Do you write songs? Do you sing?
Would you love to record your first album? It is very do-able but you have to know a few things first to get started. There are a few mistakes you don't want to make.
Mistake #1: Not writing your own songs. If you want to record an album, you've got to record your own songs. It's the best way to make money. Record companies look for artists that not only can sing well but also who are great songwriters. The songwriter drives the industry. If you write your own songs, you'll ultimately make the money on them. If you don't, you'll pay someone else those royalties when your song gets played on the radio. Don't know how to get started songwriting? Here is a fantastic songwriting video course that I highly recommend.
Mistake #2: Choosing the wrong recording studio. This is a big deal. Once you have your songs together, you'll need to contact a recording studio and start getting estimates and quotes.
If you live in Los Angeles, Nashville, or New York, you're going to have an easier time of finding world-class recording studios who have a wide range of packages to offer. Some of the packages are their most expensive rooms, most expensive musicians, and most expensive engineers.
This is fine if you have the budget, but just know, it's gonna be a lot. Big recording artists and record companies can spend upwards of $100 to $200K on one recording alone. Some companies spend even more.
But for those of us who live in the real world and don't have that kind of money, there are more reasonable recording packages. A beginning artist paying for an album themselves can get a great record done in Nashville for under $20,000. If you need a smaller budget than that, usually the owner can work with you and see where you can cut back.
Just understand, it is really easy to get ripped off in this process.
You want to find a studio that has integrity, that prides itself on honesty. Talk to previous clients. Ask them about their experiences. Try to find reviews online about the owner. Many times, beginner artists will pay way too much for a record than they need to.
If a producer is charging you more 40 to 50% of the budget just for his fee alone, something is wrong. Also, ask what the musician's rates are per day as well as the hourly/daily rate of the studio. Ask if that rate includes an engineer, and how experienced the engineer is (more on that later.)
Your budget also depends on your instrumentation on each song. If you want a full orchestra, that's going to cost more than just a simple guitar/vocal. A full orchestra requires a lot of people playing instruments, and that means a lot more people for you to pay. The producer should be able to help you find and hire musicians and make great recommendations.
Mistake #3: Choosing the wrong mixing engineer. Once your record is fully recorded, you need to have it mixed. Mixing is a process in which all the instruments are put at their proper volume levels in the "mix", so that everything sounds great together. It takes a lot of skill to complete this step. A professional engineer with a "golden ear" and the ability to make your record sound fantastic is worth every single penny he charges.
So many studios today have engineers that really don't have the ability to create a great mix. This is especially true of young graduates of recording schools. You cannot quickly teach someone how to mix a great record. It has to be learned over many years and it's a painstaking process. But it's one of the most valuable things you can invest in -- an experienced engineer. The longer someone has been an engineer, the better your record will usually sound in the end.
Mistake #4: Not getting your project PROFESSIONALLY mastered. After this comes the "mastering" process. This is another process that takes incredible skill. Just getting anyone to do it is not a wise decision. You want a professional who is highly skilled. What you want is called a mastering engineer, and usually this is someone who has devoted decades of his life to the process.
Mastering is defined as taking a mix and running it through a specialized process of "EQ-ing" it and compressing it into a format that will be suitable for radio and other broadcasts. It seems redundant to have a mix then have it mastered, but trust me, it's a very necessary process.
Many times these days, in order to save money, some mixing engineers will buy software and try to be mastering engineers. What they turn out sounds like crap. Don't go there. Spend the money to have your record mixed AND mastered by two different professionals, as each discipline takes years to learn.
Mistake #5: Trying to do the album cover artwork yourself. After that you'll need to have your record packaged. You need artwork and then manufacturing done. Most artists starting out will just have a picture of themselves taken at a cheesy family photography studio and use that as the cover of their album. Don't do it.
Have your picture taken by a professional photographer who specializes in the music industry. Someone who understands album cover artwork, using hip lighting and cool backgrounds. You don't want stupid stuff on your album that you'll regret for a long time. It's embarrassing!
Also, everyone seems to owns a hefty computer nowadays, with lots of Photoshop-like software. But don't be tempted to do your own layout and design. Get with a great graphic designer that specializes in album cover artwork. They can put together a whole design layout and do a mock-up on their computer screen for you. Usually you'll be heavily involved in the creative process with this and have final approval.
Now this is not a mistake, but it's the last step in finishing your album -- some bonus information for you. Obviously you have to have your finished CD duplicated after the artwork is done and it's ready to manufacture. Contact a CD Replication or Disc Manufacturing company. A Google search will show you the ones in your area.
If you want to look outside your area, you certainly can. When the CD's are complete, they will send your CD's in the mail. It's fun to receive your finished CD's in a big box on your front porch ready to sell. If you've done your due diligence with the steps above, your CD's should arrive in perfect order.
So just remember, there is a lot involved in creating your first album from A to Z. Try to avoid the mistakes above, do your due diligence, and you should be well on your way to success.
For one of the best recording studios in the Nashville area, with honesty, integrity, world-class musicians and engineers as well as LOW RATES, visit: http://www.sunsetblvdstudios.comSocial tagging: album > first album > mastering > mastering a record > record > record first > record first album > recording first > recording first album