Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Does Sound or Recording Quality Matter?

The short answer, YES. In today’s world where everything is at an arms reach, A&R’s want to hear something of great quality. Of course like anything in life there are exceptions to the rule but they are far and few between. In a sea of submissions these guys/gals are skimming tracks to see what stands out. If they hear a less than acceptable quality song they will move on. Besides, why should a label invest in your product when you won’t invest in it?

Another key factor an A&R will look at is the impact that your brand has on social media. How many quality followers do you have? Growing a fan base is easier if you have a great sound. If it sounds professional it will be respected as a professional product.

Now recording at home or at a friend’s house is not a bad thing, as long as there isn’t a lot of background noise in your recording. Your files could be sent to a professional mix engineer. The mix engineer will take your files and blend them in a way to maximize the message of your song. As you record at home, be mindful of  clipping (distorting) any audio as well as making sure your punch ins/outs are clean. Also send a reference of what you think the song should sound like. This serves as a road map to the mix engineer.

I know, I can hear you saying “I recorded my song a while ago and I do not have access to those files. What can you do?” Good question. Your song might be salvageable by a Mastering Engineer. A professional can work wonders. Here’s an example of a song that needed a little bit of TLC. The first 30 seconds are the submitted mix and the last 30 seconds are what the mastering engineer did to bring it to industry standard levels. Click here for sample (Explicit Lyrics).

In closing, the quality of the recording does matter. It matters because you never know what song is a hit. Once you remove the variable of quality, the song will reveal itself both to your audience and hopefully the A&R at the label.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I Want A Record Deal

I Want A Record Deal! 

“I have talent and my friends and family say I should be a star. How can I get a record deal?”
This is a great question one with many variables it is not a “one size, fit’s all” response. The reason is because there isn’t one simple answer. I believe we need to ask better questions and start with the end in mind. Let’s outline the steps. (Remember we’re starting with the end in mind.)

1. I want a record deal. Question to ask yourself: Which record label? The more specific you are about answering this question, the less overwhelming it will be to chase this monster.

2. Present project to label exec. Question to ask yourself: Which exec handles the signing of NEW artists? This position is known to have a high turnover rate and it’s in the your best interest to stay up to date on who handles what at the label you are trying to get signed to. A few ways to do this is to join an industry related forum, subscribe to the trade journals, follow the labels social media, and be part of a music publishing house.

3. Create a buzz. How? We know that social media is at the forefront of creating exposure. It’s free and easy. Yeah but everyone is doing it. I’m all for being tapped into the network but the tried and true best way to create a sense of value is to show face. Let your potential audience know that you are real and that you don’t just exist in cyberspace somewhere. Create people connections in addition to virtual ones. I’ll be writing more articles on how to create a buzz with specifics in the future.

4.Create a budget. There’s nothing more discouraging than starting something and putting a complete stop to it because you ran out of capital. Proper planning and budgeting keeps momentum and spirits high during the process of achieving a record deal. Isaac Newton, regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time states “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Don’t let proper planning and budgeting become an unbalanced force to stop you from achieving your goals.

5.Record the demo professionally. Why? High quality recording equipment has become affordable to everyone. The labels expect to hear a demo that sounds professional and can't be differentiated from a multimillion dollar facility. Your potential fans want to enjoy the experience of listening to an established major artist as well as your track without a change in quality. What will make your recording stand out? It’s not the equipment per se, it’s the experience behind the boards. You want to hire someone that will get the best performance out of you. There’s a notable difference between what you hear and a trained professional hears.

In summary, record your demo professionally, find out where you’re going to record it at and how much it will cost. Create a budget for the recording. Once you have a project that you’re proud of, do the market research by engaging fans and gathering feedback. Build a strong fan base while pounding the pavement and getting connected with the A&R you have researched within the label you desire to be signed too. The steps sound easy but they take a lot of work. If you fail get up and continue. I leave you with this quote: “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”