Why hire a professional for post production audio work?
I've finished my track, done the mix, made it loud, and I can upload to streaming services myself so why do I need to spend $$ to have someone do post production work on my track, album, or audio book?
Problem: If it doesn't sound great no one will listen
Nothing is worse than an audio project that doesn't sound great. Your song writing can be top notch, the lyrical content inspiring, and the hook is good enough to get stuck in everyone's head but the track is going nowhere fast on the streaming services. Why? Because it sounds like a blanket soaked in mud was thrown over the track or the vocals are harsh and piercing, or half the parts that you spend a ton of time on getting right and buried and can't be heard. Almost no one makes it through the first 20 seconds of your track before they move on looking for a better sound.
Solution: The Professional Mix Engineer
A good mix engineer knows how to solve the problems that are preventing your track from sounding it's best. They know when to use equalization to clean up the mud or harsh vocals, they know when to convert the low end to mono to really make the kicks hit hard, and they know when dropping a few dB in level is going to increase the emotional impact when the chorus comes in. Not only do they solve technical these technical issues but they know what is going on in the industry and at what level the post production needs to reach so listeners and A/R people make it past the first 20 seconds.
Problem: Everyone else has a dozen versions of their song:
These days its all about getting exposure and reaching listeners. One way to achieve this is by turning a folk song or rock tune into an EDM track which substantially increases the audience that hears your work. Some of this audience will even purchase multiple versions of your track. The reality however is that it takes years of work to get good in one genre not to mention multiple genres. Is it worth learning a new genre which may take years to master or finding another producer, recording new materials, etc.? Probably not.
Solution: A Professional Remix
For a relatively modest fee the time and effort to create a dance mix of your song can be eliminated. A professional remixing engineer listens to a wide variety of EDM and knows the characteristics of a dub mix, a techno mix, a jungle mix, a drum and bass mix, or whatever today's hot EDM style is. They are half producer and half mixing engineer. Their goal is to take your track, cut it up into pieces, add some elements, and create something entirely new with dance floor sensibilities instantly expanding your audience.
Problem: Once I put my tracks on the streaming service/s they don't sound the same:
After a lot of time and some $$ the track finally gets up on the latest hot streaming service, and to mp3 format, and maybe to vinyl. But each version sound different and none of them sound as good as the original wave/aiff file. In each case something is missing, the high end sounds muted or muffled, the bass doesn't have the same impact, the vocals are not as open, or the track is to quiet or alternatively to harsh. The reality of our world is that each destination for your track has different requirements and different limitations. Do you know what those limitations are or how to find out? And if you do know the limitations of each media do you know the best ways to deal with them? Probably not.
Solution: Professional Mastering
These days everyone thinks a mastering engineers job is to add some special fairy dust to your project. While that is true, another big part of their job is to make sure your track sounds it's best on the destination media no matter if that is a streaming service, vinyl, CD, mp3, or one of the other less common formats. Its also the mastering engineers job to handle the meta data that makes your track easier to find and to ensure that data is correct so you get paid when you should.
The reality these days is that it's possible to wear all the hats required to write, produce, mix, master, and distribute your own music. However each discipline takes years to master. While it may seem expensive to outsource some of these tasks it actually costs less when compared to the years of effort it will take to develop capable skills in each area. Are you an artist or an engineer? You decide.