Even if they're not the most talented. You'd be surprised how many producers are getting by right now by using the top mixers to finish off their productions.

Good luck
I really wish I had the luxury of sending my productions to other mixers, but their budgets won't allow that! Right now we're talking about a 600 to 1k (For Indie only) for a song, recorded/mixed/mastered. I tell them to be patient as the process can be long. I usually take 1 to 2 weeks to finish a full song, and then another 3-4 days to retweak to the artist's liking. It usually takes longer as I need them to come in the studio a couple of times to get their vocals to my desired level of quality (I just don't want to be editing vocals for days on end).

This is probably why I'm getting a good range of clients right now, because I am a people's producer (very approachable) and my rates are great too. Last but not least they love the way I produce. I just needed to ask here as I don't know how you guys deal with clients phone calls etc.
Old 7th September 2010
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Great post Kenny!

Sounds like the best advice to me!

Chris, did you ever think about a two man team? Seems like the both of you could work on different aspects of the project, get things done faster, each focus on your own areas of expertise, be able to take on more projects and in theory have a better finished product!
Old 7th September 2010
  #8
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by C_Meyer View Post
Great post Kenny!

Sounds like the best advice to me!

Chris, did you ever think about a two man team? Seems like the both of you could work on different aspects of the project, get things done faster, each focus on your own areas of expertise, be able to take on more projects and in theory have a better finished product!
Hey I'm all for you on that but most clients don't have wide pockets, so money is always the issue here.
Old 7th September 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
jordanvoth's Avatar
Get a smartphone and tell them to email only. Its not hard to fire off an email when your clients are on a break (good for the mix process to take a few minutes and get out anyways). You'll be well liked for being open and available EVEN if it's a pain in the ass. I've had clients call/email saying riffs sound like this song and many other mundane things. As a producer who is in charge of making their project sometimes petting a clients ego or having some time to small talk is a good thing and helps them relate to you as more than just the guy who records them. It will build trust between your clients and yourself. This is especially important of new clients who are working with you for the first time and are unsure. Best of luck.
Old 7th September 2010
  #10
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
Get a smartphone and tell them to email only. Its not hard to fire off an email when your clients are on a break (good for the mix process to take a few minutes and get out anyways). You'll be well liked for being open and available EVEN if it's a pain in the ass. I've had clients call/email saying riffs sound like this song and many other mundane things. As a producer who is in charge of making their project sometimes petting a clients ego or having some time to small talk is a good thing and helps them relate to you as more than just the guy who records them. It will build trust between your clients and yourself. This is especially important of new clients who are working with you for the first time and are unsure. Best of luck.
Hey, I have a blackberry, and I send emails and texts, but some of them really want to talk to me on the phone. I am very available with them and it's good to know that other people on here can talk to the people they're working with, it is a service business after all.
Old 7th September 2010
  #11
Gear maniac
 
Phizal's Avatar
 

Quote this "Time is the Enemy"

It's straight to the point without being rude.
Old 7th September 2010
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
Hey I'm all for you on that but most clients don't have wide pockets, so money is always the issue here.
With all due respect, I think you have it backwards.

3 weeks to do a full song is a bit too slow.

A two man team should bang out a song in 3 days. Tops.

Split the money 50/50 and you're way ahead IMHO.

I've worked alone and with a partner and with a partner is absolutely worth that 50%.

1. No such thing as writer's or producer's block with 2 people.
2. Decisions are made quickly. By myself I could easily get stuck on a part for a full day. A partner will tell you it sucks in 5 minutes.
3. Music is about collaboration. It was never meant to be a one man gig.

I would say that you can't afford to NOT have a partner.

If you really want me to prove it, let's tag team a song together. I'll bet you we get it done in a week.

Keep in mind, although I never advertise my rates, this is quite a pay cut for me. But it could be fun. Let me know.
Old 9th September 2010
  #13
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Storyville's Avatar
First, gotta make it known that there are turnaround guidelines. Don't expect to hear from me for a week. Probably hear from me sooner, but turnaround = 1 week from the day I receive the deposit.

Second, that's gonna happen. And you need to balance it. Some people will send you the files, you'll finish the mix, you've already been paid, but you can't get in contact with the client for months until "Hey I need that mix now." Some clients, you get up to the minute updates on their bowel movements, love life, eating habits, and drug use.

USUALLY when a client is doing this they either a) need a friend and think you are cool, or (b) are new to the process and feeling insecure about things. Either way it's a chance to establish a good relationship.
Old 9th September 2010
  #14
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storyville View Post
First, gotta make it known that there are turnaround guidelines. Don't expect to hear from me for a week. Probably hear from me sooner, but turnaround = 1 week from the day I receive the deposit.

Second, that's gonna happen. And you need to balance it. Some people will send you the files, you'll finish the mix, you've already been paid, but you can't get in contact with the client for months until "Hey I need that mix now." Some clients, you get up to the minute updates on their bowel movements, love life, eating habits, and drug use.

USUALLY when a client is doing this they either a) need a friend and think you are cool, or (b) are new to the process and feeling insecure about things. Either way it's a chance to establish a good relationship.
I will admit that I had to put my foot down today. I told the client, look, I can't be working efficiently if you're going to text me all the time, asking me to send mixdowns with updates on the track. Ain't going to happen. I told the client my due date, I told them that I will make it sound great and I told them to be patient when it comes to producing. I personally have a hard time working if the client is going to text me every day, asking me if I worked on the song, asking me to send what I have worked on, it's ridiculous. As much as I know that they're paying me, they are not my boss. If I need something from them, more vocals etc, I will make sure that they get the memo asap! I am not going to take a project and finish it with half ass masters! If it doesn't sound as good (sonically) if not better than the latest stuff out there, then I'm not doing my job right and I should quit, make a living a different way.

I get a lot of clients who are in the a) category, and I try to attend their shows if they have some booked. It's a study time for me; I check out who was interested in their music, what the age was, how much energy was coming out from the stage performance, what kind of energy they are transcending and how I can bring this same passion in a studio environment. Clients love it when I show up, it makes them feel good and let's them know that I care about their art.

Also, I really wish that some of them realized that their project is not the only project I work on. I get phone calls during their sessions so they should get a clue!

I understand that money is money, and people who pay want to dictate at times, but me, when I go to the restaurant for example, I am not behind the chef to see what he's cooking for me because I understand and respect his talent/profession, and I pay for it! And if the meal was horrible, I don't come back again!

Same with a mechanic... Do you actually look under the hood of your car while he's working on it? I bet he'd be pissed off and would show you the way to the door.
Old 9th September 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
Hey,

I'm not really moaning about it, but I'd like to know.

Is it normal that some clients can call you almost everyday to talk about their songs, to talk about the progress being made, their next songs, what I'm up to personally etc etc?

How much time do you guys spend talking on the phone with the artists you work with?

A: I get everything out of the way (what they'd like/wouldn't like to hear, etc) before I even start mixing and I let them know that I WILL CALL THEM when it's time for a preview. Usually at the end of each day spent.

Also, do you send mixdowns of their songs as they are being made or do you keep the songs in the studio until they are fully done?

A: I send mixdowns when fully done and work from there, it would be extremely too time comsuning to bounce 499 times with real time bouncing in PT. Pain in the butt, so I do it once when done, make changes they would like and whammo, done after changes.

Anyhow, your help would be appreciated. I am not a big studio and I don't have a receptionist who handles some of the things regarding calls. I just want to stop talking to people just because they want to talk to me, not because it's essential to the success of their songs, but I don't want to lose clients over this either.

Simple. Don't answer. If they have a problem with you working on their tracks like they paid you to do, that's on them. If you don't have time to talk, don't.

Thar ye go.
Old 9th September 2010
  #16
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralPStudios View Post
Thar ye go.
Thanks, I really appreciate your honesty. Now I'd like to know; is it time for me to switch to Pro Tools as my main DAW? Right now I could run M-Powered but I'd need to upgrade to Vista Ultimate I think.
Old 9th September 2010
  #17
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jordanvoth's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
Hey, I have a blackberry, and I send emails and texts, but some of them really want to talk to me on the phone. I am very available with them and it's good to know that other people on here can talk to the people they're working with, it is a service business after all.
And over time you will build good relationships with your clients and they will understand you're a busy guy but for now, they're just anxious to hear it and to work with you. The calls are a good thing.I have clients that I coddle and others I simply won't answer the phone if I'm busy cause I know they're understanding of my schedule and that I'll call back.
Old 9th September 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Wrong Forum!!!


LOCKED!!!
Old 9th September 2010
  #19
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanvoth View Post
And over time you will build good relationships with your clients and they will understand you're a busy guy but for now, they're just anxious to hear it and to work with you. The calls are a good thing.I have clients that I coddle and others I simply won't answer the phone if I'm busy cause I know they're understanding of my schedule and that I'll call back.
But the funniest thing is, the client whom I have worked with for 5 years is still the anxious one! Some of my newer clients are more relaxed for some odd reason.
Old 9th September 2010
  #20
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeyMike View Post
Wrong Forum!!!


LOCKED!!!
lol
Old 9th September 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
lol
LOL!!!thumbsup
Old 9th September 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
Thanks, I really appreciate your honesty. Now I'd like to know; is it time for me to switch to Pro Tools as my main DAW? Right now I could run M-Powered but I'd need to upgrade to Vista Ultimate I think.
Ewww vista. Go 7 man. 7 pwns!

The switch to PT is up to you, maybe you misunderstood me, I was actually complaining about PT being unable to render a track in non real time, which is why I only send clients a finished mix and make any adjustments they may like to hear afterward.

PT has lots of pluses but man real time bouncing is a HUGE negative to me. All for this very reason. I'd LOVE to be able to bounce tracks in pro tools without having to wait the entire length of a song. =/

Also, we all know compatibility is a big thing as well, so I may actually add Cubase back into my workflow and such. Something you made me think off for no apparent reason haha.
Old 9th September 2010
  #23
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralPStudios View Post
Ewww vista. Go 7 man. 7 pwns!

The switch to PT is up to you, maybe you misunderstood me, I was actually complaining about PT being unable to render a track in non real time, which is why I only send clients a finished mix and make any adjustments they may like to hear afterward.

PT has lots of pluses but man real time bouncing is a HUGE negative to me. All for this very reason. I'd LOVE to be able to bounce tracks in pro tools without having to wait the entire length of a song. =/
It's actually a lot longer with Adobe especially if you have tons of edits like I do. It can take up to 10 minutes for a mixdown! So Real Time Bounce is pretty good. I may need to go with Elastic Audio, Beat Detective too. Too many things that Adobe can't do. Do you know if it's going to mess up everything if I switch to Windows 7? Would I need to backup my drives and restart at zero? I'll be a bit less busy nowadays (with music) because I am doing my masters and I am paid to be a Teaching Assistant.
Old 9th September 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
It's actually a lot longer with Adobe especially if you have tons of edits like I do. It can take up to 10 minutes for a mixdown! So Real Time Bounce is pretty good. I may need to go with Elastic Audio, Beat Detective too. Too many things that Adobe can't do. Do you know if it's going to mess up everything if I switch to Windows 7? Would I need to backup my drives and restart at zero? I'll be a bit less busy nowadays (with music) because I am doing my masters and I am paid to be a Teaching Assistant.
I did not know you used Adobe. Mess up everything as in what? Nothing? :p. 7 has the best program/driver compatibility to date, so you needn't worry about any issues unless there are no drivers for 7 for whatever you need.

PT is now compatible with 7, so you just need to run the 8.0.4 updater if you choose to make the switch.

I would back up anything that is critical to you such as all work you've been doing and yes indeedy, start back at zero. Format the drive and have fun.
Old 9th September 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
I understand that money is money, and people who pay want to dictate at times, but me, when I go to the restaurant for example, I am not behind the chef to see what he's cooking for me because I understand and respect his talent/profession, and I pay for it! And if the meal was horrible, I don't come back again!
Hey man...

I think you might be looking at this a little skewed.

You go to a restaurant to consume something that you require to exist. It has no reflection upon you, it does nothing but get broken down into feces. You enjoy it or don't, but beyond that the meal has no real effect on your future or your career or you as a person.

The music however is that artists business card, another rung on the ladder. It is a reflection of them and is part of the foundation for their house. They will be taking that music and then showing it to people as their creation and what they can do, as well as yours. Therefore it is so much more of an important thing then a meal cooked, and is so much more of a team effort, as you both are focused on putting forth the best material possible given whatever restrictions and limitations you must face...

If you were say the inventor of a new meal, crafted the recipe yourself, and you were making one up to show to a panel of critics who could potentially provide you with a future break but employed a class chef more experienced in the cooking to help you raise it a level, you would surely want to discuss and communicate...you would be daft to not work with the chef in whatever capacity you could to ensure that you are both putting out the best product possible that is accurate to your vision and that best displays his and your talents...
Old 9th September 2010
  #26
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Id Ridden View Post
Hey man...

I think you might be looking at this a little skewed.

You go to a restaurant to consume something that you require to exist. It has no reflection upon you, it does nothing but get broken down into feces. You enjoy it or don't, but beyond that the meal has no real effect on your future or your career or you as a person.

The music however is that artists business card, another rung on the ladder. It is a reflection of them and is part of the foundation for their house. They will be taking that music and then showing it to people as their creation and what they can do, as well as yours. Therefore it is so much more of an important thing then a meal cooked, and is so much more of a team effort, as you both are focused on putting forth the best material possible given whatever restrictions and limitations you must face...

If you were say the inventor of a new meal, crafted the recipe yourself, and you were making one up to show to a panel of critics who could potentially provide you with a future break but employed a class chef more experienced in the cooking to help you raise it a level, you would surely want to discuss and communicate...you would be daft to not work with the chef in whatever capacity you could to ensure that you are both putting out the best product possible that is accurate to your vision and that best displays his and your talents...
I understand your point, but when you go to someone for their services it's usually because you trust them and you want them to bring their own touch as well. I am not saying that my projects are a 1 way deal, where I am in charge of everything. That is a no-no. I will say though that for me to produce the best work, I will need to spend some time on my own (without being bothered) to focus on the task at hand. It's my job to make their music reflect on them, and this requires communication, but sometimes there is a big leap between communication and hindrance. If the client's strictness (bossy-ness) hinders your ability to work to your fullest potential, you have to let them know. Usually they understand and loosen up a bit, they give you some personal time to work your magic and leave you alone. It depends with who and what kind of project it is of course. Anyhow, I need to go to bed! Later guys.
Old 9th September 2010
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
sotorious's Avatar
 

Question and i dont mean to just butt in here. But since you guys work at a studio. I was wondering how would i go about this, I want to go up to a local studio and check out some mics to see which one i would want to buy for my home studio. I dont mind paying an hour or 2 just to test the equipment. Have you guys got anyone like that i dont want to look crazy when i walk in there for call.
Old 9th September 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
I know full well I can't mix if I'm bothered, I give 110% of my attention to the work that's in front of me and the only time I take or make calls is when I take one of my many ear breaks, THEN I will make phone calls back and such. I am extremely lucky the people I have worked with understand this and actually don't bother me until I'm done.

Say I'm mixing something via FTP and such, before I even get started I will have a long conversation over the phone with the client before I begin and ask tons of questions, take notes, get to know them as a person and explain to them that I will contact them at the end of each day either by phone or e-mail and let them know the status of their track(s).

I'm not a jerk about it, I let them know kindly that I need as much time as possible to myself to get the mix done. I charge hourly/daily so if they were to speak with me that long, they'd just be racking up a huge bill.
Old 9th September 2010
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotorious View Post
Question and i dont mean to just butt in here. But since you guys work at a studio. I was wondering how would i go about this, I want to go up to a local studio and check out some mics to see which one i would want to buy for my home studio. I dont mind paying an hour or 2 just to test the equipment. Have you guys got anyone like that i dont want to look crazy when i walk in there for call.
I sincerely doubt any studio would have an issue with that.
Old 9th September 2010
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
sotorious's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralPStudios View Post
I sincerely doubt any studio would have an issue with that.
Just checking, haha i didnt want them to look me and be like look at this guy.... I also never been inside of a studio so that would be a cool little experience. I would be like you guys looking for janitors?
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