Ask David Glenn Ep. 1: Resume Samples and Promoting Your Services
I’m your host, David Glenn, of Davidglennrecording.com and theproaudiofiles.com.
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Alright, here we go with the Ask David Glenn Podcast. Some of you may know, I started a David Glenn recording podcast, just back December of 2014 before the holidays got crazy on us, the turn of the New Year.
That is still going to be coming your way, except I’m going to turn it into a round-table discussion with a few of my friends, and we’re going to do a video version as well, so lots more to come with that. I’ve got a couple interviews lined up, and all good things, but this podcast – I get a slew of e-mails every single day, and on a weekly basis, I notice they tend to stack up on me, so I figure, “What better way than to answer questions via e-mail, and let that information live on the internet so more people can benefit from it?” So, if you have a question, submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org. That may get chosen to be featured in an Ask David Glenn episode.
I’m going to be trying to bring these your way as often as possible. It could be as much as one for every day of the week; we’ll see how it goes, and if there’s enough interest for it, but again, send your e-mails to me. David@davidglennrecording.com, Glenn has two n’s.
Moving on to today’s question, it comes from my buddy, Ben Rico***, he is a member at themixacademy.com. Ben writes, “David, we all want to work with the best quality recordings we can get our hands on. In order to get there on a consistent basis, a lot of newcomers to the mixing and production world will have to go through the experience of working with less than great material, working with amateurs, non-professionals, etc. Because of that, a lot of people will have to make a choice on the quality of work they can put online to promote their business, whether it’s editing, recording, mixing or mastering services, we have to make personally make choices on what we’re willing to showcase for others to hear. What is your opinion and/or experience with making those kinds of decisions when promoting your services?” Well, it’s a great question, and I think I’ve got a good answer.
He also notes here next to, “What is your opinion about quantity vs. quality, and getting the okay from the creators to post their art on your website or send out their songs to people who are interested in your services,” so.
To address that first question, since it’s direct, I’ll say quality over quantity every single day. Make sure that not only is the quality good, but more importantly, is the song good? When people listen to your samples, what they’re listening to is the music. They’re going to listen to the song. That doesn’t necessarily mean have the best lyrics, or the most amazing singer, but overall, if it’s a song that people can jam to or they’re going to like, most genres, I would say, the song itself is more important than the recording quality as far as your portfolio and all of that, and that all together, just as a listener, I’d say the song is more important, and that I could care less if it was recorded on an iPhone or a 4-track recorder. The song is what I’m listening for. But you know, for the portfolio and for your samples, it definitely helps to have good quality.
Also, he asked about getting the okay. I don’t think I’ve ever had someone tell me no to using. I think that’s kind of just a known thing that if you work with someone, that you’re giving them commission to use that for promoting their services.
It doesn’t hurt to send an e-mail and make it official to get that permission, but more often than not, you’re probably fine just posting that stuff up as long as it’s released.
Now, you don’t want to go leaking people’s music, but if it’s unreleased, give them a shout, shoot an e-mail, shoot a call, a text, whatever, and say, “hey, I’ve got a website I’d like to showcase the work that we did together. Would you mind if I posted that?” and give them the opportunity to say yes or no.
Now, back to the main question, I’ve got some thoughts on this. I kind of touched on it a little bit with the quality, but whenever I go to build my .mp3 player or whatever on my website, or put a file in DropBox of my latest samples, something that I do is I’ll take every genre – let’s start with pop rock, kind of blend those together – I’ll take my most recent pop rock stuff, and I’ll fade them in and out of each other, like, 30 seconds, maybe even 5-10 seconds of my best work to just have kind of a quick in and out sample of my best pop rock stuff, and I’ll put that on the website, and call it, “Pop Rock samples.”
Well, then I’ll go to Hip Hop, R&B. Put that stuff together. Mesh 4, 5, 6 songs, whatever you can if you have that many – mesh them together so that it goes in and out quickly to showcase your samples. If people send me music to mix or think about in the days of A&R, you know, sending in demos and stuff like that, most people aren’t listening more than probably the first 10-15 seconds, if any go beyond that, it’s 30 seconds, a minute, you lose people every 15-20 seconds. They’re going to be dropping off, so I would make sure that the first thing that they hear is slamming, that it sounds great, and that it gets to the point. You know, they’re listening to see if you’re good, they’re not listening to see if they like that artist or that band.
So showcase your work, get in, get out, do it for each genre. If you’re working multiple genres like I do, then have one for each genre you work in, but then below those samples, have full songs labeled with the artist. Give them credit, and whatever genre it is, so that people know which one to click on.
So that’s for if you’re producing, or mixing, or recording even across multiple genres. Have something that goes in and out quickly, and showcases your work so that people can get the point if they like you or not, and move on.
Now, moving on to part 2, “What decisions or steps would you recommend to those of us that are in the process of marketing our own surfaces?” Well, I guess I kind of touched on that, but definitely do it. Have a site, have your samples up.
Aside from mastering engineers, I think that before and after samples can work really, really well. I think that before and after samples with mastering engineers can be a little bit scammy, depending upon how it’s handled, but definitely for guys doing production and definitely for guys doing mixing. In the production world, say you have an artist that comes to you and they have a scratch track. They recorded it themselves.
Show that as the before, show 10-15 seconds of it, then quickly fade into the after. What you did with that song. The guys in the mixing world do the same thing. Show the rough mix. Show the client’s rough mix, or something that was early on in the process, and show that as the before, and then zoom in to your after sample. That can really help people with perspective, and that can even help – not to be like, too sales-y, or definitely not scammy, you definitely want to hold to your morals and stuff, but if someone is listening to your before and afters, and your after is so much better than the before, then that looks good on you, as opposed to if they’re pulling up your mixes, versus another mixing engineer, versus another mixing engineer, or multiple producers. This way, they’re comparing what you can do to a song, as opposed to comparing you to other mixers or producers.
So, to recap a little bit, I’d say that first comes the song itself, then the quality of your work with that song, then followed by the niche that you’re targeting. If you’re looking to grow your Hip Hop mixing clientele, then you need to take your Hip Hop mixes, sum them together, fade in and out, and send that to your Hip Hop clients and potential clients. If you’re looking to get into Gospel or Rock, or whatever, make sure your samples reflect that niche, or the audience that you’re trying to attract.
And then, the other thing that I would say, kind of mentioned in the question would be dealing with lower quality stuff, you’re going to attract clients that fit within the quality of what you’re offering as samples, and actually, I’d bet you’re really going to attract clients who are not at the level of what you’re putting out there, because they want to come to that level. They want to hire you to get what you can give them, and they’re not getting that where they’re at.
I want to say thanks to Ben for the question, and Ben, if you or anyone out there, if you have anything you’d like me to elaborate on for this particular topic of samples and portfolio, your resume, then feel free. Hit me back, email@example.com, and I’ll make sure to elaborate the best that I can.
Thanks, guys for listening. I’m excited to bring these to you as much as possible. Tons more on the way from davidglennrecording.com, theproaudiofiles.com. We will catch you on the next one.