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What is your policy on 'sample' songs for potential clients? MIDI Processors
Old 30th May 2012
  #1
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What is your policy on 'sample' songs for potential clients?

I recently had a single song 'sample' mastered by several MEs in large part to gain a sense (which I did) of who would be mastering the Audio Program / CD I am about to finish.
About 45% of the samples came back as 1/2 or 3/4 songs. Now this isn't new but it says to me:

1. The ME believes that I should be able to tell the quality of their work from 1/2 song or 3/4 song and determine whether or not I want to proceed with them. (possibly true or not)
2. The ME is protecting him/herself from a potential client (me) 'stealing' their time and skill via the FULL song sample and releasing the 'sample' song.

Unfortunately it reminds me of a few years ago when software companies would let you download a demo of some plugin or audio tool, but would insert a beep or disengage 1/2 of the features.
Never felt like a real sample demo. They now offer unrestricted, full demos which is the fastest way to get someone excited and hooked if it is a good program.

I can tell you from a prospective client view (and this is only one opinion), the 1/2 song 3/4 song sample feels like instant disconnect between me and the last person on the record.

I understand that a person who values his time and work certainly should 'protect' him/herself in whichever way feels best. That is valid. This is not a complaint or judgment, just my feedback.

When all is said and done I just personally want to work with people who I trust and who are willing to trust me openly from the start.
The irony in this case was all of the really great sampled mastered were full song versions.

What is your policy on 'sample' songs for potential clients? And why?
Old 30th May 2012
  #2
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UnderTow's Avatar
 

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Just on a technical point: Full demo versions of plugins (usually) have copy protection so it isn't a valid comparison.

Anyway, I gladly offer to mix/master/whatever stuff for free if it is something interesting (or friends or a non-profit project etc etc).

I'm wondering if the better masters being the full length ones isn't just a reflection of the business success of those engineers. (And it is hard to be successful if your are not very good/experienced).

If you are successful (in any way) you usually have more to give. Having financial difficulties can make one more tight and less giving. It is harder to be generous if you don't have much to give (on all sorts of levels).

Of course the opposite is also true as you are indicating in your post. The more you give, the more you get.

It might also be partly a reflection of the general generosity of those ME's and the generosity with which they approach your project and how much work they are willing to put into it (paid or not).

Alistair
Old 30th May 2012
  #3
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When I've been the client looking for engineers, it's really not been difficult to do my own research - check for engineers mastering similar projects, memories of experiences with previous engineers or studios, personal recommendations from trusted colleagues, browsing discographies etc etc.
I'm not saying I'm above asking for a test in some circumstances, but from my perspective I find the whole 'free shoot out' method can perhaps come off a bit self-entitled and lazy. No offence meant! I'm not pointing fingers, just trying to show it from another perspective.

A cursory glance at the 'where to' section reveals that there are many folk out there who seem quite happy to let many engineers do a 'test' song for them so they can shoot it out against eachother. This 'free job from several people so we can see how it goes' philosophy does not really happen in many other professions.
This idea that you could get a whole bunch of people to work for free for you in order to compete in an entirely subjectively judged race - well let's just say I can easily see why some engineers choose to avoid such activities or hold them at arms reach. You can feel the sense of entitlement dripping from some of those posts....
Let's not forget that there are basically blaggers out there who just want a free job done. And IMO it is for precisely these reasons that may prevent an ME from being comfortable about giving out free full track demos or perhaps demos at all.
Which is possibly a shame as there are also those out there (hopefully like yourself) who have sincere intentions from a few handpicked engineers.


I don't think it's necessarily just a case of distrust as to why someone would only send a song portion as a 'sample' either.
The longer the piece of the audio, the more time consuming it is to DO the processing, and perhaps even more time consuming would be the final QC. When you factor in the admin time as well, it's not a trivial matter to do free, full length demos for anyone that asks IMO.

On the other hand, I've found that genuinely interested enquiries are much easier to spot. While some may have a generic policy on demos, others like to play it by ear. Like Undertow says, if the project seems intriguing or enjoyable to the engineer for whatever reason (could be musically interesting, could be a great sounding business opportunity, could be a friendly, courteous client etc), it's much more likely to engage them and get a more generous input from the get go.

I think it all basically rests on how one chooses to communicate. I am more than happy to do a full song on spec when a client has come recommended, or their sincerity is as plain as day.
Old 30th May 2012
  #4
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I think it goes both ways though. Like you, I want to build up good relationships with my clients, so we have a sense of trust on both sides. When people come to me wanting samples of mastering, right off the bat it makes me feel like there's a disconnect. I can tell most are just "kicking the tires" so to speak, and honestly I have no desire to compete with 20 other engineers for one job. It doesn't start the process off on the right foot IMO, with a decent conversation back and forth about what's needed, what we can improve, what the goals are, really understanding what the client is looking for, etc. More often than not it just goes to the lowest bidder in my experience, which is just a waste of my time (and their money, despite the lower cost).

That's one reason I no longer do samples, and instead offer a money back guarantee. At least then I know I'm able to give the job the attention any paying client deserves, and the client still feels a little more comfortable about the investment. And in all honesty it's saved me loads of headaches too, since it tends to weed out the more difficult clients.

Not saying that all who want samples are difficult either, though in general it seems to be that way.
Old 30th May 2012
  #5
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And in my experience, doing a sample takes just as long as doing the full song, which some clients don't understand. I'm not going to focus only on 2 minutes of the song, I'm going to do the whole thing and then trim out 2 minutes for the reference. So the potential client is basically asking me to do the whole job for free, hoping I hear back from them with payment someday. No thanks, that's not a good business model IMO, and at the end of the day this IS a business for most of us.

But, as mentioned, there's always exceptions. If something sounds interesting, or perhaps I'm having a slow day, Ill make that decision on a case by case basis.
Old 30th May 2012
  #6
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hank alrich's Avatar
 

I would never ask a mastering engineer to provide me a free sample mastering of my material. I'd look to the work they have done and decide if I liked their style. If so, I'd book 'em, and if not, not.

I'd also not consider hiring a mastering engineer who does give free samples. I want somebody who doesn't have time for that.
Old 30th May 2012
  #7
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Quote:
I'd also not consider hiring a mastering engineer who does give free samples. I want somebody who doesn't have time for that.
(Happy to read something like that...)

I avoid doing samples like I avoid walking into large rooms where everyone is coughing - Once in a while, you have no choice. But as a matter of course, it's best to take a different route.

I offered "sample runs" once -- For one day. The reason it was for one day is that I had around 30 sample requests. No one can keep up with that - Even if you're not busy.

Eventually, I still did some here and there -- Usually got the gig (which was nice, of course). But once in a while I'd get a message like "Well, we're going with you. Of the 47 samples we received... (etc., etc.)" or there would be an e-mail CC'ing 25 different people. Come on man... Do a *tiny* amount of research... Ask a few questions, make a few phone calls, listen to some samples, check some client lists.

Felt nice enough to 'get the gig' but 46 people wasted a lot of time and effort. I can't even imagine walking into a restaurant and asking for one of every steak and I'll pay for the one that I like the best. One engineer (I believe it was right here at GS) made a "hooker" analogy -- Going to an interesting part of town and asking the "working ladies" for a sample bl[SELF-CENSORED]ob and paying the one you liked best.

Under certain circumstances, it's not out of the question (only under certain circumstances). But usually, it's as simple as taking the cost of a single off the cost of the project. And on those other occasions, it's almost always a "chunk" of the tune -- Nothing against the OP as I'm assuming he has more faith in humanity than I have left, but I found "samples" I've done on releases more than once. I've also had several requests for samples from "several different people" that turned out to very obviously be tracks from the same band.

Saw this havoc coming years ago.
Old 30th May 2012
  #8
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Shawn Hatfield's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hank alrich View Post
I would never ask a mastering engineer to provide me a free sample mastering of my material. I'd look to the work they have done and decide if I liked their style. If so, I'd book 'em, and if not, not.

I'd also not consider hiring a mastering engineer who does give free samples. I want somebody who doesn't have time for that.
Perfectly said.

Also, I couldn't agree with John and Tarekith more. Their experience mirrors my own and I've all but given up on doing freebies. I'm more than happy to master a single song for the single song rate, and then deduct that out of the cost of the album if we go ahead with it.
Old 30th May 2012
  #9
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Try to pick the ME who is most willing to utilize open, effective communication. This in and of itself will most likely result in a great product that will satisfy everyone involved.
Old 30th May 2012
  #10
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My business is 100% online with remote clients. Every tune generates a random sample of the finished job. If the demo is focused on the verse, and you need to listen to the chorus also, a new upload is required. The complete round trip is very fast.
This sort of limitation is necessary to protect my business when dealing with digital media online, without any copy protection.
Regular mastering facilities may have different policies.
Old 30th May 2012
  #11
Every client gets a sample of the song. When they pay they get the full thing. Sometimes I like to splice my own voice into really important parts of the song like chorus and say things like.... I love twilight or one direction did it better... Or I used beiber as a reference track.
Old 30th May 2012
  #12
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Adam Dempsey's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarekith View Post
And in my experience, doing a sample takes just as long as doing the full song, which some clients don't understand.
That. Done properly via the 110% care and attention it deserves. Also the fact that the result of a sample may be completely out of context with the bigger picture – the release as a whole – and so may not be indicative of where it needs to be sonically.

Great mastering is a service, involving communication, trust and rapport. It's not some "fixed" process.

I recall the analogy: would you hire a painter to work on your house and judge their work going only by the window sills?

However, listening sessions/evaluation sessions/consultations for those who need it, to check that a mix is ready for mastering, and at no obligation or cost – of course.
Old 30th May 2012
  #13
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Slyderhodge's Avatar
 

It's all fun and games until a single you mastered ends up on the radio and the rest of the album ends up mastered by the mixing engineer/producer/tracking engineer/guitar player.

Lesson learned, when the guy who mixed the record says 'man that sounds amazing' how on earth did you ever fix the bass in that song?' it's best to keep your trap shut
Old 30th May 2012
  #14
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To the OP

I understand your frustration but look at it from the mastering engineer's side.

You, as the artist, send out a different track off your 10 track album to each of 40 mastering engineers. Each of these people does a sample track for you and sends it back. You pick the best ones from the 40 returned (one in four chances that each song is going to be done well) and you put out your album with no mastering credits and no cost for mastering. Gee does that seem fair at all???

Or you ask for a sample track. Since one of the nice things about going to real mastering engineer is they can make the album sound cohesive and whole and you are asking that person to make one song sound great without regards to any other songs on the album.


Or you do what one potential client recently did - I got a 20 second snippet of a song last week. We wanted me to master it and send it back to him. I had no idea how the whole song sounded or what the rest of the song was. The snippet he sent me was some techno music that was mainly done on a synthesizer but the rest of the song could have been heavy metal for all I knew. I asked him for the complete song but he refused. How can I even do what he is asking and if he sent this out to others they will be having the exact same problems I am having with the snippet.

I normally do not do shoot outs for two reasons.

1. The are usually a big waste of time.

2. The client is probably wanting to get his stuff mastered for free or at least they want the mastering engineer to provide them with a road map of what it should sound like after it is mastered so they can do the work themselves. I had one cheeky individual ask for all my settings and exactly what I did to his music - presumably so he could do something similar with his own setup.

Best of luck and let us know how your quest for samples is going!
Old 30th May 2012
  #15
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I've had #2 as well, some people!
Old 30th May 2012
  #16
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the replies.

I see a couple of common patterns emerging in this conversation. All of it is valid and valuable. It isn't an easy or clear cut world to make decisions from. Of course without the clients input, policy does seem to be geared toward what is best for the MEs needs, not the clients. That can certainly limit the flow of conversation which is what I have experienced in my own situation. And as some of you have said, you just don't do samples (no matter who the client is), period. I understand and respect that.

It does seems unfortunate however that you don't have a way to qualify a client (other than previous work or from a recommendation). (I) the client, certainly have no real way of qualifying the ME either, other than word of mouth or online examples you have. Still I can tell you from experience, that is not adequate in the majority of cases...for me.
While many MEs can do a good job for you, only the right ME can do a great job for you. And that may not be the same ME for the next album or project This has been my experience.

I have been in Pro Audio for over 25+ years, I have been a regular member here on GS for 8 years and pro.rec forums and music player forums prior to that with many of the same people. Always working in a professional level environment. I have hired different well respected MEs (all of a high quality calibur) from my relationships here on GS for different projects, all based on reputation and or examples. All but once, I ended hiring a qualified ME, a 'great guy' (genuinely) or 'a nice guy' but not the right ME for the job simply because I had no reference of MY material from them until it was too late. In one instance the Masters were so far from what we needed, I had to pay my client back for the entire mastering job because they trusted me to find the right ME. I paid to have a completey new set of Masters done by another 'name' in the business.

Perhaps some of you can relate to that, or perhaps you can point the finger back at me (which you should) for not paying enough due diligence in my research etc... I accept that also, but either way that has been my experience. So as of now, how does a prospective client 'qualify' an ME without a sample? For me it is a challenge. Some of you said you will 'not compete' for a client. I understand that. You used certain analogies to drive the point home. I don't see it as 'competing' myself, just helping with the proper evaluatoin process. While all analogies are incomplete for sure, we don't buy a wedding cake without tasting it first and the bakery is happy to 'compete' and provide a sample because they might... aquire the business. We don't buy clothes or shoes without trying them on, even well made, well respected clothes. We are given free shipping and liberal return policies on gear because it is 'imperative' that the gear (sound) works for our unique needs. This is a unique business and a 'personal' business. Many analogies comparing this work to other professions does not work.

There is no 'disrerespect' meant when a genuine prospect asks for a sample (speaking for myself). And I am willing to provide any references neccessary. Seems to me even a partial fee is acceptable. But to have a 'no sample, no way' policy... 'I am too busy, my time is too valuable, choose me or not' mentality, just drives some of us away. Again, no flame. I respect that all of us work from a set of values and I respect everyones working philosophy...and I know that losing potential clients is something you are willing to risk, but it may be worth a consideration.

Cheers!
Old 30th May 2012
  #17
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
To the OP

I understand your frustration but look at it from the mastering engineer's side.

You, as the artist, send out a different track off your 10 track album to each of 40 mastering engineers. Each of these people does a sample track for you and sends it back. You pick the best ones from the 40 returned (one in four chances that each song is going to be done well) and you put out your album with no mastering credits and no cost for mastering. Gee does that seem fair at all???
Well, this is really a worst case scenario and if this happens, it is unfortunate and will certainly come back to bite someone on the behind. In my case as a working professional, I used the 'same' song simply because it is the only way to reference the differences.

Quote:
Or you ask for a sample track. Since one of the nice things about going to real mastering engineer is they can make the album sound cohesive and whole and you are asking that person to make one song sound great without regards to any other songs on the album.
Agreed. Only I can tell a great deal by how a single song is handled. Particularly if I choose a song with similiar sonics and dynamics as the majority of an album. Most albums do have a 'sound' based on the type of music, artist, studio, producer etc.. and a single song sample is enoug for me. In the final stages if one or two songs need a real deviation we can handle it then.

Quote:
I normally do not do shoot outs for two reasons.

1. The are usually a big waste of time.

2. The client is probably wanting to get his stuff mastered for free or at least they want the mastering engineer to provide them with a road map of what it should sound like after it is mastered so they can do the work themselves. I had one cheeky individual ask for all my settings and exactly what I did to his music - presumably so he could do something similar with his own setup.
Agreed. Of course this was not a 'shootout'. If I asked you for a sample because you were recommended to me, I would never tell you I was expecting a sample of the same song from another ME. I genuinely respect peoples time (and I respect my own time) and I do not 'price match' or leverage one ME against another. I find that unethical and brutally disrespectful. I do find getting the right job for myself or client is my responsibility and I don't know any other way than to ask for a sample.


Quote:
Best of luck and let us know how your quest for samples is going!
Thank you. I did. I found an excellence ME who has similiar sonic tastes, similiar spiritual and philosophical mentalities and who I overall resonate with the work they do.

Thank you for the conversation.
Old 30th May 2012
  #18
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene View Post
Thanks for the replies.

I see a couple of common patterns emerging in this conversation. All of it is valid and valuable. It isn't an easy or clear cut world to make decisions from. Of course without the clients input, policy does seem to be geared toward what is best for the MEs needs, not the clients. That can certainly limit the flow of conversation which is what I have experienced in my own situation. And as some of you have said, you just don't do samples (no matter who the client is), period. I understand and respect that.

It does seems unfortunate however that you don't have a way to qualify a client (other than previous work or from a recommendation). (I) the client, certainly have no real way of qualifying the ME either, other than word of mouth or online examples you have. Still I can tell you from experience, that is not adequate in the majority of cases...for me.
While many MEs can do a good job for you, only the right ME can do a great job for you. And that may not be the same ME for the next album or project This has been my experience.

I have been in Pro Audio for over 25+ years, I have been a regular member here on GS for 8 years and pro.rec forums and music player forums prior to that with many of the same people. Always working in a professional level environment. I have hired different well respected MEs (all of a high quality calibur) from my relationships here on GS for different projects, all based on reputation and or examples. All but once, I ended hiring a qualified ME, a 'great guy' (genuinely) or 'a nice guy' but not the right ME for the job simply because I had no reference of MY material from them until it was too late. In one instance the Masters were so far from what we needed, I had to pay my client back for the entire mastering job because they trusted me to find the right ME. I paid to have a completey new set of Masters done by another 'name' in the business.

Perhaps some of you can relate to that, or perhaps you can point the finger back at me (which you should) for not paying enough due diligence in my research etc... I accept that also, but either way that has been my experience. So as of now, how does a prospective client 'qualify' an ME without a sample? For me it is a challenge. Some of you said you will 'not compete' for a client. I understand that. You used certain analogies to drive the point home. I don't see it as 'competing' myself, just helping with the proper evaluatoin process. While all analogies are incomplete for sure, we don't buy a wedding cake without tasting it first and the bakery is happy to 'compete' and provide a sample because they might... aquire the business. We don't buy clothes or shoes without trying them on, even well made, well respected clothes. We are given free shipping and liberal return policies on gear because it is 'imperative' that the gear (sound) works for our unique needs. This is a unique business and a 'personal' business. Many analogies comparing this work to other professions does not work.

There is no 'disrerespect' meant when a genuine prospect asks for a sample (speaking for myself). And I am willing to provide any references neccessary. Seems to me even a partial fee is acceptable. But to have a 'no sample, no way' policy... 'I am too busy, my time is too valuable, choose me or not' mentality, just drives some of us away. Again, no flame. I respect that all of us work from a set of values and I respect everyones working philosophy...and I know that losing potential clients is something you are willing to risk, but it may be worth a consideration.

Cheers!
Well said...

I guess we will all have to accept doing demo tracks as the new norm...If you send me a track and I master it and send it back to you but only send you 45 seconds is that really enough time for you to confirm that I am who and what I say I am??? If I send the whole track back to you are you going to use if for your own uses and what guarantees do I have that you will not simply use it as a guide line for doing your own mastering and I lose out on a having you as my paying client.

Inquiring minds want to know what you would do if you were the mastering engineer and kept doing samples for potential clients but never got any work from your labors???

Just a question...
Old 30th May 2012
  #19
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Well said...

I guess we will all have to accept doing demo tracks as the new norm...If you send me a track and I master it and send it back to you but only send you 45 seconds is that really enough time for you to confirm that I am who and what I say I am??? If I send the whole track back to you are you going to use if for your own uses and what guarantees do I have that you will not simply use it as a guide line for doing your own mastering and I lose out on a having you as my paying client.

Inquiring minds want to know what you would do if you were the mastering engineer and kept doing samples for potential clients but never got any work from your labors???

Just a question...
Brother Thomas, it is a valid and important question. There is a great deal of 'depends' here... and I don't have a clear answer 'logically'. However my answer would be coming from my personal belief systems, my 'business' philosophy and my experience in the way 'life' or the 'universe' works...for me.

It has never been my experience to 'give' of myself genuinely and not recieve more than equal return. The law of compensation is always perfectly balanced, even if it doesn't seem that way initially. Short term 'loss' is always long term gain when you are providing genuine service. So for me... providing 'anything' I can for the customer is benefit for my business. I run all of my businesses this way. I have 3 employees who I have trained in the same mindset and we follow a very clear mission statement. We give... we give... we give. We do not disrespect our own time, but we do respect the customers and always take care of the customer. Yes, some customers seem to 'take, take take... and some even take advantage of my generous spirit. But honestly, they are the minority even though they 'hit the hardest' and make a lasting impression.

I honestly believe that if you are a good ME, your return on investment would pay far more than the short term effort... but... this is not my decision to make nor do I find someone else's choice the 'wrong' one. We all have life experience to pull from and I can never say what is valid for another.

Again, I have no complaint, just feedback and ONE clients perspective.
I am perosnally not afraid of being 'stolen' from as I believe if I walk upright and live with integrity and honesty, I am always compensated for. This is my life experience.
Old 30th May 2012
  #20
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Laurend's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene View Post
Brother Thomas, it is a valid and important question. There is a great deal of 'depends' here... and I don't have a clear answer 'logically'. However my answer would be coming from my personal belief systems, my 'business' philosophy and my experience in the way 'life' or the 'universe' works...for me.

It has never been my experience to 'give' of myself genuinely and not recieve more than equal return. The law of compensation is always perfectly balanced, even if it doesn't seem that way initially. Short term 'loss' is always long term gain when you are providing genuine service. So for me... providing 'anything' I can for the customer is benefit for my business. I run all of my businesses this way. I have 3 employees who I have trained in the same mindset and we follow a very clear mission statement. We give... we give... we give. We do not disrespect our own time, but we do respect the customers and always take care of the customer. Yes, some customers seem to 'take, take take... and some even take advantage of my generous spirit. But honestly, they are the minority even though they 'hit the hardest' and make a lasting impression.

I honestly believe that if you are a good ME, your return on investment would pay far more than the short term effort... but... this is not my decision to make nor do I find someone else's choice the 'wrong' one. We all have life experience to pull from and I can never say what is valid for another.

Again, I have no complaint, just feedback and ONE clients perspective.
I am perosnally not afraid of being 'stolen' from as I believe if I walk upright and live with integrity and honesty, I am always compensated for. This is my life experience.
I'm afraid you don't know this world is ruled by banksters which have a very different philosophie from yours.
Old 30th May 2012
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurend View Post
I'm afraid you don't know this world is ruled by banksters which have a very different philosophie from yours.
Cheers~

Coming from the 'wrong' side of the tracks on so many levels, I have experienced the 'underground' and dark side of life in unimaginable, unspeakable ways beyond the average human experience.

My personal philosophies serve me well spiritually, financially, ethically and psychologically... despite the elite boogymen who rule our society.

Faith in (fill in the blank) is a wonderful power.
Old 30th May 2012
  #22
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SASMastering's Avatar
Free preview has worked well for me when it's asked of. This is how it works... paid work is prioritized and free preview can take up to 2 weeks or until the run of paid work is finished. So if you are willing to wait thats cool for me and you. The more work you get coming through the door the more discerning you become as to the quality of enquiry, you make judgments. I never give a full track back to a completely new enquiry and nor should any mastering engineer, though this happens fairly often with paying clients.

If by me producing a free sample of my work which takes the same time as the full monty offends you to a degree it puts you off
my work then don't ask for a preview. Everyone asking of a free preview should be clear in their mind that they do not get the full track back. My bet is there are more jokers wanting free preview who have no intention of proceeding than those hacked off by not getting the full track back, lol.

It's all about making good case by case judgments, then things run real smooth for both mastering engineer and serious client.

In a world of grossly inexperienced, small speaker and pc, slap a limiter on bedroom engineers, it's actually a quite important part of the 'due diligence' when selecting an online mastering studio.

I recommend basic research, check engineer history, equipment, room and recent clients.

PS

Quote:
You, as the artist, send out a different track off your 10 track album to each of 40 mastering engineers. Each of these people does a sample track for you and sends it back. You pick the best ones from the 40 returned (one in four chances that each song is going to be done well) and you put out your album with no mastering credits and no cost for mastering. Gee does that seem fair at all???
I wouldn't lose sleep over that happening. The time involved choosing would cost more than the cost of mastering in some
decent studios. Just an example £210.00 for an album here, a band with 4 people in £52.50 each, each person listening to 40 masters/deciding and selecting and relying on their Tannoy Reveals to discern them all, PQ code it up, error check it on their SangdongMK3 DVD re-burner, it's just not going to happen.
Old 30th May 2012
  #23
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Chris Bauer's Avatar
If I could get enough work based on reputation and recommendations, then I would certainly not offer free samples. They are time consuming and can lead to nothing (not even a thanks). But at the moment I can't, so I offer samples to grow my business. It works for me, as most of my clients have come to me as a result of receiving a sample. I never send a full song, but enough so that the potential client can gain a good impression of the quality of my work.

At times when I am too busy with paid work to offer free previews, I let the potential client know that it might take a week or two. Sometimes they choose to use me anyway (even without the freebie), at other times I never hear from them again. I think it often depends on whether they are actually interested in you or are just collecting test masters from as many engineers as possible.
Old 30th May 2012
  #24
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SASMastering's Avatar
Quote:
I think it often depends on whether they are actually interested in you or are just collecting test masters from as many engineers as possible.
Spot on Chris, you make your best call based on your current paid work throughput and numerous other factors.
Old 30th May 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Verified Member
I give free samples, people often come back, I get paid, they get their music sounding good, the world keeps turning.

I wouldn't read into it too much, this is defo a "mastering guys in a pub run out interesting things to talk about" topic of discussion IMHO.

Everyone's business model is different, every client (and specifically scene of music) is different. I work a lot of artists who work at home and don't really know what mastering can do for em, it's a great chance to engage and become someone's goto guy for their whole listening philosophy is you like, it's rewarding work and I can afford to goto the pub when I'm done too
Old 30th May 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Shawn Hatfield's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
Spot on Chris, you make your best call based on your current paid work throughput and numerous other factors.
Yeah, I definitely have to agree with Chris and Joe. Valid points, and it's true there's no one way to do this, and no one policy that works for everyone. You simply do what you need to do to survive and adapt.

And while it may seem like ""mastering guys in a pub run out of interesting things to talk about", this thread illustrates many sides and variables to consider, from both the client and the mastering engineer's perspective. If we locked this thread now before it spins off into arguing, it would probably make a good resource for someone Googling for help.
Old 31st May 2012
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Ben F's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Samples are a waste of time, your credits with audio from iTunes is readily available. Many clients that are after samples are actually confused about what mastering does.
Old 31st May 2012
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben F View Post
Samples are a waste of time, your credits with audio from iTunes is readily available. Many clients that are after samples are actually confused about what mastering does.

I can see that in this age of home recordist saturation.

Still some working clients who are after samples are crystal clear about what mastering does which is why they are seeking a sample.
Old 31st May 2012
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene View Post
Coming from the 'wrong' side of the tracks on so many levels, I have experienced the 'underground' and dark side of life in unimaginable, unspeakable ways beyond the average human experience.
This is actually a little frightening. Have you ever considered writing a song, or series of songs about these experiences?
Old 31st May 2012
  #30
Gear Nut
 
DubStudio's Avatar
 

Tendering for work in this way is just plain wrong, on lots of levels. I never offer free demos.
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