If you want to get paid to mix other people’s records, listen up.
Your dream clients don’t care how many plugins you have, what monitors you use, or what your studio looks like. The quality of your work is all that matters.
This makes your reel the most important weapon in your mixing arsenal. If it isn’t exceptional, you’re leaving money on the table.
A great reel is the best way to communicate your value to prospective clients. It will incite their desire by making them imagine, “wow…what if MY music sounded this good?” And it will even help build social proof by showing others that people value your work. Hey, if all these artists wanted to work with you, you must be good…right?
The following tips will help you build a reel that will land you paying clients. And if you’re already charging for your services, these tips will help you expand your client base and raise your rates.
Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None
Try to appeal to everyone, and you’ll end up appealing to no one.
Instead, ask yourself: who would I kill to work with?
Construct a mental picture of this ideal client. Be specific – the more detail, the better. Then, build a reel that will appeal to them.
Favor Great Songs
Most people can’t tell the difference between a good mix and a great mix. But everyone knows the difference between a good song and a great song.
Your prospects are likely to confuse one for the other. If your songs suck, they’ll think your mixes suck.
To combat this, always favor the best songs when you’re choosing material for your reel.
If you don’t have access to exceptional songs, contact artists who write them and offer to mix their tracks for free. Or sign up for services like The Mix Academy or Nail The Mix, which offer multitracks you can use for your reel.
Keep It Short
5 to 10 tracks is more than enough. Make sure to feature a variety of different artists, or your prospects will think you don’t have a large enough body of work to pull from (a big red flag).
Invest In Professional Mastering
It’s always worth getting your reel mastered by a pro. Because it will exist in isolation, you don’t have to worry about competing for loudness. Instead, opt for conservative mastering settings that will preserve each track’s punch and impact.
Also, ensure that the tracks on your reel play back at an equal volume!
Put your best track first. It will be the only one most people listen to.
Make It Easy To Play
If you’re still emailing prospective clients MP3s, you’re stuck in the stone age.
There are several online platforms that make it easy to host a reel. SoundCloud is a popular option, though tracks from major-label artists will often get flagged and removed. Other options include Bandcamp and Wix. Whatever you choose, make sure it works on mobile.
Demonstrate that you respect the artists you work with by including their names and song titles. If possible, hide play counts (on SoundCloud, you’ll have to sign up for a premium account to do this).
Embed On Your Website
Sending people a link to a SoundCloud page is an amateur move. Instead, embed your reel directly on your website (you do have one…don’t you?) and send people there. This way, you can add a call to action button (“book your session now”) at the bottom of the page, and strike while the iron is still hot.
Do you have a world-class reel? If so, post a link to it in the comments section below, so that others can learn from you!