Music Editor & Award-Winning Composer Yi-Chen Chiang is a Superhero Behind-the-Scenes

Music Editor & Award-Winning Composer Yi-Chen Chiang is a Superhero Behind-the-Scenes

Music Editor & Award-Winning Composer Yi-Chen Chiang is a Superhero Behind-the-Scenes

“Yi-Chen made it clear early on that she was eager to master the intricate work of remastering. For example, a famous American singer asked that we fully remaster a hit single of hers from the mid-90's, and it was an excellent opportunity to allow Yi-Chen to see our editing process. Within minutes of my explaining the details of our process to her, she was already deep into doing the hands-on artistic work herself, with me as a guide. Flawlessly she cleaned and restored every single frame of the project. While the completed video was rendering, she immediately jumped into the audio remastering. By day’s end, the entire project was completed and processing in our database thanks to Yi-Chen's wit and multi-media artistic fluency.—Ian Clarke is a Composer and Audio/Video QC Specialist and AI Expert at Craigman Digital, Inc.”

Multiple award-winning music composer and music editor Yi-Chen Chiang has a fascinating double-life that seems at odds. By day, as a Music Editor and Audio/Video QC Specialist, she is a key part of a select, highly-trained, 10-person team of music editors at Craigman Digital, a media service provider to the music and entertainment industries. Craigman Digital is a third-party subcontractor for Warner Music Group but it works so closely with WMG that Craigman is located in the giant music company’s building in downtown LA. WMG, itself, is a global music entertainment company.

The crucial job of the Craigman team, which daily receives scores of projects, is to review albums, singles, music videos and more to “ensure that everything going out to the marketplace is free of technical errors that could detract from consumers’ enjoyment,” according to multi-talented Yi-Chen.   


But when she’s not remastering, reconstructing or fixing glitches of famous artists’ audio or video projects, she’s jotting down music composition ideas in her 5-line (music staff) notebook. In fact, Taiwan-born Yi-Chen has been immersed in music for 20 years, first learning to play the piano at age four.

Moreover, Yi-Chen, who has a Master of Music degree in Music Scoring for Visual Media and a Composition Minor, suggests that the two aspects of her double-life, Editing and Composing, are really complementary skills. Indeed, Yi-Chen says that “figuring out how to handle all of our audio and video tasks is like solving a complex puzzle, which I feel requires a very creative mind.”

Apart from her essential editing/creative skills, Yi-Chen also brings something else to the table. As the only person at Craigman Digital with a clear and native understanding of East Asian cultures, Yi-Chen helps illuminate region-specific qualities to the rest of the team that might otherwise be completely misunderstood and mishandled as a result.

We spoke to affable Yi-Chen Chiang more about how her job at Craigman works, how music editing is a complex but creative process, and how she and the Craigman editing team, like behind-the-scenes superheroes, often help save the day for clients worldwide.


As an Audio/Video Quality Control Company, What Does Craigman Generally Do?

We receive dozens of projects every day from WMG and a variety of other clients worldwide. The majority of the work we do is exactly that, quality assurance, where we process audio and video assets and make sure there aren’t any technical issues before releasing to the marketplace. When we do run into problems, it’s not uncommon for us to fix them ourselves as editors. We also take requests for larger scale music editing projects, clean edits for broadcasts, closed captions, physical tape digitization and archive, full HD and 4k upscales and remakes, DVD authoring and more. Quality control really doesn’t accurately describe the full breadth of what the company carries out on a daily basis.

Can You be More Specific about What the Music/Video Editing Team Does?

Overall, we have to ensure that everything is free of technical errors, everything meaning the dozens of projects where we have to review albums, singles, music videos and more. Specifically, this often includes editing work to fix things like unintended artifacts, distortion and broken song transitions. Sometimes our editing responsibilities become far more complex, where we reconstruct the audio for a music video using whatever audio masters we have access to in WMG’s database, as well as any sound effects or other assets that need to be isolated or otherwise replicated.

What Expertise and Assets do you Personally Bring to the Job?

As I’ve been trained to work on various projects, I’m able to identify and understand a staggering number of different audio, video, and nuanced metadata errors. It’s best when we can offer solutions to our clients to get their products released on time, so we have to understand why any given error occurs in order to hone in on the root of the problem. We will often carry out these fixes ourselves, which is when our in-depth knowledge of audio and video editing techniques comes into play, so that we can make the best possible version of the asset in question. The thing is, music editing is a deeply creative process, but it manifests in a very different way for us since we come in at the end of the production line. Rather than making original artistic decisions, the creativity comes in deciphering how to repair or entirely reconstruct an artist’s work using our musical and technical knowledge and all the tools and assets we have available to us. Audio and video editing and quality control are inherently both creative and technical endeavors in equal part.

How Much do you Have to be up on Technology?

Craigman Digital is built off of the foundation of leading technology in the audio and video space, having originally designed the audio archive and digital catalog systems that WMG still uses today. We have a distinct approach to quality control and music editing. I think that sets us up as the most efficient and perceptive in the industry, in that we utilize the best tech available and develop our own tools to assist the process without losing the human factor that instinctively understands art in a way that algorithms cannot.

Could you Explain How Music Editing and Music Composing Can Complement Each Other?

My experience as a composer has granted me a deep and second nature understanding of how to construct a piece of music in a uniquely engaging way. Having this knowledge makes it simple for me to gain some insight into an artist’s intent when I edit their music, so I can more easily find ways to naturally tie together different parts of a song, or mix multiple audio elements to complement each other, without straying from the artist’s original vision. But it also feeds back into my composition, absolutely. When you know what kind of changes you’re looking to make as an editor, you can write out a piece in such a way as to incorporate some of those goals before you ever even hit the editing process.

In a Sense, You Work in the Shadows as a Music Editor, How Do you Get Satisfaction from the Job?

We typically don’t receive credit for the projects we work on, we’re very much a behind-the-scenes part of the pipeline, but our work is incredibly important to the industry. My feelings on receiving credits are similar to my feelings on receiving awards—the recognition isn’t nearly as important to me as the impact of my work. Seeing YouTube comments from excited fans of these artists is gratifying. I know that editing work is crucial to a project’s success, and what’s important to me is that the final products that I had a hand in are widely loved. That love can persist for years, even decades, so I feel like I receive all the praise I need just by knowing the work is appreciated.

Where Do You See Yourself Going in this Field, and How Does it Complement your Music Composition Life?

I really enjoy working at Craigman Digital and alongside WMG. Right now I just want to help artists release the best possible versions of their work that they can, so I’m happy to continue learning and honing my skills. This applies to my composition life as well—as I continue analyzing and picking apart music from all across the world, my perspective on music and all the forms it can take continues to broaden more and more. I frequently discover and gain a deep appreciation for all these diverse artists, and it inspires me to continue evolving my own compositions.

Check out the website for Yi-Chen Chiang, and her IMDb page.

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  • Liam O'Sullivan

    Yi-Chen Chiang's talent and dedication to her craft as a music editor and composer is truly impressive. It's amazing to see how she seamlessly transitions between the technical aspects of editing and the creative process of composing. She's a true asset to the music industry.

  • Alex Murphy

    I admire Yi-Chen Chiang's ability to bring her unique perspective and understanding of East Asian cultures to her work as a music editor. It's important to have individuals like her who can ensure that cultural nuances are properly represented and respected in the final products. Kudos to her for her valuable contributions!

  • Dean Spencer

    All the best in your career !!

  • Conor K

    It's fascinating how she can decipher complex puzzles and reconstruct an artist's work, all while staying true to their original vision. She truly has a keen eye and ear for detail!

  • Aoife Brennan

    Really great to see Yi-Chen making a significant impact behind the scenes and helping artists deliver their best work to the world.

  • Kumar Mohit

    Excellent interview !

  • Michael H

    She has such positive vibes around her.

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Ashley Jude Collie

Entertainment Expert

Ashley is an award-winning journalist/author/blogger who has written for Playboy, Toronto Star, Movie Entertainment, Sports Illustrated, Maclean's and others. He's interviewed various "leaders" in their fields, including: Oscar winners (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander, Jane Fonda, Mira Sorvino, Geena Davis, Anthony Hopkins); Grammy winners (Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Ice Cube, Pete Townshend); MVPs in sports (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky, Kobe Bryant); and, business leaders (Amazon's Jeff Bezos). He has an upcoming novel, REJEX, coming out on Pulp Hero Press. And he has written several episodic TV shows, appeared on CNN, and blogged for Mademan, Medium, GritDaily and HuffPost.

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