Santa Monica, Calif. (jan. 28, 2021) — The music industry came out in full force for Believe in Music Week, which took place online Jan. 18–22 in lieu of an in-person NAMM convention this year.
The Audio Engineering Society provided content for three streaming panels, each of which offered relevant info for audio professionals and enthusiasts. One of these events, "Organizing Chaos: Top Engineers Discuss File Management" was co-organized with the Recording Academy® Producers & Engineers Wing®, and streamed on the Believe in Music portal on Friday, Jan. 22. Panelists included Jeff Balding (producer, mixer, engineer), Chris Dennis (engineer), Quentin Gilkey (mix engineer) and Ebonie Smith (producer, mix engineer) with moderator Maureen Droney (Sr. Managing Director, Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing). The session will be rebroadcast for AES members in March and then archived at the AES Live: Videos portal for on-demand viewing.
Digital file-based audio has brought on a host of challenges in the organization and management of the burgeoning elements used to produce modern musical magic. The event description elaborated on this topic: "Once upon a time, engineers and their assistants just had to keep track of various reels of multi-track analog tapes, containing up to about 48 tracks per song, that were stored in easily labeled boxes. Those boxes also included track sheets (!) which used a common language to explain what was on each track. Of course, that's ancient history. Now, the number of tracks is pretty much unlimited, many sessions have no assistants, and engineers use their own proprietary ways of file labeling and management. Often, chaos ensues."
The value of organized assets is further complicated as artists and labels increasingly look to repurpose legacy assets for new formats like Dolby Atmos® and to capitalize on unreleased materials. The panel addressed these issues and recommended solutions. The P&E Wing is actively involved in developing constantly updated guidelines for the management and delivery of music assets with file management and nomenclature a key component that promotes efficient collaboration and asset archiving.
About the panelists:
Jeff Balding has brought his unique blend of commercial instincts and authenticity to a broad array of genres and has earned numerous GRAMMY® nominations in addition to a multiplatinum professional profile. He has worked with icons across multiple genres including Dan + Shay, Eagles, Florida Georgia Line, Don Henley, Megadeth, Maren Morris, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Shania Twain and BeBe Winans.
Chris Dennis is a multiplatinum engineer based in Los Angeles. After moving to California in 2015, he worked his way up through the legendary recording studios NightBird and Record Plant before eventually going freelance and working with Roddy Ricch in 2019. Dennis is now Ricch's full-time audio engineer for everything live and studio.
With a background in classical and jazz piano, Quentin "Q" Gilkey began his music career on the performance side. After studying engineering at the Conservatory of Recording Arts in Phoenix, Arizona, he interned at Ocean Studios in Los Angeles before landing as an engineer at Paramount Recording Studios. In 2010, Dr. Dre began working out of Paramount's sister studio, Encore, with Q as an assistant engineer. Q soon began engineering for writers and producers at Dr. Dre’s record label, Aftermath Entertainment. In 2014, Q was promoted to lead engineer and has worked alongside Dr. Dre for the past eight years with all of the acclaimed artists on the producer's roster, including Eminem, the Game, Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak.
Ebonie Smith is an award-winning music producer, audio engineer and singer/songwriter based in New York City. She is also founder and president of Gender Amplified, Inc., an organization that celebrates and supports women and girls in music production and audio engineering. Smith received a GRAMMY® Certificate and RIAA-certified platinum plaque for work as an assistant engineer on Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording) and another GRAMMY Certificate as assistant engineer on Sturgill Simpson's award-winning album A Sailor's Guide to Earth. She engineered on the GRAMMY-nominated album Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe and the GRAMMY-winning album Invasion Of Privacy by Cardi B. She currently works as engineer, producer and studio coordinator for Atlantic Records.
Event moderator Maureen Droney is the Sr. Managing Director of the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing. A former recording engineer herself, Droney has worked on GRAMMY-winning recordings for artists including Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Santana — as well as on numerous other projects, including two Billboard No. 1 Dance songs. She has a degree in broadcast communication arts from California State University, San Francisco, and has taught seminars on the theory and practice of recording for companies including ABC and CBS Television. She has also worked in both artist and studio management, was the longtime Los Angeles editor for Mix magazine, and has published three books related to recording. Her most recent, co-written with its subject, is Al Schmitt On The Record: The Magic Behind The Music, chronicling the life and career of the most awarded recording engineer in history.
Photo file 1: OrganizingChaos.JPG
Photo caption 1: Pictured L-R: (top row) Jeff Balding, Maureen Droney and Ebonie Smith; (bottom row) Quentin "Q" Gilkey and Chris Dennis, during the panel "Organizing Chaos: Top Engineers Discuss File Management," co-organized by the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing and the Audio Engineering Society and on Friday, Jan. 22 as part of Believe in Music Week.
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The Recording Academy represents the voices of performers, songwriters, producers, engineers, and all music professionals. Dedicated to ensuring the recording arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, the Academy honors music's history while investing in its future through the GRAMMY Museum®, advocates on behalf of music creators, supports music people in times of need through MusiCares®, and celebrates artistic excellence through the GRAMMY Awards—music's only peer-recognized accolade and highest achievement. As the world's leading society of music professionals, we work year-round to foster a more inspiring world for creators.
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