l’m not asking for much, just a chance at a life
Somebody’s Daughter | Peter Caddey
Difference between a Single, an EP and an Album
Music used to be packaged quite differently before the internet and before streaming music.
As a rough guide, a single refers to the old record or vinyl format where a single contained one song on one side of the record then a second song the other side often referred to as the B side.
An EP or Extended Play is usually 4 to 7 songs and an Album is 8 or more tracks.
When referring to streaming and downloading online services, there may be other criteria like the length of each individual track and the combined total time of the tracks that decide which category your tracks fit into.
At this stage it doesn’t matter too much as you will concentrate on the getting your first five songs together and we will call it an EP.
This is the topic where people go quiet and don’t want to really talk about how they are going with their budget. What budget?
We live in a society that runs on money. It is unavoidable that you have to deal with money and with a budget. In fact, this is one of the common reasons why people struggle in the music industry. The age old question of how can you have a full time career as a musician.
The likely issue for the lack of success in the music industry can be traced to a lack of education about how to handle money.
Technically it’s not your fault, Australian schools have never been very good at real life money education.
But let’s look at your project. You have a recording to produce.
There are some basic costs that are guaranteed with a recording. Typical costs in no particular order are:
- recording studio time
- session musicians
- graphic design
- digital media submission
Other incidental costs may include:
- website hosting
- website design
- promotional materials
- instrument accessories such as strings and pics
- equipment hire
There will be more costs but to get your initial budget started, you need to look at the major costs.
The studio time, engineer, producer, mix-down, mastering and duplication are the major costs. Followed closely by session musicians, graphic design, food and drinks.
What are the choices?
When you release your recording, you have a few options as to what format you would like to release your songs.
You can release you recording as a digital download only.
The benefits are that you only need to provide an album or single cover design. You don’t need to provide the full CD insert, back cover text or pay to have CD’s duplicate/replicated, printed or posted.
Obviously the downside is that you don’t have something to sign, sell at gigs or hand out to potential venues or festivals.
If you just need to have a single available for sale online then this is by far the cheapest way to get a song out there.
CD’s are the most useful form of media as they serve multiple purposes.
They can be sold at events, gigs and functions. They can be used to put your signature on. They can also be used to send to festivals or event organisers, but most importantly they are a physical representation of your original music. Something people can touch and feel and hold in their hand when you present them with your songs.
Now not everyone is going to buy a CD, but it is still an extremely popular way of providing music to the masses.
The benefits of a physical CD is that you can have an insert with lyrics, band profiles and more information about your music. You can include photos and additional contact information.
Typically the number of CD’s you intend to order will help decide on the process used to create your CD’s.
If you order a small number of CD’s, under 1000, your CD’s will be duplicated. This process involves you supplying the digital files to the disk manufacturer, and they burn your tracks to a CD and then make copies of the CD in a similar way to how you might copy a CD on your computer (sort of similar anyway).
If you require a larger run of CD’s then they use a process called replication. Replication is where a glass master of you CD is created and the master is then used to create your CD’s.
This is a very simplified description but as long as you understand the process is quite different between duplication and replication and often you need a certain number of disks in your order to be able to user replication.
Once you have your CD’s ready, you also need to decide how the CD will be packaged.
You may have seen the small cardboard jackets that fit a single CD in them with printing on just the front and back of the cardboard jacket. These jackets are the most cost effective way to deliver music to your fans. Independent artists often start out with these as they are easy to take around to gigs and you can easily sign them.
If you need more printing area, a cardboard wallet style case can be used to add four printing surfaces.
The typical jewel case (that’s the clear plastic case with the printed insert in it) comes in both a slim and a normal size. Be very careful choosing the cases as some manufacturers use very cheap cases that fall apart or break easily.
Other packaging that you often see in major stores is the digipack. A digipack consists of a high quality cardboard wallet with a plastic tray on the inside to hold the CD. Digipacks often allow for additional printed pages, usually 4, 6 or 8 to be included with the CD.
As a further part to the process, you CD disk face can be printed on as well.
The cost of printing the disk face and printing the CD sleeve or inserts increases with the amount of colour and the number of pages that you need printed.
The best way to decide what you need, aside from the number of CD’s, is to pick the product that best suits your fans while taking into consideration the cost that you can afford.
Yes, you can release your music on Vinyl, that’s like a record that you put on a turntable and it spins around with a needle on it.
People still buy vinyl records, although not as popular as CD’s.
If your typical fan is likely to want a record then you can produce your music as a record.
It is more expensive and you have to be a lot more careful taking them to gigs to sell.
Promoting your recording is where you get to share who you are and what you have done.
The advertising and promotion industry is probably the largest industry in the world. Every business or product that someone wants to sell is part of the advertising machine.
If you want people to know about your new product, you will have to be involved in a small part of the crazy advertising circus.
There are a few things you will have to do different because you are not a large business or company that has lots of money to spend on advertising.
The first thing to consider is who you are marketing too. Remember you looked at your perfect fan? Well this the person or people that you are targeting. Now don’t feel like you are pushing something on people. You’re not like the telemarketers that ring at strange times of the day and night, say they are not trying to sell you anything and then try to sell you something.
You are just letting people know who will already be interested in you and your music, that you now have something they can buy.
If fact, if a telemarketer does ring, see how you go selling them a copy of your CD, tell them it’s five easy payments of $29.95. All you need is their credit card details.
There are many free ways to promote your music and there isn’t one correct way to do it. There are many correct ways to go about promoting what you now have.
Obviously Facebook or similar social media is a good place to start. Create your own Facebook page and start promoting there. But don’t assume that’s all you have to do. Just because someone likes you on Facebook doesn’t mean they like you enough to want your CD.
You need to get yourself out there, be seen at different events and functions. Now that you have a CD, people will actually take you a little more seriously. Just the fact that you have put the time and effort into writing, recording and releasing a CD, gives you a certain level of kudos. Now don’t let that go to your head, just make use of it to show people your are serious about what you do.
You already know who your perfect fan is, so start looking at the locations, places, events and shops that your perfect fans go to. Make a point of trying to get gigs in the same places your perfect fans go to.
I remember being asked to play drums for a band that was just a few blokes I didn’t really know. I was 19 and they were quite a bit older, but I didn’t want to say no to the opportunity. We rehearsed on a few weekends and I didn’t really think much of the Harley Davidson motorcycle in the garage. But on the day of the gig, it was a Sunday afternoon at a pub in town, I was ready to go. I setup the kit in the corner and we did the sound check. About 20 minutes before the gig was going to start, I heard all the Harleys arrive. It turned out this was a bikie band. At the start of the gig, I was glad there was a drum kit around me. But then halfway through the first song, the lead singer forgot the words. He stopped singing and the place went deathly quiet. I wasn’t quite sure what the normal process was if a band quit during the first song. But the tattoos and leather jackets told me this was not heading in the right direction. As it turned out, the crowd encouraged our singer to finish the song and we went on and finished the gig. Looking back, they were one of the best crowds I’ve had at a gig, it was a lot of fun and I was pretty impressed how they got the singer back up to keep singing.
If the opportunity came up again, I’m sure I’d do it. But if you want to advertise to your perfect fan, you need to go where they go.
If you perfect fan has tattoos and rides a Harley or a Triumph then you need to go where the bikies go and join in with what they do on weekends and during the week.
In just the same way, if you want to give people the experience of your music and you know what type of people will like your music, then you need to go where they are and meet them halfway.
When I was starting a computer company, I thought I should advertise. So I went down and put some ads in the local paper. Even though it did cost a bit I also put an ad in a local business promotion, hoping to get some more clients to my web site design business.
At the time it seemed really sensible, get people that don’t have web sites to get a website. In hindsight, it was a pretty stupid idea. If you want a website created, where do you go. Doh, to the internet right, you Google it, or back in those days it was Excite, Ask Jeeves, Infoseek or Webcrawler.
I was advertising to the wrong people in the wrong place and using the wrong medium.
- Write 12 or more songs (You know how to do this now)
- Pick the best 6
- Get your budget sorted
- Arrange the songs
- Record the songs (You know how to do this too)
- Mix and master
- Design your CD cover
- Submit to online streaming or digital stores
- Order your physical CD’s