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Best PLace to live to make it as a producer Modular Synthesizers
Old 17th August 2008
  #61
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ryst's Avatar
 

Yep. ATL. As much as I want to move to New York and/or LA, I can say that if it wasn't for Atlanta, I wouldn't be where I am today. I might end up staying here anyway. I will be on tour a lot (hopefully) next year so I don't mind keep ATL my home base for a while. If you are doing hip hop, I can't think of anywhere else to be.
Old 18th August 2008
  #62
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Docmattic View Post
wow, thats not great ey. i never thought it would be a huge sallary, but 20 grand proffit for the big guns, how the hell do you live off that! i earn 36k a year just out of school, and thats hard enough to make last.
who's misunderstanding that the "big guns" make $20K a year profit. I'm not trying to compare how much i make to how much an entry level dude with zero credits and probably very little experience can hope to make. ya'll need to read these posts a little more carefully.
Old 18th August 2008
  #63
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonymission View Post
This whole "omg the industry is dying, ken lewis is going to be homeless tomorrow" bull**** rhetoric is spewed by old timers, relying on old things and treating people the "old way". it might not be the same as it ever was before, but really, it's now not just about "who has the equipment" ... it's "who has it and who do i like and how good is their work" ... if you cant keep ya game up in those areas, no wonder you're fukkin up.
I really hope that wasnt directed at me, but it certainly reads like it is, and if so, WTF???????

who here said i was gonna be homeless or even for a moment gave that implication? Who said anything about "old timers" (16 years making major label records i think qualifies me as an old timer at 38 yrs old) treating people "the old way"?? Its always always been about who has it and who doesnt. 16 years ago and today. I still grind like i'm starving.

I agree with most of what you said Tony but WTF? why are you tryna drag me thru the mud? Has anything i've said in this thread been off the mark? Did you clear $20K a year in your first year? second? Not you and your partner.... but you. if you did you are one of the very few. Nobody said any of this was impossible, but there's no sense in sugar coating the realities of the current state of the business. And did i ever say ever that it would happen without a serious grind? WTF?

I got a call from someone last week asking me how they can make it as a producer. I asked them "well, where do you see yourself in 2 years. How much do you think you'll be making." he said "$2,000", i said "$2,000 a year?" he said "No, a week". thats someone thinking they can make $104,000 after 24 months in the industry starting from no experience. and thats a common belief. Sure its possible. and i might also win the lottery next week too. It'll happen to someone, but then someone else will also hit the lottery.
Old 18th August 2008
  #64
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
I say go to atlanta or miami. NYC and LA is less friendly and you need to pay more dues to move around. The south has a different mentality from the ground up and they value friendliness more so then west or east coast. I think the south vibe translates into business and people are just cooler and more likely to help you out. Thats been my experience. Everytime i go to miami i always think to myself that i could clean up down there, because people seem to handle their business better and value their relationships. Up here in NYC people are way quicker to pull a fast one on you in fact i always assume everyone one is going to do just that.

The big gun tracking engineer can make 6 figures. If you have one megastar client that you can get into the studio 40-50 days a year you can fill in the rest and break 6 figures as long as you aren't lazy or to good for certain kinds of work.


The 20k mark ken refereed to is very real and without a reputation its hard to get beyond $100 per day until you build your reputation to the point that everyone kind of knows you. That takes about 4 years of impeccable work and some luck. I made 5.15 an hour the first 2 years and I had to do it if I wanted to move into the majors. I could have made more with an LE rig and a laptop but I wouldn't have gained credibility and relationships with the right people. Telling a major label A&R, manager, etc... that you have been recording John Doe and joe schmoe is not going to give them confidence in you. I know this from experience as many of the guys around me during the first 2 years chose to drop out of the race to make 10per hour engineering in living rooms for craigslists clients. Its been 8 years since those 5.15 days and I know where I am and I know where they still are. Pay your dues wherever you go and think longterm. You may pop off and get lucky every now and then, but time is the only way to create deep rooted success.
Old 18th August 2008
  #65
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonymission View Post
damn that's way cooler than nigerians with mossbergs!!



i want one so bad!! how much them things cost? you gotta have a zoo license or somethin? lol
I dont think he had a license per se..unless he used one from a Waves plug(smile)
Old 18th August 2008
  #66
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Irizarry View Post
Thailand is mad cheaper than NYC, baby. I don't eat imported food so that cuts down 30-40 percent of unnecessary expenses. Once in awhile I will eat out in KFC or Burger King (I'm not a Mickey D's type of cat unless there's nothing else to scarf down) and KFC here blows KFC America out of the water, but the local/street food is only 85 cents U.S. A PLATE: two servings of rice with spicy curry chicken and/or squash and/or veggies out the ass and/or boneless spicy fish AND depending on which street vendor, there are over 50 cuisines to choose from. Hmmm mmmm it can rival and even surpass some NYC street food; all jokes aside.
7 Eleven bottled waters are literally 21-26 cents US for a LITER OF IT!. Food is mad cheap here, and healthy to boot.

The rent is only 400-800 US for a one-two bedroom newly renovated or spankin brand new - especially outside of Bangkok (surburbs and in the northern part of the country).

Transportation is 30 US dollars one way from Bangkok to southern Thailand on the train and it takes 12 hours one way. Local transportation on the bus, is only 33 cents one way all over Bangkok and they drive like maniacs with precision. I love that type of ****.



They don't pay a lot in Thailand, so that's why I get my grind on online.
****..Im ready to "Thai One On!!!
Old 18th August 2008
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
Did you clear $20K a year in your first year?
if you are a hard worker, you can make more than $20K/year washing dishes at a restaurant.

do the math: what's more realistic? starting as a dishwasher and running a decent restaurant five years later OR starting as a newbie in a studio and five years later making the restaurant guy's money?

or as the saying goes: to make a million in this business, start by spending two.
Old 18th August 2008
  #68
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ryst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
I really hope that wasnt directed at me, but it certainly reads like it is, and if so, WTF???????

who here said i was gonna be homeless or even for a moment gave that implication? Who said anything about "old timers" (16 years making major label records i think qualifies me as an old timer at 38 yrs old) treating people "the old way"?? Its always always been about who has it and who doesnt. 16 years ago and today. I still grind like i'm starving.

I agree with most of what you said Tony but WTF? why are you tryna drag me thru the mud? Has anything i've said in this thread been off the mark? Did you clear $20K a year in your first year? second? Not you and your partner.... but you. if you did you are one of the very few. Nobody said any of this was impossible, but there's no sense in sugar coating the realities of the current state of the business. And did i ever say ever that it would happen without a serious grind? WTF?
Ken,

I don't know Tony that well but I didn't think he meant what you thought he might have meant. I think he was using you as an example of someone who is successful...and people who would rather complain are saying that people who are successful (like you) will be starving soon because no one is making money in this industry (the sky is falling).

I could be wrong but that's what I got out of it.

As far as money, in my first year I made at least $20k. But I didn't profit $20k. Most of my money I made went into bills and rent. Now if could invest $20k a year....well....that's a whole other topic.heh

I pay over $1000 a month in rent here in Midtown so even in my first year I was trying to make just as much as I did when i used to have a real job just so I wouldn't have to move out of the city. I hate the suburbs. I think that motivated me just as much as wanting to be successful.heh By year 2, i was already making more money than i used to at a real job.

But one thing that isn't talked about much when you are doing this for a living is the first few years of being on a financial and workload roller coaster. It's very hard to be patient and get used to that idea when you come from a place that includes a guaranteed weekly paycheck. I lost count how many times I would be stressed out because my phone would stop ringing and then I would start looking for a part time job. Then just as soon as I thought it was time to email some resumes.....I got slammed again....then back to no calls....then slammed again.....It never fails. Every time I tell my wife that I am not going to eat for the next month, the next day, my schedule is full and I get to take her out to dinner when I have a day off.heh

Luckily for me, I do a bunch of things that keep the income coming while I work on my major goals/projects. Besides recording and mixing, I am also a session musician, producer, sound designer and soon to be film maker. So I think it helps, at least in the beginning, to be able to provide multiple things to your clients.
Old 18th August 2008
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igotsoul4u View Post
The big gun tracking engineer can make 6 figures. If you have one megastar client that you can get into the studio 40-50 days a year you can fill in the rest and break 6 figures as long as you aren't lazy or to good for certain kinds of work.

Not calling you out, but is this really possible for a 'tracking' engineer that doesnt mix??? Mixing engineer i could see, as they can charge up to a few thousand per mix, but typically isnt the tracking guy paid per day?? So if big time client gives you 500 bucks for 50 days, thats 25 grand... where is the other 75 grand coming from?... Working EVRY SINGLE DAY at 250 bucks a day??

I've always seen places that have the 'Mixing guy' that charges alot and the tracking guy is the 'other guy' aspiring to do mixes, i just couldnt imagine that guy making six figures in any scenerio! But, maybe its possible..

Anyway, i think there will be less and less need for tracking guys just cause tracking can be done by the producer in most cases, as getting a decent sound is sufficiant enough for that stage of the record... Talented mix guys will always be needed, but due to technology, big studio's and technical engineers will continue to suffer i think. I think the guys that just want to be AROUND music and arent necessarily super musical should get into the business/networking side of things rather then the technical side, as there will be more people with sellable records available to exploit as time goes on.

Atlanta does sound good though !!
Old 18th August 2008
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryst View Post
Ken,

I don't know Tony that well but I didn't think he meant what you thought he might have meant. I think he was using you as an example of someone who is successful...and people who would rather complain are saying that people who are successful (like you) will be starving soon because no one is making money in this industry (the sky is falling).

I could be wrong but that's what I got out of it.

As far as money, in my first year I made at least $20k. But I didn't profit $20k. Most of my money I made went into bills and rent. Now if could invest $20k a year....well....that's a whole other topic.heh

I pay over $1000 a month in rent here in Midtown so even in my first year I was trying to make just as much as I did when i used to have a real job just so I wouldn't have to move out of the city. I hate the suburbs. I think that motivated me just as much as wanting to be successful.heh By year 2, i was already making more money than i used to at a real job.

But one thing that isn't talked about much when you are doing this for a living is the first few years of being on a financial and workload roller coaster. It's very hard to be patient and get used to that idea when you come from a place that includes a guaranteed weekly paycheck. I lost count how many times I would be stressed out because my phone would stop ringing and then I would start looking for a part time job. Then just as soon as I thought it was time to email some resumes.....I got slammed again....then back to no calls....then slammed again.....It never fails. Every time I tell my wife that I am not going to eat for the next month, the next day, my schedule is full and I get to take her out to dinner when I have a day off.heh

Luckily for me, I do a bunch of things that keep the income coming while I work on my major goals/projects. Besides recording and mixing, I am also a session musician, producer, sound designer and soon to be film maker. So I think it helps, at least in the beginning, to be able to provide multiple things to your clients.

I got the same vibe Ken. I don't think he was trying to drag you through the mudd, it's just alot of bantering about the game is dead etc etc and alot of pessimism. Alot of time is spent here dissing ppl making moves, instead of being productive. For example, alot of dissing the the Dre Headphones thread. Dude got an endorsement deal. Let him shine. I don't read sports forums, but to me it would be the equivalent of aspiring athletes hating of LeBron, Jordan, and Kobe for having their own shoes. I just don't get all the hate. Even you yourself, Ken, felt the need to defend yourself and your work in a thread a while back. It's no wonder more heavyweights don't participate here. But at least I'll know when I'm successful. I can just come here and read pages of threads blabbing about hate. I know if I see that, then I made some kind of impact.


@ryst's lower comment

Not that my expences are high, but on a independent scale I agree whole heartedly with what you said. I am a media production student, basically meaning I have the basics of directing or producing a newscast, running and routing the audio, running a tape room (my school needs to move to servers), post production editting using FCP, Avid, or Premiere Pro. Artwork using Photoshop and After Effect. The best way to survive starting out is in the services you can offer. I'm not a design artist, but I network with everybody and can get a photographer and a photoshop designer for a client, I could even get lighting and a green screen. Less work for them, more money coming my way. I also make the heat pressed shirts since high school (the RIP shirts, family reunion, and those other funny shirts you see at the bazzars and flea markets). The more you can offer in the beginning the more ways you can sell yourself to clients. The things I don't really have interest in or feel others can do well is what I leave to others. I have potnas that couldn't get out. I'm always looking at a way to bring them along. I have them printing up shirts, learning how to use programs, I teach them how to talk and negotiate (the more than talking to someone in your hood). What you said was definately on point. All the eggs don't go in one basket! That's fa sho!
Old 18th August 2008
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filterayok View Post
I've always seen places that have the 'Mixing guy' that charges alot and the tracking guy is the 'other guy' aspiring to do mixes, i just couldnt imagine that guy making six figures in any scenerio! But, maybe its possible..

Atlanta does sound good though !!
Man in tha ATL $250 a day is a rock bottom price for a new, no credits Engineer tracking a major label project. There are a fair amount of "Tracking Engineers" running around this neck of the woods making substantially more than that and they work everyday. Again the top shelf tracking engineers around here are clearing six figures. If you are the lead assistant at one of the big rooms around town you can reasonably expect to bring in between 40 and 50k per year before taxes but finding one of those jobs is like finding a needle in the hay stack.
Old 18th August 2008
  #72
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ryst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EKG Productions View Post
Man in tha ATL $250 a day is a rock bottom price for a new, no credits Engineer tracking a major label project. There are a fair amount of "Tracking Engineers" running around this neck of the woods making substantially more than that and they work everyday. Again the top shelf tracking engineers around here are clearing six figures. If you are the lead assistant at one of the big rooms around town you can reasonably expect to bring in between 40 and 50k per year before taxes but finding one of those jobs is like finding a needle in the hay stack.
I can vouch for this statement. thumbsup
Old 18th August 2008
  #73
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tonymission's Avatar
 

Ken -- Ryst was right, I hold you in the highest esteem. I was referring to a lot of the vibe I see (here) in the main forum (not this one so much) that are meant to discourage young people in our field from continuing their goals to "get there".

I'm saying the whole "even the experienced guys are begging for change" kind of vibe I read elsewhere is a bunch of bull****. Granted, I'm exaggerating but I wanted to get my point across (didnt do so well, did I? heh) That there's money to be made and if you bust your ass, keep your network on and change with the times -- you won't have a problem eating in the industry.

And yes, I was using you as an example of someone successful ... I cant tell ya how many times Ive read threads where people are bringing up some exception-to-the-rule story of someone with great talent who had to close his studio because "music is dead" and that **** just makes me roll my eyes. Everything happens for a reason, I believe, and if you want to look for an excuse, you can find one. But if you want to look for some legitimate, preventable reasons ... I bet you can find those too.

No offense, at all, intended ...

As for your personal questions about my finances, I'll refrain from making them public. If you really need to know, then send me a PM and Ill be happy to go over that. It's not a "WOW" story, though ...
Old 18th August 2008
  #74
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonymission View Post
Ken -- Ryst was right, I hold you in the highest esteem. I was referring to a lot of the vibe I see (here) in the main forum (not this one so much) that are meant to discourage young people in our field from continuing their goals to "get there".

I'm saying the whole "even the experienced guys are begging for change" kind of vibe I read elsewhere is a bunch of bull****. Granted, I'm exaggerating but I wanted to get my point across (didnt do so well, did I? heh) That there's money to be made and if you bust your ass, keep your network on and change with the times -- you won't have a problem eating in the industry.

And yes, I was using you as an example of someone successful ... I cant tell ya how many times Ive read threads where people are bringing up some exception-to-the-rule story of someone with great talent who had to close his studio because "music is dead" and that **** just makes me roll my eyes. Everything happens for a reason, I believe, and if you want to look for an excuse, you can find one. But if you want to look for some legitimate, preventable reasons ... I bet you can find those too.

No offense, at all, intended ...
It's all good brother. was scratchin my head at that, thanks for clearing up your thoughts. I think you've got exactly the right attitude towards this industry and its not surprising your finding success. Seems like alot of ATL cats have their head screwed on straight.

So the culmination of this thread comes down to SkiRoy. Hey Skiroy, are you moving to the ATL and ready to grind 80 hours a week and starve for a quick minute or have you come to the realization that maybe this business isnt what you want? Its all on you man, are you gonna take the red pill or the blue pill? Are you Neo or Hellno? Either way you go man, i wish you luck. -Ken

PS. I seem to be back on the front page of PMP again, anybody who's bored, go read my interview. it'll put you right to sleep
Old 18th August 2008
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filterayok View Post

I've always seen places that have the 'Mixing guy' that charges alot and the tracking guy is the 'other guy' aspiring to do mixes, i just couldnt imagine that guy making six figures in any scenerio! But, maybe its possible..

Anyway, i think there will be less and less need for tracking guys just cause tracking can be done by the producer in most cases, as getting a decent sound is sufficiant enough for that stage of the record... Talented mix guys will always be needed, but due to technology, big studio's and technical engineers will continue to suffer i think.
The only problem with that senario is in order to become a "talented mix engineer" one must first become a "talented tracking engineer". Its next to impossible to become the former without being the latter first. Just as most first rate tracking engineers were at one time first rate assistant engineers. Everyone in the industry wants to see those all mighty credits. If you have no credits as a tracking engineer who's gonna give those first shots at mixing projects. Nobody I know because you aren't proven. Also audio engineering happens in stages for a reason. Interning, Assisting, Tracking, and Mixing all prepare one for the next. Sure I've seen people skip levels but it often comes with a price. There is something to be learned at each stop that is critical in ones development of a career as an audio engineer.
Old 18th August 2008
  #76
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by filterayok View Post
Not calling you out, but is this really possible for a 'tracking' engineer that doesnt mix??? Mixing engineer i could see, as they can charge up to a few thousand per mix, but typically isnt the tracking guy paid per day?? So if big time client gives you 500 bucks for 50 days, thats 25 grand... where is the other 75 grand coming from?... Working EVRY SINGLE DAY at 250 bucks a day??

I've always seen places that have the 'Mixing guy' that charges alot and the tracking guy is the 'other guy' aspiring to do mixes, i just couldnt imagine that guy making six figures in any scenerio! But, maybe its possible..

Atlanta does sound good though !!
I was working off a slightly different model and left out some details. This is based off a $1000 per day rate with the major which can actually be higher in some cases. I consider $500 to be more of a new artist/indy day rate. I didn't mean to imply that there was no mixing going on, just not many or any label mixes. Definitely would include mixes for unsigned artists and whatever comes along which can range from $200-$1000 for a funded indy situation. Also vocal tuning and whatever other skills a given engineer has should be factored in. It can be done. If you can bag 50k from your deeper pocketed clients, the rest can be done with pickup work and smaller projects. Keep in mind that its easy to find busy work if people know you are in the major label loop to some capacity. It takes a couple years in the trenches but as your credits grow, so do your paychecks unless you don't have the patience, personality, and know how, but without some major label action it will be much harder or impossible to reach six figures. My english teach would be ashamed at that last sentencehehheh
Old 18th August 2008
  #77
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Ken Lewis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EKG Productions View Post
The only problem with that senario is in order to become a "talented mix engineer" one must first become a "talented tracking engineer". Its next to impossible to become the former without being the latter first. Just as most first rate tracking engineers were at one time first rate assistant engineers. Everyone in the industry wants to see those all mighty credits. If you have no credits as a tracking engineer who's gonna give those first shots at mixing projects. Nobody I know because you aren't proven. Also audio engineering happens in stages for a reason. Interning, Assisting, Tracking, and Mixing all prepare one for the next. Sure I've seen people skip levels but it often comes with a price. There is something to be learned at each stop that is critical in ones development of a career as an audio engineer.
AMEN Times TEN!!!! So many young guys still in high school or going to engineering school ask me all the time "Ken, i wanna be a mix engineer like you, how do i get there". What i tell them is a form of the above, but i always seem to think it falls on deaf ears, like the whole time they are thinking "Nah, i can just be a mixer".

And then we have the guys like Skiroy (this is not meant offensively my friend, merely real talk) who wake up one day, realize they HATE their current job and want to pursue music. The biggest problem with that... skiroy are you paying attention.... is that once you make decent money doing something, and you know what its like to have and spend money, its REALLY hard to give that up and spend a couple years scraping by on little to nothing before you can start really earning (if your lucky and talented) a living wage in the music industry. Especially if you have a wife/family. There just arent enough jobs and enough money to go around for everyone who thinks they want it. And for good reason. Moving up the chain, you are in direct competition for gigs with guys like Ryst, Mission, EKG, Ken Lewis, SAMIAM, Filterayok, JB4Play, PSM, etc... etc... etc... and if you dont have the heart of a lion you'll get eaten by the lions. And we're all still hungry
Old 18th August 2008
  #78
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PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
AMEN Times TEN!!!! So many young guys still in high school or going to engineering school ask me all the time "Ken, i wanna be a mix engineer like you, how do i get there". What i tell them is a form of the above, but i always seem to think it falls on deaf ears, like the whole time they are thinking "Nah, i can just be a mixer".

And then we have the guys like Skiroy (this is not meant offensively my friend, merely real talk) who wake up one day, realize they HATE their current job and want to pursue music. The biggest problem with that... skiroy are you paying attention.... is that once you make decent money doing something, and you know what its like to have and spend money, its REALLY hard to give that up and spend a couple years scraping by on little to nothing before you can start really earning (if your lucky and talented) a living wage in the music industry. Especially if you have a wife/family. There just arent enough jobs and enough money to go around for everyone who thinks they want it. And for good reason. Moving up the chain, you are in direct competition for gigs with guys like Ryst, Mission, EKG, Ken Lewis, SAMIAM, Filterayok, JB4Play, PSM, etc... etc... etc... and if you dont have the heart of a lion you'll get eaten by the lions. And we're all still hungry
I would definitely agree with you on the money thing for most people, but speaking from personal experience, if you really have the drive and passsion for the music you are doing as a producer, or passion for engineering, with a strong enough will, you will make those necessary sacrifices to get where you want, and not let it bother you one bit. I went from making a very good average day living coming out of school while doing music on the side... to pursuing music fulltime and learning to econimize and pinch pennies for a while to obtain all the upcoming opportunities I am recieving just now that will hopefully put me that much higher on the food chain in this business if I don't hold anything back. It was a real struggle but i really owe it up to all the support I had around me from the small few who actually considered what I did a smart decision.

I aint the playa I use to be, but I'm doing what I love, I'm one with the universe (beverly hills ninja, lolheh), and I will get back to playa status as soon as I get myself settled enough to enjoy some leisure.
Old 18th August 2008
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EKG Productions View Post
Man in tha ATL $250 a day is a rock bottom price for a new, no credits Engineer tracking a major label project. There are a fair amount of "Tracking Engineers" running around this neck of the woods making substantially more than that and they work everyday. Again the top shelf tracking engineers around here are clearing six figures. If you are the lead assistant at one of the big rooms around town you can reasonably expect to bring in between 40 and 50k per year before taxes but finding one of those jobs is like finding a needle in the hay stack.
Dude think about that for a second.. if there are a 'fair amount of TRACKING engineers making SUBSTANTIALLY MORE the 250 a DAY and working EVERYDAY, lets just do the math... how bout 300 bucks a day time 365 days... thats 109,500 dollars... C'mon man how many tracking engineers are making CLOSE 109 THOUSAND dollars, really? A fair amount? If you named THREE GUYS that do TRACKING ONLY clearing 109,000 dollars, i'll.... i dont know, but i'll do SOMETHING !! I'd honestly be surprised at ONE name.


NO DISRESPECT!! I get your point, things are happenin in ATL, theres money to be made, but it just seems weird to me ... If you're involved in a crew thats able to pay that to their engineers, i just ask that you point out that its not common, or at least DEFINE how many 'a fair amount' is!
Old 18th August 2008
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Igotsoul4u View Post
This is based off a $1000 per day rate with the major which can actually be higher in some cases.
to a TRACKING ENGINEER!!!?? Are the major's still paying this kind of money with so many studios closing and people tracking their own sh!t? I'm just thinking of how many times they want me to do 'Spec PRODUCTIONS for FREE' and meanwhile theyre paying some guy a thousand dollars a day to track some MIDI!!
Old 18th August 2008
  #81
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Krunchie's Avatar
 

As a looong time lurker on these boards, this thread is proving quite interesting...
So ATL is the place to be.. Can I ask how many people on these boards, have just made the jump there from out of town recently, and how are they finding it? Would just be interesting to hear a few more personal accounts!
Old 18th August 2008
  #82
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goldenlotus's Avatar
 

Just to offer a different opinion... I think NYC is the place to be. Yes it's expensive as hell, but the sheer number of opportunities is unreal. I'm about to setup shop there and have a whole network of friends/musicians moving down there next month.

The larger studios closing down just makes more room for the mid sized studios like me : )
Old 18th August 2008
  #83
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by filterayok View Post
to a TRACKING ENGINEER!!!?? Are the major's still paying this kind of money with so many studios closing and people tracking their own sh!t? I'm just thinking of how many times they want me to do 'Spec PRODUCTIONS for FREE' and meanwhile theyre paying some guy a thousand dollars a day to track some MIDI!!
But..most of the "producers" tracking their own **** really suck at it.
Thats why pro tracking engineers are needed.
You get what you pay for.
Old 18th August 2008
  #84
To those folks looking for real-world income numbers (here I go baring my soul for all to see...):

I've been a full-time professional engineer now for about four years. Prior to that, I worked for a couple years as everything from an unpaid runner, an occasionally paid assistant, and then a second engineer. When I landed my first head engineer gig (which I was EXTREMELY fortunate to get, as I was JUST outta college), I made almost exactly $20k. In fact, if I recall correctly, I made $19,600 of DECLARED income (probably made a couple extra thousand in under-the-table work), but I wasn't hip to the tax game yet and ended up owing $600. I worked there a couple years and made the same income every year.

When I quit that gig, it was the middle of the year, and I worked freelance for a few months, which were during a slow season for me, so that year I made LESS than $20k (luckily I've got low standards of livingheh).

By the way, I should mention I worked practically round-the-clock; some days I'd have a two hour session at 10am, and not another session till 6pm, but I'd stay at the studio confirming bookings, cleaning up, answering calls, etc etc.

Anyway, for the last year or so I've been at another (nicer!!) studio as house engineer. Again, I work ridiculous hours; I book by the day (which is anywhere from 8 to 15 hours) or half-day (5 - 6 hours). Half-day rate is $100, and my day rate is $150, with a planned increase of $50/day starting next year. This is standard of almost every engineer I'm friends with in town working in comparable situations. The hot-shot guys that I know of charge between $300-500/day, but many hold second jobs as audio teachers in local colleges, etc and book fewer days.

I have several major label and highly-respected indie label credits as engineer, mixer, and even producer, but I'm still probably only going to make about $30k this year, if business keeps steady through the end of the year (fingers crossed...).

So there ya have it. That's what I make, and I work my friggin' ass off. The moral of the story is if you don't absolutely LOVE AND NEED to do this as a living, DON'T!! You'll work as many unpaid hours as you work paid hours, and those paid hours won't add up to very much dough. At least here in Boston. I'm sure it's different in every city (I oughta get my ass over to ATL before that scene dries up), but Boston is a pretty good music city with a thriving local scene, better than most actually, so I figure it's a pretty good indicator of what a rookie engineer can expect.
Old 18th August 2008
  #85
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themaidsroom's Avatar
 

1977
Old 18th August 2008
  #86
Lives for gear
 
d1rtynyc's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor View Post
The Far East.

By the far east i mean Taiwan and China. There is a big underground hiphop/R&b/rock & roll movement that's popping off. China's economy is ever growing and there is a billion people there. In Taiwan there are Hiphop/R&b clubs popping up all over. I've mixed a couple of projects from over there done by producers here. It really is an untapped resource. Been learning a little Mandarin to be able to communicate better. Next year i am planning a trip over there to meet with record labels and people with money that want to invest in music.

Its the future and whoever jumps on it first and does it right will make the real dough before all of the wannabees jump in.

When the doors come down in China watchout!!!
A friend moved to Thailand for that very reason & he has NO CHOPS.
He is making money recording hip hop artists and producing their music.
Plus it is crazy beautiful there and the ladies are nice.
Old 18th August 2008
  #87
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by d1rtynyc View Post
Plus it is crazy beautiful there and the ladies are nice.
besides the occasional typhoon or tsunami and all the women looking exactly the same. heh
Old 18th August 2008
  #88
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by filterayok View Post
Dude think about that for a second.. if there are a 'fair amount of TRACKING engineers making SUBSTANTIALLY MORE the 250 a DAY and working EVERYDAY, lets just do the math... how bout 300 bucks a day time 365 days... thats 109,500 dollars... C'mon man how many tracking engineers are making CLOSE 109 THOUSAND dollars, really? A fair amount? If you named THREE GUYS that do TRACKING ONLY clearing 109,000 dollars, i'll.... i dont know, but i'll do SOMETHING !! I'd honestly be surprised at ONE name.


NO DISRESPECT!! I get your point, things are happenin in ATL, theres money to be made, but it just seems weird to me ... If you're involved in a crew thats able to pay that to their engineers, i just ask that you point out that its not common, or at least DEFINE how many 'a fair amount' is!
I am not in a position to name names but keep in mind I'm speaking about situations where engineers are tracking top shelf projects. I've already said too much and I'm sure I will be getting some phone calls and emails asking why I'm being so generous with personal finance information but as I have said many times before ATL is on fire. Studios still charge 1000-2500 for full day lockout rates and engineers get exactly as I said. None of the established studios have closed down and a new large format console facility is being finished as we speak.

300 dollars is not substantially more than $250. $500 a day for 200 to 250 days a year.

Last edited by EKG Productions; 18th August 2008 at 07:23 PM.. Reason: Quick Fix To address another point
Old 18th August 2008
  #89
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tonymission's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Lewis View Post
It's all good brother. was scratchin my head at that, thanks for clearing up your thoughts. I think you've got exactly the right attitude towards this industry and its not surprising your finding success. Seems like alot of ATL cats have their head screwed on straight.

So the culmination of this thread comes down to SkiRoy. Hey Skiroy, are you moving to the ATL and ready to grind 80 hours a week and starve for a quick minute or have you come to the realization that maybe this business isnt what you want? Its all on you man, are you gonna take the red pill or the blue pill? Are you Neo or Hellno? Either way you go man, i wish you luck. -Ken

PS. I seem to be back on the front page of PMP again, anybody who's bored, go read my interview. it'll put you right to sleep
Thanks man, I appreciate it ...

I bolded a spot and Im also noting a comment you made above about getting used to a certain standard of living and then it taking longer for you to get back to that point.

In LA, I did video game and some simple movie/tv stuff before deciding that I just didnt enjoy the music I was making and came to the conclusion that a "real job" was in the cards. So I started a marketing firm for golf courses, restraurants and other established businesses that relied entirely on foot traffic. That business blew up, to three major cities (third office was Atlanta, cost me $60k cash to move 10 people... never got it back, but i was positioning myself musically in the back of my mind), and the money was huge ... then I realized I was getting home at midnight every night, sometimes having to go to the studio with a suit/tie on ... Grand Hustle (Echo) seemed to have filled the engineering spot they were offering me, I'm not getting the call backs anymore ... I'm not available enough, I'm dropping the ball, I'm missing my opportunities.

I wont get second chances ...

I was pulling about 175k a year at that point ... Living behind East Atlanta village in a brand new $500,000 house on four lots ... huge back yard for my dog. Rooms that I didn't even have **** for ... I couldn't quit my job. I got this Audi, I got this house ... I gotta my mom to help out.

Finally my boy with this warehouse -- just so happened to share a wall with DJ Toomp -- said "yo mish, you're too talented, I cant see you stayin up til 6am every mornign and trying to get a 3 hour nap in before going to the office. i know you wanna quit your job ... stay here for free, i wont bug you about bills, get me when you can"

I had a company, everyone was getting paid, but the company itself was in serious debt ... I had employees though ... with families... mortgages.

I stared at the wall for about an hour ... called one of my managers and told him to hold down the morning for me. KNEW that I had to take the leap, knew that if I just applied this INSANE WORK ETHIC to something I actually loved, that I could do it. I had been thinking about this for a year now. My friends knew where my heart was.

Finally found someone to take it over and eat up the debt ... basically just gave the damn thing away.

That was that. I'd love to say "and the rest is history" but I'm working on writing that history right now.

heh

Good luck. I can't say what I did was a great blanket idea for everyone. But I knew where my passion was and knew that passion was strong enough to create a product that people would pay for. I was hearing it ... my family basically blackballed me initially, I lost my "girlfriend" (i knew that would happen) and went through a lot of questions... people wondering if i was insane to give up a successful business to "... do rap!?!"

I'm not gonna lie man ... there are a lot of VERY HUNGRY ****IN NIGHTS. Lookin at your dog, apologizing, saying "dont worry babe, im gonna get you some food"

Man ... it's ****in tough.

You better be a warrior if you're willing to give it all up and move. You better be willing to do whatever it takes, to be strong as hell and to be able to rebound when somethin doesnt pop that you were counting on. Cuz it will happen. A lot.

You will eat though. Good music doesnt hide. Real people don't hide. And the cat who's willing to outwork the next guy, is gonna get the gig. And Ken is right, if you think I sound a little animalistic about it all, it's cuz my homies bust their ass just as hard as I do. I know I gotta be like this ... it ain't just me. All those guys listed... Dee, Josh Mumblez etc ... Big Scott. Everyone grinds.

Make sure to answer your phone at 4am no matter what the number is.

It could just be some guy at DTP seeing if you can do some tracking RIGHT NOW for them because he got your number from another engineer and, oh, btw, do you now how to use Pro Tools? Don't be ****in around, this guy said you were good and Luda is annoyed at this point ...

They might just ask you if you got beats ...

You might just happen to have your macbook with you ...

They might just decide to rap on one of them right now.

Sometimes it's all about one random, not-in-your-phone call at 4am.

For me it was.
Old 18th August 2008
  #90
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EKG Productions View Post
I am not in a position to name names but keep in mind I'm speaking about situations where engineers are tracking top shelf projects. I've already said too much and I'm sure I will be getting some phone calls and emails asking why I'm being so generous with personal finance information but as I have said many times before ATL is on fire. Studios still charge 1000-2500 for full day lockout rates and engineers get exactly as I said. None of the established studios have closed down and a new large format console facility is being finished as we speak.

Dude i'm not doubting engineers make what you're saying in SITUATIONS... I'M saying how many engineers are able to jump from one HUGE budget situation to the next for a YEAR!?? ONe? Two?... And if you ARE Polows or timbalands personal engineer, why wouldnt he just pay you a salary instead of giving up six figures a year?? You can train someone to hook up a mic and hit record for a lot less.....Its just strange to me, for six years i've heard the SAME cliche about how terrible the pay is, how inconsistant the work is, and now theyre getting six figures?? I guess you would know better then me, but i'd still love to know HOW MANY people this applies to, just so some kid reading this doesnt think hes gonna make six figures as a tracking guy!
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