RegisterRegister
Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages
Log inLog in
FAQ  -  SEARCH  -  MEMBERS  -  FAVORITES  -  PROFILE
"can you send me the stems?"
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic   printer-friendly view    Tape Op Message Board Forum Index -> People Skills
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
joninc
carpal tunnel


Joined: 09 Jun 2003
Posts: 1685
Location: canada

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:45 pm    Post subject: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

I am not sure if you guys are running into this much but i seem to get a request a few times a year from clients to "send stems" on (mostly) completed projects. maybe it's for a remix or someone wanting to revisit some track at home or whatever.

to be clear - this is people emailing me asking for me to send them stuff on my own time - not on days that they are here in studio working with me.

I don't know about you guys - but I don't ever make stems (like stereo drum mixes, or bgs, or anything) as part of my process of recording or mixing albums so it's never something that I just have on hand and can throw in the dropbox in 1 minute.

It involves finding the files on an archived hardrive, going through all the files and renaming so they are obvious and clear to someone else and consolidating and exporting everything as individual wav files.

rough estimate - maybe 1 hour to do a song with lots of tracks from start to finish.

Do you bill for that?

What if the album was finished 2 years ago?

I find that these little things can add up when you have a large pool of projects and so I tend to bill for them but, I never want anyone to feel like they are being nickle and dimed, so I feel kind of bad about it. but - i also don't think artists realize that it is more than a 2 minute favor that they are asking.

what do you do?

i am also now just starting to see people wanting to take the bed tracks home to tinker with overdubs and arrangements on their own too and so i'll get requests for different variations on the mix to help them try stuff (ie: no guitars mix, no lead vocal mix, only drums and bass mix). again - not a huge amount of time, but as a busy guy with a family, i am trying to balance things and be fair and reasonable to everyone. an hour spent making alternate mixes in the evening is an hour i can't spend with my wife or kids... should that be free?
_________________
the new rules : there are no rules
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
mwerden
steve albini likes it


Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 348

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:59 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

You clearly aren't happy with the parameters you've set so that means it's time to tweak them. If you charge for the project then you could build in that sort of thing to the project rate. Mix includes vocal up and instrumental mixes, detailed stems cost $x more.

This kind of scenario is why I charge for my time. That way the client is somewhat motivated to have their shit together (as opposed to asking for splits a year later). And I get paid for my time either way so I can plan accordingly. I guess this is a long way of saying that I absolutely charge for the time it takes to print splits.

Another solution is to build splits into your workflow. If you're all in the box you can do all your submixes to their own track so you can print all at the same time, then shift+apple+k and you're done.

Whatever you decide to do you should just find a way to bring the topic up beforehand. Doing a mix can mean different things to different people.
_________________
Instagram: @spaceacres
www.acres.space
www.mattwerden.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
joninc
carpal tunnel


Joined: 09 Jun 2003
Posts: 1685
Location: canada

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:15 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

yeah, i hear you. i charge for my time too - i have a day rate and 95% of all I do is done that way. for the most part - i have a half day minimum and won't do anything short of that. and i only do maybe 1 half day every month or 2 - the rest is all full day bookings.

but - there's the odd little thing like this that is obviously WAY less than a half day (4 hours) would be, and the artists are all people that I like and want to be a help to - within reason. a 5 minute favor is nothing - an hour is different.

when you've done a whole record with someone (or multiple records) and they have spent a considerable amount of money working with you, i think it just makes me sensitive to "additional fees" for small things - in that case, an hourly rate probably is best for everybody. i like to keep things as simple and clear as possible.

I just want to be careful that I keep a tight rein on these small things so it stays as the exception rather than the rule because I used to work that way (by the hour) and I hated it - it makes everyone stressed out about time and watching the clock. a day rate really helped alleviate that.

i should have probably clarified that the alternate mixes i mentioned are alternate ROUGH mixes - projects that are underway but the artist is taking time to raise funds to finish tracking/mixing and wants to save a little cash and try tracking/arranging some bgs at home - or has a buddy across the county who's a genius string player who can add some tracks etc..

I will still mix these albums later and will print instrumentals and any variations wanted at the time.

I wondered if any of you make stems or consolidate all your tracks after mixing as part of your process so the artist has everything on a their HD backup once an album is done and you have no need to dig into it for them later...[/u]
_________________
the new rules : there are no rules
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
MoreSpaceEcho
zen recordist


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 6149

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:49 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

totally reasonable to bill for this. my lady recently asked for stems from an engineer who'd recorded her old band a few years ago. i think he billed her for an hour or two of time, and she was happy to pay.

Quote:
I wondered if any of you make stems or consolidate all your tracks after mixing as part of your process


i don't, but i think i'm going to start. simply so if i need to revisit the project years later for whatever stupid reason, i can just open the files in whatever program, and don't have to worry about session files, plugins, etc.
_________________
www.oldcolonymastering.com
https://morespaceecho.bandcamp.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2168

PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:27 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

On my largest mix projects I absolutely consolidate down to stems to make the sessions manageable, as there can be entirely too much going on...both visually and for a non HD Pro Tools rig to support. It really does make some things lot easier, especially when you've got a lot of automation done and then you really want to play with the overall mix without screwing everything else up, etc...

But I had a friend's band approach me for something I did for them 1.5 years ago, and they wanted stems...which had not been made. I charged them 2 hours at the friend rate. Of course my mistake was thinking that since they are friends that I wouldn't have to keep pestering them for pay. It took about 6 weeks to get paid, while I had sent them stems right away...not something I do for everyone but again, I've worked for them several times in the past and didn't think money would be an issue, and I didn't ask them for very much money to do it ($50) so I thought it would be easy peasy.

So yeah, absolutely charge for it. It does take time, especially to make stems that will be meaningful for someone besides you. And take payment before handing it over.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JGriffin
zen recordist


Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Posts: 6739
Location: criticizing globally, offending locally

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:30 am    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

I work mainly in postproduction. Preparing stems is now a pretty standard part of the process for me. I've started setting up my ProTools sessions so that I can print stems at the same time I make the final mix – which works out well on feature-length films, let me tell you.

As far as consolidating tracks after mixing: The Producers & Engineers wing of the Recording Academy recommends this for long-term storage and portability of sessions, and I try to follow it where possible. I confess I don't always.
_________________
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." – Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
RoyMatthews
re-cappin' neve


Joined: 30 Dec 2005
Posts: 770
Location: Sunnyside Queens, NY

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:10 am    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

Also keep in mind that quite often these stems are probably going to make someone else some money down the road. It's entirely possible that they are giving these stems to another engineer to remix or track new vocals or whatever to. That engineer is probably getting some dough and you should too.

I suppose if it makes you feel better about it recommend that clients pay a stem/printing/consolidations to make recalls down the line easier. If they don't want to pay for that extra time right after the session then that's their call and it makes it easier to charge for stems down the line.

I've had clients ask for stems and most of the time it comes down to how good a client they were. For some I just did it because I had some down time and it was easy. For others I made them come in with their backup drive and worked from that. Partially to make it "official" and partially so they have it on their drives. I try to keep a backup of everything but more and more I don't want to be in charge of their backups.

I like to consolidate and make stems whenever I can but sometimes clients don't understand and dont want to pay for the time. Heck I've had clients put on their coats as I bounce down the last mix.

It's your time. Charge them.
_________________
"If there's one ironclad rule of pop history, it's this: The monkey types Hamlet only once."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
roscoenyc
george martin


Joined: 03 Jun 2007
Posts: 1264
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

Can't pay me to do it!
_________________
http://www.cowboytechnical.com/
http://ericambel.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 2912
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

Two things come to mind -
#1 - explain your process to the client so they understand what is and isn't a quick and easy job. If they know you don't mix stems and it's something they know they'll want they can build it into the original session budget or understand that they'll have to pay you to do it later.

#2 - Come up with an hourly rate for small jobs. I bill by the day or half day for tracking and mixing and then bill by the hour for the odd job type stuff (like quick mix revisions, outputting stems, etc, etc, etc). Each billing type is a subdivision of the day rate rounded up to make it worth my while and as an incentive for people to book full days. I also make it clear that the odd job/hourly stuff happens in off hours and at my convenience.

People are generally quite understanding once they know what's involved.
_________________
Dave

http://adavidmackinnon.blogspot.com
http://adavidmackinnon.bandcamp.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
cgarges
TOMB Moderator
TOMB Moderator


Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Posts: 10819
Location: Charlotte, NC

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:44 am    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

My clients always leave with their multi-track audio files. I can't be bothered to store everything I've worked on for the past couple of decades and they paid me for them, so they get to take care of them. If someone wants to bring me the multi-tracks (or if I do happen to have a copy of theirs around) and they want me to make stems, I'll totally do it, assuming they're going to pay me for the time it takes for me to do it. To me, there's absolutely nothing that's unfair about that.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
_________________
www.chrisgarges.com
https://www.facebook.com/oldhousestudio
Playing drums with Mitch Easter and The Spongetones
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
vvv
zen recordist


Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 7930
Location: Chi

PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:54 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

Evry time I read this thread title, I wonder, "What ya gonna do with the seeds?"
Twisted Evil
_________________
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; blog.
I mix with olive juice.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
JGriffin
zen recordist


Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Posts: 6739
Location: criticizing globally, offending locally

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

cgarges wrote:
My clients always leave with their multi-track audio files. I can't be bothered to store everything I've worked on for the past couple of decades and they paid me for them, so they get to take care of them. If someone wants to bring me the multi-tracks (or if I do happen to have a copy of theirs around) and they want me to make stems, I'll totally do it, assuming they're going to pay me for the time it takes for me to do it. To me, there's absolutely nothing that's unfair about that.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC


Chris, do your clients provide a hard drive for the files, or do you sell them a drive, or do you post the files to a dropbox or something for them to pull down? I'm finding it really difficult to hand off project files in a way that doesn't cause clients' heads to explode (keep in mind I work with a fair number of people for whom the concept of an external hard drive is pretty challenging).
_________________
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." – Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
chris harris
speech impediment


Joined: 12 Aug 2003
Posts: 4270
Location: Norman, OK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:40 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

I just bought a bunch of USB flash drives for delivering session files to clients. You can find the 16 - 32gb drives for around $10 each now. I just factor that into my rate.
_________________
Studio - http://www.hookechosound.com
Label - http://www.wearenicepeople.com
Band - http://www.depthandcurrent.com
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/HoodEchoSound
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
joninc
carpal tunnel


Joined: 09 Jun 2003
Posts: 1685
Location: canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:07 pm    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

i like the usb idea!

but the real expense is the time it takes to consolidate all the tracks
_________________
the new rules : there are no rules
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
chris harris
speech impediment


Joined: 12 Aug 2003
Posts: 4270
Location: Norman, OK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:54 am    Post subject: Re: "can you send me the stems?" Reply with quote

Yep. That time is absolutely billable.
_________________
Studio - http://www.hookechosound.com
Label - http://www.wearenicepeople.com
Band - http://www.depthandcurrent.com
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/HoodEchoSound
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic   printer-friendly view    Tape Op Message Board Forum Index -> People Skills All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 1 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum