I recently jumped into a topic that means a lot to me.
“What’s your purpose?”
Knowing your purpose for doing things in this day and age as a musician is going to save you so many awkward situations. Knowing when to ask for clarity will also save you many an awkward situation.
This topic rose to the surface when an artist asked me how much I charge for mastering a song. I gave him my price not knowing that he was actually looking for mixing as well as mastering. When I realised this I proceeded to spend the next few texts trying to explain the difference between mixing and mastering and why both are necessary. These are the needless conversations that we have that will leave you in awkward situations. I won’t lie… I don’t think I could’ve taken him seriously had he made me an offer after that because he had list all credibility with that first question.
“What is your purpose for what you do? Do you know why you want that particular thing?”
The same sort of situation happened with an artist who was on the hunt for a record deal. I let him know very quickly that I don’t run a label and that I have no real desire to be part of a record label at the moment. He asked why and I replied by asking why he feels he needs a label. He proceeded to tell me how a label would fund his next projects and get him a whole lot of gigs. He also told me that a label would help him get a sponsorship and a few other things that I can’t quite recall right now. I told him that he needed to be careful because not all record labels will go to that length and that he needs to do his research. None of the labels that I’ve heard about are willing to give that much backing to an artist without any sort of track record. It would be too risky on their part and it’s actually quite unrealistic if you think about it.
Finding your purpose and knowing why you’re asking for what you’re asking for is paramount to navigating the industry with a clearer goal. Spend as much time doing research and find out why certain things are done.
I have one last example that I speak about that makes me laugh on occasion. I’ll send a done track through to an artist and they will ask whether it’s a) been mixed, b) been mastered or c) all of the above.
If the artist isn’t able to tell what’s going on then I’m not sure they’re the best person to be handling their music. Know the purpose of a mix and a master otherwise you’re wasting your money on it. Sit with your engineer and ask them to tell you what a mix sounds like, what a master sounds like and how to load wav/mp3 files up on a DAW like Cubase to analyse them. This will ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth and that the engineer isn’t ripping you off. I know loads of artists who compare my mixes using objective information like overall volume when they load it into their DAW and I thank them for keeping me on my toes. These are people who are more in tune with their purpose for their career and I take my hat off to them.
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