Preparing Your Music Professionally
The interesting thing about this is it's not too well known that you actually really need to prepare your music before you leave the studio is a lot of things that you can dio a cz we say right here on the sly to maximize your sales and licensing if you do it the right way, your music will actually be ready and we'll start be collecting money for you from the beginning so that's the key question let's hit it what is it that you need to do to prepare your your music? Well, the best stuff you can do is before you even release it and we actually think about this as we're planning each album that we d'oh this is actually something that comes to mind the number one thing you khun dio by far and it's the thing that most musicians skip is mastering now have you do you guys know what mastering us? Yes, excellent that's great to hear is that everybody has run into it. So for those of you who are watching if you haven't run into mastering yet, this is especially useful if you've got your own dig...
ital audio workstation you're doing recording at home, you need to get another set of years on it that's probably the number one thing that mastering does yeah, but probably the best description is it's sort of the polish that goes on the final piece it's I always like to say that if you were making a chair and you were a carpenter it would be like saying ok, this is done and you never sanded it or varnished it at all I mean, people sit on is like yeah it's a chair but there's something missing here and they may not even know what it isthe the thing is that actual fans know, but they can't explain why they know that it doesn't sound professional, so if you want to have your music, go against professional music and actually match it and be just as good you really need to master your music it does cost money it's definitely something that you're going to be spending a little bit of money on in the indie band survival guide we tell you how to minimize your time in the mastering studio because it's one of those things where it's like you're in a taxi and you're on the little meter you really want to get the most out of it. What it does is very hard to explain, which is probably why a lot of musicians skip it, I would say but then once you hear the difference you're like I never want to release anything without mastering again it does very targeted e q and volume normalization, so if you have an album of music, you don't want one to be really loud and then another I want to be quiet because you want to mix down every song for what's, best for the song you don't want to do it what's best for the album and then once you've got the internal levels set the right way, then you have all of the songs normalized to the same one that's probably the easiest way to describe it, the type of e q they do is not the same type as you do for mixed down. This is different it's not even the same type you do during recording, and once they do it, it's actually comes out to sound like a much more professional product and it's something that you really need, which I think is very important because your music is side by side uh, two professional recordings. I mean, if you go to itunes, where we're going to talk about how to get in itunes and all that kind of stuff, like you are side by side in that store with professional, mastered recordings, and you can hear the difference as you, uh, click through it's like it's, very quiet there, it's missing some of the it's hard to describe the gleam like quality of another thing that they do, which is kind of interesting, for those of you who make elektronik music is that they will often route it through to equipment analog equipment so you took the very harsh jagged edges that you get through digital recording and actually make a nice move analog sound that actually puts it all together so it's something you want to think about next wave files of all of your music this is something that you get after the mastering process. Well, the reason why you need to have the wave files on hand and we recommend sixteen bit forty four point one kilohertz available is that it's useful for licensing purposes now have you ever heard an mp three that was compressed again? I mean and we see this all the time through let's say youtube videos where they take a song and then the end result of the youtube video, for example, is again compressed it sounds terrible unfortunately, that reflects on you the artist even more so than it does on the person who licensed your music or decide to use it. I mean, even if you decide to give it away and we have won of our songs and an award winning documentary, which they added it to it and they're like, ok, can we license your music? We're like, ok, you know, we worked that out and they're like, well, we've got the mp three were like no use away views the waves like I've already got and it's already out or like uh please please use a wave file it's a big mistake it's a big music start with the best quality you can push this on the people who are licensing your music. Yeah, because like podcasters and youtube video, they don't necessarily know that they should have the way file. They'll just take the mp three it's very convenient it's very easy to email and just slap it in, then it gets over compressed again and then it sounds terrible. And then, like randy said, that really reflects poorly um, your own music so it's bad for your image and we've had that happen to us. So like we're speaking from experience, a lot of these things it's just mistakes that we've run into that we don't want you to make, make your own damn mistakes, don't make cars. The other thing that I'll just mention before I leave this point is that you really want to put it somewhere where you can get at it like a drop box account or some file sharing account so that you can easily get at it because when someone licenses your music they made it really fast and you don't want to be able to lose out on this again it's another practical point, but we want to be able to make it easy for you to basically do licensing if the's opportunities come out so next mp three's you do want to have some of these handy certainly wanted so that you can give it away you wanted so that you can perhaps sell it from your own website sell the downloads everything like that we recommend basically give away mp three's and high quality ones the specifications we have in this slide you can read it yourself I don't need to read the slide off but one of the key points to mp three's this is something that a lot of people forget and we really want to caution you not to make this mistake is to make sure that you fill out the idea three tags this is a list of all the fields that you should be filling out for I d three every time now heidi three texts some of you might be saying what the heck is that thing and it's not very clear it first if you use first started to get into this what these various terminologies mean the mp three is the sound file the ied three tag is what they call meta data and it is basically very simply when you go into itunes and it lists the artist and a list the track name and it lists the album that this is where it comes from so you might be thinking ok well so what I mean why do I care so much? Well tell me if this isn't the case don't you have something in your collection that you like the music and you have no idea who the artist isthe? Yeah and I'm gonna look at the camera here I'll bet you guys do too that you it's the same thing? Yes three a program where is actually a very good question? So is the ninety three a program or is it something like that? These are little bits of data attached to the mp three file and the way you can set it the easiest way you consent it is using pretty much any player that you have any mp three player they all have three editors they don't call it eighty three it's just like artist info or something let's say like info and I'll have all of these things in this little box on itunes I think it's just called info or something like that you can feel almost all of those out except you guys they're professionals this ice air sea code thing right here that we have this is actually not easily settle using that what you have to do for that is use programs like jacko's or tag and rename we use tag and rename it doesn't matter I've heard of professional musicians being very happy with chico's these things help you and that's what you can do then is point the programs at this huge directory of music is he I my guess is that you might not have as much as we do we have some five hundred songs first of all it's embarrassing the misspell your own name right and you know you couldn't do that because you can type it well you don't want to do it twenty times and actually doing a multiple edit using something like itunes is actually not very efficient it doesn't have a good well it doesn't have a good interface more you could do it but then it'll overwrite every it'll try and overwrite everything with the programs like these you could just write the fields that you want keep him exactly consistent if I'm going to go I'm going to go back for a second the copyright legal information is where you can actually tell people if they're interested in life this is important because if someone's going to license it they're going to want to know the same thing is true of some of these comments that you could put in where you can actually say license our music direct them to your website and tell him where to find you but it goes beyond this it's actually a way for you to get more income for both your live shows and your music and it also connects your fans together so here's what I mean by this there's sites like last fm last fm if you use that have you heard of it okay, so the cool thing about last if if you haven't used it yet and you have music out there check it out right now especially those of you online it's easy for you to do it go ahead and search on your own name the way it works is that you install a program on your computer it's called a scrabble er that's what they call it and it watches every song that you play and you know the next thing you might be thinking of this why do I want the nsa to know all the music it's about sharing it with your friends? It's it's sort of like an auto blogging a bit of software for your music so you could just share what you play there's lots of people to participate in this well here's the cool thing it's based on the idea three tags and if the I d three tags air filled out properly with your artist info and if you do a good job of choosing an artist's name that's unique you can actually find out who's playing your music all these people fill out profiles you can find out how old they are, where they're located, what else they're listening to I mean this is killer information for you, for you you can actually create an account there which we dio it's called beatnik turtle on their feel free to friend us and we actually friend our fans and then we check out the music they're listening to and get an idea about new ways to market ourselves because if person a is listening to us and listening to ban be well, bambi's fans might be interested in our music as well saying that works you don't have the I d three tags filled out right? It will never pop up on there and another site is eventful, eventful dot com, which allows you to actually I have a show calendar from the point of view of a musician will be talking about this in detail on our gigs one which I believe is day two yeah, so we'll be talking about that tomorrow, so I want to go into detail, but as a fan who uses eventful, what you can dio is actually haven't scan your music collection and find any bands that you're listening to where they might be playing in your area. And if you're ready, three tags are correct, you lose that connection, you lose that income and now again you've got there's one other thing you've done all this hard work to put this music out you've done all this hard work to actually try and yet it marketed get into people's hands and as we like to say people pay you in two ways one of it is money, but the other is with their attention it's very hard to get somebody interested in your stuff and you've done all that hard work. You've gotten your music to them, they've listened to it, and now you've provided them with absolutely no way to find you make sense, so fill out your I d three tax very important, very important next is mixes. This is another thing that you want to do while you're in the studio in order to think about your licensing, the first one should be fairly obvious if you have any naughty words time to make a mix that cuts it out so that you can play it on the radio right makes sense. I'm sure that you don't have too many songs like that the words, but if you d'oh the instrumental mix and he guesses why you need that one t j's djs that's a really good one? Yeah, also licensing it's useful as a bed like we talked about what we did it for the tv show now that one was an instrumental song never had any words to it, but some of the songs and melodies that you make, if all you do is just cut out all the vocals and just make a mix of just the instrumental, you might have a nice melody there, that's perfectly useful for licensing purposes, right beyond that, it could be useful for commercials this's the kind of thing where they're like oh that's perfect for my voice over to go on top of the next two mixes that you see here vocals up on vocals down that's also for commercials and other things like that so you have a tv commercial and they may want your song and they may want the words but they want the words quieter so they can do it or let's in their vocals up you might be thinking why would they want vocals up then? Well, maybe you made a song about hamburgers and then, you know, maybe some large fast food company which I won't specify if we did that earlier some fast food company wants the hamburger part like standing out so then these the vocals up these air usually you can do it ahead of time you may as well here in the studio I have to do is change a few decibels on the track you're all set and then alternate versions which we're going to actually talk about mohr alternate versions later and this gets to the question that was asked earlier, which is when do you release things some of your demos could be perfectly useful is alternate versions is promotions and we'll be we'll be talking about this again, I think a little later in the slide back as well, so we'll be talking about that in general I don't recommend necessarily releasing a really rough cuts unless you want your fans to be part of your process and the rough cuts aren't like super rough cuts, and you're not turning them off that again. If your fan base is more of a musician fan base and they actually want to comment on the ongoing process that you're doing, this is where it could come in handy. All right, so now I want to get to what we talked about before we hit the break, which is the seven registrations you should be doing before you release your music, which registration she should be doing it's surprising to us how often people skip this, even professionals, I think that it comes down to having a very structured approach to music, which is very difficult to dio I think it also comes down to the fact that they just didn't make a checklist. So what I'm going to recommend well, we recommend is you make a checklist out of these seven registrations and you just check them all off before you release it. Why am I saying before you release it? We'll cover that one thing, we're about to talk about a lot regarding copyright and music, and every time we've gotten into that topic it's been it could go on forever because people seem they have tons and tons of tons of questions about how do I cover song how do I handle samples? How do I clear the rights? How do I do all kinds of things like that right? Well anyway we actually could probably have another eighteen hours of course especially this guy is the lawyer between the two of us we'll be happy to answer your questions about this a ts some point just so you know we might need to cut it off, but we left enough time for you to ask those questions so let's get into that first of all before we get into it though this is about us law now jason and I have a book called the d I y music manual it's released from random house it's in europe also has laws of australia and new zealand and so we cover that if you're interested in that we suggest you pick up that book, it is only available in those regions of the world. So you know that's the way the book distribution rights happened so you can get that book if you have any questions about that. If you have more questions about the u s law one that's the indie band survival guide of course that covers it but we're going to talk about u s law on this particular session basic copyright right? So okay with basically so what we're trying to do here is to get through uh copyright uh pretty quickly so we can move on to the registrations but here the basics that you need to know uh number one your music is copyrighted when you create it okay? So once its fixed in a recording or you write it down and you write the lyrics or whatever in some tangible form it's copyrighted okay, so you already have it you don't have to we're going to talk about his registering, so registering your copyright uh with the u s copyright office that's that gives you additional protection. Okay, so you already have the copyright additional protection? It also gives you a third party that date stamps it says you created this on this date and where the government and so, uh that officially happened. Well, it's helpful if you've got to be clear somebody else has no that's my song and you registered at first it doesn't always prove it because somebody else could sneak in and register and it's not there is you can prove it, but it makes it more likely that you'll win well, it's just it just becomes a point of fact in the quarter law ok, so that's a long single lawyer see that told you a lot of talking guy ok, so but it also gives you other statutory protections and that's like, um well, first of all you need to register if you want to go after somebody who's plagiarized your music uh it also gives you what we have here three yeah and you're entitled the lawyer's fees which is a good thing uh in punitive damages which is really telling somebody not to do that if you win tell every technical stuff so just know that the basic the main thing out of this is that you do have a copyright once you fix it in some tangible form you do this every day we've done it over five hundred times with music and then every demo was copyrighted in a lot of the stuff it's just about registering ok now moving to the next movie tonight well before I do just one key point you want to do it within three months of public release, so if you release that you have three months grace period don't wait for that do this stuff before you release it great that said, this is another thing that doesn't make sense to musicians and part of it is it has to do with how copyright law grew up and if you're interested in that is a topic I'll just give you a book and then move on because it's the only thing I can I mean it only makes sense right the book that I like on this topic is called on the lord it's by lawrence lessig. Oh, yeah, it's called free culture free culture and it talks about the history of copyright as it relates to music. It's crazy. We're just going to leave that on the table and say, check that out if you're interested in it. It's a great book that said, there are two copyrights for your music. Like you. You just recorded a new original song and by original I don't mean that it's. Good. I just mean that is yours, right? Right. So, it's, your song you hit record. You had stopped. Now you congratulations. You have to copyrights the one but most people are aware of is this composition copyright it's the song but it's the least concrete thing about this whole thing because it could be covered eight million times and it's still one copyright. The sound recording is a whole separate copyright in each sound recording that you make. That means if you make a new remix, that means if you record it and then release it, then recorded again and release it. Those air, separate sound recordings and the amazing thing is basically as it comes to this, each of these have different lives when it comes to royalties and licensing that's, the part that we're getting at because we're here in making money with music right now, the record labels were the ones who normally owned the sound recordings. Songwriter's normally owned. The composition, copyrights, there's a whole different set of rights with each of them. And the interesting thing is, my guess is the label in this case is you, it's. You, you own it. And, in fact, you're going to see this over and over again. You're going to see these weird things where the way it works in the music world is that this is one party, and this is another party. And this is another party, and you become this schizophrenic thing because they're all you. And therefore you have to do all these registrations.