In a culture where websites become verbs, to the list of “Google it”, “Wikipedia it” and “YouTube it”, Brian Moncarz aims to add “eMix it.”
The action refers to the 34-year-old Torontonian’s company, eMixEngine. But unlike those online monoliths, his e-service isn’t just a gathering ground for web users unlimited. It’s a lower-cost, easier-to-use alternative for musicians to mix recordings, which has the potential to destabilize conventional studio mixing.
“In a traditional studio where you’d have overheads and lots of expenses, it’s really hard to cut your prices to make for budget mixes,” said Moncarz, “I tried to think of a business model that would facilitate offering these lower prices, while trying not to bring down the quality of the work.”
To eMix a song, bands upload a recording to the service’s website and fill out a questionnaire detailing their musical influences and desires for the mix. Within a few days, they receive an e-mail containing the new, professionally mixed song — all for about $200 US; nearly half the cost of booking a physical studio for the same purpose.
Aside from offering financial benefit to clients, eMixEngine separates itself from traditional studios by operating as a global business. “If I have a studio in Toronto, 85 per cent of the business will be coming from Toronto and the other 15 may be coming from the GTA, but usually not from India,” said Moncarz.
In addition to India, he said the service has received inquiries from the United States and United Kingdom and is being pitched to bands by an Australian music promoter who stumbled upon the site.
Despite hype, the obvious question of how eMix quality compares to conventional means is quashed once you hear before-and-after samples on the eMixEngine website. And it’s little surprise, considering Moncarz has placed himself as the quality control “common thread” linking together the freelance mixers he employs. “For the time being, all of the mixes that come through our system will go through me before they go out to the client,” he said.
He’s a fitting filter, when you consider Moncarz’ resumé. His mentor was Canadian producer Bob Ezrin, whose production credits include Peter Gabriel, KISS and Pink Floyd. Ezrin introduced Moncarz to Grammy Award-winning producer David Bottrill, with whom he now co-produces. And, for the past 10 years, Moncarz has owned his own studio and worked as an audio teacher at Toronto’s Ryerson University.
Perhaps his experience is a testament to the interest eMixEngine has received in just its first month online.
Moncarz said the business is close to landing partnerships with a major audio software manufacturer and a concert promotions company and is set to mix music for Canadian label-signed bands Moneen and Pilot Speed. And such support excites Moncarz, whose forward focus may be what both separates eMixEngine and eventually spells its success.
“This could be the thing that revolutionizes the music industry,” he said, “And wouldn’t it be great to be at the forefront of that?”
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