Sad it is, Matt. I am fortunate to have tape transfers and preservation a small sideline to my main live sound and recording work (Freelance). A favorite gig for me is the occasional audiobook production, another not well paid segment. The only significant tape transfer jobs have come form the families of significant speakers who have passed.
Among live sound engineers, new young ones pop up seemingly weekly. Different kind of glamor! They are willing even at barely more than $20 an hour.
Having helped produce about 5,000 hours of that backlog, I feel it’s very sad myself…
On Sep 10, 2015, at 4:28 PM, Matt Sohn <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Regarding techs in the future, I have been doing this work for 15 years and have found it very difficult to find steady work. I have been fortunate to work on several large-scale projects of significant historical value, but in the last several years, grant funding has dwindled and holding entities are unwilling, or unable to fund preservation projects. The most common thing I have heard is "We wish we could hire you, but we have no funding". I get dribs and drabs, but large projects with adequate funding are few and far between. For the past two years I have been studying web development because my audio preservation work has not been enough to sustain me. Just the other day I saw an article that said there are an estimated 43 million hours of analog tape that has not been preserved. If even 10% of that is content that is historically valuable, that is 400,000 hours. People should be beating down a path to my door, but they aren't. I'm not good at marketing my skills, I'm just an audio geek that loves working with obsolete media. But I don't think that's the reason. The reason is that there are precious little funding available and very little concern for deteriorating assets. In the current economic climate, I do not see this situation improving, and I would be very hesitant to recommend that a student pursue audio preservation as an avocation.
> And that makes me sad.
> -Matt Sohn
> P.S. Lou, for some reason, your reply to me ended up in my spam folder.