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How did you build your worth?
Old 3rd September 2012
  #1
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How did you build your worth?

I can’t seem to figure out how to build worth and would appreciate some insight to this.



I am at a loss…
Old 3rd September 2012
  #2
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surflounge's Avatar
Follow the money if you have a trail somewhere. Find who has struck it rich and how they did it. Then track the time it takes to make a buck compared to not taking the risk. Maybe wait until it's worth doing or start off slow without spending too much. I stopped dealing with most rascally varmints because they only care about themselves and don't have a buck to spend anyway. But if you come up with a decent plan, "build it and they will come". Question remains how to get money out of poor musicians wanting to record something better than they can in their own garage. Doesn't matter what happened in your past. Now everyone seems to be hiding in the hole they dug themselves into and can't afford paying for fancy recording time. Especially when they are broke. Even superstars won't call you on your birthday or just say hello anymore. Gotta make something so very attractive that they want to see you again. Not worth dealing with a bunch of crazed wannabe rock stars anyway.
Does that help?
Old 3rd September 2012
  #3
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Musicians often have more money than the let on. That's just it... "Man I can't afford to pay you $100.00 a day, I just spent 10k on flying out this famous guy to help me out with drums".

Just like people telling you they are to busy to help you move and an hour later they get tagged at the local bar on Facebook..
Old 3rd September 2012
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by logicll View Post
I can’t seem to figure out how to build worth and would appreciate some insight to this.

As a staff engineer with a bit of a track record, working in a now (all but closed) major studio I had the opportunity to work with many bands on the path to success.

Working under a very famous producer, bands would drop 10-50k on projects I would often co-produce, mix. I know the bands did not come to work with me and would sometimes leave my name out of the credits, but I hoped that my quality of work, enthusiasm for their project and professional demeanor would make a positive impression.

I stayed in contact with several of these bands and after the studio took a downturn and shut its doors I contacted several of these bands. I ended up doing several free remixes, working out 50/50 backend deals or mixing for $5 an hour. Now some of these bands are getting signed and getting ready to make their next album.

None of these bands are willing to pay me anything, despite (in some cases) mixing/co-producing the album that got them signed. Coming from a major studio I feel I am in a worse position than the local studio guy who makes 3-$500.00 a day tracking local bands.

Perhaps I devalued myself by working free, but I don’t think these bands would be willing to pay me either way, despite knowing the proven value I bring to the table.
I do see them all paying for “name” people to work on their current projects.

I am at a loss…
Well, time to look for some more new acts - and this time don't give yourself away. At least make sure that you get a piece of what they do if you work on spec.

DON'T work for $5/hour.

Get contracts.

There's a saying that goes like this:

"If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. If you work for peanuts, YOU'RE the monkey."

Don't be a monkey.
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Old 3rd September 2012
  #5
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Ultimately, you have people that make music and you have people pursuing things (typically ego-related). People making music seek out other people that, for lack of a better term, harmonize with their creative process. People pursuing things seek out people that will forward their pursuit (big name producer, mix engineer, etc.).

People on pursuit will NEVER acknowledge the value of someone who they don't clearly see as moving them closer to their fantasy end-goal. This means that getting them to pay for ANYTHING is nearly impossible unless they view you as a connection. Ironically, if they do think you are valuable, you can get them to pay you almost any amount. The best part is the end-results don't matter! The end-result for them is simply a name or a credit. This is why there is an influx of dirty sharks in the "industry" - because people pursuing fame are literally blinded, and easily manipulated out of things if you can present yourself favorably.

Ultimately, I stopped dealing with people on pursuit. They make problems out of nothing, they are erratic and unreliable. It's the devil's road, and while there is always money to be had on that road, there is never any happiness.

People interested in the music are a much better group of people to get in with. They respect your time and ability because they REALIZE the value you add to their creativity. The sum is greater than the parts.

My advice is to take your experience and instead of trying to appease the divas, why not bring back connections you made with studio musicians? Think back and figure out who really was making these records happen - those are the people you want to get "in" with. Ultimately, they are the people everyone else has to come back to to make a real record, so you'll even be able to get those credits and "big name" appeal if you are patient enough and plant the right seeds (and you didn't have to be anybody's bitch or sell your morality to do it).
Old 3rd September 2012
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Well, time to look for some more new acts - and this time don't give yourself away. At least make sure that you get a piece of what they do if you work on spec.

DON'T work for $5/hour.

Get contracts.

There's a saying that goes like this:

"If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. If you work for peanuts, YOU'RE the monkey."

Don't be a monkey.
Totally, because John Eppstein has made millions....
Old 3rd September 2012
  #7
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CKREON, that is a very good point! Perhaps that is the cornerstone of the problem, dealing with people on a pursuit to get signed, famous...
The way you explained it makes sense, it's sad helping a person "giving your all" and then not valuing it..



I have always related more to real artists (typically Reggae, Jazz musicians) than rock,pop or indie "artists".
Old 3rd September 2012
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosted View Post
Totally, because John Eppstein has made millions....


I haven't, but I lot of people I've worked with have. And you?

And quite a number of people I've worked with might have if they hadn't sold themselves short.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logicll View Post
CKREON, that is a very good point! Perhaps that is the cornerstone of the problem, dealing with people on a pursuit to get signed, famous...
The way you explained it makes sense, it's sad helping a person giving you all and then not valuing it..

I have always related more to real artists (typically Reggae, Jazz musicians) than rock,pop or indie "artists"
As a person who has walked a similar path, I can tell you that making music with the real guys is SO much better. It is literally one of the funnest things you can ever do.

The only catch in working with real musicians is you've got to be a real engineer! This keeps all the "posers" and slimy people out of the way, as they typically don't have a well developed skill-set in any area (other than being slimey).
Old 3rd September 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post


I haven't, but I lot of people I've worked with have. And you?

And quite a number of people I've worked with might have if they hadn't sold themselves short.
ME? Only a half of a million. I'm a total failure.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #11
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Well said ckreon.

I'll only add that we, as a group, have ourselves to blame. My wife, an artist, belongs to CAPIC. They continually stress not to devalue your work....always get paid and get paid fairly...you're only shooting yourself in the foot and everyone else as well....if you take work for nothing you are surely starting a race to the bottom where everyone will lose. Don't do it. Don't do it. It's repeated again and again and taught at OCAD university as well.

This continual message seems to be working for them as they generally maintain a very high standard for work.

However, if the race isn't over for us with our poor business practices, our loosey goosey approach, no contracts, not specifying credits where credit is due, working on spec. or next to nothing...people expecting you to play for $25 or $50 when you have a lifetime invested in your craft...we've shot ourselves over and over.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #12
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Example: I mixed an album for a band, (famous mastering engineer) "Who mixed this it's great!"... Band gets signed who will mix their next album?? (probably not me).

If I charge even a quarter ($250.00 a day) of what the (major) studio charged, most bands wouldn't spend the money on me. Perhaps it's that vibe thing..?

People make themselves look bigger and make promises to bands, feeding into the bands empty desire for fame.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosted View Post
ME? Only a half of a million. I'm a total failure.
Dude, youre not the only one here whos made good money.. Me too, <DELETED BY MODERATOR>

To the OP.

Never give away your skill and talent for free or a value in the same vacinity as free.
If you know your craft, charge for it. Ive found that sticking to my rates actually attracts clients.... The ones who are serious about getting it done.
Most clients who encounter engineers or producers who have Dollar Store rates tend to think the end product will reflect a Dollar Store product.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #14
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I "built my worth" by always setting my rates above my competition and then working like hell to deliver the goods.
Let the other guys fight the rate wars, that's a certain path to the bottom.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #15
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Yes, thanks. I agree. It's a bit strange to work in a huge famous studio (doing the level of work that gig requires), yet on my own I can't attract the caliber of artist that tend to move careers forward. I haven't even lived in the same place long enough to be the "go to" guy in town. 100K of gear sitting in my apartment..

I am trying to attract a manager, but I am not enough of a "name" to get a manager who can put me in the room with the type of bands I need to work with. I am in limbo...
Old 3rd September 2012
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolo View Post
Dude, youre not the only one here whos made good money.. Me too, but that does not give you the right to be a prick.

To the OP.

Never give away your skill and talent for free or a value in the same vacinity as free.
If you know your craft, charge for it. Ive found that sticking to my rates actually attracts clients.... The ones who are serious about getting it done.
Most clients who encounter engineers or producers who have Dollar Store rates tend to think the end product will reflect a Dollar Store product.
John's a much bigger prick than I am. I just hope he made his money.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #17
Set your price for the level your worth.. charging to little is just going to attract bands that dont take things to seriously. My old band used to record at a half ass studio because the price was right, and we were good friends with the owner. however one day an engineer approached us and said he liked what we were doing but thought he could offer us a much higher quality recording. He offered us 1 full day in the studio to track and mix 1 song for $100 and said he believed his quality of work could make us change studios. Even though our friend charged us $150 a day... the other engineer was right.. his quality of work convinced us that he was worth the $500 a day. And we recorded 4 eps and 3 full length albums over the coarse of 4 years. Over those 4 years we drove alot of fellow bands to that studio as well because our cds sounded so good everyone else wanted that quality. Despite his much higher price than the other studios around. So dont undercut yourself.. get what your worth. And good luck figuring all this out
Old 3rd September 2012
  #18
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logicll's Avatar
 

Good post! Charge what you are worth.. What if no bands respond? (biggest fear).
Old 3rd September 2012
  #19
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surflounge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickS View Post
I "built my worth" by always setting my rates above my competition and then working like hell to deliver the goods.
Let the other guys fight the rate wars, that's a certain path to the bottom.
Rick is correct. He is not bragging. Both of us have stellar reputations on Calif's central coast (yeah right Crazy Joe, speak for yourself). Why have hamburger when you can have steak? Unfortunately the beach bums around here expect too much for free. You gotta hang em upside down and shake every nickel out of their pants if you expect to get paid. It can be frustrating but the good times are worth it. Plenty of transplanted superstars and lost souls trying to make a connection outside of Hollywood. Especially if it doesn't cost them anything.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #20
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logicll's Avatar
 

I suppose I need to just set my rates higher and stick to them and hope I attract better clients. It is frustrating being able to deliver the "goods", but due to many social dynamics I get pass up for projects.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosted View Post
ME? Only a half of a million. I'm a total failure.
Drop me a PM, I'm curious.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghosted View Post
John's a much bigger prick than I am. I just hope he made his money.
Why? Because I stand up for the rights of artists? Because I urge people to avoid making the same mistakes I did?
Old 3rd September 2012
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by logicll View Post
Good post! Charge what you are worth.. What if no bands respond? (biggest fear).
Well that engineer found us.. maybe you should actively search for bands you would like to work with and make the first contact. If nothing else, maybe set a 1 song rate like that engineer did to suck them in.. and let your work speak for itself. We loved that engineers work so much that we trashed the $3000 worth of work we did at the other studio and saved up money to get a full week in the other studio to re record everything we already had tracked. And we never looked back. One you get a few solid bands in there that love your work.. i know the word will spread.
Old 3rd September 2012
  #24
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logicll's Avatar
 

That is a great story!
Old 3rd September 2012
  #25
Eat
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here's a simple rule of thumb. whatever it is that you need to charge, double it, and if the client doesn't go, "WHAAAAAAA???", then you're in like flynn!
Old 3rd September 2012
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by logicll View Post
That is a great story!
Im not saying that it will always work that way. But there are a few producers that made there path by seeking out bands they liked. Look at ross robinson, he actively went after bands he liked in the beginning and built his name off of that.
Old 4th September 2012
  #27
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by logicll View Post
I can’t seem to figure out how to build worth and would appreciate some insight to this.

As a staff engineer with a bit of a track record, working in a now (all but closed) major studio I had the opportunity to work with many bands on the path to success.

Working under a very famous producer, bands would drop 10-50k on projects I would often co-produce, mix. I know the bands did not come to work with me and would sometimes leave my name out of the credits, but I hoped that my quality of work, enthusiasm for their project and professional demeanor would make a positive impression.

I stayed in contact with several of these bands and after the studio took a downturn and shut its doors I contacted several of these bands. I ended up doing several free remixes, working out 50/50 backend deals or mixing for $5 an hour. Now some of these bands are getting signed and getting ready to make their next album.

None of these bands are willing to pay me anything, despite (in some cases) mixing/co-producing the album that got them signed. Coming from a major studio I feel I am in a worse position than the local studio guy who makes 3-$500.00 a day tracking local bands.

Perhaps I devalued myself by working free, but I don’t think these bands would be willing to pay me either way, despite knowing the proven value I bring to the table.
I do see them all paying for “name” people to work on their current projects.

I am at a loss…
IMO, working for free is not going to help your career, but in fact will wreck it. Long term.

You must put VALUE on your abilities and your skills and work your butt off to make sure that others notice both. That's where the value in hiring you lies. Everybody knows a dozen or more "wanna be a recording engineer / studio" types, and can get free time any time they want. The only way to fight that is to be BETTER and provide a service / skill set that makes them come and PAY you rather than use their freebie alternatives. What is that intangible "it" that makes them come? I don't know. It's different for everyone, and must be discovered by each individual. Could be location, coffee, vibe, proximity to resturaunts or ??? Good luck.
Old 4th September 2012
  #28
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by logicll View Post
I am trying to attract a manager,
I'll save you a lot of grief right out of the gate. A manager will not help you unless you don't NEED a manager. They are not going to get you gigs. They will send them to their higher paid / more well known clients who will in turn make more $$$ for the manager.

You need a manager when you are too busy to manage the business affairs of your career - NOT when you are looking for work.

PS - you said "apartment". If you can get into a house, and set up some rooms for recording - even if it's not that great of a neighborhood - I think your stock will rise. Apartments are not serious places for recording.
Old 4th September 2012
  #29
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nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Why? Because I stand up for the rights of artists? Because I urge people to avoid making the same mistakes I did?
Because you're a tiresome know-it-all. Seriously, back off a bit.
Old 6th September 2012
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by logicll View Post
I can’t seem to figure out how to build worth and would appreciate some insight to this.

As a staff engineer with a bit of a track record, working in a now (all but closed) major studio I had the opportunity to work with many bands on the path to success.

Working under a very famous producer, bands would drop 10-50k on projects I would often co-produce, mix. I know the bands did not come to work with me and would sometimes leave my name out of the credits, but I hoped that my quality of work, enthusiasm for their project and professional demeanor would make a positive impression.

I stayed in contact with several of these bands and after the studio took a downturn and shut its doors I contacted several of these bands. I ended up doing several free remixes, working out 50/50 backend deals or mixing for $5 an hour. Now some of these bands are getting signed and getting ready to make their next album.

None of these bands are willing to pay me anything, despite (in some cases) mixing/co-producing the album that got them signed. Coming from a major studio I feel I am in a worse position than the local studio guy who makes 3-$500.00 a day tracking local bands.

Perhaps I devalued myself by working free, but I don’t think these bands would be willing to pay me either way, despite knowing the proven value I bring to the table.
I do see them all paying for “name” people to work on their current projects.

I am at a loss…
I've been screwed over more ways than I can count. Finally I realized that if someone wants me to work for free then they don't want to work with me.

Respect, acknowledgement and "credit" comes when you start demanding money. When you do it for free or for $5 an hour, you are setting yourself up for failure. Here's a story that happened to me for you...

A well known band signed to a major label blew all their recording budget on some big name recording engineer who has a drug problem and screwed them over and never finished the album. So, my friend recommends me to them as a mixing engineer. They tell me, we still have some money left, but it's not huge. But we are testing out a couple of other guys, would you mind doing one song on spec and if we like what you do, we'll hire you to do the album.

I agree... I mix the one song. This song was A COMPLETE MESS. The rough mix they sent me was horrible. I think they gave it to me because they didn't think it would be a hit at all and they wanted to write me off. So I spent 10 hrs sorting through the thing and mixing it. I had to shut off a bunch of mics on the drums (there were over 30 and none of them were phase aligned to any others AT ALL) and nudge stuff on top of beat detectiving the drums. The band is a trio and they had 10 tracks of bass and 5 tracks of guitar. Sorting through it I came up with a unique way of mixing it that wouldn't be obvious to anyone who doesn't sit with the song for a couple days (I had to use the bass guitar almost as rhy gtr and the guitars as spacy effects on top). I tuned all the vocals and did ****loads of automation with tons of effects turning off and on... I really turned the song around.

so they posted three songs up to their myspace and facebook pages as "pre-releases" and were asking for comments. Within the first month my mix of the song I did got 50,000 plays, all the others only got 10k~20k. All the comments were about how my mix sounded like awesome, the other songs just sounded like demos, etc...

I was psyched, I was expecting to get the gig... But did I, nope. They went to another well known engineer, gave that person MY MIX and asked that person to recreate it!!! Which the mixer did a pretty good job recreating my mix. the only way I could tell it wasn't mine was that I automated a delay to turn on for the last word of each line in the verse whereas the other mixer was too lazy and left the delay on the whole time and just rode the level up and down a little. That was it. It took me 10 minutes comparing to realize it wasn't my mix. So I called the guy in the band that was my contact. He had the balls to thank me for figuring out "their new sound" for them but the label wanted a bigger name mixer attached to the project, so they gave my mix to the mixer and asked the mixer to try to make the whole album sound that way!!! He said it like it was no big deal and couldn't understand why I was pissed. He then hit me up for work asking if I could help him get into scoring for TV/Film!!!! The nerve!!!

So yes you are right, the band that got signed is not going to use you. They most likely have no say in the matter. It's the producer and A&R rep's choice who works on the album. So if you want actual paying gigs, forget going after indie bands and focus on producers and A&R reps. How can you find them or get in contact with them? Get out there and meet them and make friends!!! Once you make enough friends you'll either befriend some of them yourself or you'll befriend someone that is friends with them.
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