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We are a nonprofit that teaches the business of music and how to earn a living.

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Mastering Your Recordings with Innervision

[Editor’s Note: This blog is written by Steve Reble, and was originally featured on the LANDR Blog. LANDR’s Instant Mastering tool can help you fine-tune your next single, EP or album and is available through TuneCore before you distribute!]

The challenge of home producing is that, what you want your audience to hear, is rarely what they will hear.
picture of audio mixing board and speakers
When I started out, my studio was totally barebones, just a small desk shoved in the corner of a skinny, vinyl floored room… Monitors? I didn’t have monitors; I had headphones. And yet, I expected my bedroom recording to stand up to the big guys. I wanted the drums to explode! This was a tall order because where you mix – and what tools you have to mix – really impacts how your track sounds to other people. And that’s where mastering comes in, making sure your audience hears the track the way you intended – no matter where it was created. Here’s how.

THE FINAL MIX If you’re happy with your final mix, your ears aren’t broken, it probably is that good. But unfortunately, you can’t invite everyone to your house to hear it how you hear it. The mix is going to be colored by the room, monitors and headphones that you used in creating it. It’s easy to test this, just take your freshly mixed track to your friend’s house, or better yet, try to play it in a club with booming speakers. But be forewarned, this can be a little deflating.

YOUR AUDIENCE Second thing to consider is who are you making your music for? And where are they listening to it – car, phone, club, headphones, and home stereo? Mastering makes small necessary corrections and adjustments to your whole track, so that listeners will have no idea where it was recorded and mixed. They’ll just hear you. To highlight what’s going on behind the scenes of mastering, we used a track as a lab-rat.

COMPRESSION Compression is the social lubricant that gets all the tracks interacting. Kind of like booze. Too little and everyone just sits around awkwardly and stares at the floor. Too much and things get odd. Find the sweet spot and you’ve got a killer party. It does this by subtly taming peak volumes, making all the parts fit together – better. A well mastered track is that party that no one can stop talking about.

Books on line to further your musical career
The Golden Moment: Recording Secrets from the Pros.

Story Links:

Includes tips for submitting music to KDVS programmers, and and the information will likely transfer to many other non-commercial stations.

Global Hit
Does your band feature international music or band members? Public Radio International’s The World, a daily news and information show airing on 300 stations, has a segment called “Global Hit” that features a wide range of world musicians.

Start and Run Your Own Record Label
Daylle Deanna Schwartz’s informative book has a great chapter that offers real-world, commonsense advice on how to approach radio and build relationships to get airtime.

The Indie Bible and The Musician’s Atlas
Two directories that have lists of indie-friendly radio stations.

NPR Stations and Public Media
Learn how NPR affiliate stations are managed for the public benefit and why they have a vested interest in being the voice of their local communities. You can also find your closest NPR affiliate using the zip code finder.

The Death of Diversity in U.S. Broadcast Ownership
Jeffrey Blevins penned this thoughtful and disturbing piece in Cincinnati’s City Beat documenting how media consolidation has resulted in not one single TV station being owned by a minority, greatly stifling diversity.

Musician's Guide to Vinyl
retro-looking poster of hand pulling vinyl record out of record cover

Six tips to sell barcoded CDs

By Dwight Brown

Selling bar coded CDs at gigs can be a cash cow.

You’ve got a wide profit margin because the cost of CD Duplication is minimal compared to the price fans will pay for them. And, selling bar coded CDs gets your music out there to fans who will recommend your music. Tempt audiences at your performances, keep these 6 tips in mind and you’ll sell CDs and make money:
  1. Pricing. Charge $10 for an album and $5 for a single and most fans won’t think twice about buying one or more CDs. Selling two bar coded CDs for a bargain price is irresistible. Keep prices at $5 increments, and you won’t have to mess with small change.
  2. Giveaways. Consider rolling the price of a CD into the admission charge. It’s like you’re giving them away, but you’re not. Or hand out a few as door prizes—and watch the rest of the audience have CD envy.
  3. Special Bar Coded CDs. Selling CDs that are live recordings, impromptu sessions or feature songs that are not on an official release makes fans feel like they’re buying something special. These “quasi-bootleg” CDs become collectors’ items.
  4. Concession stands. Mark the title, price clearly and keep CDs at eye level. If you’re selling more than one CD, put them in groups. Concession stand helpers who are personable and/or attractive entice fans to buy more.
  5. Easy payments: Take cash, checks and credit cards, which are easy to process thanks to smart phone/tablet mobile apps and dongles (hardware that offers a secure connection).
  6. Strong shows = strong sales. Connect with you your fans on stage, win them over with a memorable performance and they’ll want a CD to take home.

10 common errors and oversights many DIY artists are guilty of
after you join our membership, Innervision, will let you listen to a recording of...

We like to think we’re unique as snowflakes, but we musicians can be pretty similar when it comes to the mistakes we (continue to) make. In this episode, Kevin and Chris discuss 10 common errors and oversights many DIY artists are guilty of.

Are you guilty too? Plus, news about SoundCloud albums, and Spotify playlists.
  1. Build relationships with other artists, become a community of artists.
  2. Make sure your web info is up to date.
  3. Caring too much about the cool kids. “Find out who you are as artists, or a group.”
  4. Read before you spam, spell check, keep your writing down and get to the point, follow up a week later, and use your hashtag to help people to find your music.
Members of Innervsion can get the remaining 10 from the list.

Technology Didn’t Kill The Music Industry. The Fans Did. "Innervision agrees with this blogger as we ask you to support our nonprofit with your donations, or monthly memberships!"

A Guest Post by Sahpreem A. King

Give It Away…Give It Away…Give It Away Now!

It is a scary proposition when paying artists for their music has become a voluntary act of kindness, rather than a consumer responsibility. The free music fans consume like water, cost artists money to create; money they will never recover as long as the artist’s fan base consumes it for free. Nothing is wrong with giving away an exclusive FREE track every now and again, but that should be the exception and not the rule.

The ideology behind music freemium has destroyed the working class musician and independent labels.

Everyone thought that Napster was the second coming of Christ—and the beginning of the music revolution; however, in the midst of this transformation, the fans became increasingly desensitized to the fact, that the free music they were consuming was created by artists who have to make a living from their music. The fallacy that artists/musicians are ultra rich is just that… a myth, nonetheless, perpetuated thanks to over-the-top hip hop videos and MTV Cribs, leading fans to believe that all artists are rich.

This is hardly the case when only 1% of artists are successfully making a living from their music.

Nevertheless, fans have been disillusioned to believe that their enjoyment of the free music obtained from the remaining 99% only affects the major labels, meanwhile most artists are literally starving. The music industry is a brutal b, a beast that chews up artists and ss them out. What if artists and musicians grew tired of the abuse and decided to stop making music? What then? Radio stations would be nothing but dead air between commercials — if all their advertisers don’t abandon them like rats on a sinking ship — and televisions stations that play music videos would be blank screens. Imagine your favorite movie with no music to set the tone, or going to a school dance minus the dance. Like I said, a scary proposition.

When fans are left the option to pay whatever they’d like for music, they almost always choose zero.

As a content creator of music, why should I have to pass around the collection plate or hold out the tip jar and jingle it to capture your attention? What if artists told fans that they would have to work at their jobs for free? Do you think they would go quietly in the night to the land of acceptance? Hell no, they would be in outrage, so why do they expect artists to just take one for the team? Greed perhaps, ignorance maybe, but the one thing is for sure is that fans have a lopsided perspective as to what really goes on in the music business. Artisans should be able to make a living from their work no different from a nurse or auto mechanic.

Sure, the 1% is living the lifestyle of the rich and famous; however, the 99% are one poorly-promoted show away from being homeless. For God’s sake, something has to give.

I believe the healing will begin when the public is educated on how the music business works sans the VH1 movies and Hollywood imagery. If fans understood what it takes to make a record — all the time, money, people, and energy — they would have more respect for the art and science of it. If they could experience, on some part the dedication and sacrifice artists endure, their nonchalant attitudes toward paying artists what they owe would change. Fans don’t realize that artists of today were fans of yesterday and the cycle is everlasting.

Fans and artists must come to an agreement on how music will be monetized using fair and equitable practices. According to a recent CNN poll, the average football fan will pay $143 per game, which includes the cost of the ticket, parking, and refreshments, for a one-time event. For music, a fans have the opportunity to play a CD as many times as they desire; yet they complain about spending $16 for the CD. In order to set the wheels of change in motion, there must be a catalyst.

If you are interested in hearing more of my philosophies, check out my book, “Dude, I Can Help You! 18 Mistakes Artists Make and How To Fix Them”.

List of Links