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It is getting harder to find helpers for remote recordings. Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 24th May 2018
  #181
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hughesmr's Avatar
I really don't understand why mastering is something that would only apply to local clients. Why not try advertising your mastering services in those areas (even internationally) you just cited where there is "too much work"? The internet can be a wonderful thing.
Old 24th May 2018
  #182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Amazing how technology changes things.
It's not just the technology, its how we use it that really matters.
Old 24th May 2018
  #183
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughesmr View Post
I really don't understand why mastering is something that would only apply to local clients. Why not try advertising your mastering services in those areas (even internationally) you just cited where there is "too much work"? The internet can be a wonderful thing.
I do advertise.

As I stated earlier there are about 500 studios who offer "mastering" within a 100 mile radius of my studio and on the WWW there are literally thousands of places that offer mastering and some offer it for free or for $5 a song. I cannot compete with that. There are probably, today, 25 times more people offering mastering than people who need their services. (It is becoming a DIY thing to do). It is a no win situation. Every week I get calls to do mastering for $5.00 a song "cause that is what everyone is charging" When I try and explain that you get what you pay for it falls on deaf ears. Then they say ..."OK so I will just call someone else who will do it for what I want to pay". GREAT! If you don't want to pay someone there are sites that will have their AI engine do it for free. There use to be a guy in town who was using his college dorm room to do mastering and charging $65.00 an hour. Not sure how many taker he had but...

If you have not looked into mastering lately it is a very very very over crowded profession. Even more so than remote recording. Everyone with some cracked software and plugins is doing MASTERING even if they have no clue as to what they are doing. Since there is no way to "JUDGE" how good someone is (except for a bunch of CDs on their website) people go where it is the cheapest ("cause all mastering is the same")

FWIW
Old 24th May 2018
  #184
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I do advertise.

As I stated earlier there are about 500 studios who offer "mastering" within a 100 mile radius of my studio and on the WWW there are literally thousands of places that offer mastering and some offer it for free or for $5 a song. I cannot compete with that. There are probably, today, 25 times more people offering mastering than people who need their services. (It is becoming a DIY thing to do). It is a no win situation. Every week I get calls to do mastering for $5.00 a song "cause that is what everyone is charging" When I try and explain that you get what you pay for it falls on deaf ears. Then they say ..."OK so I will just call someone else who will do it for what I want to pay". GREAT! If you don't want to pay someone there are sites that will have their AI engine do it for free. There use to be a guy in town who was using his college dorm room to do mastering and charging $65.00 an hour. Not sure how many taker he had but...

If you have not looked into mastering lately it is a very very very over crowded profession. Even more so than remote recording. Everyone with some cracked software and plugins is doing MASTERING even if they have no clue as to what they are doing. Since there is no way to "JUDGE" how good someone is (except for a bunch of CDs on their website) people go where it is the cheapest ("cause all mastering is the same")

FWIW
You can ABSOLUTELY compete with the free/$5 per song guys. If price was all that mattered they'd have all the business. And they don't. You need to describe your service, what you charge, and (most importantly), what your value proposition is - years of experience, proven product quality, personal service, etc.
Old 24th May 2018
  #185
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Earcatcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Since there is no way to "JUDGE" how good someone is (except for a bunch of CDs on their website) people go where it is the cheapest ("cause all mastering is the same")
Maybe it is about time you do something about this, in your case. I have no idea, based on your website, why I should pay you a serious sum to have my precious tracks mastered by you. To me it seems you prefer to complain and whine instead of doing something about your situation. It's been like that for many years now, as we have all been witnessing on this website, and you still wonder why your business is in decline? Get out of your comfort zone and start doing something you haven't tried before! It is becoming annoying (at least for me) to see you work as hard as you can to object against any idea that might change your situation for the better. Be creative and if you can't, retire. Please.
Old 25th May 2018
  #186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earcatcher View Post
Maybe it is about time you do something about this, in your case. I have no idea, based on your website, why I should pay you a serious sum to have my precious tracks mastered by you. To me it seems you prefer to complain and whine instead of doing something about your situation. It's been like that for many years now, as we have all been witnessing on this website, and you still wonder why your business is in decline? Get out of your comfort zone and start doing something you haven't tried before! It is becoming annoying (at least for me) to see you work as hard as you can to object against any idea that might change your situation for the better. Be creative and if you can't, retire. Please.
I have no idea of who you are or what you do. If you cannot be upfront about your studio or your occupation or where exactly you are from why should I pay any attention to you? You maybe some 16 year old kid in his bedroom. FWIW

Sorry to annoy you. You probably cannot understand what some people like myself and who are not in Europe, are going through at the present time. It is NOT the same here in the US of A as it is in Europe. Europeans seem to think that the world is the all the same but it is not. I seriously doubt you have 500 recording studios, all offering mastering, within 100 miles of your home.

Put me on your ignore list.
Old 25th May 2018
  #187
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i didn't get one of the first jobs i wanted. A few years later, i interviewed with the same guy again. One thing he said continues in mind. He said he had to reinvent himself multiple times over his career. He has been quite successful.

i think there is a relevant question only you can answer for yourself and that is whether you have the fire in your belly to make it work.
Old 25th May 2018
  #188
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I have no idea of who you are or what you do. If you cannot be upfront about your studio or your occupation or where exactly you are from why should I pay any attention to you? You maybe some 16 year old kid in his bedroom. FWIW

Sorry to annoy you. You probably cannot understand what some people like myself and who are not in Europe, are going through at the present time. It is NOT the same here in the US of A as it is in Europe. Europeans seem to think that the world is the all the same but it is not. I seriously doubt you have 500 recording studios, all offering mastering, within 100 miles of your home.

Put me on your ignore list.
Here's one for you Tom. Yes, it's out of your comfort zone, but you're a big boy now...and once you're in this new zone, you'll be very comfortable indeed...that's a promise. You won't miss the old zone.....all the assistants you'll require are already at your disposal, employed by the same organization as yourself..... here's your next career, on a plate, mate:

ABC Careers - Job Details - Sound Engineer Classic FM
I reckon it's a pretty good match for your skillset....

What's the best mic for interviewing a camel on a beach with ?

Last edited by studer58; 25th May 2018 at 08:02 AM..
Old 25th May 2018
  #189
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
i didn't get one of the first jobs i wanted. A few years later, i interviewed with the same guy again. One thing he said continues in mind. He said he had to reinvent himself multiple times over his career. He has been quite successful.

i think there is a relevant question only you can answer for yourself and that is whether you have the fire in your belly to make it work.
Thanks! I have reinvented my self numerous times. I guess my reincarnation progression is reaching its end. To quote the Bible "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak". I still have the mindset to reinvent myself one more time but physically it may not be possible. Thanks for the nice reply!
Old 25th May 2018
  #190
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Here's one for you Tom. Yes, it's out of your comfort zone, but you're a big boy now...and once you're in this new zone, you'll be very comfortable indeed...that's a promise. You won't miss the old zone.....all the assistants you'll require are already at your disposal, employed by the same organization as yourself..... here's your next career, on a plate, mate:

ABC Careers - Job Details - Sound Engineer Classic FM
I reckon it's a pretty good match for your skillset....

What's the best mic for interviewing a camel on a beach with ?
If I was 20 years younger I would be on my way to "the land down under" in a heartbeat. That job posting looks like it was written for me. Thanks for the kind thoughts!!!
Old 25th May 2018
  #191
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
If I was 20 years younger I would be on my way to "the land down under" in a heartbeat. That job posting looks like it was written for me. Thanks for the kind thoughts!!!
Well, you know I didn't see any (illegal anyway) age limit in the Position Description...and if Oberlin is a one horse town, then Sydney is a 5.37 million (2017 figure) kangaroo town...you wouldn't get lonesome ! Probably far enough away from next years' ICBM strikes too.....and let's not forget the $73k- 78k salary ?

Here's Randy Newman on Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqBrw3rQvKo

Last edited by studer58; 25th May 2018 at 01:55 PM..
Old 25th May 2018
  #192
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Well, you know I didn't see any (illegal anyway) age limit in the Position Description...and if Oberlin is a one horse town, then Sydney is a 5.37 million (2017 figure) kangaroo town...you wouldn't get lonesome ! Probably far enough away from next years' ICBM strikes too.....and let's not forget the $73k- 78k salary ?

Here's Randy Newman on Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqBrw3rQvKo
I don't want to go into this here but for various reasons I could not pull up stakes in the US and move to Australia at the present time, even if I could qualify for the position, but thanks again for the information. Be safe!
Old 25th May 2018
  #193
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
If you have not looked into mastering lately it is a very very very over crowded profession. Even more so than remote recording. Everyone with some cracked software and plugins is doing MASTERING even if they have no clue as to what they are doing. Since there is no way to "JUDGE" how good someone is (except for a bunch of CDs on their website) people go where it is the cheapest ("cause all mastering is the same")

FWIW

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
You can ABSOLUTELY compete with the free/$5 per song guys. If price was all that mattered they'd have all the business. And they don't. You need to describe your service, what you charge, and (most importantly), what your value proposition is - years of experience, proven product quality, personal service, etc.

I'm afraid that assumes a somewhat educated client base.

Most people who are calling around for mastering are self-producing musicians/ small time "managers/promoters"

The average Idea of a "good" master at that level is often "louder and with more bass."
Old 25th May 2018
  #194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
You can ABSOLUTELY compete with the free/$5 per song guys. If price was all that mattered they'd have all the business. And they don't. You need to describe your service, what you charge, and (most importantly), what your value proposition is - years of experience, proven product quality, personal service, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
I'm afraid that assumes a somewhat educated client base.

Most people who are calling around for mastering are self-producing musicians/ small time "managers/promoters"

The average Idea of a "good" master at that level is often "louder and with more bass."
Where did you get that statical information from...most of those people are not calling around, they're doing it themselves because they know it's 'easy' to do and they don't want to spend money. There's also this very important bit: "If price was all that mattered they'd have all the business."
Old 25th May 2018
  #195
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Thanks again for all the helpful information. Have a GREAT Memorial Day weekend if you live in the US and if not have a GREAT weekend as well where ever you live. Be safe!
Old 26th May 2018
  #196
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Where did you get that statistical information from...most of those people are not calling around, they're doing it themselves because they know it's 'easy' to do and they don't want to spend money. There's also this very important bit: "If price was all that mattered they'd have all the business."
A good client called me about doing some mastering for his Dad who is a very fine musician. Two weeks went by and I had not heard from his Dad so today I contacted my client. He told me that his Dad found someone cheaper. My client has always been pleased with my work and we have done numerous projects together. I guess his Dad has other priorities and wants to spend less. My mastering rates are more than reasonable but everyone seems to be looking for bottom feeder rates. It is becoming a dog eat dog world in Mastering. Pretty soon mastering engineers will have to pay clients for doing their mastering <GRIN>

FWIW
Old 26th May 2018
  #197
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i've been working as a sound engineer for 35 years now.
i live in a rather small city (basel) in a very rich country (switzerland) which has been seeing a long phase of political and economical stability... - so my situation is probably hard to compare; nevertheless, i'd like share how i'm positioning myself:

i'm offering my services not based on rates but on my reputation: regardless of budget, my clients shall get the best for their money - smaller budget equals less gear, time and options, but service shall always be on the highest level.

i have some highly specialized gear that i enjoy using for myself. i'm not using it to make money by renting it out regularly, yet some folks feel they 'need' this gear once in a while and are willing to spend some money on it...

i droped all work related to video and corporate work 'cause i simply don't enjoy it. i do far less touring and if so, try not to move around any gear but rent locally (pa/amps/desk/monitoring in any case). i turn down any requests if i get the impression people will not be up to higher standards in their field. i'm not doing any work that i'm not into for political, ethical, ecological or economical reasons - i rather go walking or read a book!

i charge the same prices for everybody unless i decide to support a project and do it for free or just charge for the gear (or charge for my work and offer my gear for free).

i use the same professional gear, whether it's for a totally unknown local newcomer or an established international touring artist. i don't mind mixing for bands of any genre, as long as i can keep a balance between music i don't enjoy that much and things that i'm really into.

i assist guest engineers, mix monitors, foh or for broadcast, work as system tech, do some installation work, some studio building and monitor alignment, i mix and master - i'm all audio: no lights, no video, nothing related to computers/network.

of those musicians, bands, theaters, conductors, dance companies, promoters, festivals, government, university, conservatory, international organisations, ngo's etc. who keep coming back to me, some of them clearly mention that they like my straight approach (and hopefully my work too).

i work less than i used to, but i get much more interesting work to do these days - and some peace of mind...

cheers,

dd
Old 31st May 2018
  #198
Thumbs down mastering snafus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
A good client called me about doing some mastering for his Dad who is a very fine musician. Two weeks went by and I had not heard from his Dad so today I contacted my client. He told me that his Dad found someone cheaper. My client has always been pleased with my work and we have done numerous projects together. I guess his Dad has other priorities and wants to spend less. My mastering rates are more than reasonable but everyone seems to be looking for bottom feeder rates. It is becoming a dog eat dog world in Mastering. Pretty soon mastering engineers will have to pay clients for doing their mastering <GRIN>

FWIW
I recorded an album a few years back for a band I absolutely love. I did the entire project (took over a year of tracking, overdubs, and mix as we live in different states) for free, out of my love for the band and their music. I told the band the entire time that the only thing they'd have to pay for is mastering. I explained what a big deal it was to the process and how important it was to find a good mastering engineer.

When it was finally time to choose a mastering engineer, I solicited test masters on the same song from 7 or 8 nationally known mastering engineers. The band had a mastering guy they wanted to try out in their area so I sent the track to him, as well.

All of the national engineers did a good job and the results were pretty close although I thought one stood out as the best. The mastered track that was returned by the band's friend was brickwalled to the max! I was really surprised because this is jazzy stuff, not a radio-ready style needing to be compressed and limited like that. I told the band that they certainly should not work with this guy. I found out that he was fresh out of school and was mastering entirely ITB. I explained to the band that we were looking for a real mastering engineer with exceptional equipment and the experience to create the best final product.

The band picked their friend because.....wait for it.....he had promised to hire them as sessions musicians on future sessions at the studio where he worked. I was flabbergasted, disappointed, offended, and generally taken aback that they would jeopardize the entire project which we had all put so much time, love, and sweat into for a few paid sessions. Once they made their final decision, I gave them their high-resolution mixes and pulled out of the project. Lesson learned.
Old 31st May 2018
  #199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsbe View Post
I recorded an album a few years back for a band I absolutely love. I did the entire project (took over a year of tracking, overdubs, and mix as we live in different states) for free, out of my love for the band and their music. I told the band the entire time that the only thing they'd have to pay for is mastering. I explained what a big deal it was to the process and how important it was to find a good mastering engineer.

When it was finally time to choose a mastering engineer, I solicited test masters on the same song from 7 or 8 nationally known mastering engineers. The band had a mastering guy they wanted to try out in their area so I sent the track to him, as well.

All of the national engineers did a good job and the results were pretty close although I thought one stood out as the best. The mastered track that was returned by the band's friend was brickwalled to the max! I was really surprised because this is jazzy stuff, not a radio-ready style needing to be compressed and limited like that. I told the band that they certainly should not work with this guy. I found out that he was fresh out of school and was mastering entirely ITB. I explained to the band that we were looking for a real mastering engineer with exceptional equipment and the experience to create the best final product.

The band picked their friend because.....wait for it.....he had promised to hire them as sessions musicians on future sessions at the studio where he worked. I was flabbergasted, disappointed, offended, and generally taken aback that they would jeopardize the entire project which we had all put so much time, love, and sweat into for a few paid sessions. Once they made their final decision, I gave them their high-resolution mixes and pulled out of the project. Lesson learned.
Recently I had a similar experience on a session I recorded and on which the music and recorded sound worked out very well, especially considering the room and the limited time for proper prep and soundcheck. Overall the recording and mix were beauties, I must say. Mastering was never a part of the deal, and when it came back I couldn't believe it. Super high levels and high distortion that was never in the recording. I'd have even found someone to master, and might have paid for it myself, but I could only let it go. The guy that did the mastering was a hipster guy, a friend of one of the musicians.
Old 31st May 2018
  #200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
. . .

i have some highly specialized gear that i enjoy using for myself. i'm not using it to make money by renting it out regularly, yet some folks feel they 'need' this gear once in a while and are willing to spend some money on it...

i droped all work related to video and corporate work 'cause i simply don't enjoy it. i do far less touring and if so, try not to move around any gear but rent locally (pa/amps/desk/monitoring in any case). i turn down any requests if i get the impression people will not be up to higher standards in their field. i'm not doing any work that i'm not into for political, ethical, ecological or economical reasons - i rather go walking or read a book!

i charge the same prices for everybody unless i decide to support a project and do it for free or just charge for the gear (or charge for my work and offer my gear for free).

i use the same professional gear, whether it's for a totally unknown local newcomer or an established international touring artist. i don't mind mixing for bands of any genre, as long as i can keep a balance between music i don't enjoy that much and things that i'm really into.

. . .

i work less than i used to, but i get much more interesting work to do these days - and some peace of mind...

cheers,

dd
The approach quoted above from deedeeyeah is similar to mine, and I am sure he is much busier than me. I never even started doing video, also because I don't enjoy it and I find the effort distracting when it is a part of my recording efforts. I guess I could incorporate very limited photography; this is the first time I've thought of this, and yet even that may seem too much a distraction.

There is a lot to be said in focusing on work you believe in. If one can do so. I don't even do projects involving music I do not like. Period. And yes this limits the amount of work I do.

All of this is easier said than done when there are bills to be paid, and gear to be bought. But if one can achieve it, maybe while supplementing income with something else then the experience may be liberating.
Old 31st May 2018
  #201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post

i work less than i used to, but i get much more interesting work to do these days - and some peace of mind...
I like Didier's approach.

Here's my suggestion: With all the do-it-yourselfers out there, you would think there would be a market for someone who can fix the problems they've created for themselves or to step in when they give up and can't figure out how to get the sound they want. There must be thousands of people who could use some help, and that kind of work can be done remotely, working with clients all over the world. You could sell yourself as "The Fixer," or something like that.

Once you've got an impressive-enough number of years of experience, your knowledge becomes as valuable (or more so) than your services. I think there'll always be people willing to pay a price premium for knowing that they're working with an expert who has lots of experience. The main point is that those people are mostly not going to be in your home town; they're going to be spread across the world.
Old 1st June 2018
  #202
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh View Post
I like Didier's approach.

Here's my suggestion: With all the do-it-yourselfers out there, you would think there would be a market for someone who can fix the problems they've created for themselves or to step in when they give up and can't figure out how to get the sound they want. There must be thousands of people who could use some help, and that kind of work can be done remotely, working with clients all over the world. You could sell yourself as "The Fixer," or something like that.

Once you've got an impressive-enough number of years of experience, your knowledge becomes as valuable (or more so) than your services. I think there'll always be people willing to pay a price premium for knowing that they're working with an expert who has lots of experience. The main point is that those people are mostly not going to be in your home town; they're going to be spread across the world.
If you have ever read my other post on this website you will know that I do a lot of what you are suggesting. I get, or more accurately, used to get a lot of "can you fix this cause it really doesn't sound the way I want it to sound". Sure BUT the problem is that a lot of what some other "mastering engineers" consider "mastering" is simply smashing the he!! our of the mix. Once the music is turned into a "brick" it is almost impossible to "unbrick" it" The other problem is that the person asking for help is usually a) in a hurry to get it done and b) out of money so the normal request is "can you get this done by tomorrow and I don't have any money to pay you so can you wait until I become famous and then I will pay you" or "Once I sell 100 CDs I will pay you". The other problem is that a lot of DIY "mastering" engineers don't really know what they are doing and when they get frustrated they want someone to help them but the reason they DIYed the project was that they did not want to spend any money so when the come to me it is "can you fix this and I don't have any money"

I am the kind of person who likes to help people but I also need to make a living so I need to get paid.

My feeling is that today a lot of wannabe mastering engineers want to feel like they are a pro (after all they watched multiple YouTube video on the subject) and in many cases don't want to admit they really don't know what they are doing. They "master" a CD's worth of material, charge their client, and when the client is not happy they start blaming the recording engineer, the performer, the studio, the acoustics or "the time of year" but honestly it is because they do not know what they are doing and simply do not want to own up to that fact.

So to answer your question. I do want to help people but sometimes I cannot due to lack of funds on the requester's part or due to them not wanting to come to me FIRST instead of trying to DIY it themselves or going to some "cheap" mastering engineer who advertises on the WWW and is doing their "mastering" in their bedroom and using dirty laundry as their acoustic treatment.

I have about $150K invested in my room, my monitors and my equipment and I am getting calls all the time to do mastering for $5 a song, "cause that is the going rate on the web".

DIY mastering is getting to be almost a joke and people who write on their blogs or on YouTube saying it is "so easy" should really listen to and compare what they are doing with what is done by professional mastering engineers. To say that mastering is easy is not correct and if it they think it is so easy then why are their so many badly botched masterings done ever day???

FWIW
Old 3rd June 2018
  #203
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
Where would you find a cassette player?
I've found some nice Nakamichi decks on CL for pretty cheap- $25-100.

I haven't hit record on any of them, though. Just playback.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah View Post
i work less than i used to, but i get much more interesting work to do these days - and some peace of mind...
Some people don't understand the importance of knowing how to evaluate work offers and hence knowing which offers to turn down. For various reasons you can't be the right person for every job because there is always a lot more than just the technical aspect of actually doing the work at play.

Knowing when and how to say no and how to manage the psychological aspect of this job are just as important as getting jobs in my opinion.
Old 3rd June 2018
  #205
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Maybe try some "studio sessions" if you can work out a reasonable arrangement with a local room. Past client musicians or even some of the better producers with whom you've been in touch with over the years might be a decent place to begin the marketing.
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