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Holding artists music hostage in your computer!

Months ago I embarked on several projects at once then go kinda snowed under, months later I am only just now getting to the end of mixing them. It was not fair of me to keep so many projects waiting around... I really dont want to do it again.. I hope to just bang em out in future - 'wham bam, thank you mam" style!

Anyone else suffering from projects lingering in the DAW?

(I am aware self producing artists have song 'on the go' for very long periods, feel free to chip in on that topic as well, but my 'problem' was keeping clients / artists on spec deals - "waiting")

My analog / DAW hybrid method of mixing now make for a more exciting mix stage.. More of a one time deal..

Off to tweak some more!

:w:

Comments

planet red Sat, 03/30/2002 - 07:02
Right now I have like 4 bands sitting unmixed in my computer.
The problem with bands knowing everything is saved in the computer, they feel they can come back at ANY time to finish. I wish they'd come back and spend a couple days mixing, finish paying me all the money so i can erase the things off my hard drive. I know its not the same situation but annoying none the less.

Theres nothing I like better then when someone books all consecutive days and we can finish 5 songs in like 5 days.

Nate Tschetter Sat, 03/30/2002 - 08:02
Howdy

I should preface this by saying I'm more of a keyboard player and sound designer/programmer than a mixer guy. My studio fits the "bottom feeder" mold, which is fine with me.

I have a couple of these projects on my drive. One in particular is approaching the year and a half mark. It taking so long is not really my doing, but rather a matter of economics and psychology. The economics are that I can't pay the mortgage _just_ doing their project. So, I give them a couple weekends a month...if they can get their shit together enough to make it.

The "leader" of the group is a very...shall we say..."complicated" character. His "partner" is pretty much the exact opposite in every way: gender, culture, attitude, etc. Time and time again, their petty differences bring sessions to a grinding halt.

One time, he showed up at my door with his partner and announced that he was not going to be able to work with his partner because she was a "c--t" and he was going to walk home. His home is 70 miles away with the entire LA metro area in between. So I went to talk to the partner and he was gone. It turns out that in the last 10 minutes of the hour and a half drive out to my place, they had a disagreement as to how "into" the project each other was. Another day of recording wasted.

So, when just the basics of normal human communication are missing and we have to spend time working that out, not much time is left for the music (on which our time would be better spent).

Similar scenarios have played out ad nauseum. As a result, I just don't devote much time to it any longer. No wonder studios have couches. Perhaps I should add a "Dr. Laura time" line to my invoices.

Or maybe I should hire Fletcher to come in and crack a few skulls.

anonymous Sat, 03/30/2002 - 09:08
Originally posted by Nate Tschetter:
Howdy
No wonder studios have couches. Perhaps I should add a "Dr. Laura time" line to my invoices.

Or maybe I should hire Fletcher to come in and crack a few skulls.
:(
And what's a "Doctor Laura time" ?

And did I miss something?
I have been known to be obtuse up here, and I'm always grateful if somebody corrects me, truly, but - didn't this start with Julian feeling guilty
over not doing work on someone's stuff?

Not hiring Skull-Crusher's to break the legs of
an artist because they owe you more than money.
Or is it the same thing? I'm confused. :(

I'm just gonna go now, check that I didn't upset Fletcher last time I made a reply to his comments. :cool:
If I remember correctly, I thanked him for his grace, wisdom, and time for responding to my post.
Spoke to him about Jaguars for a while, and again thanked him. I might just check that.

Guest Sat, 03/30/2002 - 09:55
Well, I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is however much hard drive storage you have, there will be just enough projects occupying them to fill them up... plus maybe just a bit more.

The good news is firewire drives are getting incredibly cheap.

My main recording drive is a Glyph 36 GB ultra-SCSI. And I also have a 30 GB ATA internal drive in my G4. Then I have two firewire drives - 80GB and 60GB. Total = 206 GB.

Guess what? They're all full.

But it doesn't really bother me having 12 or more projects languishing on my drives waiting for the artists to get their (pick one) shit/money/concept together to finish. If I really run out of space, I'll just pick up another 80 Gigs for $300. Meanwhile, it's almost like having a safety net - if nothing new is coming in the door, I can always call someone and say: "Hey, about that project you started here in October 2000 - how about we finish it up this week." Usually they are grateful for a push to overcome the inertia.

PS - No matter how much drive space I own, I still back-up everything to DDS4 tape as well. I even encourage duplicate tape back-up sets. It only takes one hard drive crash to create permanent paranoia.

Nate Tschetter Sat, 03/30/2002 - 10:44
Hi Stedel

I meant "crack skulls" as in "a few choice words to get people's heads into the music rather than petty bs". Fletcher strikes me as a "no shit guy" which is what I strive for but I'm probably more of a "less shit guy" at this point of my career. [smiley face]

Dr. Laura is a radio personality that gives advice to people who call her show with problems. Some people find her as controversial as Howard Stern, others don't. Nevertheless, I find myself listening to more non-musical problems from these particular clients than mixing.

Although slightly different, it might be an interesting topic. What do you do when you're caught in between two people who really shouldn't be working together but you're 75% done with a project?

I was just answering Jules' "Anyone else suffering from projects lingering in the DAW!?". Although my reasons are different, I do have a few projects sitting there like last week's Chinese food.

Speaking of which...mmm, Chinese! [smiley, hungry face]

anonymous Sat, 03/30/2002 - 23:49
The only time I hold artists work hostage is when they haven't paid. I find such pettiness lubricates the financial cogs of commerce. Works a treat again and again.

As for projects hanging over , it helps if you are busy and they realize if they don't finnish in the allotted time then they may be waiting 2 or 3 months to get back in the studio. Personally I just dump everything off onto CDR and stack it in the archive drawer ... which is what I do with everything anyway. Ofcourse you therefore need the downtime between sessions to do this .... my latest plan has been to ethernet two Macs together , one for recording one for backing up ( have yet to test this system out ).

anonymous Sun, 03/31/2002 - 08:29
Originally posted by Robin Hughes:
Personally I just dump everything off onto CDR and stack it in the archive drawer ... which is what I do with everything anyway.
Do you charge for frequent backups, that is, cdrs, backup time, etc? Or do you just do it on your own time, and "include" it in your regular studio costs?

Most of the people I record at my studio are independant artists, they don't pay much to get their stuff recorded in the first place. So half the time I have to try to come up with a good way of explaining the necessity of taking home even cdr copies of the sessions at the end of their project.

Is it better to never mention backups and the costs associated with it and just include it in my studio rate?

Juergen

Guest Sun, 03/31/2002 - 15:41
"Is it better to never mention backups and the costs associated with it and just include it in my studio rate?"

If you charge by the hour, just do it during the sessions or tell them it must be done and be billed for. (perhaps at reduced rate if it is just a matter of setting a DAT or AIT backup rolling overnight..)

Guest Mon, 04/01/2002 - 05:16
Originally posted by Robin Hughes:
.... my latest plan has been to ethernet two Macs together , one for recording one for backing up ( have yet to test this system out ).
This seems very inefficient, compared to just chaining a bunch of firewire drives together on the same CPU.

First of all, it's much more expensive.
Second, ethernet transfers are SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW! Dumping a 10GB project from one drive to another takes maybe 20 minutes. Via ethernet it would take hours!

Guest Mon, 04/01/2002 - 05:26
Originally posted by Juergen:
Do you charge for frequent backups, that is, cdrs, backup time, etc? Or do you just do it on your own time, and "include" it in your regular studio costs?
I use Retrospect software with a DDS4 system. I only charge the client for blank media, as there is only a negligeable time aspect involved. Once I pop the backup tape in, it runs in the background - which means I can be mixing or recording someone else's project (or eating or sleeping) while the backup is happening. So, in all fairness, why should the client be paying by the hour for that? I just charge a small mark-up on the blank media instead to cover my minimal "labor".

On the other hand, I guess if I had no competition, I'd charge the client by the hour while I used the bathroom, watched TV, and slept with my girlfriend! :w:

Tom Cram Mon, 04/01/2002 - 10:18
I have an artist that has taken a year and 3 months. It has been a testament to keeping accurate studio logs :D . She is still not done, she has backup vox and misc overdubs to complete. I wish I could say it has been my fault, 'cause if it were I would have taken steps to fix the problem by now. She just wants to take her own sweet time. She is really good and easy to work with so I haven't been complaining (much).

The one that frustrates me is the band that came in, recorded drum tracks and vanished. They are current on the bill. I just can't contact them to see if they want to continue, the contact number has been disconnected. So it just sits on my archive drive, taking up valuable space :confused:

I'll dump it soon, I swear I will...

damster Mon, 04/01/2002 - 17:15
Wiggy Neve Freak or any other analog guy should pipe in at this point and share with us the current price for 2" tape........that will only hold about 3 songs!I have a couple of old reels that are going to be placed under the glass surface of a coffee table.These will serve as 'reminders' of how it used to be and the cost associated with these beauties.Suddenly the purchase of 7200 rpm IDE that will hold their whole album does'nt seem so troubling.If they are not willing to pay for one at this point then they have quite a time convincing me that I will be paid.

Showing up to band rehearsals and talking to the members is another good indication for me if the band is serious about what they are doing.If I am producing the band then this step is not an option.....It's a must. By asking the right questions I can get a glimpse at what the sessions have in store and how long I am going to have to wait to be paid.

anonymous Mon, 04/01/2002 - 18:45
I have had a few bands come in do a few days then run out of money as they try too much and then end up only doing one day a month. This takes months to finish and sometimes the space gets short and what can you do. apart from :mad:

Had a engineer want to bring some of his own work in, I said cool get yourself a 40gig firewire drive to store it on. I did not want the responsibility for his stuff when he was not there and really did not have the extra space for his project that would go on for 1 day a week for 2-3 months. He said firewire drive was too expensive.

anonymous Mon, 04/01/2002 - 22:37
Do you charge for frequent backups, that is, cdrs, backup time, etc? Or do you just do it on your own time, and "include" it in your regular studio costs?
Backups are definately an extra , I do them in my own time and charge a price that reflects the time taken to do it. If they don't like it then explain nicely what the alternatives are ... ie the recycle bin. If a client can't be bothered to pay for backups , then he can't be bothered about his recordings. And yes a nice explanation of the cost of backing up to 2" can make them see the light.

It is interesting to hear of ethernet problems , this has been one of my worries. Unfortuneately my firewire ports seem to have been shafted by a Formac CD burner and I can only get firewire working on the G4. As this now houses the aforesaid 24x CD Burner and the G3 is relagted to a Gen2 USB burner , an ethernet connection seems the only answer.

I have been informed that I can use a seperate extension set for ethernet swapping which will not conflict with my audio settings. I would like to hear anyones experiences with such a connection , and recommendations.

RecorderMan Tue, 04/02/2002 - 07:10
?
[/qb][/QUOTE]I use Retrospect software with a DDS4 system. "

Don't get me started on DDS4....I Hate DDS4. I've had to send mine back to Glyph TWICE. It never makes me feel comfortable. If I come in the next mornig after backing up 10 or 15 GB I'm very very lucky if I don'y have to run it again, to get a complete and veriefied back -up....and that's when it's working. I wish I'd spent my money on the ecrix.

Guest Tue, 04/02/2002 - 19:47
Originally posted by RecorderMan:


Don't get me started on DDS4....I Hate DDS4. I've had to send mine back to Glyph TWICE. It never makes me feel comfortable. If I come in the next mornig after backing up 10 or 15 GB I'm very very lucky if I don'y have to run it again, to get a complete and veriefied back -up....and that's when it's working. I wish I'd spent my money on the ecrix.
My mileage varied. I had a DDS 3 machine since 1998. For the first three years it worked flawlessly - I practically never had an "execution error" message. Sometime during the last year, I didn't realize i was inserting a used up DAT cleaning tape for who knows how long. I started getting more and more execution errors, and by the time I discovered my mistake, i think the heads were shot. So I bought a Sony DDS4 for $800 from Now Micro (hugely cheaper than Glyph, although without the Glyph service warranty). So far, I am back to flawless performance again. So I can't really agree with your assessment of DDS drives based on my own experience.

Richard Kuschel Wed, 04/03/2002 - 06:10
Back that stuff up and get it off your computer.

If you crash, you won't have have to wory about retrieving the information.

Hard Drives DO die. I don't keep anything on the computer that is critical to a project without backup.

I learned this lesson the hard way.

the Time/money/energy spent backing up and restoring a file when necessary is very small when compared to the grief caused by a crash or accidental deletion. :w:

MadMoose Wed, 04/03/2002 - 09:46
Originally posted by damster:
Wiggy Neve Freak or any other analog guy should pipe in at this point and share with us the current price for 2" tape........that will only hold about 3 songs!I have a couple of old reels that are going to be placed under the glass surface of a coffee table.These will serve as 'reminders' of how it used to be and the cost associated with these beauties.Suddenly the purchase of 7200 rpm IDE that will hold their whole album does'nt seem so troubling.If they are not willing to pay for one at this point then they have quite a time convincing me that I will be paid.
Analog guy here! A new reel of SM900 or GP costs me $150, 456 is a bit less I think $138 or so but it's been a while since I bought some. I sell tape to clients for $175 + tax. At 15ips you can fit about 33 minutes of music on a reel, cut it half for 30ips. I run at 15ips 99.9% of the time to save clients money. I use about three-four minutes on the first reel of a project for tones and a bias pad.

I can usually fit an album onto two, maybe three reels. The punk and hardcore bands can get everything onto one reel because the songs are 2 minutes each. The nice thing about tape is that it doesn't crash. When a project dies for a few months or a year I don't have to worry about reclaiming the space on my hard drive. I just put it on the shelf and move onto the next project. Reclaiming unused space on a reel is easy. Let's say that the band did two takes of the second song on the reel and the second is the keeper. Now you need another 2 minutes at the end of the reel to fit the last song? No problem, just cut out the non-keeper take and splice it to the end of a reel. For people that are going to be doing endless takes during basics we can go with Adats and then move over to 2" or just assemble the reel as we go. Anything else you want to know?

Here's a question for all you DAW people. What happens at the end of a project if you don't back up? Does the client get anything or are you "eating" the tape/media costs? I couldn't see not giving people a copy of the multi-track masters. Also, what happens in the event of a crash and the whole project dies? Do they sign a waiver saying that the studio isn't responsable for an "act of god" like a hard drive failure, and while they don't have to purchase backups it is highly recommend? I have friend who runs a PT studio and backups are not an option, all cleints get charged a drive usage and backup fee. I think that's the only way to go and it's not that much cheaper then 2" at 15ips.

Guest Wed, 04/03/2002 - 15:05
Total tape cost = under $40 for 3 songs, thats a DATA DAT copy for the artist and a safety for the studios archives, final back ups take place over night or on 'maintenance / odd job days' throughout the session the data exists on 2 seperate SCSI drives, work in progress copied accross once or twice a day.. We could lose a half days work with a drive crash.

"In the background" constant back up interests me..

Guest Wed, 04/03/2002 - 18:57
Here's a question for all you DAW people. What happens at the end of a project if you don't back up? Does the client get anything or are you "eating" the tape/media costs? I couldn't see not giving people a copy of the multi-track masters. Also, what happens in the event of a crash and the whole project dies? Do they sign a waiver saying that the studio isn't responsable for an "act of god" like a hard drive failure, and while they don't have to purchase backups it is highly recommend? I have friend who runs a PT studio and backups are not an option, all cleints get charged a drive usage and backup fee. I think that's the only way to go and it's not that much cheaper,then 2" at 15ips.
I don't get the math. Most of my full length CD projects (24bit/44.1) fit easily on 2 12GB DDS tapes. So we're talking maybe $30. What client can't afford that? Every session is backed up immediately following the session - so hard disk crashes are not fatal. Because Retrospect works completely in the background there is no "lost time" or labor involved to add to the client's costs. Sure you can create scenarios to lose a digital session, but analog studios burn down on occasion as well. Once the basic tracks are recorded, I encourage a redundant set of back-ups, one of which the client carries away with them (assuming they are paying as they go) - so there exists two sets of data at two different locations.

I realize 96k and 192k are 2x and 4x the size, but it still is cheaper. AND - those digital sessions can often include a lot more than the 24 tracks you are limited to on the 2".

Now, let's say I'm working with such a moron that they not only won't spring for redundant backups, but they don't even want to pay for a single backup! (Note: this has NEVER happened.) Doesn't matter - I would backup anyway until the project is finished, then once they have their mastered CD in hand, I'll simply reuse the backup tape on the next moron that doesn't want to pay $30 to insure the safety of their efforts.

If you want to argue that the "sound" of analog still blows digital away, I can't argue. But I can't fathom the "analog is cheaper" argument at all. :confused:

MadMoose Wed, 04/03/2002 - 20:18
I never said analog was cheaper, just that it isn't as expensive as most people think it is. I'd love to be able to work in a digital world and be able to comp vocals without hassle, clean out tracks when nothings there etc. but I have people come for 2" and frankly it does sound better to me but that's another topic. I almost bought a Radar instead of the JH-24. The only reason I didn't is because there aren't a lot of them in the circles my clients travel. Maybe in a few years.

How come people have 150-300 gigs of info and year old projects on the drives that haven't been tossed? Aren't they backed up? I'd delete them before I bought a new drive. I agree, at some point a clients going to pay for backup. Just tonight I wiped a set of Adat tapes from a client that tracked for 2 days in December. They still owed me for an hour or two and for the tapes. That's five months with no contact from them and I've sent emails and called them a few times. Fuck 'em. What it sounds like to me is that people aren't charging clients for media and backup costs. That's no way to run a railroad, or a recording studio.

The only thing I backup are CDR's of mixes and mastering projects. I charge enough for a DAT that I can cover the cost of a CDR for a "cover my ass" safty. Same thing with mastering, my cost of the backup comes out of the reference copy.

anonymous Thu, 04/04/2002 - 13:18
Our best studio solution: the client buys an 18G or 36G Cheetah hot swap drive in a labelled box (their master) for PT sessions. It's theirs - it's cataloged and sits on the shelf. or they take it with them...just like the old days when it was boxes of 24tr 2". The media cost of a project is part of the budget and the 'backup' to AIT or DDS is part of the budget. The time spent backing-up and the media is the clients choice - typically $10/hr. and $90 AIT, $20 DDS, or, they choose no backup. Clients are also offered to bring their own firewire drives as their project masters./ and backups. Masters are not released until: A. the studio bill is paid. B. A valid PO from a reputable recording organization.
I hope this helps.

anonymous Fri, 04/05/2002 - 08:00
Kinda-sorta not-really but in-a-way ( :roll: ). Part of it is that there is just flat out ALOT of stuff to edit (the project is the reading of the New Testament - King James version (thees, thous, hither to, thence, get the idea?), the rest is that I just can't sit down & edit this thing 10 hrs. a day everyday. I have other projects to do too ya know (and they all have to been done RIGHT AWAY!).

The project took a total of 16 CDs, each with anywhere from 60-70 mins. of finished material. During the initial editing phase, I made a backup data CD-R of each book/chapter as I finished editing it. However, the entire project still resides on my computer since I would have to rebuild each CD project (each CD has about 20 tracks) (I use SF CD Architect) since, if I were to delete the files from the HD, CDA wouldn't be able to find them anymore (I guess unless I load them back into their original place on the HD(s), hmmmmm....).

Good thing (?) is, they need me to finish the thing by the end of this month. Bad thing is, I wonder how long it will take them to pay up once its done so I can finally delete this mound of info off my computer? :eek:

MadMoose Fri, 04/05/2002 - 17:57
Originally posted by On-Track Recording:

The project took a total of 16 CDs, each with anywhere from 60-70 mins. of finished material. During the initial editing phase, I made a backup data CD-R of each book/chapter as I finished editing it. However, the entire project still resides on my computer since I would have to rebuild each CD project (each CD has about 20 tracks) (I use SF CD Architect) since, if I were to delete the files from the HD, CDA wouldn't be able to find them anymore (I guess unless I load them back into their original place on the HD(s), hmmmmm....)
Huh? I use Architect all the time. When you create a new file with the track order you can save it as a "CDA" file. I save that CDA file in the tracks. For example, today I finished mastering a CD for the Particle Zoo. I have a folder named "PZoo Mastering" with all the songs unmastered, then another folder inside the first folder with the mastered versions. The CDA file is in with the mastered versions. After I'm done with the project I burn a data disc of the main folder. In the event that I need to make another audio disc I can grab my data disc, put it all back on the hard drive, open Architect, select that CDA file and hit burn. Or am I not understanding something?
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