Recording Dilemma

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bass81800, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. I am all for the credential of playing on recordings, but this really sounds like a deal where I need to be paid for my time.

    This was a response to CL's ad I sent out over a month ago. Vocalist and guitarist want to do some tracks this Thursday and Friday, have a gig (no mention of me being on the gig). Want me to audition/rehearse tomorrow afternoon.

    So, get this email re: time commitment:

    We were thinking around 7 on thurs and 5 or 6 on fri. Note: they are referring to hours here. I have another commitment Thurs evening.

    No, I do not even know these people, although they appear to be good players from their site, but would do it for $$. What could I charge, or is some kind of recording credential a really good thing? I have some recordings of my own, but some quality recordings of being a sideman with others would be great too.
  2. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Think this through a little bit more... :meh:

    How well will the ultimate recording serve as your "credential" if the music itself isn't good, and/or if the production values aren't good? And how would you even know whether the product will be good, if you haven't even heard any demos yet (unless there's more detail here that you haven't shared)?

    Trust me: If the overall sound isn't pleasant & professional, people are not going to care how good your playing is on the recording. They're not going to want to listen to it at all.

    Do you even have a definite agreement with them that you are to be provided with a copy of the final product, to be used in your portfolio? If not, then aren't you assuming an awful lot, without having enough information to make an informed judgement?

    The kind of time commitment they're requesting is significant. Given all the loose ends and unanswered questions here, can you really justify giving them that much of your time, attention & energy - not even knowing what they're prepared to offer in return?

    When they asked you to play with them, did you think to ask them what kind of compensation they had in mind? If not, then why not? :eyebrow:

    Only you can decide whether you feel it worthwhile to go into this situation virtually blind in this manner. As for the cash value of your contribution, that's going to depend quite a bit on the particular area where you live. Unfortunately, since you haven't entirely filled out your profile, nobody here has any idea of where you live.

  3. Thanks, Michael.

    I am asking questions right now to avoid going blind into this situation or not go into this at all, which is more where I am learning. Have updated profile, and I will not do this unless something is offered to me in return. I have only stated I will do an audition, but now they let me know it is a rehearsal. I have not even agreed to a rehearsal. I just asked them about the time commitment, they emailed with this info, and I have not responded yet.

    Good points about any assumptions about recording quality and many questions that need to be answered by them.
  4. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Just ask them what kind of deal they have in mind, i.e. total commitment from you vs. compensation from them (type & amount). Put it on them to make the offer. Don't be the first one to name a figure. It helps your negotiating position greatly if the first offer comes from them - not you.

    Good luck! ;)

  5. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    If you've never done any studio work for others, I'd say do it for the experience. Whether it's good or bad you'll still learn something.
  6. I'm not sure I understand your question, but if I do, FWIW: The going ballpark studio rate for a bassist in northern CA, is about $300 to $500 per session.
  7. Thanks, Joe.
    That is one of my questions. Good info!
  8. You’re welcome - and yes as long as the end results turn out good (in other words, the recordings sound good so you can use/mention them in you resume) the more side work recordings you do the better - they’ll get you more work $$$. ;)
  9. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I have recorded on home systems, and in pro studios since the eighties. I am currently working on a project where I a laying every instrument for a singer. My reward is, her songs get heard, and she finds out if she has what it takes.

    You are worth big money as an experienced, reliable session player on pro recordings, yes. For everything else, you should be happy if they buy you lunch. You are doing this to learn something about recording. Some very good players live aren't that great for the studio, and vice versa. They are two different animals.

    I say do the project, and see what happens. It will be worth it for the learning experience alone. I really doubt they are going to pay you five hundred bucks.

    7 hours seems long, and I might not be willing to throw myself into that "for the experience." I know when I do my own recordings, an hour can turn into 12 just like that, but I don't ask others to do anything unless I have it all figured out what we're tracking, and if they're good, they can play it in a couple of takes.

    Those guys ARE worth five hundred bucks.
  10. Good points,and thanks, but they are not offering me anything of value here, no money, no gig, they barely play out at all, and are not even known in my area. Does this justify 12 hours' of work on my part for the experience of doing this. I have done some recording for others in the past, just not recently.
  11. Maybe. If like you say, they’re really good musicians - it could be fun, and good connections never hurt.
  12. I am not turning them down, but I am offering less availability as far as time commitment. Will see what they say. I really do not have anything else going on those two days, outside of a rehearsal and a possible jam session. So, important to consider that. Good point -- new contacts, possible quality recording. I think they are good players.
  13. Sometimes the best things happen by luck - have fun, and good luck. :)
  14. PS: If they send you "chord charts" and raw recordings of the songs "MP3s" so you know the material before you get there (and assuming they’re recording at a commercial studio) if you and the drummer can lay down your basic tracks on the first take (depending on the number of songs) you could be in and out of there in a couple of hours or less.

    TIP: Since this is a freebie - don’t learn/record more than 3-4 songs maximum. Tell them you want to hear what those songs sound like finished before investing more into it.
  15. Thanks, again. No, nothing sent yet, and no response after limiting my hours of being available. There are four tracks, and, yes, why not lay down the bass tracks first w/drums! Have done that before.

    Will post updates, if any, when this works itself out.
  16. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I wouldn't do it. Legitimate recording opportunities are not advertised on craig's list.

    Sound's like 2 dudes in a bedroom that will do nothing but waste your time. IMO.

  17. So, made new contacts today, and am scheduled to lay down the bass tracks on Friday with about a six-hour commitment in a full digital recording studio at a major university music department. I think this will be a big learning experience with quality recordings, someone (not a band member) there with recording knowledge doing the recording. May later lead to some gigs. Not a paid thing, but happy for this opportunity.
  18. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Good luck, and I hope it spins into some paid opportunities.

  19. Thanks, and I hope so too!
  20. Update on recording. As it turned out, neither of them contacted me all week. This was after, we will get back to you with the charts, etc. was communicated to me and what I thought was a positive and productive rehearsal.

    Makes me wonder what are people thinking when they act like this? Do they care about their reputation?

    But, really, the first thought I had on this was: these people will never be successful if they pull this kind of stuff. This was an investment of about eight hours of my time and I was willing to do this all this week. It was of some benefit to me, but much more benefit to them. All it would have taken would have been a call, a text, an email, sorry we changed plans, we found someone else, we delayed this.

    A lesson in what happens when you do not follow your gut instincts,and do not get adequate info.

    No big loss, no big investment, and glad I found out who these people were before I invested any more time in this.