Want to work with OK Go's drummer or The Killers' mix engineer? This company can help you
Shachar Gilad, CEO of music production marketplace SoundBetter, shares his thoughts on how the service complements the wider music production industry in a recent interview with AMI.
SoundBetter is a music production marketplace intended to help musicians to connect with music professionals around the world to collaborate on musical projects.
The platform allows musicians to find and securely hire the right pro from any location based on specialty, budget, genre, credits, reviews and sound samples.
With tens of thousands of singers, producers, and mixing and mastering engineers, including a number of Grammy award winners, SoundBetter claims to have the most comprehensive database of music production pros for direct hire in the world (and a member community spanning over 10,000 cities worldwide).
AMI caught up with Gilad to find more about the service...
Where did the idea for SoundBetter originally come from?
The idea came from seeing engineer and producer friends trying to expand their client base, and realising how difficult it was to do. They would build websites, try to promote themselves to artists outside their local circle, post on forums or craigslist. It was a lot of work that usually didn't pay off. At the same time musician friends were asking me for recommendations for mixers, or producers, who specialise in particular genres and met specific criteria. Both sides were basically trying to find each other. It seemed like there was an opportunity to help the two sides connect - help freelancers market their services and stay focused on their craft, while helping artists with discovery, and increased transparency and trust when hiring. I saw online marketplaces bringing value to industries that had certain parallels, like graphic design. The timing seemed right to try and do something for the music production space which I was so closely connected to.
How exactly does the service work, and what advantages does it bring to creative professionals?
If you are a music production professional you can sign up and offer your services for free. You get a good looking profile - basically a web page where you can showcase your craft, sound, experience and services to tens of thousand of artist that we bring to the site every month who are looking for these exact services. We market on your behalf. If we get you a gig, we keep a small 5% commission. In addition to bringing you work, we handle the payment which gives the clients trust and makes it easier for them to pull the trigger, provide you with a workroom to facilitate the collaboration with unlimited file transfer, and project management tools to help manage your jobs. As you do good work and build your reputation on the platform you'll get more visibility and more work. You get to work on your own time, choose which projects to take on, work from the comfort of your personal studio, and focus just on doing good work and offering good service, for clients you likely wouldn't have met otherwise.
Artists or producers looking to find music production professionals can search for the right talent to work with based on things like specialisation, 'sound', price point and more. You can compare pros side by side, real verified reviews from previous clients, and work with the industry's top music pros, regardless of where you are, through a platform that provides trust, support, collaboration tools and more. Imagine being a musician in a rural town on the other side of the world, and suddenly having access to OK Go's drummer, or The Killers' mixing engineer, to work with on your music. I could only imagine that 10 years ago.
To what extent does the platform grant musicians more freedom in their work?
Musicians can now work with the industry's best, while musicians offering services can set their own schedule, work from the comfort of their home, choose which clients to work with, and have a trusted platform that promotes them, supports them, and helps them get paid.
How does SoundBetter fit within the current music/recording studio environment and how does it look to facilitate it?
In some cases, SoundBetter is a complement to the studios. We have many studios that use the platform to generate leads for their engineers or facility. At the same time, if you think about it recording studios are really just facilities that house talent in many cases. It's true that they also house gear, sonic treatment and vibe. But gear has become more affordable and portable, so is more accessible to everyone. The services and talent are what artists usually look for when going to a studio. SoundBetter is a new place for that talent to reside and be found.
Why do you think the service has picked up traction so quickly?
I think the timing was right. There was a real pain that we were addressing, in a time where working remotely became standard, and everyone became familiar with the value of working through trusted marketplaces. We also had some wonderful and talented music pros believe in what we were building and help champion SoundBetter, as well as experienced startup folks that offered good advice. Lastly I think we focused on the right things, at least enough of the time. We realised we have to deliver clients to pros, and we have to deliver quality work to artists. If we do these two things, we'll earn the industry's trust. Working hard and focusing on those things obsessively, with some luck mixed in, helped the marketplace gain traction.
Could you provide some further information about your recent partnership with Avid?
SoundBetter is the engine behind Avid's 'Hire a Pro' feature in their Artist Community. Any artist or music pro in Avid's Artist Community can browse and hire SoundBetter pros for their project. We're honoured that Avid, an industry leader, chose SoundBetter to provide their music-talent discovery and hiring engine.
In what ways would you potentially be looking to expand the SoundBetter scope in the future?
We want to continue providing a quality product and services, so we consider what to focus on carefully. I think there are several services and tools we can offer musicians that really make sense, and numerous things we can do to help music production pros with their visibility, workflow and project management. Some of those we've started to roll out, but you'll be seeing more over this coming year.