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Bottom Feeders Beware … Quality Still Matters

You don’t have to be a rock star or rocket scientist to know that we’re in a recession. Every day the media finds a new way to tell us this, and everyone and their sister is listening, watching and effectively in scramble mode to prepare for the second coming.

Well, I think it’s high time that we all take a step back and look at the situation for what it really is — a call to action.

As we all know, a recession does mean business — and from the entertainment industry’s perspective, it is a little disheartening to see all of us running around trying to stockpile our businesses with as many sandbags as we can before the colossal storm really hits. If sandbags are the amount of work, projects or clients that you have as a supportive service of the entertainment industry, then let’s take on as much as we can; that’ll get us through … right?

Well, not exactly.

In the entertainment industry of today, we are all familiar with the fact that many decisions are being made solely based on cost-saving; but it is now more important than ever to maintain the quality of your brand in order to survive through this transition. There are a lot of bottom feeders out there that undercut everyone in terms of the cost of their service offering — but as we all know, the shotgun approach to business may only be effective for a short amount of time, if you are lucky. Quality is usually the first thing to be compromised to make a buck.

While the saying goes that you get what you pay for, it becomes more of a challenge to retain clients while one is being asked to do work for incredibly lower rates — especially if your product is one of high cost to begin with.

If we all were to go the way of the bottom feeder, then the whole entertainment industry wouldn’t be the same once we come out of this slump.

Can you imagine what it would be like if we all were to undercut our fees exponentially in order to close a deal? Besides all of us spinning our wheels with too much work to do for not a lot of pay back, I find it hard to believe that the quality of product would be anywhere near what it should be and has been for many years.

For those out there that are helping to set this trend, please, for the good of your industry — don’t sacrifice the quality of your product. We are all creative, smart, clever and extremely resourceful group of go-getters; that is what has gotten a lot of us to where we are today.

Reputation is key, and this door that it unlocks won’t be slammed shut forever. When it reopens, the demand for excellence will still be there. It is my hope that those who deliver quality look at undercutting and bottom feeding as a short-term solution that kills a long-term opportunity.

Brian Riordan is president and founder Levels Audio in Hollywood. His latest projects have been “American Idol,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “MTV Movie Awards,” and the 2009 Grammy nominated documentary film “Tom Petty: Running Down the Dream,” directed by Peter Bogdanovich.