Saturday, August 1, 2015

Do some research?

I've mentioned previously in other posts that my job is to transfer video work. One of the things we also offer is the transfer of audio to CD. It's a good service, but in today's technological day and age, the way we go about it is pure laziness.

My boss owns a Teac LP-R550USB CD Recorder with Cassette Turntable. It's a great little invention, allowing any user to be able to transfer their old cassette tapes or vinyl records to CD. All you need is to get a some blank CD-Rs, all your old music, and can start recording. It's the new way to make mix tapes, or at least get all the old songs out of the attic and have the ability to replay them.

It all sounds easy enough to use. Insert the blank CD into the CD tray, put your record or cassette tape in the proper places, press play for the song to start and record to start the recording. There's a stop and pause button as well for the recording, so you can decide what you want to include. If you're really into it, you're going to want to make sure each track is separate.... or at least that's what I would want.

Because the audio transfer service isn't our main focus of business, there's a lapse in judgement. My boss lets the music run out and doesn't stop each track in between, to make the CD usable. Meaning, if a customer brought in Neil Diamond's Stones audio cassette, there wouldn't be 10 tracks on the CD. There would be one or two, and the customer would walk out paying $15.90 (after tax). Yes, we charge 15 dollars to transfer the tape to CD, but don't make individual tracks. Song one, I Am... I Said would be on the same track as song ten, I Am...I Said (reprise). One of the reasons the tracks melt into each other, is due to the fact my boss "can't be bothered" to continually press stop between takes. She is working on other projects that take up more valuable resources and energy than letting an album play, so babysitting audio is not a priority. She'd just assume that's what the customer wants anyway, than actually putting effort into creating something new.

Sure, some customers over the age of 60 may not care, but trust me, we've gotten people to come back and question why their audio is one solid track, as they do not have the ability now to skip through the disc. The long of the short answer is "my boss is lazy", but we can't say that. There is no answer, really, to make customers happy. I don't even think we've offered to redo the tapes.

An example of laziness happened just the other day. One customer brought in a live studio album. He specifically asked to make sure each track is separate. Did we do it? No, because it was "a live album and the people talk in between songs". When that is the case, I feel the need is to download one of the audio editing software packages that are available and edit the tracks. It's just as easy to split tracks when you can see the wave forms then just pressing stop in the middle of a sentence (as the excuse was given to me - "I'm not stopping mid sentence"). I majored in Communication; I worked in radio and I know how to do it, as I've used all the equipment and software... I think know what I'm talking about (not that I'm trying to boost my ego or anything... it's just that I want to be able to help offer something to customers instead of taking the easy way out).

Instead of arguing, I just let the situation go. The guy wants to have each track by itself, I'm sure he can find a way to do it at home. Now a days, tablets allow you to edit almost anything, so I'm willing to bet there's a tablet version of the software available. If there isn't, then find a computer and do it that way, especially if you intend on putting it to multiple devices (i.e. mp3 players).

Another example happened the beginning of this week. Someone brought in four audio cassettes. All of (American) patriotic music. I ended up having to put labels on each CD, so as I was printing them, I searched Amazon for them. I found 3 out of the 4 tapes available as a compact disc and the fourth one wasn't anywhere to be had. I'm sure, however, with a little more luck or search, I could have found each track as an individual download, and made a CD that way. Instead of even mentioning that to the customer, I just printed the labels. He will be picking his transfers up and paying $60 before tax, where the Internet had a total of ~$20. If the choice was to download each track for that fourth album, I'm sure he would have been able to wrangle free shipping somehow for the 3 that would have been mailed to him. It's a matter of 40 dollar difference, but at least each CD now has individual tracks.

What's my point in all of this?

Simple: do some research before you give things to stores to do. If you're uncomfortable in shopping online, I completely understand that. However, I am sure local stores can look up that same information on their website and offer you that item as well. Just don't go head first into a store, expecting great things, and walking out to feel cheated. Know what you're getting in to before paying some big money for some little thing.