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Future of online mastering, will be replaced by AI, plug-ins, homemade lowcost guys?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #361
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame ➡️
@ kludgeaudio who are the higher grade distro formats?
By that I mean CD and above. As distinguished from formats like mp3 and vinyl where the material makes a dramatic difference in the artifacts of the final release.

I've never seen a CD that couldn't be cut flat. I've seen plenty that shouldn't have been, but never one that couldn't have been. I have seen plenty of LPs that could not be cut flat at any reasonable level.
--scott
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #362
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Mastering as a "Painting Analogy..."

How does this analogy hold up???

Imagine an approved mix being when a painter finishes a piece of art... an oil painting let's says.

For others to enjoy this painting:

1) The original painting needs to be framed and hung in a gallery.

2) The original painting needs to be photographed and recreated as prints.

For the gallery viewing.. "Someone" has to be concerned about the framing and lighting of the original painting.

For the prints version.. "Someone" has to be concerned with the integrity of the photography and printing to represent the colors of the original. Textures of brushstrokes will be lost in this transfer.

In both cases.. this "Someone" should strive to have the colors of the viewing properly represent the artist's intentions. A print placed next to the original in the Artist's studio should look as close as possible in the same lighting condition.

Is this "Someone" a good parallel to an Audio ME?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #363
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3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightjar ➡️
Is this "Someone" a good parallel to an Audio ME?
In certain rare cases, yes. But most of the time, no. Most of my clients want me to "fix" any issues they may have missed, adjust the frequency response etc for best translation in various playback environments, make it louder without ruining it, and also enhance the tone. That's what they want. If I gave them back something that sounded the same as what they sent me then they'd find a new ME.

A better analogy is what happens in movie post production. Have you ever seen the raw extra footage in the special features of some DVDs? It looks pretty rough before they "master" it...

Last edited by Trakworx; 1 week ago at 06:31 PM..
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #364
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
Thanks! At Motown we had a test that every production, mix and master needed to pass: "What does it FEEL like to sing along with and dance to this record?" It's depressing how few contemporary recordings can pass that test and not surprising that people consider most to be fashionable background music at best that certainly isn't worth paying for.

I've found this test crosses all genres from Indian classical to hip-hop.
If something coming out of Mowtown doesn't make you move, something is almost certainly wrong

With that in mind, maybe it's actually for the best that these cookie-cutter recordings get serviced by A.I?
Old 1 week ago
  #365
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
Mastering is fine tuning the focus of a mix to connect the listener with the performance and the music in a variety of listening environments.
I love this definition!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
It often involves choices between favoring the vocal and favoring the rhythm depending upon which best engages the listener.
These are the main 2 things I listen for when I do listen to music.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #366
DAH
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
Thanks! At Motown we had a test that every production, mix and master needed to pass: "What does it FEEL like to sing along with and dance to this record?" It's depressing how few contemporary recordings can pass that test and not surprising that people consider most to be fashionable background music at best that certainly isn't worth paying for.

I've found this test crosses all genres from Indian classical to hip-hop.
The modern "hip-hop" test is about lying along the song in one's own puke agonizing from fentanyl overdose, it seems. That's why.
Old 1 week ago
  #367
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
Thanks! At Motown we had a test that every production, mix and master needed to pass: "What does it FEEL like to sing along with and dance to this record?" It's depressing how few contemporary recordings can pass that test and not surprising that people consider most to be fashionable background music at best that certainly isn't worth paying for.

I've found this test crosses all genres from Indian classical to hip-hop.
@ Bob Olhsson that's a great test question and I feel of today's contemporary recordings are aural wallpaper from vocals to instrumentals, and insane thing is I'm not a everything in this era sucks person, while admitting a lot does, but I'm like who's the audience for this aural wallpaper?
Old 1 week ago
  #368
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🎧 5 years
@ DAH you summed up how I feel about modern Hip Hop, I refuse to support it financially.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #369
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH ➡️
The modern "hip-hop" test is about lying along the song in one's own puke agonizing from fentanyl overdose, it seems. That's why.
That sounds like a great art movement. I like it..
Old 1 week ago
  #370
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
The point is that we want to engage the listener. That is often the result of not sounding like everything else.
Old 1 week ago
  #371
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🎧 5 years
@ telecode that great art movement you speak of liking is detrimental to society as a whole.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #372
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Producing and Mixing MUSIC in Spatial Audio (in a song context, NOT talking about music embedded in film/gaming) creates a whole new can of worms for the stage between mix approval and distribution to listener.

Artistic intent may be subject to a whole new level of "those-who-know-what-they-want" vs "save-my-ass-please".

This could extend the livelihood of some ME's for another 10 years.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #373
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
It also does not help that a lot of recording engineers will say to a client: "Hey, for an extra $$$ I can master your songs and you won't have to find a mastering engineer".
Obviously I can't speak for others here, but as primarily a recording/mix engineer – and let's call me a 'mid-level' operator, probably not in the same league as many of you – that's very much not my intentional business model.

I always state upfront to clients that a mix project will benefit significantly from having someone else (i.e. someone more experienced and better equipped than me) master it.

However, aside from their budget which is of course a very big driver, the other factor I am contending with is bands/artists simply not wanting to involve another layer of what they see as negotiation, hassle, organisation and payment in their road to getting a finished product. I am often asked "Can't you just do the mastering as well for us?" and when faced with the very real possibility that those clients will simply switch to someone who will say 'yes' if I say 'no', I just agree to master because I need the mix work. I will also agree to it because faced with the choice of mastering it myself or handing over my mixes and letting the band 'shop around' for some cheap'n'nasty AI mastering service that may wreck my work - I'll choose the lesser of two evils and do it myself, even if it means me working for not that much.

I wish it were otherwise, but that is mostly my reality.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #374
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
Obviously I can't speak for others here, but as primarily a recording/mix engineer – and let's call me a 'mid-level' operator, probably not in the same league as many of you – that's very much not my intentional business model.

I always state upfront to clients that a mix project will benefit significantly from having someone else (i.e. someone more experienced and better equipped than me) master it.

However, aside from their budget which is of course a very big driver, the other factor I am contending with is bands/artists simply not wanting to involve another layer of what they see as negotiation, hassle, organization and payment in their road to getting a finished product. I am often asked "Can't you just do the mastering as well for us?" and when faced with the very real possibility that those clients will simply switch to someone who will say 'yes' if I say 'no', I just agree to master because I need the mix work. I will also agree to it because faced with the choice of mastering it myself or handing over my mixes and letting the band 'shop around' for some cheap'n'nasty AI mastering service that may wreck my work - I'll choose the lesser of two evils and do it myself, even if it means me working for not that much.

I wish it were otherwise, but that is mostly my reality.
I just turned down a very lucrative mixing job simply because I am not a mix engineer and don't have the experience in doing mixing.

I think in this case the client would be better served by going to a professional in that discipline. Maybe that is what you might want to think about.

My mastering is not all that expensive and I don't argue or do any of the things you mentioned with my mastering clients. I understand your position but multiply that by all the recording studios doing it and it becomes a problem for people such as myself trying to make a living doing mastering.

There is a studio near here that does everything from arranging to recording to mixing to mastering. They also do artist management and if needed play some instruments in the session. They also do CD production, graphics and marketing. Basically a one stop shop for the artist. I can do many things well but not all of the above. I doubt that they do all of them well either.

FWIW!
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #375
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Hot off the presses

Hot off the presses, LANDR buys SynchroArts:

https://www.pro-tools-expert.com/pro...eid=5c3cf7a925

More AI/online processing to come...
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #376
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Verified Member
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
I always state upfront to clients that a mix project will benefit significantly from having someone else (i.e. someone more experienced and better equipped than me) master it.

However, aside from their budget which is of course a very big driver, the other factor I am contending with is bands/artists simply not wanting to involve another layer of what they see as negotiation, hassle, organisation and payment in their road to getting a finished product. I am often asked "Can't you just do the mastering as well for us?" and when faced with the very real possibility that those clients will simply switch to someone who will say 'yes' if I say 'no', I just agree to master because I need the mix work. I will also agree to it because faced with the choice of mastering it myself or handing over my mixes and letting the band 'shop around' for some cheap'n'nasty AI mastering service that may wreck my work - I'll choose the lesser of two evils and do it myself, even if it means me working for not that much.

I wish it were otherwise, but that is mostly my reality.
I have a number of ongoing relationships with producer/engineers who facilitate the outsourcing of mastering for their clients. They handle the scheduling, sending of files and payment. That removes the hassle for the artists and removes the uncertainty for the engineer, who knows what to expect from his ME of choice. You just need to find a good ME who isn't too pricey (there are several who post here) and develop a relationship. There will be clients who don't have the budget for it, but for the ones who do - both the artist and the engineer get a better result which helps both of their careers. It's a win-win
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #377
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trakworx ➡️
I have a number of ongoing relationships with producer/engineers who facilitate the outsourcing of mastering for their clients.
This. And it goes the other way, too. I refer a bunch of mixes to a handful of people, and occasionally I get some mastering work back. Literally win-win.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #378
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surbitone ➡️
This. And it goes the other way, too. I refer a bunch of mixes to a handful of people, and occasionally I get some mastering work back. Literally win-win.
This!

One important piece that often gets left out of discussions about automated mastering is that many people want human interaction. They want to collaborate. They want feedback and a different perspective. They want to build the mutual understanding that comes from an ongoing relationship. And they want to hang out, even virtually, with someone who loves music as much as they do.

Automated mastering might be convenient and affordable and will continue to produce better and better output, but it will never satisfy the desire for human interaction, which will always be there.
Old 5 days ago
  #379
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
Verified Member
🎧 15 years
It’s called a professional network of friends.

referral by word of mouth.

They send us Mastering work, which we do well, to help their tracks sound best,

and we send them recording, mixing, and production work.

it’s a two way street of human referrals, the way he music biz has operated for decades,

and has nothing to do with silly internet searching for mastering or mixing “services”.

just ask a professional (in a genre that you like) who do they use for Mastering.

We’ve been working that way for 31 years.

cheers, JT
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #380
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Tubb ➡️
It’s called a professional network of friends.

referral by word of mouth.

They send us Mastering work, which we do well, to help their tracks sound best,

and we send them recording, mixing, and production work.

it’s a two way street of human referrals, the way he music biz has operated for decades,

and has nothing to do with silly internet searching for mastering or mixing “services”.

just ask a professional (in a genre that you like) who do they use for Mastering.

We’ve been working that way for 31 years.

cheers, JT
In the "good olde days" this "way of working" worked well. Today it seems that even though I send clients to studios I have on going business relationships with they want to do "everything" to keep the client at their studio and will do the mastering just to keep the money flowing in their direction. I understand these are hard times for everyone in the music business but...a little consideration for work provided would still be in order.

Case in point...

Recently I sent a client to a local recording studio for some recording and mixing work with the idea that he would return here for the mastering. This was discussed with the studio's owner. After two months the client never called me so I called him and asked when we were going to do his mastering. He said "oh the recording engineer said he could do the mastering for $100 so I decided to go that route, so my mastering is all done". I called the studio owner and he was not very helpful. He said "well the client needed to get this done and I offered to HELP HIM OUT by doing the mastering for him". I said that in our initial talks the idea was to have me send the client to him for recording and mixing and then him to send him back here for mastering. The studio owner said "well things changed and I needed the money" "Sorry"

So maybe this works in Texas but not in Ohio???
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #381
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Surbitone's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
Recently I sent a client to a local recording studio for some recording and mixing work with the idea that he would return here for the mastering. This was discussed with the studio's owner. After two months the client never called me so I called him and asked when we were going to do his mastering. He said "oh the recording engineer said he could do the mastering for $100 so I decided to go that route, so my mastering is all done". I called the studio owner and he was not very helpful. He said "well the client needed to get this done and I offered to HELP HIM OUT by doing the mastering for him". I said that in our initial talks the idea was to have me send the client to him for recording and mixing and then him to send him back here for mastering. The studio owner said "well things changed and I needed the money" "Sorry"
That's appalling form. Well, hopefully he's just lost himself a source of further recording and mixing work...
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #382
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
Today it seems that even though I send clients to studios I have on going business relationships with they want to do "everything" to keep the client at their studio and will do the mastering just to keep the money flowing in their direction.
ok. as a studio owner/engineer I will add, that often times its not about money, its about speed.

your working with some rapper, who books 3 hours for the vocal session, and he wants it mixed in an hour, and then he wants to drop the track immediately onto Bandcamp or Spotify or whatever....

no one wants to do things slowly these days. everyone wants everything NOW.

so mix engineers sometimes go with the flow, and perform basic level mastering, to keep those types happy.

Buddha
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #383
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA ➡️
ok. as a studio owner/engineer I will add, that often times its not about money, its about speed.

your working with some rapper, who books 3 hours for the vocal session, and he wants it mixed in an hour, and then he wants to drop the track immediately onto Bandcamp or Spotify or whatever....

no one wants to do things slowly these days. everyone wants everything NOW.

so mix engineers sometimes go with the flow, and perform basic level mastering, to keep those types happy.

Buddha
I understand.

The problem is that a lot of studios here just keep doing it for ALL their clients because it becomes another revenue stream. I don't track and mix and if I get a client who wants to do that I send them to a studio that has the equipment and personnel to do what they need to get done.

Turnabout is fair play in my eyes.

I am setup to do mastering and restoration work. I have the studio and the equipment to do this. I see the need for speed but if a studio keeps doing it for all their clients they are, in my opinion, just trying to make more money, These are tough times for everyone but fair is fair.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #384
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think in the context of this thread, and reading through most people's contributions, I'm sure all of us are on the same side.

If the project budget and time are there, I'm not seeing anyone here (well, maybe one or two) actively touting AI Mastering or Fiver trash ("We will mix & master your radio-ready track for $30") as a serious alternative to using a reputable mastering engineer, the likes of whom we are lucky to have so many of in this Forum.

And clearly there are many MEs here like Justin and Jerry who are plenty busy with appropriately remunerated work.

But it seems to me the general focus of this thread is what is going on with mastering at the very bottom end of the market, i.e. inappropriately remunerated work, as this is surely where the heat is on.

With more and more platforms like SoundCloud, CD Baby and even Abbey Road for goodness sakes, offering online AI 'mastering' for peanuts it seems it's becoming more and more appealing for bands/artists with less and less income to go down that route. And thus over time we start seeing a new generation of consumers for whom 'mastering' is just something remote that happens automatically in the ether when they upload their track to a streaming platform. Reversing that trend seems to me to be in the same category as trying to persuade 20-somethings to go buy an album on CD; the horse has already bolted.

Automation is putting people out of business, as it has done and will continue to do in virtually every sector of every market.

I don't have a solution, but I don't think it's anyone here who is creating the problem.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 4 days ago at 01:31 PM..
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #385
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
And separate to the main discussion...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
I send clients to studios I have ongoing business relationships with; they... will do the mastering just to keep the money flowing in their direction.
When I read that it came across as just downright reprehensible and unethical business practice on any level.

I cannot imagine doing anything like that to anyone in my professional network, even to people I don't particularly like!

I'm sorry to hear this has happened to you and I daresay you have had to review your relationship with that particular studio in the light of their dreadful behaviour towards you.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #386
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
And separate to the main discussion...



When I read that it came across as just downright reprehensible and unethical business practice on any level.

I cannot imagine doing anything like that to anyone in my professional network, even to people I don't particularly like!

I'm sorry to hear this has happened to you and I daresay you have had to review your relationship with that particular studio in the light of their dreadful behaviour towards you.
It has been done to me on numerous occasions over the years. It seems to be getting to be more like the norm here instead of the exception. I know studios are hurting both from the DIYers and the Pandemic but why screw someone else just so you can make some quick $$$.

I am not sending anymore clients to studios that do this.

Their excuses range from "well the client wanted it done ASAP" to "the client did not want to pay someone else to do the mastering" to "I decided that I did not want anyone else 'messing' with my mixes so I decided to do it myself".

Basically they wanted the money so they make up excuses to justify them not sending the client back here for mastering even though they got a new client for recording and mixing and made $$$ off them for providing "their" services.

Not fun!
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #387
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3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➡️
But it seems to me the general focus of this thread is what is going on with mastering at the very bottom end of the market, i.e. inappropriately remunerated work, as this is surely where the heat is on.

With more and more platforms like SoundCloud, CD Baby and even Abbey Road for goodness sakes, offering online AI 'mastering' for peanuts it seems it's becoming more and more appealing for bands/artists with less and less income to go down that route. And thus over time we start seeing a new generation of consumers for whom 'mastering' is just something remote that happens automatically in the ether when they upload their track to a streaming platform. Reversing that trend seems to me to be in the same category as trying to persuade 20-somethings to go buy an album on CD; the horse has already bolted.
Yes it's about the very bottom of the market. That's why it's not a threat to human MEs. Broke artists aren't our customers anyway. It's good that they have some other cheap option.

To conclude that the new generation of artists will never become our customers is to assume that over time they won't learn about or care about good production and that they will never be able to afford us. IME that has not been the case. I've been around long enough to watch generations come up and I've seen them learn and grow. A certain percent always rise from the bottom far enough to keep AEs and MEs busy. I haven't seen a change to that historical trend in the age of AI.
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #388
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
I am setup to do mastering and restoration work. I have the studio and the equipment to do this. I see the need for speed but if a studio keeps doing it for all their clients they are, in my opinion, just trying to make more money, These are tough times for everyone but fair is fair.
thats often true Thomas. agreed.

the one stop shops have been around a long time.

one of my competitors, back in the 80s, used to charge demo rates, mix and master, and offer CD packages, artwork and jewel cases.

I couldn't do all that, and didn't even try. just stick to what you do best.

but I would suggest that somehow you need to market your services better, and also try and develop better relationships with producers, engineers and the studios in your area.

go and personally visit them, and have a conversation. it might lead to something good. you have to think positive and follow it up with action.

there was a time when I received 300 resumes a year from budding sound engineers, and the one who got the job was the one who fronted up and smiled. that dam kid won an EMMY a couple of years ago.

anyway pro-active wins the day. thats my suggestion.

best wishes Buddha
Old 3 days ago | Show parent
  #389
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
So maybe this works in Texas but not in Ohio???
Well, i think that’s happened to all of us... and is out of our control.

When it happens, i try to not take it too personally.

it’s just business is a good motto at that time.

once in a while, a record that i really want to master gets done somewhere else, for various uncontrollable reasons...

i can think of two, in the last two years,

so i try focus on the good stuff instead, the cool records i did get.

cheers, jt
Old 3 days ago
  #390
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I have a sign in my office that was given to me by one of my interns. It reads "Strictly Business - Nothing Personal" which is paraphrasing the 1972 Godfather movie. I look at it everyday.

I try not to get upset but when you send a client to a studio and the studio owner is aware of the premise of why I sent the client to them and then decides unilaterally to do the mastering so he can make some quick $$$ it is upsetting. It seems to be happening more and more. I don't track or mix so I have to send clients who need these services to someone else. Do I need to have the studio owner sign a contract which he probably would not do.

I guess I try and be very fair in my dealing with others but...it is not always reciprocated... FWIW
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