Pros and Cons of Recording Yourself

If you’re anything like me you beam with pride when you tell somebody “I’m a musician!” Some people may mistake your sentiment for arrogance, but let’s be honest, playing an instrument is frackin cool. (Just like that sweet Battlestar reference right there.) Almost every producer I know started out playing in a band and recording their own music – including yours truly. The experience of playing the role of artist, producer, engineer and mixer gave me a unique perspective that was both awesome and horrible – and if you’ve ever done the same, I’m sure you’re nodding in agreement.

Let’s go over some Pros and Cons of recording yourself.

Pro:
You get to do things your own way.

There’s nothing better than having the final say on every aspect of the music. You can write the melodies, the lyrics, hell even the bass lines. Anything goes when you’re in charge. You want to write an 8 minute song? Do it. No one is going to stop you. You’re the only person you have to answer to, and hot damn that’s an empowering feeling.

Con:
You get to do things your own way.

It’s amazing to have such control over your music, but sometimes a little outside perspective can go a long way. Having someone there to reel you in when you’re going over the top may be exactly what you need. Some grandiose ideas may sound great in your head, but if you’re in a room with 10 other musicians and you’re the only one who’s digging a particular idea – you’d better rethink your strategy. If you’re writing the music purely for your own enjoyment, you may be the only one to ever listen to the record.

Pro:
You have all the time in the world to get it right.

You don’t have to worry about about an engineer milking the clock to make a few extra bucks. You don’t even have to worry about punching in to nail that guitar solo you were hoping to rock in one full take. If it takes you 5 hours, it takes you 5 hours. Time is of no importance when you’re working solo.

Con:
You have all the time in the world to get it right.

This may be your downfall. Sure you’re aiming for perfection, but having too intense of a focus can lead to obsession. Maybe you spend 5 hours trying to nail that solo and you still aren’t amped about it. So you try again in the morning, only to realize you hate the part and want to rewrite it. Now, a project that should’ve taken a week will last a month – 6 months – or maybe even a year – if it even gets finished.

Pro:
The songs and mixes are all yours.

It’s very impressive that you were able to play everything and mix it all yourself. This isn’t an easy feat to accomplish after all, and it absolutely takes a ton of talent. Show your parents, show your friends, and share it anywhere you can. You did this, and you should be proud.

Con:
The songs and mixes are all yours.

There are a lot of talented people out there, and everyone should know what their strengths are. Some people are amazing at guitar, while others are wizards at mixing. If one persons talent lies strictly in vocals, they’d be better off letting someone mix their record who has just as much talent at mixing as they do at singing. Splitting the load with other talented people can really help the overall quality of the final product.

Pro:
You will notice every nuance.

This means every time you hear yourself sing a flat note, it’s going to stick out like a soar thumb. The benefit of this is that now you know what areas need some personal improvement. If your drumming sounds sloppy, you know you need more practice with that metronome. This will help make you a better overall musician, I guarantee it.

Con:
You will notice every nuance.

Not just while you’re playing, but long after all the mixing is done. So if you really didn’t like those guitar tones, and you’ve already released your record, guess what. You’re stuck with them. They will haunt you forever. You wanted to add a little more reverb on that bridge? Again, it will haunt you. Forever.

Try to keep some of these pros and cons in mind while you’re tracking your own material. There will always be give and take, so I hope you take something from all this. What are some of the positives and negatives you’ve experienced from tracking your own record? Let me know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading.

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Alternate Jobs to Consider for Record Producers

Is your life as a Record Producer getting dull? Feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, unhappy? Of course not! Being a music producer is awesome. It’s quite possibly the best job there is. Other than ice cream taster. Or lego player wither. But alas, they’ll probably never respond to the 6,000 messages you sent them. So get back to the music! And when you do, remember, you do so much more than just produce. Let’s take a look at what other jobs record producers would be great at:

Teacher

Record producers are always teaching. Our artists are our students and we’re constantly feeding them knowledge. We teach about the circle of fifths, proper singing techniques, why we’re cutting out certain frequencies, and so much more. Something that comes naturally to us is eye opening for our bands. So we share what we know because that’s the right thing to do. It’s in our nature.

Babysitter

As with any good teacher, we also need to hone our babysitting skills. A ton of bands will goof around and get off track during a session. And though we like to have fun, we still need to be on top of things. If we only have 6 days to track an EP, we need to make sure the whole operation runs smoothly. That means keeping everyone focused, and making sure nobody cries.

Psychologist

We play the part of the psychologist a lot more than you’d think. It’s amazing how many people will open up when they’re recording. Maybe it’s the environment of pouring emotion into the music, but it really gets the feels flowing. Singer/songwriters divulge their innermost secrets about why they wrote a particular lyric and you’ll be shocked at some of the stories you hear. You just need to be there and be a good listener. Give them encouragement/support when they need it, and hopefully when you’re done you won’t need a psychologist yourself.

Businessman

As a record producer, you’ll learn it’s about more than just the music. Business decisions need to be made. You’ll need to maintain your equipment, handle your finances, and upkeep the calendar. You’re in charge of your own bills, so you’ll want to know how to best handle your overhead and workflow. But the benefit is that you don’t need to wear a suit. Unless you want to. Then do it.

Salesman

Guitar leads aren’t the only leads record producers should concern themselves with. You’re going to need to up your negotiating skills if you want to make it in this business. You need to be able to close a deal in order to make that money, so brush up on your sales chops and be prepared for a lot of persuasive chit chat. Have confidence, and don’t sell yourself short.

Garbageman

Bands won’t clean up after themselves. They just won’t. You’ll need to scrub toilets, take out garbages, clean up wrappers and vacuum the floor. Keep your studio tidy and you’ll have a much nicer work environment. The cleaner, the better.

The morale of this story is don’t quit your day job. Because your day job is like, at least 10 jobs. Nothing beats being a record producer, and I personally wouldn’t change it for the world. I love going into work and knowing I need to have such a vast skill set to make it through the day. It keeps things exciting and fresh. I’m grateful music production is a thing. Otherwise I don’t know what I’d do. I guess I could always take up blogging… Anyway, thanks for reading. Please feel free to share our content and take advantage of our entirely free site. Peace and rock on.

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Music Producer Pages

Music Producer Pages

The Importance of Facebook Music Producer Pages

Last week I finished my How to Land a Band series and got a ton of messages from producers telling me that my article was extremely helpful. (I love to hear that, so keep em coming!) Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite working so well for them. After a few conversations, I found myself giving out similar advice and figured I might as well write an article on it, and here we stand. Or sit. Or lay. Whatever.

The first question I kept asking people was “do you have any Facebook music producer pages?” The common thread was “yes, but it doesn’t make much of a difference”. Well, honestly, that’s because they aren’t using it correctly. Let’s go over some things.

Take it Seriously

When you’re creating your music producer pages, make sure you’re professional. Look at your page as a billboard for yourself. Include a picture of yourself so people can see you’re a real life human. For your banner, include a picture of gear, or your studio name. Add pictures, and create tabs that link to your YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Outside Website, and most importantly songs you’ve actually produced. That’s the best area to send bands who want to hear the quality of your work.

Post Often

If you haven’t posted in 5 weeks, it makes you look lazy. Once a week is a good amount to post, and the more, the better. Make sure you stay on top of this. Potential clients want to know they’re working with a diligent producer, and not some deadbeat who doesn’t even have the time to update a simple Facebook status.

Write Posts with Significance

It’s your wall. Write anything you want. Want to write an inspirational quote? Do it. Want to add a picture of cats, do it. But try to keep it musically oriented. Writing about what your favorite band is up to is great, and posting articles about industry trends is even better. It makes you look like an authority figure when you post about audio. Bands take notice and they want to work with someone who has a passion for what they do.

Promote Your Artists

Make sure you’re promoting your artists. If you’ve got a band in the studio, promote them. You’ll get them a few likes, they’ll get you a few likes. It’s win win. Plus it shows that you CARE. And that’s what this is all about. So share their show announcements, talk about their upcoming release and endorse their new album on iTunes. It makes you look better, and your clients will love you for it. This will also help to promote repeat business.

Promote Yourself

Talk about your accomplishments. Brag a little. “Just finished an 18 hour day, but the guitar tones sound AWESOME #worthit”. Maybe you’ll only get 2 likes, but here’s a little tidbit of advice, add a picture and you’ll go from 2 likes to 14. It’s ok to be a little egotistical, but don’t overdo it. Be proud, but not arrogant.

Answer Messages

Whenever someone sends you a message, make sure to respond. Firstly, you don’t want your respond rate to be 2 weeks. Secondly, occasionally you’ll get a really good lead that you weren’t even expecting. So make sure you’re constantly checking that inbox and keeping up to date with it.

This isn’t as easy as it seems, it takes time. And for the first few weeks you aren’t going to notice any results. But if you’re consistent and you make a point to keep at it, I guarantee you’ll see results on your music producer pages. I hope this article has helped, and if you’d like to see me cover something next week, please let me know. As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below. Peace and rock on.

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The Process of Attracting Paying Clients

Paying Clients

By now, I hope you’ve gotten the best out of this series. Landing paying clients isn’t that hard, especially once you start to get the hang of it. It actually becomes a lot like crafting a mix – you learn what to do, what not to do and how to improve your techniques. It really can be a roller coaster ride, so let’s conclude our series with the up and down factors of band messaging.

That Initial Message:

Ups: The feeling you get when you see a band has responded is almost like the feeling you get on Christmas morning. It’s exciting! Who was it, how are they responding, are they interested? The anticipation is palpable and you can’t help but pump your fists.

Downs: There are really only two downsides to your first received response. The first is that the band took offense to your message and refuses to work with you. (But hey, that’s not a band you want to work with anyway.) And secondly, they just plain aren’t interested. It’s disappointing, but there are other fish in the sea.

The First Conversation:

Ups: You strike up a positive conversation. The band is really digging what you can offer and you both hit it off. They want to head into your studio to meet you in person and see your space. It’s rare, but in the absolute best case scenario, the band will book session time right then and there!

Downs: For whatever reason the band just doesn’t like you. This doesn’t happen very often though. More likely to occur is the fact that either the band doesn’t have the time or the money to work together. (But a few techniques from our previous article can help with this.)

The Waiting Process:

Ups: After talking to the band on the phone, sometimes they’ll set up a meeting to see your studio. When they do, there’s some down time and you’ll want to keep them pumped up. If they’re texting their excitement, posting on their social media pages, or even calling again to go over some fine details, these are positive signs.

Downs: Sometimes the initial phone call goes well, but for some reason the follow up isn’t so great. Bands are pushing back meeting dates, or worse, not even responding to texts/calls. Don’t get discouraged, I’ve seen this a lot. Bands will talk a big game on the phone, but when it comes down to reality, sometimes life gets in the way. Don’t waste too much time focusing on bands that lose interest – it will only frustrate you and you’re better off spending that energy elsewhere.

The First Face-to-Face Meeting:

Ups: The artists love your studio. They love the gear, they love your personality, they love the “vibe”. So. Much. Love. The bands will start talking about timetables that work for recording, and sometimes they’ll even book time right then and there.

Downs: Sometimes only one band member is interested (most likely the one you spoke with.) The other members sit there begrudgingly, texting on their phones. In these cases you’ll feel like you’re pleading to a jury that has already found you guilty. It’s uncomfortable, but hey it happens. Another thing that happens will be the same as the waiting process mentioned above. They seem interested at first, but then disappear off the face of the earth once they leave.

We Got Em:

Ups: They said they want to book a session with you as their head producer! This is even better than Christmas! They give you a deposit, you set up some days, then you keep in contact with them until they come in to lay down some tasty jams. Sorry if that sounded weird, but shut up, I don’t care, I just landed the band!

Downs: The band wants to book dates 9 months from now. It’s annoying, and when they book so far out, it’s honestly about a 50/50 chance they come in at all. Another terrible thing that happens is a band books dates then bails on you the night before they’re supposed to come in. (This is why you always take a deposit before setting anything in stone.) Even more infuriating than this is when a band gives a deposit, and STILL flakes out on you. It sucks, but it’s all part of the process. We’ve all been there, it’s just about persevering through the tough times. This is what separates the professionals from the hobbyists.

I’m glad you’ve stayed with me through these articles and I sincerely hope they’ve helped you land some paying clients. If you have anything you’d like to see covered, I’m an open book and I’ll do a series on any questions you have. I’m very easily accessible, so leave a comment below and the next series could be one you specifically asked for. Please like us on Facebook, subscribe to our Youtube, and follow us on Twitter.

Part 1
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How to Land a Band (Band Responses)

We’ve gone over a lot in this How to Land a Band series, so if you’re viewing this for the first time, you’ll definitely want to check out Parts 1, 2, and 3.  This article will be covering how to respond to bands after the initial message has been sent. There are several different types of band responses:

No band responses

This happens. A lot. Bands can be busy writing and touring, and they aren’t constantly checking their messages. Sometimes, the messages will be filtered straight to a spam folder. Don’t let this get you down. If there’s an artist you’re really hoping for a response from, contact them in a different way. If you contacted their Facebook initially, send a follow up message via e-mail, text message, or any other way you can find to get in touch with them. If they still aren’t responding, I would send out another message in about a week or so inquiring about the prior messages that have been sent. If there’s still no response, I would cut my losses and start seeking different options. You can always send more messages, but don’t get carried away. It’ll make you look desperate.

Wary band responses

Many artists are very cautious when they receive a message from an absolute stranger. And who can blame them? Wouldn’t you feel a bit wary too if someone contacted you out of the blue? They might test the waters and ask you a question just to see if you’re a real person (and not some sort of a crazy robot who’s plotting to kill them.) When this happens, be yourself and make light conversation. Talk about music, and show that you’re a genuine person who wants to help. If they feel comfortable talking to you one on one, try asking if you can speak more in depth. Phone calls are great, as are Skype meetings. But when a band wants to come in and check out your studio, this is a great sign that shows they are serious about working together.

Band Responses

Interested band responses

There are some bands who get very excited about reading your initial message. Like, really excited. I’ve had bands who think I’m a label trying to sign them to a record deal, and when this happens you need to be sure to clear up any confusion. Explain exactly who you are and what you can offer the band. Once they fully understand why you’ve contacted them, try to get a gauge for what they’re looking to do as a group. Are they serious musicians, or doing this for fun. Are they looking to record their first EP or their 5th? All of these questions will help to see if you’re a good fit for one another. If everything seems to be fitting into place, you’ll definitely want to speak more thoroughly. Like I said before, phone calls and Skype meetings are great, but get them into your studio and you’ll be much more likely to land them.

Non interested band response

There will be bands who are initially disinterested in what you have to say. However, don’t write them off. If they’re already a no go, it can’t hurt to ask them why they aren’t interested. Maybe they don’t have the money, or they lost a band member. If those are some of the issues, you can always suggest a Kickstarter, or having a studio musician come in and play the part of their lost member. Hell, you can even play it yourself if you’ve got the capabilities. The point is, you need to be able to think on your feet and get them excited about their future. Paint a beautiful picture for them and explain your idea of how they can reach the holy land. Worst case scenario is they say no, and you’re right back where you started. Best case scenario, you’ve got yourself an exciting new project.

Band Responses

Hateful band responses

Some individuals are just flat out rude. You spend your time listening to their music and trying to help them – and for whatever reason they feel the need to chew you up. Don’t take it personally. Maybe this person had a terrible week. You don’t know what their personal life is like, so don’t judge them, and definitely don’t sink to their level. Instead, take the high road and apologize for any concerns you’ve caused. The music business is a small business and word of mouth travels fast. Don’t incriminate yourself by venting some steam towards a band who isn’t worth the effort. In the end, everyone’s actions will catch up to them. So keep your actions true to who you are.

We’re coming close to the end of this series and next week will be the final installment. I’ll cover all of the up and down factors that go into trying to land a band, so you won’t want to miss the conclusion. If you have any questions, concerns, or you just want to say hey, please feel free to write a comment in the section below. Thanks for reading, and please share this article with anyone who will find it useful. Peace and rock on.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5

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