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#207622 - 08/30/01 02:30 PM Recording My First CD  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21
Michael Carlson Offline
Casual Observer
Michael Carlson  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21
Louisville, KY, USA
Greetings Mentors and other knowledgable Folks:

I would like to hear advice regarding recording my first CD. I am a sing/songwriter with many years of experience singing many styles of music, primarily in church settings. My major influences are Billy Joel, the Indigo Girls, Jars of Clay, and recently Randy Newman.

I plan to pay for the project myself, and will market it primarily within mainline "liberal" Christian denominations. There may be some songs that would also have broader cross-over appeal. I hope to start a small-business and incorporate at the beginning of next year. By then, I should have the song list chosen and the songs rehearsed and arranged, so I can then move on to the recording stage.

The whole thing seems rather daunting, but I've really been preparing for this for years. I need info on selecting a recording studio, recruiting musicians, and preparing for the recording sessions, and any other advice that you think might be helpful. Or, if you know of books and/or articles that might be helpful to me, please provide those references.

I think this is probably a question which a lot of other Folks would also find helpful.



------------------
Peace and adventure,
Michael Carlson


Peace and adventure,
Michael Carlson
#207623 - 08/30/01 03:14 PM Re: Recording My First CD  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,825
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,825
Indianapolis, IN USA
Michael,

There are a huge number of options and a huge variety of costs associated with them. It sounds like you need the services of someone who can hire and schedule session players and walk you through the processes.

You'll rarely get more than you pay for, but you can often get less. So you must be very careful about doing your home work before writing any checks. I would ALWAYS get multiple quotes for the same work. Don't let anyone smooth talk you into paying more than what is realistic in the marketplace. Also, make sure you hear actual recordings (and not just 1 or a demo of their best work). Ask for names of the artists they have previously worked with. Get copies of those recordings directly from the artists. (Even if you have to buy copies of the CD's yourself.) A full CD project can cost between a few thousand to over 10K or more based on a huge variety of factors. It is your job to do the leg work ahead of time to be sure you've educated yourself enough to make the right decisions.

If someone is dramatically higher or lower in cost for the exact same services, some flags should raise. But you don't know until you've gotten at least 3-4 separate quotes. This is your baby, make sure you take the time to raise it right. Also, you need to decide whether you want to do it in your home town or in say Nashville or Cincinnati etc. Add in the travel cost and make the decision. If you get down to a couple different ones, feel free to post here and I am sure folks will try to help.

Good luck,

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#207624 - 09/10/01 03:18 AM Re: Recording My First CD  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,822
Larry Williams Offline
Larry Williams  Offline

Serious Contributor

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,822
Santa Clarita, CA USA
I'm not a mentor here (hope it's OK to reply), but www.musicbooksplus.com should have several books to help you out. Look in the "Professional Recording" area.

It might also help you to get a few books on the business side of music. When you're hiring a studio, musicians and/or a producer, it helps to know the business side. Some of the music business books also cover how to run a recording session.

I certainly agree with Brian (I think he was alluding to this) that it would be wise to at least look into the possibility of hiring somebody to produce or co-produce your first CD - you'll learn a LOT more from that experience than trying it yourself the first time around. You may then have enough knowledge and experience to produce the 2nd CD yourself. I'm sure there are experienced producers in your area. If not, there are ton of them (at all price ranges) in Nashville. I know of several singer/songwriters who flew to Nashville to have their their 1st and/or 2nd CD done. With the quality and quantity of session players there, you can do it in two weeks or less if you're organized.

------------------
Larry


[This message has been edited by Lwilliam (edited 09-10-2001).]

#207625 - 09/10/01 09:18 AM Re: Recording My First CD  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21
Michael Carlson Offline
Casual Observer
Michael Carlson  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21
Louisville, KY, USA
Thanks Brian and Larry for your replies.

Question: are the engineer and the producer often the same person? I am imagining working with someone who can help recruit musicians, arrange the studio time and actually do the engineering as well. But there may not be as many people who are skilled in all of these areas. What are your thoughts?



------------------
Peace and adventure,
Michael Carlson


Peace and adventure,
Michael Carlson
#207626 - 09/10/01 01:49 PM Re: Recording My First CD  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Michael,

I thought I'd jump in here and field that last question.

Yes, the engineer and producer are often the same person, and yes, you can save money this way. You, however, need to do your homework here. Make sure, as Brian said, you find someone with a track record who can provide you with several examples of their work, and who will give you a list of their clients to call.

Paying someone a per song fee to engineer and produce, you run the risk that they will cut too many corners to increase their profit. Paying someone by the hour to engineer and produce, you run the risk that they will slow down the process to rack up more hours.

Here in Nashville, the prices for a master production (not a demo production) run anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 for ten songs. (Actually, you can pay as much as $150,000 for ten songs, as many major labels do.) I'd be especially careful with the low and high prices. That's where you run the biggest risk of getting burned.

I produce masters; mostly country, blues, and americana. You can check out my website at: www.homestead.com/dunbarprod/mdp.html
Good luck with your project.



[This message has been edited by Mike Dunbar (edited 09-10-2001).]


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#207627 - 09/10/01 10:59 PM Re: Recording My First CD  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21
Michael Carlson Offline
Casual Observer
Michael Carlson  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 21
Louisville, KY, USA
Thanks for your reply, Mike. I'll be sure to check out your site, and to shop around. That's how I do things when I'm spending this much money, anyways.

I've been told that there are a couple of studios here in Louisville that can help with the whole process, from recruiting musicians to recording to burning the CD's and labeling them. This is really attractive to me, as long as the final product is of excellent quality, and fits the style I'm going for.

Since there are so many studios and producers out there, I'd like to hear several recommendations from anyone who cares to give them to me. I realize you may not want to do that on this BB, but feel free to email me directly at carlsonsongs@aol.com. I want to find a really good studio/producer that provides the whole package, either in Louisville, Indianapolis or Nashville? I want to shop around, I'd just like to shop from a pool of a couple of dozen, besides a couple hundred.

To narrow the field, and I'm a little nervous posting this on the board, I've got around $10K to invest in this project and I hope to have an inventory of around 1000 CD's to show for it when I'm done. When those are gone, I'll burn more, just like the last batch of cookies I made, but hopefully more tasteful.



------------------
Peace and adventure,
Michael Carlson


Peace and adventure,
Michael Carlson
#207628 - 10/21/01 03:19 AM Re: Recording My First CD  
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 28
ARLeighton@aol.com Offline
Casual Observer
ARLeighton@aol.com  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 28
Bronx, NY, USA
Louisville is a great music community. Talk to LEO (Louisville Eccentric) music editors, and ask them to point you to some of the hot local music producers & studios. Also check out nearby Cincinnati. I know you'll find some leads in the phonebook, as well.

Go to record stores, see what they like.

Include church groups, which -- often-- have superb musicians.

To echo everyone's feedback, do homework-- actually visit studios, ask to hear their production samples, and fuse with different musicians, as well.


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