Smart Partners

Velveteen Music

How Faster Internet Helped This Edmonton Music Production Company Expand its Reach

Velveteen Music initially started as a recording studio and production company in 2009, but by 2016 they decided to shift their goals. The Edmonton-based organization realized they could serve a gap in the market: helping musicians not just make music, but create sustainable careers as artists.

“It’s a holistic approach to creating and releasing music,” says Velveteen owner and audio engineer Brad Simons. “Our baseline is wanting artists to continue doing what they love without it causing them financial stress.”

With that larger goal in mind, Brad and his team needed to ensure they had the right technological foundation to be able to provide the best quality service to their clients. They started working with Shaw Business for their Edmonton studio in 2020 to help level up their connection to better serve their artists, like Juno-nominated Mohawk singer-songwriter Shawnee Kish.

“We chose Shaw Business’ SmartWiFi Gig 1.5 because it allowed us to work with artists from all over the country,” says Brad. While the physical space consists of two studios complete with control and tracking rooms, the borders of possibility opened for Velveteen when they began working with people remotely.

“Video conferencing became integral to our process, so I reached out to Shaw Business,” says Brad. “After switching from a competitor, our Internet became 50% faster. We needed that to happen or we couldn’t work.” With that solid foundation beneath them, Brad and his team were able to bring their vision of guiding artists toward sustainable careers to people they might never have encountered.

“It’s just allowed us to really expand our demographic and our clientele beyond Alberta to work with artists from all over the country,” says Brad. Working this way requires a fast, stable network connection—you have one computer running recording software, live streaming audio, video calls, and any other goings-on in the studio next door. “The bandwidth to sustain all that is quite high,” says Brad. “Having Internet access at high speed is such a foundational part of what we do.”

Beyond enabling producers to do their job with ease, Shaw Business’ fast and stable connection actually helps the creative process. “When you’re trying to write music over video conference, the stronger the lag the harder it is to feel a human connection,” says Brad. “Writing without a connection with the other person removes all the magic, so operating at higher speed without dropouts allows us to work smoothly and stay focused. You can forget there’s a video between us and just focus on the music.”

Writing without a connection with the other person removes all the magic, so operating at higher speed without dropouts allows us to work smoothly and stay focused.

Brad Simons, Owner of Velveteen Music

That spark of creativity also happens in-studio, requiring a consistent connection no matter where the muse takes you. “It’s important to be able to make it work on your laptop in random locations,” says Brad. “Sometimes we’ll just take our gear to a random area in the kitchen and hit a fork on a glass and record that—you have to get creative and try new things.”

Velveteen relies on Shaw Business’ consistent connection to make sure every sound gets captured, even in their not-so-average space, which is why they installed three access points. “Every wall is doubled and stuffed with soundproof insulation,” says Brad, which previously reduced the WiFi signal in the studio in certain areas. When Velveteen got their WiFi from a competitor, artists would find themselves heading to different corners of rooms to find the strongest signal. “With SmartWiFi’s access points, we have good coverage across the building,” says Brad.

Whether artists are flying in to record in the booth, or logging on to write music with one of Brad’s team members, when the technology works smoothly the focus can remain on making great work. “There’s something about creating music—you build such great relationships,” says Brad. “That’s why we don’t just want our artists to get by, we want them to thrive.”

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