How to Produce an Album. Whether you've sold songs before or not, producing an album is not easy--but it is rewarding. As the music producer, you'll need to manage the music talent by coaching and guiding them. You'll have to schedule and manage the recording process as well as supervise the final mixing process. You'll also need to organize the budget and resources.
Working With Music Talent
Find someone or a band that you would like to help produce an album. Part of the independent producer's job is to discover new music groups and get them out of their garage and onto a stage.
Get to know the band. Understand what the band expects from you as the music producer. Also, get an idea of what the band needs to be successful, in terms of practicing space, reaching a new audience and band management.
Give helpful feedback to the band. Some music producers can be overwhelming with demands of how to change a band's sound. It's up to you how much you want to influence the band's work. Even if you take a mostly hands-off approach, you can still encourage and give honest feedback to help the group become successful.
Work Up a Budget
Determine the available resources the band has. Money, of course, is the key resource. Even if you produce the album in a homemade basement studio, you'll need money for mics, software and other equipment. However, if you have or raise enough money, you can rent a studio that already has access to these things.
Make a list of all the resources the band requires in producing a record. If the band needs new equipment, put it on the list. If you need to buy at-home recording equipment, itemize everything on this list too. If you're going to produce the album in a studio, write the daily rental fee on the list and estimate the number of days you and the music talent will be in the studio.
Prioritize the items on the list you made in Step 2. Categorize each item into things you cannot produce an album without, things you need but are not necessary and things that would be awesome to have, but are not necessary.
Add up some of the dollar amounts to give yourself an idea of what you need to produce the album. Add up the costs of things you definitely need to produce the album. That's the minimum amount of money you'll need. Choose which of the other items you'd like to include, and keep a running total.
Consider finding backers or other investors. Music investors that contribute to the album production will then receive a portion of the bands profits. Make sure you have a savvy band or music manager to locate and negotiate with investors.
Manage the Recording Process
Plan out the recording schedule, and make sure that the music group is informed. As the old saying goes, time is money. The more time you take up in a recording studio, the more money it will cost. So make sure everyone knows the schedule and stays on track.
Collaborate on the recording process. If you're using a recording studio to produce the album, talk to the staff prior to recording. Ask details about the recording process, and give feedback when you can.
Mix the final cut. Before mixing, you'll have a separate music track for each mic in the studio. To mix the music, you'll pull all the pieces together and change the sound levels as necessary to bring in and pull out different sounds. At this stage, you may choose to add sound effects too.
Get the album made. Now that you have produced the album, send it along to someone to make copies, design the art and distribute them. The band manager should be in charge from this point out.