With everyone from teens to grandmas sporting iPods and downloading songs to their computers, it’s easier than ever to buy, listen and even make music. Both professional and amateur musicians can use computers and inexpensive recording equipment to make their own music album. This does not mean that the old-fashioned recording studio is a thing of the past. Companies like Studio Referral Service still do brisk business matching musicians with the best recording studio for their needs. Regardless of where the music is recorded, there are many other decisions that factor into making a successful album.
Define your mission. 115,000 albums were released in 2008, according to music publicist Ariel Hyatt. Musicians, bands and vocalists in this highly competitive field need to clarify the message they’re sending with their music and the image they want to impart. In the crowded music marketplace, even a loosely formed mission statement is helpful to indie performers. Think about the listeners you want to reach and what they find appealing.
Create catchy songs. Well-written tunes with memorable lyrics are the foundation of any recorded music album or CD. Work on the songs you want to include on the album until they have the exact sound you want. Let the creative muse flow and write as many songs as you comfortably can before commencing the recording process.
Select songs that flow well together. While all the songs on a music album don’t need to be about the same subject or belong to the same musical form (ballad, instrumental, story-song, etc.), they should have the same basic musical genre, like rock, country or hip-hop. This will make it easier to market the album to a specific audience.
Hire personnel. If you are a solo singer, you will need to hire studio musicians to play piano, guitar or other instruments. Experienced bands and soloists often produce their own albums, but novice musicians may need an outside producer to advise them on how to achieve an appropriate sound.
Find a recording studio. Most cities have one or more reasonably priced recording studios with professional 24- or 48-track recording consoles. These consoles have the ability to record different vocal and instrumental performances. Using a variety of music software, the recording engineer is then able to tweak the tracks and then mix or layer them together to achieve the final version of the album.
Record using a home studio. If you’re short on cash, use your home computer and music recording software like Cubase, Cakewalk or Pro Tools. You will need to set up professional-quality microphones for all performers and use fiberglass, foam or other absorbent material on walls or windows behind players using soft or loud musical instruments to isolate the sound during the recording process and block outside noise.