FIG. A: In addition to using his Web site to publicize his recordings and performances, Dave Weckl also promotes his remote-session business from it.
Dave Weckl (www.daveweckl.com) is one of the top drummers in the world, and he's leveraged his stellar reputation into a lucrative remote-session business (see Fig. A). He offers clients the cachet of having his drumming on their projects, and he records the tracks using top-notch gear that includes a Digidesign Pro Tools HD3 system, Grace and Universal Audio mic pres, a Dangerous Music 2-BUS LT. Weckl does his own engineering, just as he does on his CDs.
Working in his own studio with everything set up and ready to go makes it easy for him to maintain strong quality control. He finds remote playing to be quite productive. “It allows me to work on my own time and spend the necessary time getting a really great track, with my sound already built in,” he says.
Weckl's method for exchanging files is similar to the others profiled here, but he relies more heavily on sending the data on physical discs than do the other musicians mentioned in this story. “I ask them to send files — in Sound Designer II, AIFF, or WAV format — however they like,” he says, “but usually via FedEx or a similar service on CDs or DVDs, with all files beginning at zero so there are no sync issues. I usually return my tracks, either mixed or unmixed depending on their preference, in the same format. I also use Digidesign's DigiDelivery service over the Internet when it is appropriate for both parties.”
Because of his reputation, Weckl is able to charge top dollar for his services. “My standard basic rate is $1,000 per song, which includes my regular recording fee, studio time, engineering fee, and administrative costs. There are slight additional costs for solo features and stereo drum mixes,” he says.
Does Weckl's fee include revisions? “It depends on the project,” he says. “For demos there is no revision process. For final tracks, yes, I provide a one-time approval MP3 mix via the Internet. Additional fee charges (per hour) occur if after the first approval, if the adjustments are not to their liking.”
Overall, he doesn't find a lot of negatives to the remote-recording process, except perhaps for its isolated nature. “It removes the social aspect of a session — hanging and playing with live musicians. But for the people who don't produce their CDs that way in the first place, it is optimum for all involved.”