Personal Experiences With Copyright

Creating something is a rewarding and sometimes challenging process. From my own experience, the music I create comes from very deep within me. I draw upon my past experiences, musical influences and combine that to tell story or evoke an emotion. For someone to use something that I uniquely created in a way that copies or plagiarizes my work (without permission) it would really piss me off. Since commencing my audio degree, I have gained a deeper appreciation for copyright laws and how they protect intellectual property and creators.

APRA logo


I recently attended an information session about copyright that was presented by APRA AMCOS. The session was very informative and if I am to be an audio engineer and studio owner/manager, then I needed to apply for an International Standard Recording Code (IRSC). The processes were simple, just send an email to the Australian Recording Industry Association and they sent back information on how to apply for the IRSC as a third party. I followed the next step and now Hired Gun Recording Studio is able to allocate IRSC for rights holders. This code identifies songs to APRA AMCOS so that they are able to collect royalties for the rights holders on their behalf.

15259399_1235268359881383_5009664723419095157_o.jpg trademarked logo


My logo was created by Freesoul Design Studio, a graphic designer that I have worked with numerous times before. He delivered my logo designs and I sought to have them trademarked to prevent anyone else stealing the logo. Trademarking was done by registering it through the Australian Government IP site using the online application. Shortly after applying for my trademark, I received notification that my application was registered. Within a week, received two letters from two separate companies claiming to be part of a World Trademark organization and they said that they would register my trademark internationally for a large sum of money. I was so very obviously a scam and I just ignored the letters. It makes you wonder how many people simply pay it without even checking.


My Job Interview Experience and What I Learned From Terrible Bosses

The Interview
In October 1997, I was sitting across from a Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) that was conducting my entry interview to join the Australian Army. I was 20 years old at the time. I remember feeling excited but confident during the interview and the WO2 gave no indication of his impression of me during the interview. I was one of about 50 applicants being interviewed that day and saw a variety of dress from jeans and t-shirts to poorly fitting suits with ugly ties (I wore slacks and a collared shirt). I remember how nervous everyone was and how that bolstered my own confidence.

After the initial interview, an Officer came into the waiting area and called out about half the names and instructed those called to come with him into another area. At this point, I wondered if I was wrong about how successful my interview was. Around fifteen minutes later, the Officer came back into the waiting room and told us that our interviews were successful and we would undergo further psychological and aptitude testing. This meant the others that were lead out were told, “Thanks for coming.”

Reflecting back on the significance of that interview, it was the start of a career in the Australian Army spanning 19 years.

Me in Iraq in 2006

I realise that interview techniques and processes will have changed since then and individual experiences will vary, but the core of job interviews will be largely the same. An employer requires someone to do a job and it is very important to screen them to assess their suitability for the position.


Important Life Lessons
One lesson that my military career taught me is that working for a tyrant or an incompetent boss is very stressful. It doesn’t matter how hard you work for these character types because your hard work will never be appreciated, or worse still, they will take the credit for it. It is for this very reason that I have decided that I prefer to work in a freelance capacity or to work in an equal partnership of any venture that I undertake in the future.

The 17’s – I’m in front, second from left.

Secondly, I learned that I work very well with others in large or small teams or even by myself, to achieve complex tasks under extreme pressure. I know this is true because I have been truly pushed to my very limits, as most war veterans can attest.

Another lesson that I learned from that interview is that your presentation and self-confidence are as important as the qualifications that you hold. A prospective employer needs assurance that you are the one above all others that they need for the job, and it is up to you to convince them. It seems like common sense but there are a lot of people that just don’t get it.

Everyone I have met in the audio engineering field has a shared passion for what we do. It makes everyone very happy, myself included, to be doing what we love and it’s a completely different environment to the military. So much more fulfilling.

What the Future Holds
I anticipate that a job interview scenario in my immediate future will be when I apply for an intern position for a recording studio, possibly via Skype. There plenty of audio engineers that I admire and most of them are in the USA, so it is likely that I will have to live there for the duration of the internship (or longer). The prospect is extremely exciting and the learning experience to be gained from it is extremely valuable.


Studio A – Sphere Studios – Neve 8048 Console


For now, I will limit myself to contacting Sphere Studios LA and Fensesco Camelli. I admire his work on a variety of projects, and Sphere Studios is one of the most respected recording studios in the world. It would be a dream come true that Francesco Camelli and Sphere Studios LA are willing to give me the opportunity to work for them as an intern. I think that the most likely way to get a response will be to contact the studio manager, Megan Milius. I posted a message on Sphere’s Facebook wall, now hopefully if I make enough noise, I will get noticed.


The Significance of Social Media in Audio Engineering

As a creative professional, having an active and engaging social media presence is extremely important. It is an outward facing image of you and your brand and is an avenue for fans or future clients to engage with the content you create. If someone wants to find out about a person, they usually turn to google and social media, so having a solid social media game can give you the edge. Luckily, as an audio engineer it matters less with how I look but more important with how I sound and the audio products I create.


Social Media Strategy


Social Media Strategy

Generally, I don’t really have a social media strategy. The way I use it is more as a public journal and sharing things that are relevant to my industry. For instance, I recently started recording with my friends Stayplton Street again, so I posted about it. It is a way of engaging with them and getting their band name out there as mutual promotion that costs me only a few minutes to post. With my posts, I try to just be myself. It feels more natural to post like that and people can relate more to the content I create. When I am looking at other professional’s social media, it is nicer to read when it comes from the heart.


Instagram vs Snapchat


Don’t Waste Time

If I find that I spend any longer on social media than 30 minutes a day, I stay off for a bit. It really is subjective but I find that my posts aren’t bombarding people and the quality of interaction with my audience increases. Quality > Quantity. Not all social media platforms are created equal and trying to manage my time effectively reduces the amount of accounts that I use. I limit myself to facebook, soundcloud, instagram, linkedin and twitter and I don’t use twitter that much because it is a shitty platform. It is confusing for new users and it really doesn’t have that much long term appeal IMO.

The Governator approves of this post


What I Like About Social Media

Soundcloud is fantastic for sharing my portfolio of audio that I have worked on and it is easy to embed on my website. Facebook has a great way of telling a story and incorporating a range of different media assets. Lastly, Instagram is a quick way to tell a story with pictures, very simply and efficiently.

I anticipate that social media will be a part of my life for a long time to come and an important aspect of any creative professional’s online image.

How to Make Extra Money From Music

So the title captured your attention? It was designed to do exactly that. If you are a performer or songwriter, then this post is definitely for you. Did you know that you can get royalties paid in addition to performance fees for gigs that you have played? Did you also know that in addition to the money you get from youtube advertising, there are additional royalties just waiting for you? If the answer is no, continue reading.





Music Copyright Collection Societies
There are organisations that collect license fees from music users and pay royalties to artists and composers. There are affiliated music societies all over the globe that do this, and the one in Australia is called The Australian Performing Rights Association APRA AMCOS(APRA has a list of affiliate societies here). Their job is to help music creators get paid for the work that they do and facilitates music consumers a simple way to use and copy music legally. What APRA is and how they do what they do, is shown in the below video.


What to do next
Go to the APRA AMCOS website ( and create a profile. Once you have made a profile, it is just a matter of adding the details of your work to the profile. That was easy? Well not quite, there are a few hoops to jump through. When submitting works, you can only submit one at a time until they are reviewed individually. Then the best part: you list live performances that you have done because you can actually get paid royalties for playing your own music on top of the performance fee you are already receiving.


Make more money for your craft


What’s the catch?
There is only one caveat, to be eligible to claim royalties, your works MUST be commercially released. This can be done by two avenues: you get signed to a label and they take care of this for you (at high cost), or, you can independently release your recorded music on a distribution platform such as Distrokid, CD Baby, Ditto Music, Record Union, MondoTunes and Reverbnation to name a few. For those of you who intend on distributing independently or finding out more about music distribution, here is a very good blog article: Everything Musicians Need to Know About Music Distribution.

If this blog was helpful to you in any way, please like, share and reblog to spread the word.

How to Maintain Artistic Creativity Whilst Getting an Income

When working with others to a common goal, a shared vision of the project outcome is not always possible. Some people have a very clear direction that they to take, and others know what they want but have difficulty articulating it. My aim as a producer/engineer is not only to provide a refined and robust audio product but also to accommodate the wishes of my clients.

Negotiating an agreement

In any interaction between two parties, there must be a shared goal and communication is essential in negotiating the vision of a project. The expectations of both parties should be discussed during this phase, to ensure that the outcome is achievable and within the scope of the clients budget.

“Shut up and take my money!” – Phillip J. Fry

In the studio production/engineering industry, people generally know what type of recording they are trying to make and will seek out a suitable engineer. Most recording engineers will have credits on previous audio projects and an online presence in various forms, such as blogs, social media and portfolios, so the clients should have some expectation of what product they will be getting. Some people can be notoriously hard to deal with irrespective of the industry that they are in and if my military career taught me anything, it is that 5% of people will require 95% of extra effort.

Finding balance
Working in a freelance capacity enables me to cherry pick the projects that I like. If I am going to be spending the time listening to the audio over and over, it can’t be a genre that I don’t like. I once did an 18-hour session on a country song, and I am not a fan of country music, so that was well outside of my comfort zone. Comparatively, similar sessions on hard-rock songs, I was still pumped at the end and had to drag myself away from the desk.

Lesson learned
These two scenarios taught me that money was fairly low on my priorities but being enthusiastic about the project rated at the very top. I guess I won’t be the guy who will ever compromise creativity for $$.

New Studio Desk

New gear is enough to get any muso or audio engineer frothing, and I’m no different. Due to increased demand and the fact that my old console no longer meets my requirements, I am upgrading to a Toft ATB 32 channel large format analog mixing console. A few people that I know use the Toft or Trident consoles and I really like the sound of the British EQ, it is within my budget and suits my needs precisely.

Colin Desk NEW.jpg
Ultraphonic designed desk


To accommodate the Toft, I needed to get a desk that could house it and all of my rack gear. I contacted the guys from Ultraphonic at Stafford and told Alex my needs. After a few different variations, we settled on a design with the angled sides, 7RU at the top and 14RU underneath, giving plenty of room for rack items. After a couple of weeks, Alex told me that the desk was ready, so I went and picked it up.

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Panasonic RAMSA DA7 Digital Mixing Console in the old desk

My old console was a Panasonic RAMSA WR-DA7 digital mixer. The DA7 is my first console and I learned a great deal about audio engineering using it. I even recently repaired a few components and gave it a service and I will reluctantly sell it at some stage. This console is fully functional, however, it no longer suits my needs.

Repairing and servicing the WR-DA7

Once all the cabling and rack gear was removed from the old desk, I took out the DA7 and assessed what I would do with the desk. The trouble is, I built the studio around the desk so there was no way it was fitting out the door. After deciding that selling it wasn’t worth the hassle, I chose the destructive method of disassembly, using a hammer whilst laughing maniacally.  Once the shattered remains of the desk were stacked in a nice firewood pile outside, I brought in the new desk and started assembly.


Ultraphonic desk

The new desk was a breeze to assemble. There were no hiccups and I am really happy with the design. Now the only thing missing is the Toft console! I have been waiting since early Feb for Toft to send one, but nothing is in Australia and the hold up is at the manufacturing end. I hope to hear back from them within the next few weeks as mixing in the box is ok, but the workflow will be so much faster with the console.

Big shout out to Great desk and those guys are a pleasure to do business with. I highly recommend anyone to check them out!