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Author Topic: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???  (Read 3491 times)

Thomas W. Bethel

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How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« on: January 16, 2012, 08:45:40 AM »

If you do mastering for clients who send in their materials by FTP and they want to change somethings about the mastering how do you handle it? Is there a one time make good??? or do you charge for all re-mastering? How do you deal with the problem of them listening to what you have done on different equipment ( i.e. different speakers in a different room or even listening on laptop computer speakers?) and making their requests for changes based on how it sounds on their (unknown quality) equipment? How much of the mastering are you willing to do over for free? What happens if they want additional changes after the first free make good? Do you charge your normal rate or discount your time?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Most of the mastering I have been doing is for local folks who are sitting in on the sessions. FTP sessions are a whole new ball game for me. Thanks in advance.
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Thomas W. Bethel
Managing Director
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

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lowland

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2012, 11:29:30 AM »

I like to keep things keep things simple here: mastering includes one set of amendments, after that it's on the clock at the standard rate. This seems to concentrate people's minds, and it's rare to need the clock.

As to different playback situations, I would hope what I do translates to as many as possible, and it's not often I can trace a revision to inaccurate client playback. That said, I suppose everything they listen to in their own environment is skewed in the same way so they're used to it - it's therefore not necessarily a bad thing.
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Nigel Palmer
Lowland Masters
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djwaudio

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2012, 12:12:45 PM »

I haven't had much call for redoing things, but since I'm in the middle of reworking the web site, I'm rethinking my policy. Before i was stating that all changes were billed, but the time was minimal.

 Recently I recut an entire project without charging because the clients made a good case for going in another direction. 

I'm thinking that revisions could be headed off by sending a preview of what I'm doing. It's just a bit tricky to schedule sometimes. Fully recall able gear and good notes are the key for making it painless for me.
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Dana J White
Specialized Mastering
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masterlab

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2012, 07:24:46 AM »

We have a flatrate for the online work.
As the client in not in the studio, I think it's only fair to let him change the sound to his liking.
Most of the time, when it happenes at all, it's minor tweaks, like "a tad more bass" or "bring it up half a dB". Easy to do without recalling the analog stuff.
Had a (regular) client asking for 2 revisions, only to find out master #1 was the best  :o

cheers
.a.
www.masterlab.de
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2012, 09:58:30 AM »

Yes, recently a finicky client asked to hear "a little more highs" on his 10 song project. So instead of wasting hours of time doing the whole thing over, only potentially to have him change his mind again, I touched up the first 3 mastered songs with a digital ITB EQ, a half dB and made him a ref. And we billed for it. Seems like a good way to handle it. Over the years you get a pretty good feel for these things.

Communication is the key, preferably by voice to establish a personal relationship, then email can follow for nitty gritty details.

A year ago I did five versions of a project for a really nice talented guy, but who had a "steering committee" of sorts making final recommendations to his investors. Naturally when you have unwashed neophytes making decisions, the result is that the project ended up being very loud, and very bright, despite the fact that the artist actually preferred the darker fatter quieter version 1. It was all billed on the clock.

Another key is being able to make those revisions very quickly, without having to kill the clients money tree, or conversely, overextend yourself.

cheers, JT
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MoreSpaceEcho

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2012, 03:31:57 PM »

most of my work comes in via FTP. i just charge a flat rate per song. i don't charge for revisions. it's never been a problem. usually i get it right the first time. when revisions are called for, it's almost always "can you make track 3 a little louder, and add a second in between tracks 4 and 5?"

which takes about a minute to do.

very occasionally i have more involved revisions to do, very very occasionally i have to redo the whole record from scratch. i still don't think it's right to charge. the client's already not happy. why make them unhappier by charging them more money?

to me, it makes much better business sense to eat a little bit of time now and then, and be perceived as super helpful and accommodating, than to bill for every second i'm sitting in front of the speakers.

to pre-empt the question of "how do you deal with super picky clients demanding endless revisions?", the answer is it's simply never happened.

TotalSonic

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 01:36:49 AM »

In usual practice I do much like Scott does above - but having done this for a while I can attest that the ocd client requesting umpteen revisions does in fact happen once in a leap year - and because of these I spell out a specific revision policy that I email to new clients - which I've posted at http://www.totalsonic.net/revisions.htm
Essentially if it's an online order the first round of revisions is on me - and after that I do a minimal charge at my discretion. (i.e. if it's something simple I'll probably take care of it no problem - if it requires starting over from scratch a 3rd time - well then that would get a small charge for).
To me the terms spelled out in it are both fair to the client and fair to myself.

Best regards,
Steve Berson

Viitalahde

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 02:06:03 AM »

I don't charge for revisions. Especially when working over the web, I think it's only fair. I might even give the 2nd revision for the first time. If it gets crazy and the client doesn't know what they're doing or are sending be new mixes, the bill begins to grow.

A rough guess would be that 90-95% of the sonic decisions are accepted the first time, perhaps with slight adjustments in track spacing and such. This got a lot better in my new room, in the old one the revision rate was like 15%.

I'm not finding it problematic that the clients listen in various systems. Translation is our business. If the system sounds weird, everything sounds weird through it and the client is used to it. The only real problems so far have been with some software that has a built-in limiter for playback. Recently I did a revision to minimize the pumping (which the master didn't do), only to find out something weird was happening with the client's playback SW of choice.

Tom, how's your FTP solved? I've understood the Internet connection isn't the best over there (which it isn't here, either - yet).

I've been extremely satisfied with Wetransfer: https://wetransfer.com/

Costs practically nothing (about 150,00€ /year), and works well. I got my own channel at: https://virtalahde.wetransfer.com/
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Jaakko Viitalähde
Virtalähde Mastering, Kuhmoinen/Finland
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Thomas W. Bethel

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 07:55:54 AM »



Tom, how's your FTP solved? I've understood the Internet connection isn't the best over there (which it isn't here, either - yet).

I've been extremely satisfied with Wetransfer: https://wetransfer.com/

Costs practically nothing (about 150,00€ /year), and works well. I got my own channel at: https://virtalahde.wetransfer.com/

We have been using DropBox with some success and we just moved our website to a new ISP recently and they offer FTP services so we are going to try that as well. Biggest problem i face is our local cable internet provider. They are about 10 years behind what everyone else in this area is doing and the cable modems we had, up until a couple of months ago, were 20 years old and they bought them literally at a fire sale. The best I can do is about 180K. Two weeks ago I was doing about 56 K due to some problems in their Mux sharing arrangement. They are GREAT people to know and work with just somewhat behind the times. One of my student interns lives in Columbus Ohio and his family has a 6 Gig all fiber drop to their house. I will look into the other FTP servers you mentioned. Thanks for the heads up and for the help!!!
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Thomas W. Bethel
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Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
http://www.acoustikmusik.com/

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Andy Krehm

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 08:42:58 PM »

For years I have charged by the hour, whether attended or not. So revisions were always on the clock at my hourly.

i've been doing unattended sessions via FTP for years but the last couple of years it seems like I'm not working alone more often that not!

I've also learned in the 15 plus years I've been doing this that you master long enough, you WILL get a client who is picky or finicky or simply can't decide what they want. At my hourly, that has not been a problem as the client knows the rules going into the session.

However, a few months ago, I started an separate "online mastering" website in a sort of partnership with one of my mixer/producer clients. I decided that this site would feature flat rates. I struggled with how I was going to average out jobs while being fair to most clients. We came up with a formula that seems to work. However, the revision issue had to be addressed. The formula I came up with was 1 to 5 songs, one n/c revision. 1 to 10, two, 1 to 15, three and 1 to 20 four. Any further ones are $20. each.

I see that many of you don't charge for revisions or will do an entire album's worth for n/c. More power to you but I will not put in that much time for the rates I am charging! My formula seems to be working for my flat rate site and as stated previously, my regular website, which lists hourly charges, is not an issue as everyone knows upfront what the rules are.
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Andy Krehm
Silverbirch Productions
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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 05:44:59 AM »

For years I have charged by the hour, whether attended or not. So revisions were always on the clock at my hourly.

i've been doing unattended sessions via FTP for years but the last couple of years it seems like I'm not working alone more often that not!

I've also learned in the 15 plus years I've been doing this that you master long enough, you WILL get a client who is picky or finicky or simply can't decide what they want. At my hourly, that has not been a problem as the client knows the rules going into the session.

However, a few months ago, I started an separate "online mastering" website in a sort of partnership with one of my mixer/producer clients. I decided that this site would feature flat rates. I struggled with how I was going to average out jobs while being fair to most clients. We came up with a formula that seems to work. However, the revision issue had to be addressed. The formula I came up with was 1 to 5 songs, one n/c revision. 1 to 10, two, 1 to 15, three and 1 to 20 four. Any further ones are $20. each.

I see that many of you don't charge for revisions or will do an entire album's worth for n/c. More power to you but I will not put in that much time for the rates I am charging! My formula seems to be working for my flat rate site and as stated previously, my regular website, which lists hourly charges, is not an issue as everyone knows upfront what the rules are.

We charge flat rates, and our policy says `free revisions until satisfied.'

In principle that lays us open to gloomy scenes of endless poorly-paid tinkering, but in practice we get asked for very few revisions.

Cheers,

Eric
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Philosophers Barn Mastering
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lowland

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 08:05:48 AM »

In principle that lays us open to gloomy scenes of endless poorly-paid tinkering, but in practice we get asked for very few revisions.

Same here.
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Nigel Palmer
Lowland Masters
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Jerry Tubb

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 10:57:01 AM »

For years I have charged by the hour, whether attended or not. So revisions were always on the clock at my hourly.

Same here Andy.

Exceptions would be fixing any obvious mis-cues, which are rare as hens teeth with us : - )

And the occasional "split it down the middle" if it's a grey area, with a valued regular client.

Either way it's our call, and stated so in our policies.

However, online unattended mastering can change the game a little.

I think supply/demand are at work here, a natural balance.

Best regards, come see us Andy!

JT
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Terra Nova Mastering
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Andy Krehm

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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 08:26:31 PM »

We charge flat rates, and our policy says `free revisions until satisfied.'

In principle that lays us open to gloomy scenes of endless poorly-paid tinkering, but in practice we get asked for very few revisions.

Cheers,

Eric
I was looking at your site and see that your average album price is listed at $1,200.

Let's assume that is a 10 to 12 song album. At my hourly of $85. (for Indie bands), I am mastering albums for $450. to $600. IOW, 1/2 of what you are charging. I could revise an entire album in 2 to 2 1/2 hours (full outboard set-up recall for each track) so if I charged your rates, I could afford to revise an album twice and charge for it and still be in the ballpark of your rates.

Of course one very rarely has to revise an entire album, even once, EXCEPT for the odd (very odd) client so in your case, the averages pay off very well!

This is not to be at all critical of your rates or methods but just to illustrate that revision policies have to be related to what one's rates are plus a business plan to know how much you have to gross to make a living! I also saw that you have some much lower prices for local bands so that's where you could get into the odd time jam when you have those twice a year very picky clients! Maybe you've just been lucky but I get them a couple of times a year.

I have similar policy to JT in that if I've caused a problem, i.e., a moment of distortion or a glitch, click or pop that was not in the mix, I will fix that for no charge. Otherwise, it's hourly for all work booked off my regular site and one n/c revision for every 5 songs mastered when booked off my online site (flat rates). As well, if there is a gray area, I'm inclined to do a fix or revision for n/c.
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Andy Krehm
Silverbirch Productions
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Re: How do others handle remastering requests from FTP clients???
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 03:58:15 AM »

I was looking at your site and see that your average album price is listed at $1,200.

That is the full rate which - as you saw - we use to subsidize a range of discounts for independent musicians, smaller labels and work that comes in via our mixing studio `partnerships'. I don't have anything to do with the finances, or how that balance is managed, but I'd guess that putting the two together our average *income* per album over the year isn't in a totally different ballpark from yours - and the revision policy is exactly the same for Sony and for the local band who have a 10 track CD mastered for a flat rate of $600.

As I say though, we very rarely get asked for revisions of any substance so the real cost of them never arises.

Cheers,

Eric
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Philosophers Barn Mastering
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