We have decided to expose some of the stories our clients share with us. Hopefully this page will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls many musicians face when recording their material.
Compilation Album ScamIt pains me to say that I myself was a victim of this scam. I remember getting a phone call from a record label saying that they would like to feature one of my bands songs on their next compilation. However, after the contracts came through I realised that they were asking me for payment to cover certain processing costs.
Extra ChargesWhen you record a song in the studio you are paying for the studio time and the audio files created within that studio time. Yet, some studios will try and charge you extra to get the audio files, or “stems”, you have created.
This is wrong and you should never pay extra for the stems, they are yours and it's important that you have them in case you ever need to take the song to another producer or have the song mixed. You may be charged for the time it takes to prepare and hand over the stems to you, but that is acceptable, I would average it takes about 1 hour to prepare stems.
But some of our clients have reported being asked for a whopping £800 or more for their stems, which is unbelievable seeing as they have effectively already paid for them within the studios hourly fee!
Apple Beam NEVER charge our clients for their stems. We charge a nominal amount to render (prepare) them and deliver them, but this never exceeds 1 hour. It is simply not in our interest to rip our clients off, we are well established and have our good name to uphold after all!
Lots Of Mini BreaksDid you know that if your studio producer smokes you will lose a significant amount of studio time (and money) in the studio. Sounds crazy right, but in reality the “quick fag breaks” can quickly add up. The time to go out for a smoke, come back in and perhaps take a toilet break, wash hands and make a coffee can be 20 minutes.
But, there is a certain amount of lead in time that a producer needs to get back 'into the zone' and get focus back onto the project, which can take another 5-10 minutes. This is why lots of mini break can add up to more than a hour of lost studio time that you will inevitably have to pay for.
Apple Beam producers do not smoke and we always limit unnecessary mini breaks, unless requested by you, the client.
'Lone Producer Syndrome'There are producers out there who seem to think that being thorough means spending all day perfecting something that is insignificant. We call this 'lone producer syndrome'.
These producers typically have not worked with a large client base or in a professional setting. They are used to working in their own way, agonising over the smallest details and very often staying up until 4am tweaking the kick drum! None of this is professional and vary rarely produces good results.
An experienced producer, on the other hand, will be able to find where the song needs to go quickly and efficiently. They will have worked with countless clients, management companies and other industry professionals. Our producers work with hundreds of artists a year, learning and improving all the time.
Producer Won't Listen To MeWe've heard unbelievable stories from musicians who have worked with studio producers that ignore their clients creative input. This amazes us because the sole job of the engineer (or producer) is to give the client exactly what they want, no ignore them!
Our producers will always give creative and technical input, especially if we feel a large improvement can be made. However, ultimately we know that the final decision rests with the client. Music is extremely personal and we have learned to support our customers without diluting or ignoring their creative vision.
Taking Too Long To Complete A Song
One of the main reasons musicians come to us is because they know we don't drag our heels in the studio. In other words, we don't waste their money.
We've heard of mega slow producers who spend two days to make a beat. That, my friends is unacceptable and unprofessional. There is no reason that a song should take more than two days from start to finish. The beat (instrumental) should be done well within a full day.
I know that a lot of studios will not like us for saying this but there is a tendency within the industry to stretch out sessions, making them last longer than they need to.
Over ChargingJust because a studio is located in a fancy part of town or has a receptionist does not mean you will get a better result than a smaller studio. In fact, I am willing to bet that a talented producer who works from his bedroom can out strip any “average” producer working within a £1000/day studio complex.
In 2008, a client came to me distraught after paying £1800 for her song to be produced. She had used a top London recording studio believing that they would provide the best level of expertise. Unfortunately the recording was old fashioned and very disappointing.
I re-produced the song and she was extremely grateful and happy with the results. The sad thing was that I spent just 5 hours on the song because I was able to very quickly find where the song needed to go. I didn't need to waste time or experiment too much. The results was that she paid me £135, which is £1665 less than she had previously paid for a song that ultimately had to go in the bin.
Don't be fooled by big fancy studios, always scrutinise the producer and his/her abilities. Too many musicians think that pro-tools automatically means quality, or that a £3000 pre amp will make your voice sound amazing. Having good gear is important, but not an excuse to over charge or (as in this case) under deliver.