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Why do you want to record (part 2)?

Recording studio cost

So you may have read part 1 of this recording studio blog over on Machiavellis Guide. If not, you should go check it out before you read on: http://www.supajam.com/blog/article/Bands-Never-Mind-the-Bollocks-why-ar.... In the first part of this blog, I suggested that before you book time at a recording studio you should consider what it is you want to achieve. What really is your objective for the recording?

Given that what I'm preaching is to consider your plan from the 'end game' perspective, maybe that's where we should start. Because there's a wide range of options out there and, of course you'll need to find a studio that matches your budget. But you should also consider where your music is going to end up. So let's take a look at the reasons you might want to record and think about the quality of the product you might need. Because like it or not there just is a massive difference between the quality of recording if you are trying to do four tracks in a day in a demo studio and taking 2,3 or even 4 days over pre-production, recording and mixing a song in a higher-end established commercial recording studio with a producer that knows how to help you to structure your song for maximum impact and so that it engages your audience and keep them engaged right through to the end. Indeed, that difference can be reduced to a simple mathematical equation. See the picture above.

If you are a hard touring band and you want to sell your cds at your gigs or at festivals then you probably want at least an EP's worth of your material (you could choose of course just to tour your latest release like bands did in the old days). If you are unsigned you'll of course want to get the best quality recording you can afford without breaking the bank. Because, let's face it, if the recording isn't top quality, the people seeing you live - and buying your record on the back of it - will probably give you a bit of leeway. They were driven to parting with their hard earned cash after seeing you when all's said and done... The flip side of that of course is, if it's a decent gig, there may well be a label scout or even an A&R guy there. So if there is any risk he is going to take your cd back to the ranch for his boss to listen to then you may wish you had paid a little more for the quality. Hmm, tricky then.

If you are submitting a particular track in pursuit of a commissioned work, and don't already have a publishing contract, one-off commissions may come to you via your network of contacts or via one of the music publishing websites such as www.taxi.com or even via Supajam. You may choose to make only one submission or many but, for the reason stated above, all tracks submitted for this purpose must be absolutely top quality (unless the commission states they are looking for a particularly gritty or lo-fi feel) BUT if you are submitting your music for a sync opportunity, say with a TV advert, and it is anything less than 100% broadcast quality, then however much you have spent on your record has simply been wasted. A 'pretty good' demo just isn't going to cut it.

Now, if you are looking for a publishing contract and want to submit a showreel to a publisher, in general terms, they want to hear a cross section of what you are capable of. We'll talk all about that particular market in more detail another day but, for these purposes, you need to be thinking of sending them anything from 7-12 tracks. But note, all tracks you record for this purpose MUST be absolutely top quality release-ready products. Because a publisher wants to be able to sell them on to their client, whether that's a production company or an end user client, immediately and without further cost. It follows that if they simply aren't good enough quality for them to sell on, they will go straight in the bin. Along with your contact details.

Many musicians, of course, are still looking for that all important recording contract. If you've read all of the other blogs on Machiavelli's Guide to the Music Industry (here: http://www.supajam.com/blog/l/Machiavellis-Guide-to-the-Music-Industry) you'll know that great music alone won't deliver that for you. But at the same time if your music doesn't sound awesome, you won't even pass first base.

So as I said earlier, before you lay out your hard earned on making a record, think hard about why you are making it in the first place. Just as there is little point spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds if its just to hand out to your mates there is equally no point sending just a 'half decent' recording to a publisher. Their reputation is built on quality so if it's anything less than 100%, it's going nowhere.

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