a) Original music

Original music still can provide those retirement funds. Somebody is selling music every day as commercials or pop music. Don’t be afraid to give it a try. If song writing is not your thing, then try commercials. Radio stations are always looking for copy writers. They sometimes will pay a couple of bucks for each piece of timed copy.

When I was Chief Operation Engineer at the local radio station, I looked forward to going to work each day. Every hour there was spent creating something. It may have been writing the copy for a commercial or doing a special voice characterization on a recording. The cash pay was low but hearing my work every day on the air was a great personal reward.

I always try to write music that sounds like something you heard before with out ripping someone off outright. Say I heard a nice Latin beat on the radio. I might change it a little, and add my own rhythm parts. After you hear your new creation enough a melody line and lyrics will come. Music comes easy to some, and lyrics come easy to others. But we all can do both so write down, or record all your ideas.

Listen and copy the master song writers that you like. Then, KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. We used to say, “To stay alive on a 45 (record), 2:55 to 3:05”. In other words:, to make a hit keep it around three minutes and that will make the radio stations happy. They like to play those short ones just before the news. Which is a hot spot on the play list.

You can put ideas together and work out the gray areas at home . Don’t waste time doing this in the studio. It is a good practice to test prove your songs in front of an audience before deciding if it is worth recording. Be careful not to over use musical parts, instruments, or effects. An effect, is only effective, when it is used effectively!

b) Production cost

Production cost budgeted high at the beginning of a session, will never leave you low when it’s time to pay the bill. There will be not only studio time by the hour, but you need blank CD’s and supplies.  Everybody will want and need a quick mix down of the session. Some studios have hidden expenses. There is a studio in my business area that charges for the use of the “good mikes” and any outboard special effects. This sounds like a rip off. Maybe that is why I get their business.

The producer is the one with the checkbook, and he is the one that pays the bill. The band that pays together stays together. Keep your expenses down, and pay your bill in full at the end of session and you may get better deals later.

c) Being well prepared

Being well prepared is a must when you are paying by the hour. Recording is similar to a concert without an audience. Leave the girl friends and boy friends at home. Know your material and rehears the same way you would for a live concert. Have enough songs ready in case you want to drop one or two.

I like to record in separate steps. The first session needs to be following a click track.  No click no recording.  The click track is the perfect heart beat of the song that will not be heard in the finale mix.   During these first sessions is when you concentrate on getting a keeper drum track.  Then lay down all the rhythm tracks. The players can choose to follow the click or the drums you just added or both.   When the session is done give everyone a rough mix down of the songs and let them go home and listen to what you have done. The next session lay down all the vocal parts. Again leave with a rough mix down so you can see where you are at and plan on where you want to go from here. The next sessions add the lead lines. If the vocals are already there, it is easy for the lead lines to find the holes where to play. The hardest thing to play, is not to play. So don’t step on the singer and don’t get to cluttered.

Make another rough mix down and go home for a few days to listen and decided how you want your final mix to sound. The average productive session is about four hours. Any longer than this is sometimes just wasting time. You will gain great respect from the recording studio by knowing ahead of time what you want to accomplish when you are done.



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