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Rethinking my rates..
Old 28th August 2012
  #31
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Joe Haze's Avatar
 

I know my value (I think), but many bands either can't hear the difference of a good producer/engineer, are not ready to take real direction or can't justify the cost. Derek, great post I agree. I just wish my manager could lead the way.. I hate money.

Quote:
it makes me mad how nice & gullable & mediocre I allowed myself to be at certain times.
Yes, I need to get more aggressive, it's just not in my nature being raised with mellow parents and all..lol .
Old 28th August 2012
  #32
Gear Addict
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Originally Posted by Joe Haze View Post
Yes, I need to get more aggressive, it's just not in my nature being raised with mellow parents and all..lol .
That is weird, my dad just destroyed me and now I am softer than an over ripened banana
Old 28th August 2012
  #33
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I find it odd that when I started my journey into music and production in the early 90's my parents were not supportive!! At one point I even filled out an application to Berkeley College of Music, but do you think my family would pay for "music" school? NO

These days parents are gleefully sending their underachiever kids to places like Fullsnail and dropping 100k on a dream of being famous.. My how things change..
Old 28th August 2012
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Haze View Post
I know my value (I think), but many bands either can't hear the difference of a good producer/engineer, are not ready to take real direction or can't justify the cost.
They are aren't at a point in THEIR careers where they can afford you. Find those that can.

I understand it's easier said than done. But those that do prosper while those that don't fail.

Which styles of music sell a lot in your area? What labels or indie labels are in your area? Which corporations in your area use custom music production? Utah has a large religious community, which religious organizations use a lot of custom recorded music? Which ad agencies are in your area?

Based on that, which potential clients in your area can afford you? Who are they using now and why? What can you offer them that their current engineer/producer cannot?

Instead of bending to those who don't have any potential to earn money on their own, set a price for your services and then try to find those who are making enough money from their music to afford you. Know what I mean? don't drop the price of a Mercedes because you are looking at trying to sell it to people who only make $20,000 a year. Find the customers who can afford it and who would benefit from your services.

A lot band that can barely write songs, barely tune their instruments, barely sing in tune and has no idea how to market and sell their music are not the kind of bands you want to be working with anyway.

And to be honest... I really don't believe the "most artists can't hear the difference a good producer makes..." Most artists are OCD and obsess over their music. They pine over just the right snare sound and just the right bass guitar tone. They slave over getting the right guitar effects pedals and amps and so on. They can hear the difference. If they say they can't it's because they know they aren't making enough money to afford it, or they really don't have the talent to notice. Either way, they are not your target client.

If you have a manager, you should really sit down with him and come up with a sales plan and a sales goal for him. Your manager is basically your sales person. You create a product or service, and he finds leads, develops them and closes the deals with them. Sometimes you need outside help, like a publicist for promotion as an example... but if you have a manager and he isn't selling your services correctly, you need to setup a plan to fix it or fire him. Remember, he works for you, not the other way around. He is your sales person. He makes commission off the sale of your services.

If you have name credits and do great work...and he can't capitalize on that, then it might be time to find a sales person/manager who can.

I know that seems kind of cold-hearted, but this is business. Every successful company has an aggressive and successful sales team. Any weak members brought into a sales team are quickly forced out.
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Old 28th August 2012
  #35
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Yes, spot on! I am doing all the things you mentioned, the only thing that has harmed me is moving around. If I actually spent two years in the same state/town building contacts getting a good rep it would be fine.

Many things are in progress and I know if I establish what I think is a fair rate I will eliminate 75% of potential clients, but probably save myself many headaches!

Yes, the management thing is a bit of a catch 22. I know top managers who like me but it's not profitable yet to take me on. What you rather have 15% of a mixer who charges 15k an album or one who can only get 1-2k (if lucky).
Old 28th August 2012
  #36
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Originally Posted by Filthrill View Post
I look at people like Butch Vig & his crew out practically in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin just killin it & running an awesome studio (Smart Studios). Think everyone involved there was a true pro & knew everything? I think not. Create a story where you're at & people will find out about u & u won't even have to advertise.

I went to visit Radiostar Studios in Weed, California, Sylvia Massy-Chivy's studios. Guess what? She has no competition there & rules the land.

Us engineers need to get smarter as business people, people who can persuade & get money for things & facilities worth having. We do need to be nice as far as dealing w/ clients, but as business people we need to learn to be more aggressive sometimes. The aggressive ones are ones who eat in this game. Thank God for the hitmakers around me. I don't always like their music they do but I get to see how the do business & it makes me mad how nice & gullable & mediocre I allowed myself to be at certain times.
your talking about people who already had a career in full swing. They can live and work almost anywhere. When you're a mid level [in pay, not necessarily skills] engineer you are in the toughest market, where you live, plays into it in a big way.
Old 28th August 2012
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
I'm not trying to criticize you but I wanted to really point this out...

If you think a band could cut you out and go with the house/staff engineer and get the exact same quality product... then you are putting no value on yourself. If you do not put any value on your services then nobody else will.

You are not an orange or a banana. You are not identical to the next piece of fruit sitting next to you. You are not a commodity, so do not treat yourself like one.

Let me ask you a question... next time you see someone driving a Porsche, Mercedes, Maserati, Audi, Bentley or BMW just walk up to them and ask them why they purchased that car when they could get a Kia for $13,000~$19,000 that has a lot of the same features. See what they say...

Do you know what the most profitable car company is? Not the company that pulls in the most gross revenue, but the one that makes the most net profit per car sold? Take a wild guess. It's not Toyota or Honda or Kia or Hyundai or Nissan or VW... Honda makes around $1000 profit per car sold. Toyota makes around $800. VW makes $300 per car. BMW and Mercedes make around $3000 per car. The most profitable car company is Porsche, they makes $28,800 per car sold.

Think about that... one of the most expensive car brands in the world makes the most money per car and is INSANELY successful. Why?

The answer to that question will help you realize what you should charge clients, it will help you determine who your target clients should be, and it should also give you an idea as to what to say to someone who says they will go get it done cheaper somewhere else.

What do you think a Porsche salesperson will say to you if you walk into a dealership, look at a 911 and then say... "well I can get the new Scion sports car (FR-S) for $25,000 instead of the $160,700 you are charging for this 911 Turbo S. Can you match $25k? If not I'm going to Scion."

I strongly urge you to literally go into their nearest dealership to you and say that and take special note of what they tell you...

One person could say a car is a car just like an orange is an orange. But they aren't. Most people would rather buy a porsche or a ferrari or an Audi or a Mercedes or a lexus if they could afford it. Why? Mercedes is owned by Chrystler and a lot of the new MB's are pretty much Chrystler cars. VW owns Audi and most Audis are identical to VWs. Lexus identical to Toyota, they are the exact same cars with a few minor cosmetic differences.

So why would most people still prefer the more expensive car if they had the money? Why do people who drive these expensive cars have them, instead of opting for a cheaper alternative?

Once you fully realize how this relates to what you do, you'll start to understand how to value your business (what you do) and market your business to clients.
This is the best post I've read in a really long time. Thank you, Derek!
Old 28th August 2012
  #38
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Originally Posted by Funkster View Post
This is the best post I've read in a really long time. Thank you, Derek!
I second that! Great post!
Old 28th August 2012
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musiclab View Post
your talking about people who already had a career in full swing. They can live and work almost anywhere. When you're a mid level [in pay, not necessarily skills] engineer you are in the toughest market, where you live, plays into it in a big way.
Yeah sure. Then be the best mid-level engineer u can be in your area. Anyone can get into a nice studio location w/ a modest setup & do great work. A lot of clients could care less what gear you're using once u earn their trust.

Also there's lots of great studios that weren't necessarily started by someone with a career "in full swing." I just witnessed two situations this year. Someone like Joe has no choice but to sink or swim in his tough market.
Old 28th August 2012
  #40
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I will say no matter what I am always busy writing/mixing/engineering ect... The money always fluctuates (for now), but I think half the battle is just staying in the game and pushing on.

Thanks for all the great post!
Old 28th August 2012
  #41
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relaxo's Avatar
Start with a safe rate that you know sells. When you get too busy raise it.

Simple.
Old 28th August 2012
  #42
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Yes, starting with a safe rate is my gut instinct, but I don't want to set to low of a rate and give a bad impression. I need to find a rate that fits this market.
Old 28th August 2012
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Funkster View Post
This is the best post I've read in a really long time. Thank you, Derek!
Thanks...

Too many people look at music and production as a commodity. It is not. It is an abstract market. How can you put a value on a song? how can you put a value on the engineering of a recording?

how can you define what is a good song vs what is a bad song? How can you define what is good production vs bad production?

I hated Alanis Morrissette. I thought she was awful and sounded like she was yodeling when she sang. Glen Ballard proved me and a lot of other people in the industry wrong. Her album sold 16mil copies. So there were 16mil people who disagreed with me!

We have to remember that what we ultimately do is create art, not science. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. one person might think a song sucks and wouldn't even pay $0.25 cents for it. Another person might need to have that song so bad they are willing to pay $10 for it. Same song, same production.

Finding, assigning and increasing the value of your artistic contribution to the process is a very difficult thing to do. But it is something everyone needs to do in order to be successful. If not, you will undervalue your abilities and contributions and then those who would most benefit from them won't even consider you. You can price yourself out of the competition just as easily by underbidding instead of overbidding.

I should probably also mention, all of this that I'm talking about is aimed more towards someone who has been working in the field for a while, has had successful clients and credits in the past.

someone just starting out, never having worked on an album before in a professional environment, could ruin their opportunities to get feet in the door by over-valuing their abilities. But for someone like Joe who said he has credits and a lot of experience, it's not about "paying dues" and "proving your worth". The credits, demo reel, etc he has spend years accumulating already do that for him.
Old 31st August 2012
  #44
Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Haze View Post
I would love to buy a house and build a couple nice rooms, then for other things like piano ect.. go elsewhere.

Cool idea on offering mixes at different price points.. I am ok, with a flat rate (loose money, but perhaps make it back in points or publishing..

Despite my experience I am fighting the “perceived value” issue. Can you say good publicist??


5. You provide good value, but you're a terrible business person, so you get less.


8. Potential clients know they can do a lot o this stuff at home - no matter the quality,
so they don't see the value in paying so much money to studios and professionals.

If I actually had an investor I could make something. I have clients flying in and locally the state is lacking high end mixing (I am going to burn for saying that)..sorry guys

Plus remote mixing.
.

Indeed - these are the challenges for you.

A publicist might be good, but a professional business/marketing person might be good to help you draw up a real business plan first.

As Karloff says - if you strongly feel you can fill a specific niche, then you better get to work doing it.

A business/marketing person - WHO KNOWS YOUR DEMOGRAPHICS - will tell you how much you can afford to pay your publicist - among a TON of other extremely useful things, before you start sending checks into the 'endless universe of professionals and consultants who make money off of musicians, producers and studios' void!

I've seen more musicians throw away money on publicists and promoters who didn't do **** for them - BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T KNOW THE SPECIFIC MARKET, and they weren't vested in the overall success.

Bottom line: professionals are always happy to take your money, whether or not they help you at all.

If you can do some sort of fusion marketing partnership with some other local media companies and share marketing and or business consulting expenses, you might get off on the right foot, without breaking the bank for no added business.

Anyway, business is about people. If you find talented business folks to work with, you could be lucky.

.
Old 2nd September 2012
  #45
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Joe Haze's Avatar
 

Yes, the real trick is finding the right people. Most people have a lack of vision or are to lazy to really put effort into things. One of the things I miss about the Bay Area (California) so may talented innovative people.

A good publicist when the time is right.
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