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music production

producers are songwriters

PRODUCERS ARE THE NEW SONGWRITERS

There’s a significant change in the music industry. Producer’s old duty of creating music has been revolutionised and redefined.

Traditionally, when visiting a music studio, you may find the band, the artist, the audio engineer, the manager and other musical professionals.

These were the traditional tools needed to produce great music. Now, throw all that away. Think of what can be accomplished by a single person using just a Macbook.

With a digital audio workstation (DAW) such as Fruity Loops or Ableton, few cheap-to-free VSTs/Plugins, some royalty-free sample packs, and a musical ear, music can be created by laptop producers as they now have all the tools they need.

Also, consider the latest news about Spotify accepting artist uploads directly and cheap digital music companies in saturated markets. How does this affect the music industry, and how does it help a music producer?

With all these, we can agree to the fact that producers are also songwriters. As a producer, securing music publishing rights can grow your business to greater heights.

LET’S ADD A LITTLE CONTEXT

Music ownership can also be made possible through music publishing. If you produce a song and the song is released, it creates publishing royalties.

If the song was composed by you (the producer), then the publishing rights are owned by you, and therefore you can claim royalties from this ownership.

Furthermore, if this is the case, everything is negotiable between you as a producer and the artist. All creators should understand what publishing rights is all about and use it to their advantage.

DON’T OVERLOOK PUBLISHING

This is very important to beat leaders and creators. Ensure to maintain and register publishing ownership whenever you let your beat to be used by others. If this isn’t done, you might end up producing a hit without getting rightfully paid for it.

Also, consider the fact that you can distribute your product whenever you want. People also enjoy listening to instrumentals.

When listeners frequently play your music on Spotify, it will help Spotify recognise when listeners like your music and will help them find your listener base. Locate that hard drive, complete your beats, and get them out!

THE LAPTOP PRODUCERS ARE TAKING OVER

Today, music is more fun than ever. Now, an independent artist can produce, release, and make cool cash from music while still having complete ownership. Big businesses and taskmasters do not decide the terms any more.

We, the songwriters, the producers, the people, can now promote our music whenever and however we want, we have the freedom to develop our music to consumers digitally.

This creates an avenue for new movements, new subgenres, new communities, and new sounds to find their way around the world and end up in the ears of new listeners and subscribers.

Producers are also songwriters in their way. Ensure to negotiate publishing percentages wherever you can. Maintain and register publishing ownership to get your hands on the proper amount of money too!

invest in knowledge instead

HOW TO MAKE A HOME RECORDING STUDIO AND WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN KNOWLEDGE INSTEAD

The first thing to note while setting up a home recording studio is that you don’t have to acquire all the expensive gear, and multi-million dollar facility to make it work. With the advancement in today’s technology, you can easily create professional sounds and record your lyrics in the comfort of your home and with a little budget. Here is how it goes.

You will need a computer

You do not need a Mac Pro ladened with all specification and could cost you a lot, but you still do not need a computer decked with the Windows 95 from the ’90s. Anything in between will do a great job. Since the computer will be the basis of your operations, you got to have a good one to prepare your studio.

Purchase a recording software

This represents the interface through which you will manage the recordings on your computer. I’d say that today standard for songwriters is still Logic pro X for Apple users and Cubase for PC.

Install an audio interface

An audio interface allows you to connect your microphone and instruments to your computer using a mixer. In today landscape you have plenty of good choices at a very low price. Technology allows us to create almost anywhere in the world with just a notebook and an USB audio device. One of the best and cheapest for us is Audient iD4, the perfect solution for songwriters

Decide on the microphone to use

You can manage your home recording studio with just one mic. Remember vocals are one of the most important part of a production. A good solution would be an AKG C214, not so expensive but it will bring you the right amount of quality, believe me.

Buy a pair of home studio monitor

This is the only thing I should suggest to spend a bit more on. A good pair of home studio monitor will help you to reach your sonic vision and make better mixes. Which one you should consider? There are a very good and portable pair called iLoud.

Now you know how to set up a home recording studio with ease. The fact is that such a move is not always right.

So, how can you spend your money in the best possible way? Our idea is that gear is important but it is not as important as studying your subject.

There are plenty of courses on songwriting, music production and also one-one-to-one lessons you could take to become better at what you do.

So, start with a cheap studio and invest in knowledge is the best way to change your career for good!

BENEFITS_ONLINE_COLLABS

The 4 essential benefits of collaborating online

Like it or not, most of the music industry has shifted to working online. Streaming services have almost completely replaced physical music copies (no matter what your vinyl-loving uncle says), and social media is currently the best way to advertise new music. This has extended to collaborating with other musicians as well. When I started as a session singer, I would say my work was 50% in person and 50% online, and now it’s almost 100% online.

I’ve seen some resistance to this shift, particularly from those who have always done it “the old way.” Here’s the thing: You can certainly always do things the old way, but why not learn another way? If you don’t like it, you always have the old way to fall back on. Or you can do both!

If you’re still not convinced, here are several other reasons why collaborating online is better than doing it in person:

1). Everyone Can Work on Their Own Schedule

Anyone who’s ever been in a band knows how difficult it is to schedule a practice. Recording and co-writing is very similar (More on collaborations HERE!). When you collaborate online, everyone gets a deadline and they just work whenever they can.

Some people don’t like this because they feel they manage their time better in an actual studio. If this is you, try scheduling your own working time like you would a live session. Put it on your calendar and stick to it! The benefits of this are that if something comes up or you’re running late, you have no one to disappoint and you can easily move it to a more convenient time.

2). No Travel

We can all agree that this is a great benefit, no? No sitting in rush hour, no spending gas money, no adding miles to your car. If you live in Nashville, you don’t have to endure the terrible freeway gauntlet (seriously, who designed that freeway system?!) Working from home and collaborating online is becoming much more popular, and for good reason. With the time you save from not traveling, you can put that into rehearsal or extra work time.

If you’re someone who likes the idea of going to a new and different place to work, try running a quick errand before you start working. I do this and trust me, it works! Swing through McDonalds, get your car washed or even just go on a quick walk. Your mindset will be different when you get back and you’ll feel like it’s “work time.”

3). Time (and Freedom) to Make Mistakes

A lot of people freeze up when in a studio. I’ve seen incredibly talented singers become stiff and unable to perform in a studio setting. Of course, this will fade with time and experience, but you’ll save a lot of time and get a better performance from a lot of people simply by removing that obstacle.

Working without an audience also allows musicians to try things they might be shy to try in front of people. If it doesn’t work out, you can simply delete it without embarrassment. If it does work out, you’ve got something cool you might not have had otherwise!

4). Expanding Your Circle

This seems obvious, but I don’t think many people consider that you can work with literally anyone from around the world when you work virtually. When you work in person, you limit yourself to only those available in your radius. Think of all the various backgrounds, cultures and ideas you can access, and how those might impact your work!

There is literally nothing negative about this one! Even if a co-write or project doesn’t work out, you’ve still met people you never would have otherwise.

Hopefully these things have at least convinced you to be more open to collaborating online. If you end up not liking it, you can always go back to in-person work!

If you’ve decided to give online collaboration a try and you’re looking for a session singer or top liner, feel free to hit me up at www.mellamusic.com

This post has been provided by Mella Barnes.

Mella is a session singer, songwriter and voiceover actor living in Nashville, Tennessee. Also an animal lover, she has three dogs, a rabbit, and any number of foster animals in various shapes and sizes. She is the author of Way Less Cowbell, a book on communicating with session musicians. If you would like more information or to hire her onto your project, please visit www.mellamusic.com

chasing music trends

Why chasing music trends is not a good idea?

Chasing music trends it has always been something TO DO in today music industry. Except for the fact that if you want to be really successful you don’t have to! It’s under the sun if you look at the Spotify charts 90 out of 100 songs have that same sound.

But is it only Spotify? Look at your Youtube feed, if you are a producer or a songwriter you will see hundreds of videos with a title similar to this one ” Produce in the style of..”, “Write your lyrics like..” and more.

What is a music trend?

Have you ever heard of something like the “EDM WAVE” or the “TRAP WAVE” or the “RETURN OF THE EIGHTIES“? Well, this is what a music trend is. Someone finds a good old sound, if we are lucky the producer tries to modernize it a bit and the magic is done. As you can see in today music there is a coming back of the 80’s sound, but Edm and Trap influence is still very strong.

Once one of this “New Sounds” reach the mainstream everyone starts chasing one of these music trends. But the thing is that if you are not an early player in the genre it will more likely end in few plays on Spotify and some good comments online.

What should I do then?

If you can’t chase music trends what should you do? The answer is not that simple. You need to do your homework and FIND YOUR VOICE! Think of what you love the most (for example I’m a huge fan of  The Edge the U2’s guitarist and I deeply love voices like Jeff Buckley, Bono Vox and Ryan Tedder).

Now that you found and studied from A to Z what you love you should start experimenting. Try to mix your style with the current sound or with an older genre and see what happens. you will find out that after some time of practice it will come naturally to you to write something different, something that sounds exactly like YOU!

Ok, but can I really ignore music trends?

Unfortunately not! (More on this here https://thesmartsongwriter.com/2018/11/23/5-bullet-points-for-songwriters/) You still have to keep your hears on what’s going on in the music world. So this is your next step: After you have developed YOUR VOICE by the process we have described above you need to choose at least two reference tracks for every song you decide to produce/write.

Why? This way you will be able to be current without being just another copycat! I think this is a fantastic way to create new music!!

PS: Do you want to bring your music career to the next level, find your voice and grow your music career? WORK WITH US!

 

 

 

mixing tips

MIXING: THE TWO ESSENTIAL TIPS

A post by Mark Barrie - Producer

Someone told me the other day that they had no idea where or how to start the mixing process. I gave them one small tip and they looked at me strangely because they were surprised at how simple the tip was. It wasn’t complex, and it sure wasn’t what they expected from someone with my experience.   They assumed mixing was complicated and cryptic, not simple and intuitive. See, the thing with mixing is: you have to make it intuitive. You have to set yourself up for success, not failure.

Mixing is about psychology

If you think about it, mixing is all about psychology. We are manipulators of the mind but yet, we have to keep our own minds in check to succeed at it. The listener, who is experiencing the final product needs to be immersed in our world musically and sonically. Understanding the psychology of sound music will benefit your listener. For you the engineer, the psychological aspect is what will make or break your process. The mentality of mixing is centred around “less is more” and that you want to ACTUALLY have fun doing it while being creative!

I’ve mixed many artists in virtually every genre and in a variety of ideal and not so ideal scenarios. The common thing that sets me up for success is preparation and workflow.

Preparation is the process of doing all organizational things in advance and anticipating issues that may arise early on. The goal is to avoid stopping the creative process and to allow your intuition to drive your decisions. Organization and preparation can be anything from labelling tracks to routing to simple communication with your client. You can anticipate virtually anything you think you are going to need or do in the mixing process beforehand.

Tip #1 – Your DAW IS your virtual mixing studio

Imagine a console in a studio: You’re sitting there and bobbing your head to the music with enjoyment, you want to hear a little more snap in the kick so you reach out, turn a knob, and presto the kick now has what it was missing. Then all of a sudden you want to hear a beautiful reverb on your vocal, you reach out and turn a knob and voila, you have a beautiful lush reverb almost as quickly as you imagined it.

Analog gave us this type of workflow because the console was already built and the patch cables were already connected. If you think about it, a blank DAW session is like an empty studio waiting to be filled with gear.

When you mix you want to be creative, you want to work as quickly as your creative brain wants to have ideas. You don’t want to stop and build a console in the middle of your epic drum sound. Do that beforehand.

So, build your virtual console in your DAW! Create EQs and Compressors that are bypassed. They are there ready for you to use at the click of a button. Reverbs can be routed, and presets selected, bus sends created in advance, all just waiting for you to add instant depth to your mix.

Tip #2 – Strong relationships + Strong Communication = Successful projects

With your clients: remember that communication is key. Always talk to your artists/tracking engineers to make sure YOU are getting everything you need to mix. The music production process is all about strong communication from conception to mastering.

It works both ways! You need to understand that the CLIENT’S vision is more important than anything else. If you do only what you feel is right with no regard to their vision you are wasting everyone’s time. Make sure you listen to a rough mix, and talk to the artist/producer/client to determine what they like about it, and understand what they want to achieve with the overall sound of the final mix.

You would probably be surprised if I said to start with the tracks from their rough mix. Seems odd right? Why wouldn’t you start from scratch with raw, unprocessed audio? Well think of it this way: most of the time the client is going to constantly remind you to listen to the rough mix to get the “feel” of what is there. Would it be more of a time saver to start with those sounds immediately and work from there? Or to take time out of your mixing to get BACK to the sounds they had from scratch? It makes sense to bypass the headache and just build off of what they had.

Work smart not hard

The process is all about working smarter and giving yourself the opportunity to use your creative intuition. You don’t want to be distracted by things you can easily avoid or anticipate before they interrupt the fun stuff. Remember, there is no way to anticipate every issue and always keep in mind that your clients are people who are unique and creative. The more you do this, the more you will be able to find what works for you, and for them. The goal, in the end, is to make great music and have your clients be ecstatic about the music you helped bring to life. Happy mixing!

PS: If you want to grow faster in your music career do not hesitate to click HERE!

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