6 Ways to Get Your Name Out as a Mixing Engineer Pt.1
Getting your name out there as a serious mixing engineer is a daunting task. The market is crowded. And with more and more easy-to-use tools, musicians are better able to take care of mixing and audio processing themselves.
But as most people in music know, a solid, professional mix requires a solid, professional mixing engineer. However, why would anybody pick you to mix their record? Even if you are a solid mixing engineer, there are thousands of others just like you. Getting picked is difficult.
In this 3-part blog series, I will go through 6 concepts and key questions to ask to help you get your name out there. For this first article, I will go through two key questions to ask yourself before you even think about stuff like marketing, advertising, networking, and all the other things connected to getting your name out there as a mixing engineer.
Who’s it for?
Today, simply being a technically good mixing engineer isn’t always sufficient to be successful. There are plenty of good mixing engineers out there, but there are also plenty of amazing musicians out there.
When you’re going to build your name and brand, you’ll want to be specific about who you’re trying to build it for. Just as various musical acts appeal to different kinds of people, you’ll want to do the same with your mixing.
“I’m a mixing engineer, and I’ll mix any record” may sound like a good idea, because then you’re technically available for all sorts of mixing work. You’ll have a wider market. And if you’re just starting out, mixing any record might be a good idea to gain experience and improve your skills.
But as you develop, “I’ll mix any record” isn’t very appealing to most people. Most musicians are very delicate about their work, and if they hire a mixing engineer and spend a fair amount of money, they’ll want to be certain that you can deliver a suiting mix for their music.
Figuring out who exactly you’ll want to mix for is a crucial aspect of building your name and brand. You don’t just want to figure out what kind of genre you specialize in, but also what kind of musician you appeal to.
What do they dream of achieving with their music, and what kind of image appeals to them? Fancy, high-end studios, or more of a vintage DIY style? Are they young and promising, or old and experienced? Do they prefer a laidback and friendly attitude, or a more serious and professional one? Are they scared/insecure in their artistic pursuit, or do they burst with confidence?
Try to understand the worldview of your potential client. As specific as you can get it. Doing so will leave out a huge part of the market, which lets you focus better on the people you want to reach. This will make marketing, branding, design, and so on far easier because you’ll know what the people you’re trying to reach are looking for.
What’s it for?
What may sound like a dumb question at first is really one of the most important questions to ask yourself when building your name as a mixing engineer.
Besides making a good mix, what are your mixing services for? What feelings and impressions do you want to give your clients?
Let’s take a simplified example with clothing brands. Pick two different t-shirts, or go to a shop and browse different brands. Besides the need/desire for a t-shirt, what really makes you like one t-shirt over the other? Of course, things like design and color have a lot to do with it. But what is it exactly that appeals to you by the design and color?
A certain logo may give you positive associations to other things and people that interest you. A simple and clean design may make you feel more classy than a messy and colorful design. Or that messy and colorful design makes you feel more confident and cool, and you think simple and clean design are for dull people. One t-shirt may seem suitable for wearing at a nice dinner party, while another may seem more suitable for workouts and physical activity.
You see, there’s a lot more to it than the actual service or physical product you’re offering. If you’re a mixing engineer offering to mix people’s records, simply offering mixing isn’t sufficient. There’s not enough demand for that to be something unique. There are thousands of people out there who know how to mix a song. Just like there are plenty of t-shirts available for everybody.
You need to offer something more, something that makes your potential client feel a certain way. You may want to present yourself in a way that makes your client feel as if you’re taking their music to that next level. You may want to make your clients feel like you’re giving their music an “edge.” You may want to make your clients feel like you’re their “servant,” ready for instructions on how to do things. You may want to make your client feel like you’re giving their music more grit/style/clarity/punch etc. You may want to make your client feel more confident in their music. The list goes on.
You’ll want to be clear about the change you’re offering, so that the who you’re trying to appeal to, knows that you’ll fulfill what they are looking for (besides the obvious: having their song mixed).
“Who’s it for?” and “What’s it for?” may seem like some simple, and maybe even unnecessary questions to answer. But the thing is that these two questions lay the foundation for any brand or service out there. In a saturated market, getting picked is difficult. But being clear about who you want to serve, and being clear about what you wish to achieve for them, increases your chances way more than simply shouting out, “I’m a mixing engineer, anybody, please pick me!”
About Gerhard Tinius
Gerhard Tinius is a groovy musician, producer, mixer, and audio engineer from Norway. Listen to his debut album here.