Know The End Game: 10 Things to budget for when recording your indie album
By Devlin Miles
- Have the money set aside based on the estimate from the producer, do not co-mingle your money or you will end up not being able to finish your project
- Always budget 3+ days for mistakes – what? Yes, every time I have gone into the studio there are always things that you don’t plan for that happen. Here is a list of things that can trip you up in the studio.
- An instrument is out of tune –yes it happens and you don’t realize until after the musician is already gone
- The drum kit was not mic-ed properly and you are missing the Tom sound or the Sizzle on the cymbals
- The producer has an inspiration one day and then when you listen later you hate the way in turned out – that’s what you call a do-over
- Technical issues, so there is a delay
- You don’t like the lead vocals or background vocals, this is something that is saved for history, it is really important that you like the quality of the vocals. Vocals make or break a project!!! Remember this!!! (See Also: Raise The Spirits: 10 Things to do when you are recording vocals)
- Complicated pieces that the musicians have to record until they get it. (See Also: Be The Best: 10 things to do before you get to the studio)
- Where To Pitch Your Stuff – AAA, Country, Alternative Rock, etc? If you don’t know this you might very well end up with a little too much fiddle for country or not enough kick drum for pop.
- Artwork and Design – Determining where to pitch your stuff will also greatly influence your artwork. If you look around you will see lots of similarities in styles on album design, when artwork is used, when photography is more expected?
- Photography – Can be very costly and it absolutely needs to be well executed. In no way should you ever chince on a background or take a selfie – never!!!
- Mastering – Do you want radio play and is your music appropriate for radio? What stations- name 5 right now, if you can’t find out where. If radio/TV is your end game then you cannot skip mastering it raises the bar of your sound and brings it to a commercially viable product that can play on many different mediums- car radio, internet, radio, etc.
- Duplication – How many cds should you have made? Although physical cd sales are down, vinyl is up or trending. Where do you fit and what age group will buy your product might directly influence whether they will stream your music for free on Spotify or if they will buy the cd in person or download it from Itunes.
- Merchandise – Will you have T-shirts, stickers, guitar pics, etc? Budget for it. Your fans and audience will determine which direction to go – but you will need tools to help you spread the word.
- Promotion – How are you gonna promote this beautiful sounding, looking, piece of art you have created? This is probably one of the most fickle points here – you can spend a lot of money on PR and get nowhere. The fickle part is you can pay upwards of $1500 a month to 10K dollars a month for an indie PR agency and there is absolutely no guarantee that they can get you any press.
- Professional Memberships/conferences – You have to run on the same track as the as the Olympians to win a Gold medal- This is not an us and them kind of thing. If you have spent the time to get the excellent quality that you see on the Grammys, then why aren’t you competing with the other Grammy members? Make sure when you draw the line in the sand mentally that you are on the side where the other professionals are and not on the amateurs side. (1 extra tip today)
- Time frame – Be realistic and know that although you wrapped up recording in January that it is highly likely that fans won’t hear your music for 10-18 months! Establish a true timeline based on budget.