Curious.... I am about to start a project for a remote client (I'm in Minneapolis, they're in California). This, admittedly, is one of my first contracts that will have no "personal" contact. All communication, data management, file transfers, submissions, etc, will be through the cloud.

What are some of the best ways to share and exchange "status" mixes with such a remote client? I'm familiar with some....private SoundCloud links, Dropbox, etc... What do you use? Why do you like it?

Additionally, what do you do to protect your work? Obviously, you wouldn't send a full rez deliverable until any back-end is paid....I plan to send them mp3s or some other means of a "hearable" but unusable mix. (The client can hear everything well enough to approve or revise, but can't necessarily put it to use ....until I'm paid and I send them the final product.) I have brainstormed on using alternate methods to protect these "status" mixes (like inserting a sample-length beep every 20 seconds and the like), but I would love to hear what each of you actually do? What is practical for your workflow?

If it helps, the project is a 30 minute documentary. Deliverable is a single, full-length stereo mix of original music.


With no personal contact are you confident they are legit and will pay you? You could end up doing loads of work and they don't pay you. Although we can put safeguards in place this business is about personal relationships and trust. So I would make sure you have safeguards in place, get contracts signed, do some research into the company and make sure they don't have a trail of bad debt etc.

As to the practical side of your question.

You can use Dropbox for dropping approval mixes and yes you can use mp3s, but be aware that some of the balance and image detail won't be the same in an mp3. I haven't heard of people using spoilers, but simple tone spoilers can be easily EQed out anyway. I would suggest if you feel you need to use spoilers then you need to ask yourself if you really want to work with this outfit.

Another option for sharing content is Gobbler, you can get the client to sign up for a free account and then you can share mixes etc via the Gobbler network securely because both parties have to have accounts and sign in. You can use Gobbler like Dropbox with public links but that isn't so secure.

  • ...Whoops! Probably a descriptive error on my part to say "NO personal contact". Try..."very little contact", or "no personal interaction throughout the creation process". We have (signed) written contracts, and they do come personally recommended.... GREAT advice! – Audiophile.2010 Apr 26 '12 at 14:06

Mike mentions some good options for you, as well as giving you some good things to watch out for on the financial/legal side. Getting them to pay a deposit might be a good idea.

I've worked this way with a few trusted clients with increasing regularity. Typically, I'll upload review mixes to my webpage server and provide a password protected download link. So, that's not that far out from the Gobbler/Dropbox work-flow. The only thing I'll add is that it's important to have some real-time contact when reviewing notes. Getting an e-mail from your client with a list of change requests is helpful (easy to keep track of what you need to fix), but getting them on the phone or Skype is as well is extremely important. Talk over their notes (and yours, if you've identified other elements yourself) to make sure that you're both on the same page. It's not as fast as having the person in the room with you, but it will reduce the number of revisions you have to do and speed up the post-process as a whole.


I'm doing a lot of online work, and also use a mix of collaboration/protection methods, including DropBox, SoundCloud, and personal watermarking. As others have mentioned if you're dealing with a trusted client and/or have partial or escrow payments it's less of a concern protection wise.

I'm a big fan of using SoundCloud for sharing drafts and getting feedback -- it's secure (no/optional downloads, private links) and automatically converts your files to standard MP3 (could be a pro or con I suppose) in case you're worried about them hijacking the audio stream. My clients and I also really like the comment feature, it allows them to easily make timed notes when they listen through so you can get feedback in context (as opposed to a long list of "...if you listen to the part at 1:31.53 seconds...". Saves everyone time and effort, and it's kind of fun!

Otherwise DropBox for sharing and syncing... although now that Google Drive is available...


The Source elements products are great - source live for streaming high quality sound from your studio to a producers machine that they can open in either itunes or windows MP. Their source zip product is a steal if you are collaborating with someone elses studio rather than sending draft mixes/approvals. Lastly, the main way big studios collab for remote approvals is with Cinesync. Its a bit costly, but pass on the fee to your clients like any of these technologies, if the client wants your skills they should be paying for it. None of them are break the bank expensive.


Get a contract before you work. Become a member of ASCAP to protect you. I'm never paid before the job is finished. I deliver everything with wetransfer.com or a free ftp site like www.mydrive.ch

  • "The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 435,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music" - ASCAP website. This unfortunately misses the mark of the question, since it's stated that we're discussing a documentary, this meaning post production sound (not music production). – Stavrosound May 18 '12 at 4:56
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    "Deliverable is a single, full-length stereo mix of original music." – Petr E.C. Rice May 18 '12 at 7:54
  • I stand corrected – Stavrosound May 18 '12 at 18:38

Answers before mine are awesome! anyways, after reading them I thought of something... you could upload the scene to a vimeo account, make the video private and "invite" or somthing similar your client, so he/she can see the video. If I am not wrong, you can't download videos from vimeo, so they would have no way of actually managing your data until they pay you, and then you can send them the tracks! Just a thought, never done this so I don't know how would it work.

PS: if you don't mind, keep us informed how your project goes later on:)! and how you managed the long-distance relationship. It would be greatly appreciated!


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    The ability to download a clip from vimeo.com is a preference that you must (un)check in the Privacy tab under the clip's settings. I'm not certain if this option is available for free vimeo accounts though. – Steve Urban Apr 26 '12 at 18:31
  • @Steve - yes, that preference setting is available for free accounts as well. – Shaun Farley Apr 26 '12 at 19:15

I use trello for allowing the customer to rank what he wants to hear next. And i force the customer to move cards to different stages when he believes that the track is ready. I also share a soundcloud set with him so that all of the tracks are there easily for him to grab when updates are ready.


I use Sugarsync a lot and the client has access to the temp mixes as wavs. The Pro Tools sessions are also on Sugarsync, so that I can work on projects at home or at work, which has been really useful for minor last minute changes. Fortunately payment has never been an issue.

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