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Clients Just Keep On Mixing After Mastering.
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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Trakworx's Avatar
Clients Just Keep On Mixing After Mastering.

With the rise of home studios and project studios it seems to be happening more and more that clients decide to revise a mix after it has been mastered. It's fairly rare with pro mixers but with amateurs it's becoming quite common.

Even though my rates are clearly posted on my site and I include them in emails, many clients seem surprised that I charge a fee to master the track again (I do this for half price, which I think is very fair).

They seem to think it's just a matter of "dropping the new mix in to the same settings as before". I have to explain that because I use analog gear it's time consuming to recall settings and print a new master in real time.

Sometimes they balk and it's bad for client relations. Sometimes I do the recall for free just to retain the client.

I think this is an advantage that ITB MEs have over OTB MEs. ITB they can do recalls much more quickly using file based offline processing.

And subscription based automated mastering services probably contribute to the notion that one can just keep on remixing and remastering at will.

So my question is - Do you charge for "recall masters"?

And a follow up question - Are you ITB or OTB?

Thanks!
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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I'm pretty lenient/generous with it, but yeah I charge. You have to, it's not fair to yourself otherwise. I'm generally OTB but even ITB remasters take time, which as we all know is money.

But yeah, the number of times I've gotten an email with "....if you could just run these with the same settings that'd be great thanks!"

As if we can just snap our fingers and make it so.

If it's just one song on a full length, and they're nice about it, I generally won't charge anything, because I've been in their shoes before and I want to help them out.

But I had one guy remix his ENTIRE RECORD and resend it with the "...same settings thanks!" email. My dude....

I need to redo my website and I'm gonna make sure and have some very clear language on there about this, explaining why we need to charge for revised mixes.

How often do you get the revised mix, with "just one tiny change!" and besides that one tiny change it's 3db louder or quieter than the previous one....
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scraggs View Post
How often do you get the revised mix, with "just one tiny change!" and besides that one tiny change it's 3db louder or quieter than the previous one....
Haha - Pretty often!
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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and at that point, even if you're ITB, you have to adjust the gain staging of everything and it takes nearly as long as a new track would.

i also like when the revised mix comes in at a different sample rate than the original one did.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by scraggs View Post
If it's just one song on a full length, and they're nice about it, I generally won't charge anything...
I do that too. Sometimes they take that as me setting a precedent - opening the door to yet more mix revisions. Then I have to close that door again, which can cause tension. Being nice can come back and bite ya in the a$$!

Lately I'm starting to build extra flex time into my schedule for potential mix revisions because often they need it done right away...
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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D Harris's Avatar
This is something that I have been giving some thought to lately.
I have never charged for printing new versions based on revised mixes.
I always considered it goodwill, positive karma and all of that. It's getting out of control lately though. I am working OTB and take extensive notes. By the time I recall settings, print it, double check to make sure nothing else has changed, trim it up, put it up on the cloud and then email back and forth about it I have given away some serious billable hours. I'm not sure how to get clients to see that this has a value without making it look like I'm being petty or in some way trying to penalize them. Even worse is if they have already paid their invoice and now I'll have to send another and collect payment again. Arghh!
It's kind of crazy to me when the revised mix comes in at a drastically different level and I know they are working completely in the box.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by scraggs View Post
i also like when the revised mix comes in at a different sample rate than the original one did.
Oh I enjoy receiving the occasional 16-96 file!
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by D Harris View Post
I'm not sure how to get clients to see that this has a value without making it look like I'm being petty or in some way trying to penalize them. Even worse is if they have already paid their invoice and now I'll have to send another and collect payment again. Arghh!
Yep. That's pretty much why I started this thread. It's getting tempting to just raise my per song rate and do all revisions for free - just to avoid the hassles...

Quote:
Originally Posted by D Harris View Post
It's kind of crazy to me when the revised mix comes in at a drastically different level and I know they are working completely in the box.
I know, right? Must be a change to some plug on the 2 bus...
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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biksonije's Avatar
 

Sorry guys but I simply have to drop in.

If you have the price for one song (for the sake of argument) for X$ and the other side "decides" to fiddle around after you've done your work on that one song, well, then it's so clear that there's no "just-slap-those-settings-on-it" situation. Every Track is an unique work. So, one Track = one amount. Take your pick. I can't believe there are people bargaining around like on an Mexican market for tourist BS Made in China sh***t in Tihuana main square market! Damn! Sorry to all Mexicans but you know what was my point!

Anyway, just my honest opinion.

From what I see many of you clearly says for yourself, you're mastering engs, mastering specialists and so on... There should be some kind of professionalism retained here. On the other hand, if you just put the gear together and watched a bunch of "tutorials" and simply need to catch every gig then I'm way off and just ignore this post!

Best,

Krešo
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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And I just thought Im alone with that... And its not a problem from thehobbiests alone. Even quite some profesionals does not really to understand that mastering isnt a set and forget process...
I tried to start a similar discussion here with the result the upper rate guy here just included this special kind of revisions already in their calculations. Personally I find this a bit unfair regarding those clients who are well prepared and respectfull towards our work, so I keep my rates low forthose but charge that extra work for those others. Which isnt that easy indeed..
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP__ View Post
I tried to start a similar discussion here with the result the upper rate guy here just included this special kind of revisions already in their calculations. Personally I find this a bit unfair regarding those clients who are well prepared and respectfull towards our work, so I keep my rates low forthose but charge that extra work for those others. Which isnt that easy indeed..
Yes, that's exactly what I've been doing for a long time - keeping the rate low so that everyone doesn't have to pay more. It's getting harder and harder as the number of remixes keeps increasing. Maybe the upper rate guy has the right idea after all... Maybe...
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
do all revisions for free
If they're not 100% psyched about what I did, I'm more than happy to do as many revisions as necessary, all for free. And I've never had anyone even come close to abusing that, usually revisions are quick and simple. Even if they hated what I did and I need to redo the whole record from scratch, I'm still not gonna charge more, cause it's MY work that's the issue.

That's all fine. But resending revised mixes is an issue with THEIR work and that's different. Most people are cool and understand that and offer to pay, and again, I'm inclined to give them a break and help them out, but still, that "same settings" email happens more often than it should.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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JP__'s Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx View Post
Yes, that's exactly what I've been doing for a long time - keeping the rate low so that everyone doesn't have to pay more. It's getting harder and harder as the number of remixes keeps increasing. Maybe the upper rate guy has the right idea after all... Maybe...
Yeah, and it will make you look so much more serious too. (see the nonsense comment above). Still I find this unfair and even a bit unethical indeed (but Im too much a passionated audio nerd and too lss a tough business guy...).
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scraggs View Post
If they're not 100% psyched about what I did, I'm more than happy to do as many revisions as necessary, all for free. And I've never had anyone even come close to abusing that, usually revisions are quick and simple. Even if they hated what I did and I need to redo the whole record from scratch, I'm still not gonna charge more, cause it's MY work that's the issue.

That's all fine. But resending revised mixes is an issue with THEIR work and that's different. Most people are cool and understand that and offer to pay, and again, I'm inclined to give them a break and help them out, but still, that "same settings" email happens more often than it should.
+1
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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biksonije's Avatar
 

Uh, ah... And oh!

There will always be those who are "I know it all" kind of people and those who value and acknowledge someone else's work as a professional. Don't need to be a quantum mechanic engineer to get that. Right? Those who more and more do it at home by themselves - go for it! Who cares! It is like that in any branch if you ask me. I see it every day in my profession. I am audio hobbyist, not a trained and/or years of hands-on experience kind of guy. So, if a band or a one-man-band can spend money on who knows what, then can cash out a bit more on a Pro mastering service and NOT sh***t all over it after the fact. And be in Tihuana at the same time. Hehehe...

I have some outboard stuff. And a lot of ITB stuff but I'd never go fiddle around and do by myself mastering for vinyl for example...

Bye all!

Krešo
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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I often kinda know in advance if there's going to be mix revisions based on how happy/sure they are about the mix. With these jobs we have a bit of dialogue, I print some processing and send a reference, then we have some more dialogue about it and they adjust the mix. I don't finalise the masters and QC them until they've committed to the mix. I see this as part of the process with these clients and I include in my normal rate.

Oddly, I don't get many people revising mixes after mastering if they were fully committed to their mix. I don't get asked for many revisions either.

If they DO come back with a different mix after the mastering, then it's a new mastering and I charge for that. But usually the client kinda just gets that.

So just reflecting on it now, it seems like the opening exchange helps me know what to expect and how to approach a given project.

I'm sure we'll see more of the expectation for free masters of revised mixes from the 'auto-master generation' because those services encourage it in their marketing.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Trakworx's Avatar
Yeah, more communication before starting a project will likely reduce the amount of remixing later on. Good post!
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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It is super important to communicate clearly with customers and whenever possible use the phone. Its a much more dynamic and clear way to communicate. Set clear expectations up front.

Time equals money and they must understand that. Also, turn the fact that you use hardware into a plus. Emphasize that it is more work but at the end of the day it sounds better.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

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OTB and nearly always charge for a new mix, unless I'm feeling particularly generous, it's the same day, the gear is still set up for the particular track etc.
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Yeah, I approach it in a similar way to most here. I'm possibly more hardline than some: it's rare that I'll remaster a new mix for free but I have done it on occasion.

Another thing that can be time-consuming is if the original mix contained lots of clicks that I manually removed with iZotope RX. I suspect the client often can't actually hear these clicks and so doesn't even know I've removed them. So the new mix comes (yes, often with many changes that aren't reported, such as different start times, overall level, even individual track levels that the client insists were left untouched) and it is full of all the same clicks. I do wish that RX would add a feature to perform all the processes of an rxdoc file to a new audio file; it would speed this process up greatly!

I do find that nearly all clients are respectful and understanding once I explain what 'dropping this new mix in to your old settings' actually involves. It's probably unfair to expect clients to understand the intricacies of my job in advance, so I try to be as polite as possible when explaining my charges.

Does anyone else find that the new mix sounds worse than the old one more often than not? Obviously I'm at the service of my clients and will use whichever mix they want, but this kind of ultra-late decisions making rarely produces a good outcome, for me. It's one reason why I very, very rarely request mix changes prior to mastering: there are too many variables for me to be even slightly sure my suggestions will result in a better outcome.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
OTB and nearly always charge for a new mix, unless I'm feeling particularly generous, it's the same day, the gear is still set up for the particular track etc.
Yeah, if the gear is still set up for the track for some reason I usually will do it for free, actually, unless there is lots of spectral editing to do.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Recalls are the absolute bane of my life.

I give people one free pass, a yellow flag or whatever, and let them know 'there is a fee for this but we can leave it this time'. After that they know the score and they pay.

One side note on all this is how it's affected and improved my workflow. It got absolutely ridiculous over the summer, for some reason. One week I had three days where I was just doing recalls, putting me further and further behind with new/normal work. So I've found myself going for simpler and simpler chains, 'half short, twice strong' knowing that it is very likely to save me time and hassle down the road. I mean, I suppose we're all aiming for that all the time anyway, but it's another motivating factor. I've also streamlined a lot of stuff in Reaper to make it all as painless and fast as possible.

It doesn't help when the new mix comes in at 2.76dB quieter or some other arbitrary amount though. That always gets a paroxysm of the very worst language.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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SASMastering's Avatar
It's always the one with the 14 clicks in, resub magnets.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
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Silvertone's Avatar
Not my circus, not my monkey... if they choose to change the mix that is their choice. Mine is to give them a discount on the next go around. YMMV
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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I finished up mastering an album three months ago and the artist is still sending me "just one more revision" for his website, for his on line sales, for his possible re-release of the CD. I really like this client but 90+ day and still revisiting his work. All the other albums I have done for him were done by professional recording and mix engineers, This is the first one where he did his own mixing and recording. I don't think he can leave it alone. FWIW
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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Trakworx's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I don't think he can leave it alone.
I call a client like that a "never-done".

I've encountered a few of them.

With a never-done it's crucial to charge for recalls and be firm about it. Otherwise the incentives are all wrong...
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothTone View Post
I often kinda know in advance if there's going to be mix revisions based on how happy/sure they are about the mix.
Related to that is how rushed they were in getting the mix ready for the mastering date. When they send the tracks just before the session or they tell me they pulled an all-nighter mixing, then I know the odds of a remix are much higher.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
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Giuseppe Zaccaria's Avatar
 

Im usually flexible to one mix revision, for guys like bedroom producer who cant really have that experience and proper monitoring in their room. But it stops there, I mean they cannot demand to have multiple mix revision and not pay for it, time is important, so a good comunication at the start of the project is crucial. Speak with client (and be polite) is everything to make the jurney smooth without surprises
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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Mix revisions are fairly unusual here, at least for the moment: when they arise I include one in the price; thereafter we're on the clock at the hourly rate, this being explained at the time of mix 2.

That's been my policy for over a decade, and I can't immediately think of more than a couple of people who went to a v3. Those that did paid up willingly, and I like to believe those that didn't had their minds suitably concentrated

Amen re. the 'same settings' malarkey: I null test new mixes with the previous version, and regularly find myself having a quiet chuckle at changes beyond what the client said they did.
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowland
I null test new mixes with the previous version, and regularly find myself having a quiet chuckle at changes beyond what the client said they did.
Hahahaha, yep!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
Does anyone else find that the new mix sounds worse than the old one more often than not?
I dunno about 'worse' but most often I think "that doesn't really make any real difference". But hey, if they're happy I'm happy, and if it makes a difference to them, then super.

BTW Tom, I read the FAQ on your site yesterday and it was well-written and funny. Cheers.
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