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Portable Location Recording Rates?
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #181
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue ➡️
As time goes by, the guy working for free will find that the $15 price point will become a stepping stone to the same elephant in the room that the music industry in general is attempting coming to terms with, piracy.
Very soon he'll find that several of the enterprising, media savvy parents will buy a single disc and copy it for the others. Once this starts, the basis of the business model goes down the tubes.
Where I come from we call this business model slow death.....
I'll push Hudson's buttons for a second and give an other example of this. Naxos has a set recording fee per project to deliver a finished master. Let's just say that after 2 days traveling out and back, 3 days of recording, 2-3 days of editing and some more time putting a high shine on the master so it gets approved, you're working for marginally more than minimum wage. There are VERY few individuals that can make this model work for them, and they definitely have to make compromises in the final product based on the financial parameters of the arrangement. The people that make this work spend their life traveling from gig to gig, editing the last project during every free moment of the current project and cranking out masters on the week at home, where there is virtually no home life. And to add insult to injury, at the end of the year, they make not much more than the bartender that serves them their drink. God forbid that they slip and fall and have to spend a couple of weeks laid up. Lost income and no way to make it back.
Just some food for thought.

-mark
Thank you, Mark for your real world, accurate assessment of the Naxos life.
Also pity the fool who records for free and sells cds.

I have special insight into the Naxos life since I worked for the founder of Naxos and the founding studio of Naxos beginning in 1988. It is an amazing journey that Naxos has taken and I take my hat off to the many engineers who work for them. What I mean is that the quality of the work is generally of a decently high level.

Back in 1988, 4 engineers from the studio in Heidelburg fanned out weekly in equipment stuffed Volvos to Bratislava, Katowice, Prague, Zagreb to set up and record workmanlike ensembles. These ensembles were rough and tumble playas when compared to polished western orchestras. The recordings needed a TON of editing.
The studio had 3 edit rooms running 24 hours per day to accommodate the volume of work.

The result----hundreds upon hundreds of Naxos releases and Naxos owing the company over $1.5 Million. Then over $2 Million, then over $2.5 Million. Most of the fees were eventually paid and there was no flat fee basis at that time.

Perhaps this adventure is the reason I have long ago soured on Naxos. Back in the day though, I did charge some hookers to the Naxos account. On my hotel bill they were listed as "limousine service."
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #182
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
What a fancy, what a tease!

The way I look at it, duplicating CDs is never going to be anything other than 'gravy,' for the reasons everyone's articulated: it's easy enough for the average person to do it, without any special equipment or skills.

It's the recording a performance, crafting an exceptionally emotion-laden master CD, that's the job only you can do, that's the service you're providing that should be compensated.

They don't give you a free car, in the hopes that they'll sell you gasoline for it....
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #183
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Back in the day though, I did charge some hookers to the Naxos account. On my hotel bill they were listed as "limousine service."
Hookers... an Uzi (other thread)... Who ever thought classical was this rock and roll!! heh
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #184
Lives for gear
 
sonare's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Back in the day though, I did charge some hookers to the Naxos account. On my hotel bill they were listed as "limousine service."
And several years later when I charged an additional day of string quartet recording time they said fine, then later changed that to one extra day of PER DIEM. Must have been the language difference.

Rich
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #185
29327
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Perhaps this adventure is the reason I have long ago soured on Naxos. Back in the day though, I did charge some hookers to the Naxos account. On my hotel bill they were listed as "limousine service."
Seriously, Plush, you should write a book. Aside from all of the legit accomplishments you made in your career, you've got some of the greatest stories I've ever heard!

Last edited by 29327; 4th June 2009 at 06:57 PM.. Reason: right a wrong...
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #186
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
What a fancy, what a tease!

The way I look at it, duplicating CDs is never going to be anything other than 'gravy,' for the reasons everyone's articulated: it's easy enough for the average person to do it, without any special equipment or skills.

It's the recording a performance, crafting an exceptionally emotion-laden master CD, that's the job only you can do, that's the service you're providing that should be compensated.

They don't give you a free car, in the hopes that they'll sell you gasoline for it....
I see it as Joel does...

We are (most often) hired to capture the performance and unless the client asks for CD dubs we are not there to provide the recordable media to everyone in the band or audience.

We do have CD/DVD dubbers that we use to make copies for the client/producer/guest engineer or whomever needs a reference disk.
We charge a small fee for the media and depending on the situation we sometimes just give the disks away.

The service we provide is mobile and location recording, production and broadcasting; we are not a duplication company, but can handle it when it's applicable.

With that said,we are in a completely different field of operation.
Our clients understand that we get paid for the good and valuable work we do and not by a per disk payment plan.

If I was recording the smaller events, I would charge a fee and give the disk away for free or a seriously inexpensive price.
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #187
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I fail to see how doing a job for free, that someone else had been doing for $200, does not constitute undercutting. $200 is not a lot of money!! Basically a good faith payment for all the work involved in getting the gear out and making the CD happen.

Plus the math involved in calculating engineer 2's advantage is fallacious. You won't sell as many $15 CD's as you would $9 CD's. If you could, Engineer 1 would surely sell his for $15 as well and would wind up (surprise!!) $200 ahead.
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #188
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Stark ➡️
I fail to see how doing a job for free, that someone else had been doing for $200, does not constitute undercutting. $200 is not a lot of money!! Basically a good faith payment for all the work involved in getting the gear out and making the CD happen.

Plus the math involved in calculating engineer 2's advantage is fallacious. You won't sell as many $15 CD's as you would $9 CD's. If you could, Engineer 1 would surely sell his for $15 as well and would wind up (surprise!!) $200 ahead.
The second guy who isn't charging up front is taking the risk. He's acting like a record label not an engineer.
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #189
Lives for gear
 
NorseHorse's Avatar
Precisely.

Of course, it's not for everyone, but many of us are used to wearing many different hats as an integral part of our remote services/hobbies:

Producer
Mix Engineer
Graphic Designer (https://gearspace.com/board/remote-p...st-us-all.html)
Techie
MC
Mastering Engineer
FOH Engineer (https://gearspace.com/board/remote-p...ge-2009-a.html)
Photographer (https://gearspace.com/board/remote-p...al-camera.html)
Videographer
Mechanic
Critic
Label Exec.
Webmaster
Driver
Performer
Professor
Friend
Booking Agent
Arranger
Duplication House

Many of our forum member have combined two, three, or many hats in various ways order to be successful in their areas. I personally feel that T. Bethe is a great example of an engineer with many hats.
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #190
Lives for gear
 
Corran's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've run live sound, played in the band, and recorded certain concerts all at the same time, yes.
Old 5th June 2009 | Show parent
  #191
Lives for gear
 
RobAnderson's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
I fail to see how doing a job for free, that someone else had been doing for $200, does not constitute undercutting. $200 is not a lot of money!! Basically a good faith payment for all the work involved in getting the gear out and making the CD happen.

Plus the math involved in calculating engineer 2's advantage is fallacious. You won't sell as many $15 CD's as you would $9 CD's. If you could, Engineer 1 would surely sell his for $15 as well and would wind up (surprise!!) $200 ahead.
You are quite correct on both counts. I kept the numbers the same for the sake of simplicity. It is difficult to quantify how much additional demand would result from the lower price. I was merely illustrating that for a certain volume, Engineer 2 is actually making a higher rate.

Quote:
The second guy who isn't charging up front is taking the risk. He's acting like a record label not an engineer.
Also correct, which is what makes this model compelling in one sense.

At this point, many of the professional recording services could easily become record labels - most of us do recording, mixing, editing, and mastering in-house. Most of us act as both engineer and producer. Using the web, duplication and distribution are things that could theoretically be accomplished for little or no cost. All that is missing is the "talent scouting" and the promotion/marketing part. The question becomes: is a record label a viable business anymore?

Personally I don't think so.
Old 5th June 2009 | Show parent
  #192
LX3
Lives for gear
 
LX3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson ➡️

At this point, many of the professional recording services could easily become record labels - most of us do recording, mixing, editing, and mastering in-house. Most of us act as both engineer and producer. Using the web, duplication and distribution are things that could theoretically be accomplished for little or no cost.
In fact, that was my original (side)plan when I started doing location recording seriously in the early 2000s. But every time I worked the numbers, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't ever likely to make a big enough return to compensate for the effort involved once you'd considered publishing, artist royalties and all the other overheads.

It would have been a great adventure, but one that probably would have stopped me making any money elsewhere.

And that was on the basis of selling 1000-3000 CDs for each release. Scratching around selling less than 100 CD-Rs of a gig is no way to make a living in the long term, IMHO.

I do have a friend that's going down this road with live concert DVDs (where he's basically started a label, and is effectively advancing the artist all the production costs), but he is signing one-off deals with name artists. Then again, his production costs are much higher than they would be for just audio, so I don't think the margins are a lot better. But the risk/reward equation is better, and live DVD packages do seem to be more valued by punters (and tougher to pirate) than live audio CDs.

I think Corran nailed it. A lot of people responsible for concerts or gigs don't actually want or need their show recorded, and in my experience those have never been situations worth persuing. I've occasionally offered to record a support band (when it's been convenient to do so) for absolute peanuts - just beer money - and still been turned down.

Since I quit doing bands and artists favours, I've been doing a lot better!
Old 6th June 2009 | Show parent
  #193
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran ➡️
I've run live sound, played in the band, and recorded certain concerts all at the same time, yes.

a lot of us are on that same plan. diversification seems to be the best way to keep the income flowing.
Old 29th July 2009 | Show parent
  #194
Here for the gear
 
Cucco's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➡️
True. The 2nd engineer has a minimum (don't know about the 1st, but probably does too), but I don't think the school has ever had to pay a cent. But what if there was a horrible accident during a concert and no one wanted CDs. A minimum would certainly be a good idea.

All the DVD / video sales folks seem to operate on this principal. Not sure about photo folks.

As one of the Northern Virginia engineers active in location recording, I did my fair share of "only earn what I sell" recordings. That ended in 1999 when I had a regular client in Washington Virginia (way out in BFE). I sold 4 discs at that concert. By the time I did the artwork, paid royalties, mailed the discs, etc. I came out $20 behind.

I've also had my fair share of business taken away from me in this area by some folks who do that same thing. The only comfort I have is knowing that those guys don't pay royalties and will get busted one day.

My experience in the DC/Northern VA/MD area is that people are willing to pay for quality work. The most difficult part I had was asking for the money. For some reason, we feel guilty when we ask for money and we shouldn't! I've also spent the past 10 years charging exactly what my competition charges. It wasn't until recently that I said "screw the competition - half of them are going out of business and most of the rest of them don't know a Schoeps from a hole in the ground!" I've since nearly doubled my rates. The only side effect - I'm getting better clients.

Given the economic climate, I have had a few situations where I've said - "whenever you can get the payment to me is fine by me." Fortunately, I've never had to wait more than a few months. Besides, I never mind having money owed to me. When it comes in, it's like a little present.

From the other standpoint, it is frustrating to see people doing bad work and charging a decent amount of money. What's worse is that the clients accept this as reality! I was recently recording a festival in DC and the venue is a popular location. One of the area's premier chamber orchestras was set to record the next day and the engineer that they use had his gear set up in the control room. He was using a Behringer preamp, a Sony DAT recorder and a pair of SM81s. This engineer's "cheaper" rates warrant this kind of gear and thus, that's what he uses. Sadly, his "cheaper" rates are similar to my "old" rates. The difference is, I bring my standard rig on all jobs. I always use the gear necessary to get the job done to my standards and won't compromise to save a buck or two. I'd rather just take the lower rate (if necessary) and do the job right anyway.

One last note -
I do still occassionally do a "freebie" - but, here's the requirements. It has to be for a regular client of mine and they're able to request a single freebie a year that is outside their regular season. Typically, this results in 3 to 4 freebies total a year at most. This has also kept a great deal of my clients happy. However, I'm certain to communicate to them that freebies are not the norm and only for exceptional circumstances.

Cheers-
Cucco
Old 30th March 2011 | Show parent
  #195
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran ➡️
That's funny! If that happened, I'd be like okay I'll record your next show, and then when they asked where the CD was, well you gave them the recording "service", they didn't ask for the tangible recording!
I make this joke all the time
In my case, my business name has "Services" in it, and that's the way I approach my clients, as if I am in the business of serving them, for a fee. I don't just set up mics and put it in the red, I'll keep their pitchers full, tune their drums, help with loadout, gather some ladies in the audience for the green room, pick out all the green M&M's, whatever they need to help the show go smoothly. The happier they are, the better their performance, the better my recording, the more pleased they are with spending their money (many times more than they make at the door), the more they tell their friends. Recording live is the 'cool' thing to do, because artists are performing for an infinitely large crowd, not just the 300 people at the show.

As for rates, right now I'm at a $375/$300/$200 three tier schedule. That's full multi, with mix and master/stems only/taper's rig, respectively. I realize I am resurrecting a years old thread here.... but hey, the remote forum moves kinda slowly sometimes.
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