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MIXING - best investment for a band on a budget?
Old 15th January 2007
  #91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Produceher View Post
You're half right. Marketing people are just as lazy as anyone. They take the easiest sell.

It's much easier to break Hillary Duff than it is to break Norah Jones.

It's still marketing but most of the work has already been done by her TV work and being in teen magazines already.

And you can spend less money.
Define easy.

I bet they spent far less on Norah Jones than Hillary Duff.

I'll agree with easy sell, but not becuase of laziness. I'm sure there are some peopel who've kept their jobs from having good plitical connections, but when times are lean, you trim the fat not the muscle. These days the odds are that the person will be really good.

As for the easy sell, I don't think you can sell or market music. Advertise yes, but that's just a notification and doesn't influence people buying the record.

Radio, yes. Song placements, I think yes. But that's really the song marketing itself.

The only time I can rememeber buying an album as a result of money spent by a label was after seeing nightly TV ads on Letterman for STP's Core. The played a collage of the songs and through repitiion it got the the point where I coulnd't tell whether I like the songs or remembered the songs and I bought the album. But still, that's the song selling itself.
Old 15th January 2007
  #92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Produceher View Post
Yes. But most bands don't know how to pre-produce themselves. You need an outside opinion from someone who knows how to make records.

I make records for a living and I still change things in the recording studio that I didn't notice at rehearsal. It's hard for bands to do much more than practice what they already have.
What do you do for preproduction?

I find that good bands learn pretty quickly how to prepare for the studio when they've gone through the process on one or two songs.

I would agree that they will never have the perspecitve of an outside ear/ear that doesn't have an emmotional attchement to micro pieces of the song and maybe have an easier time separateing wheat from chaff.
Old 15th January 2007
  #93
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofLavender View Post
Can the band except that if they get a producer he may want to change things about these songs. Some bands say they are OK with that but then want it mixed the way they want it.
Are they really ready to have a decision maker?
They don't have a decision maker, they have a guide who will give them idea and reaise quesitons. You read too much Albini.


Maybe there are some situations where a label has given a producer authority or the labels trusts the producer's opnion more, but when a band is paying directly, the producer works for them. Unless they pay him 100% upfront, their leverage in decision making is the money.

Besides, they woulnd't go into the studio without knowing what the producer's ideas are.
Old 15th January 2007
  #94
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GP_Hawk's Avatar
Id say let them go ahead and do what they want. Seems the good advice here is falling on deaf ears. Come back when you're done and let's see where you're at. If you accomplished what you set out to do, then all is good. But if you're still trying to "get 4 songs out to shop to labels" a year from now, you might learn something to help you in the future
Old 15th January 2007
  #95
Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Maybe.. but I've heard several industry people saying the total opposite cause when you sign something (from the label point of view), you always want to have the freedom to take it into whatever direction you personally feel it needs to go in order to make it a success, and that's always difficult if an act is legally forced to have a certain producer involved in the making of the record. Plus.. I just dont see it being necessary. If the label wants him to do record, you can always go back and let him do it. No need to do some sort of demo-deal with him.
It's true that no label want to sign a band with encubrances of any type - producer or indie label etc.

Depending on how the producer is, the name can funtion as a stamp of approval that can get doors opened.

Generally spec deals have a pay or play structure, where the producer does the demos for a right of first refusal or a preset rate for producing the album. The band agrees to pay them their full fee whether they produce the album. It's not possible to guarantee that the producer will produce the album, but it's possible to set p a financial incentive ffor the band to be in his corner during the decision making.

In general term, it's always cheaper to pay cash than it is to finance. Is someone fronts them anything in such a higly speculative field, the return for that advance has to be way off the charts to be willing to take that risk.

They've got the cash. They're invsting in themselves. It's the best way to do it and they way more people would if they could.

Also, in this case, they'll own the masters. They can sell/license those tracks unencumbered.
Old 15th January 2007
  #96
Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
I wasn't talking about the release I was talking about the marketing a entertainment lawer has to do with a&r reps to get someone signed.

An A&R guy doesn't care what the demo sounds like. He cares what the band has to offer in the form of image, songs or innovative sound

But to answer YOUR question So how come every major label release doesn't make it?

That's easy

the songs suck
the band sucks
or the timing is just not right for the type of music the artist has released
Hahaha!

Maybe I should ask if you're being seious or sarcastic. Do you actually know how lawyers shop bands?

"Marketing" is hilarious. You're so cynical!


The only marketing that happens after a demo is made and before the band is signed is by the A&R guys. Certainly you're aware of how and why A&R guys market unsigned bands.
Old 15th January 2007
  #97
Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Maybe.. but I've heard several industry people saying the total opposite cause when you sign something (from the label point of view), you always want to have the freedom to take it into whatever direction you personally feel it needs to go in order to make it a success, and that's always difficult if an act is legally forced to have a certain producer involved in the making of the record.
As Produceher said, have the typical buyout clause instead of a right of first refusal. If the label wants to go with someone else (which certainly is a strong possibility unless they loved the demo), the one point comes out of the artist's side and all is well. Labels don't like it when people have onerous legal obigations in perpetutity or contested and complicated rights to songs etc. that creates legal exposure. If it's a simple production contract, however, that they can opt out of for a point from the artists share (which is where production points come from), the label will not have any worries.
Old 15th January 2007
  #98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
People submit album quality tracks as demos now.

In a lot of ways it's a mistake, but most bands make albums as demos to shop.
And in other ways, it's not a mistake. First, if you get it right, you may do more of a master license deal and the label will need less time and money up front and may be more willing to give it a shot, especially if you go the nationally distributed indie label route.

The other point is that since so many people are sending in "album quality" tracks, you are going to be judged next to them, and many young A&R guys and gatekeepers are not immune to the first impressions created when you hear 10 great mixes in a row followed by something that sounds inferior. You can't afford to risk a single detraction in this highly competitive situation. The label knows they can still tear it apart and put one of ther "go to" guys on it to fix it. A good mix doesn't mean the label thinks it has to stay like it is.

I was in one A&R meeting (major in NYC) when one guy said "Fix this part, and then get Mike Clink to re-mix it so we can get a better idea how it could sound, and then we'll take another listen." By the way, Clink had already come up from the person pitching, so it wasn't just one of his A&R buddies trying to get him a gig! (Actually, thinking back, it may have been Mike Shipley - anyway, not important to the story).
Old 15th January 2007
  #99
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djui5's Avatar
 

I think Mike just earned some kinda record for most posts in a row by a user in a single thread. Not sure who's on top, him or Sqye.
Old 15th January 2007
  #100
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foldback's Avatar
Gifted musicians, clever song writing, good musicianship and a loyal following will take a band closer to signing a deal than the production work on a four song demo will.

The band does not need a record deal to sell CD's. A band that's sold 10K of CD's on their own will be a lot more interesting to a record CO. than a group that's just saying "pick me".

If the band is really hot and has something unique to demonstrate, make a live multi-track recording, have somebody do a great job of mixing it and shop it around to see if anyone's interested.

Owning studio gear is cool if you know what to do with it. If the band does not have anybody that knows how to record and mix they'll be wasting their money and time buying equipment.

There are lots of project studios that are capable of delivering a decent sounding recording for a reasonable price.
Old 15th January 2007
  #101
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Maybe.. but I've heard several industry people saying the total opposite cause when you sign something (from the label point of view), you always want to have the freedom to take it into whatever direction you personally feel it needs to go in order to make it a success, and that's always difficult if an act is legally forced to have a certain producer involved in the making of the record. Plus.. I just dont see it being necessary. If the label wants him to do record, you can always go back and let him do it. No need to do some sort of demo-deal with him.
You're never legally binded to have him do the record. That's what the buyout is for.

You're saying you want him to, but the label may disagree.

If you have no intention of using this producer again, then you shouldn't sign with him in the first place.

Labels will do whatever they want regardless.

Most of the biggest acts today were signed to production deals at one time.
Old 15th January 2007
  #102
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
Define easy.

I bet they spent far less on Norah Jones than Hillary Duff.

I'll agree with easy sell, but not becuase of laziness. I'm sure there are some peopel who've kept their jobs from having good plitical connections, but when times are lean, you trim the fat not the muscle. These days the odds are that the person will be really good.

As for the easy sell, I don't think you can sell or market music. Advertise yes, but that's just a notification and doesn't influence people buying the record.

Radio, yes. Song placements, I think yes. But that's really the song marketing itself.

The only time I can rememeber buying an album as a result of money spent by a label was after seeing nightly TV ads on Letterman for STP's Core. The played a collage of the songs and through repitiion it got the the point where I coulnd't tell whether I like the songs or remembered the songs and I bought the album. But still, that's the song selling itself.
Then you're different than the average buyer.

Hillary Duff was an easy sell because she already was a household name. As was Jennifer Lopez.

Yeah. Sometimes they still fail but they're a better bet.
Old 15th January 2007
  #103
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
What do you do for preproduction?
Anything and everything.

My job is to help the band achieve their goal. If their goal is to sell a million records then I arrange or re-write to achieve this goal.

Alot of times bands will say they want one thing but arrange and write songs that do the opposite. I try to convince them to change this behavior or be happy with what you're going for.

It varies from Kick drum grooves to re-writing hooks.
Old 16th January 2007
  #104
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picksail's Avatar
 

Out here, things have changed a bit.

Nobody wants a demo.

The labels (I know of one for absolute certain) want a finished product. They want a record that they can put up for sale immediately. They aren't really concerned with whether or not the producer is a marquee name. They just want to accept a commercially viable product from the onset. If it works-great. If not they'll either pass or maybe then, they will assign a better known producer to the project.

This is one of the reasons that 'certain' mixers are getting a premium for their work. If the label signs an artist with what appears to be a finished product they can then allocate the bulk of the budget to the mixer. Often, they are expected to salvage an inferior recording, albeit a great production. A lot of people are working that way. I see it everyday. Songwriters with an MBox suddenly ascend to producer/engineer status. Though, sometimes their craft for songwriting precedes their talents as producer/engineer, you cannot discredit them for writing a great song.

The crux of it all, is that they want to invest the smallest amount of money and generate the largest return. The rules have changed. The consumer market has changed.
Old 16th January 2007
  #105
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Produceher View Post
In NYC we have many. I'm sure there are quite a few in Boston too.



You couldn't be more wrong. I'm telling you (from experience) that there are a dozen A level guys who would do it for 5K. The 15K guys are the ones you need to worry about. They're trying to get paid now. An A-list producer knows they'll get it on the back end.



Again. Horrible advice. A good engineer can really ruin a band. I've seen it happen many times. Allow me to explain…

A bad demo has the benefit of all the excuses. If you like it, imagine how good it will be after it's done right. It has TONS of potential. But… if you hire a great engineer it may sound incredible sonically but it might not have all the arrangements and overdubs done right. It sounds finished but not like a hit. But it has no excuses. It sounds great but it's not good. This will confuse the f&*% out of an A&R guy and the band will not be picked up. I've actually decided to not sign bands or work with them because they gave me better sounding demos. It needs to sound like a real record on the production end first. We'll get the drum sounds better on the record.

And…

The heavy weight lawyers do not need to be paid. They don't waste their time on the bad bands and they take a good percentage of the good bands advance on the deal.



Or you could get your music on the Spiderman III soundtrack.
You are very confused.
Old 16th January 2007
  #106
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djui5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by picksail View Post
Out here, things have changed a bit.
*snip*
The crux of it all, is that they want to invest the smallest amount of money and generate the largest return. The rules have changed. The consumer market has changed.


+1....
Old 16th January 2007
  #107
Gear Guru
 
Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by allencollins View Post
You are very confused.
Coming from you, that's a compliment.

Thank you.
Old 16th January 2007
  #108
Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5 View Post
They need to take all that money to a good producer and let him sort it out. For $15,000 you should be able to get a producer into a nice studio to record and mix 4 songs. No reason they can't.

Don't let them do it themselves, get a producer to work on the songs with them to make the best recording they can. Let the producer handle the budget. $15,000 is a lot for a demo. Send em out here, I'll do it
what randy said
Old 16th January 2007
  #109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Produceher View Post
ILandlords don't need to take the hit that the record business has taken over the last few years. They'll be just as happy renting the space out to a doctor.
.
I was just checking out the bottom floor of Chung King last Friday
(for a different business entity). You know, the space with the jacuzzi,
party lounges, etc.

There's a guy sitting down there (the only person on that whole floor)
behind a desk, waiting to rent that space out to the first
business who comes along.

The property manager was practically BEGGING me to negotiate a lease.

The lease holder NEEDS to rent that space out.

Any sluts interested? heh

There are maybe 4 sluts here who could afford that rent
(I'm exaggerating for effect, but you get the idea -
and I'm probably not TOO far off-base).

Sorry for the OT.

Now back to your regularly scheduled "signing bands" diatribe...

..
Old 16th January 2007
  #110
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*bump
Old 16th January 2007
  #111
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayfrigo View Post
And in other ways, it's not a mistake. First, if you get it right, you may do more of a master license deal and the label will need less time and money up front and may be more willing to give it a shot, especially if you go the nationally distributed indie label route.

The other point is that since so many people are sending in "album quality" tracks, you are going to be judged next to them, and many young A&R guys and gatekeepers are not immune to the first impressions created when you hear 10 great mixes in a row followed by something that sounds inferior. You can't afford to risk a single detraction in this highly competitive situation. The label knows they can still tear it apart and put one of ther "go to" guys on it to fix it. A good mix doesn't mean the label thinks it has to stay like it is.

I was in one A&R meeting (major in NYC) when one guy said "Fix this part, and then get Mike Clink to re-mix it so we can get a better idea how it could sound, and then we'll take another listen." By the way, Clink had already come up from the person pitching, so it wasn't just one of his A&R buddies trying to get him a gig! (Actually, thinking back, it may have been Mike Shipley - anyway, not important to the story).
We're speaking very generally and without a context. For an indie, that's possible, but the odds of a major doing that are extremely low.

I don't think most bands have 10 great songs. Of course not ever song has to be great to be part of a great album, but a lot of times it's better to be 3-5 songs and put eveything into those rather than spread the same resources over 10 songs.

Iv found most A&R guys to have a method. I know one who only listens through the first chorus. I know another who will listen to any three in their entirety, but that's it. Most guys have far toomany submissions to listen to 10 tracks. Plus, they're not going to get signed based on the recording alone. So best case, he's interested enough to see the band and that can be done with 2-3 songs. Nigel Harrison, who's stopped doing A&R has said just one is enough.

Once you get them interested, you don't want to do anything that will spoil that, so additional songs can be a risk.

Maybe I'm just stating the obvious to you. I know you're experienced enough to know what you're talking about. My point is that context dictates what's best. They type of artist and deal need to be considered.

The one thing I would generalize, is that I don't think albums should be sent out as demos. The smae recordings can be used, but I think the actual CD should be the specific songs you wnat them to listen to, in order. I find that often, bands to sequences their albums that way. Make and album and a separate promo CD.
Old 16th January 2007
  #112
Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
UPDATE!

The guys have decided who they'll record with.. it'll be a local producer, so sorry to all of the LA and NY guys, and everyone else who wrote me and wanted to do the project. The decision wasnt up to me!

HOWEVER..

The thing still needs to be mixed and mastered and they want to get someone experienced. Any recommendations? And how much do they NEED to spend on a great quality mix and mastering? What could they expect for 1-2k per song? Which "big" guys could they get for that kind of budget?
What exactly is your role in this project and background?

If they've hired an expereinced producer, he'll know these answers and will be the best guy to ask.

I ask because in other threads, you've been spot on with very detailed and private rate info for specifc players on specifc albums, so I find it surprising that you don't know the answers to the questions you've been asking.
Old 16th January 2007
  #113
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PhilE's Avatar
I do a few mixes of home tracked stuff and I very rarely think- hmm this has been well done.

My usual feeling on these sessions is that I had to do more than I really wanted to to the sound.

The clearest mixes are inevitably done where you are mixing NOT making tracking decisions about sound.
A good engineer will get the sound in a sympathetic way not just capture all of what is there and leave the mixer to do all the work- this is what bands tend to do.
Sometimes it is great to do things this way- but usually I find the sessions that work this way are singer songwriter types, piano or acoustic and vocal. When peoples aim is delicate or clean they seem to do better than when they are hunting a powerful sound.

Dont get me wrong, the tracks can and indeed will sound great if they have common sense, ears and a good mixer- but I bet it would be better if they spent their money differently.


Edit:
Just read the previous 2 pages- hadnt realised how much the thread changed! All above still stands tho!
Old 16th January 2007
  #114
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PhilE's Avatar
$1000 a track isnt much over my rates so I don't know what you'd get in the way of BIG names.
Old 16th January 2007
  #115
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prismtheory's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Friends of mine want to record 4 songs to shop to labels. They've a budget of about $15k. They initially wanted to invest most of their cash into the recordings... you know, renting a big studio with a kickass engineer.

But now I told them to buy some more additional equipment for about 3-5k (they already have decent stuff, a RME 800, Shure SM7, SM57, good instruments, amps, etc). I was thinking they should buy a good PreAmp, and maybe 1 really good condenser Vocal Mic... along with some other stuff, like drum mics. And invest the other 10k in mixing.

Any thoughts?

I personally think any band that's as talented as these guys are (and they ARE) can get great recordings out of a pretty basic setup. And will be better off investing most of their money in the mixing.

Agree? Disagree? Share your knowledge please!


Pay someone who knows what they're doing.
Old 16th January 2007
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilE View Post
$1000 a track isnt much over my rates so I don't know what you'd get in the way of BIG names.
Ok.. then how much do they need to spend on the mixes? Tell em what's necessary and they'll do it. They're dead serious about their music and want to present themselves in the most professional way.
Old 16th January 2007
  #117
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djui5's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Ok.. then how much do they need to spend on the mixes? Tell em what's necessary and they'll do it. They're dead serious about their music and want to present themselves in the most professional way.


Well if they want a name mixer it's going to cost anywhere from $4,000-10,000. If they want a great mixer who maybe isn't all over the charts, they can get it done for $1,000-2,000 a song. Sometimes this includes studio time, sometimes it don't.

I'd charge $1,500 a song, which would include studio time on an SSL.
Old 17th January 2007
  #118
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PhilE's Avatar
Yep echo whats above.
My rates are aprox $700 I think (UK based) and that includes my DDA/Neve based studio rather than SSL.

A name mixer is likely to set you back a stack but you have to way up if the name will help you for the aim of that project.
Old 17th January 2007
  #119
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Kenny Gioia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
We're speaking very generally and without a context. For an indie, that's possible, but the odds of a major doing that are extremely low.

I don't think most bands have 10 great songs. Of course not ever song has to be great to be part of a great album, but a lot of times it's better to be 3-5 songs and put eveything into those rather than spread the same resources over 10 songs.

Iv found most A&R guys to have a method. I know one who only listens through the first chorus. I know another who will listen to any three in their entirety, but that's it. Most guys have far toomany submissions to listen to 10 tracks. Plus, they're not going to get signed based on the recording alone. So best case, he's interested enough to see the band and that can be done with 2-3 songs. Nigel Harrison, who's stopped doing A&R has said just one is enough.

Once you get them interested, you don't want to do anything that will spoil that, so additional songs can be a risk.

Maybe I'm just stating the obvious to you. I know you're experienced enough to know what you're talking about. My point is that context dictates what's best. They type of artist and deal need to be considered.

The one thing I would generalize, is that I don't think albums should be sent out as demos. The smae recordings can be used, but I think the actual CD should be the specific songs you wnat them to listen to, in order. I find that often, bands to sequences their albums that way. Make and album and a separate promo CD.
All very true. Great post. thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

Especially this part:

Quote:
Once you get them interested, you don't want to do anything that will spoil that, so additional songs can be a risk.
I've passed on one band who sent me more songs each week. They got progressively worse.
Old 17th January 2007
  #120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
The one thing I would generalize, is that I don't think albums should be sent out as demos. The smae recordings can be used, but I think the actual CD should be the specific songs you wnat them to listen to, in order. I find that often, bands to sequences their albums that way. Make and album and a separate promo CD.
Yes, a seperate promo CD with three songs, maybe four at the most (but the last one probably won't get heard unless the first three really pique their interest), is the way to go usually, unless you have a specific reason to send a whole album, like trying to get the license deal with a nationally distributed indie.

The point to my post was to say that you want your three songs that sound good. Don't skimp on the sound quality. Of course hiring TLA at this stage is a waste of resources, but within reason, try to make it sound like a record. It will be played next to other things that sound like records, and you don't want some young gatekeeper A&R guy to throw yours away because it doesn't sound like you're serious next to the competition.

What goes without saying is that it's the song that counts. If the song doesn't connect, a even a TLA mix wouldn't get you the deal. But if it's down to yours and a few other "finalists," and all the songs are good, then you want any last little edge you can get. Don't make them wonder how good it could sound; show them.
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