Trackster Stories: Sean Giovanni of The Record Shop

The Nashville industry pro explains how Trackster makes music production easier—for artists and studios.

Interview by Mr. Bonzai

Sean Giovanni in his Nashville studio The Record Shop

Sean Giovanni is the founder of The Record Shop, a full service Nashville recording studio and production company. The studio’s goal is to “create a production ‘community’ that embraces the creative direction of its artists, and offers them more than just a record.” Working with some of the top session players in Music City, The Record Shop’s client list ranges from new artists to heavy hitters, including John Legend, Alabama Shakes and Tim McGraw. Giovanni was an early adopter of Trackster.

What sets Trackster apart from other online production services?
As you know, there are other remote production services out there online where someone can hire a service provider such as a producer, mixer or session musician. There are a number of factors that make Trackster superior to those other platforms. One of them is the project management aspect of the platform, where artists can log in and share files with their collaborators back and forth. With Trackster, someone can manage the entirety of the production process, which is a very efficient way to work and is one of the things that really drew me to the platform.

Beyond the ability to work more efficiently than other services, Trackster also has the pro side of their platform that supports the financing, distribution and development of projects far beyond just a basic service provider. Trackster is able to help an artist further their career and help them get a record completed at the level that it needs to be done in order for them to compete on a top professional level.

How does the Trackster file sharing operate?
The file sharing aspect of Trackster is extraordinary. It makes the process so much more efficient when you’re collaborating with people in different locations throughout the production process. In a typical scenario, we would use a file transfer service like Hightail or WeTransfer, where you log in, you upload a zip file, the recipient gets an email, they download the file and do the work and then they have to upload it again and send it back to you. When you need to track down those files again, a lot of times they expire within a couple weeks because someone didn’t set the right expiration date. The artist forgets to download it and there’s no way to organize or manage those files outside of your own personal management after you download them.

 

Sean in the control room at The Record Shop, Nashville

“The file sharing aspect of Trackster is extraordinary. It makes the process so much more efficient when you’re collaborating with people in different locations throughout the production process.”

 

What Trackster allows us to do is make the artist’s process a lot easier. They don’t have to worry about the file management side of things. That’s something that we do in the studio all the time and have to be very proficient at, but artists aren’t used to that process. With the Trackster platform, an artist can log in to their account, pull up their project folder, and within their project folder they have a breakdown of all of their files that start with, maybe, pre-production work tapes that are categorized as to whether it’s a drum track or a guitar track or a vocal track. Everything is labeled and easy to access.

Once we get into the mixing process, we have a separate folder for mixes. Mix 1, Mix 2, Mix 3, our final Mix, are all easily accessible. The artist just has to log in, click, they can play it, review it, send us some notes, and send it back to us. They can upload material and we get a notification. We can download it, do some work on it, send it back to them—and it’s all self-contained within that platform. This is a great advantage for increasing the efficiency of our process, as opposed to the traditional way, in which we’ve had to use a variety of different platforms and then try to track down emails and search for sessions and having files expire. None of that happens on the Trackster platform. It’s all kept in one place, it’s archived and they have the server that can allow us to maintain the maximum file size so we have our larger projects all in one place, which is just unheard of in today’s Internet production environment.

Can you tell us about the talent that is available through The Record Shop?
Nashville is home to some of the best studios, engineers, producers and musicians in the world. Not everyone can afford to have physical access to that. For example, an artist in New Zealand might not be able to afford a plane trip, hotels and lodging, pay for studio time and hire the musicians to be able to do an overdub on a track. That artist, through Trackster, now has the ability to have direct access to those people in a much more affordable and efficient manner. The artist can work on a project remotely and have all those resources that, without Trackster, wouldn’t be available to them.

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About Mr. Bonzai
Award-winning photographer, filmmaker and music journalist Mr. Bonzai has written over 1,000 articles for magazines in the U.S., Europe and Asia. His photos and stories have appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, Mix, EQ, Pro Sound News, Keyboard, Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times.  He has authored seven books, including Faces of Music (Cengage, 2006) Music Smarts (Berklee Press, 2009) and John Lennon’s Tooth (BookBaby 2012).

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