For many aspiring musicians, the idea of producing their own album carries a certain romanticism. After all, plenty of great artists got their start by peddling self-produced cds on some street corner. However, making an album is a considerable amount of work, and there are a plethora of different factors that need to come together to make it work. The good news, though, is that we live in the perfect age to create an independent album, as the tools to do professional sound recording are more accessible than they’ve ever been, as are they avenues for distribution to a wide variety of people. Here are some tips on how to self-produce your first album…
Get a decent microphone
First of all, going off of the assumption that you already have musical talent and songs to record, what you’re going to need is a setup to do some recording sessions. Ideally, you’ll be able to rent a sound studio to get some clean audio recordings. However, this isn’t something you necessarily need. The key components of a good recording studio are simply a quiet place to record and a good microphone. Unless you are going for more of a lo-fi sound, you’re going to want to rent or purchase a microphone that works great for capturing the richness of the human voice, and also has a nice “sound” to pick up other instruments.
Find a solitary place to record
As stated above, finding a quiet place to record that isn’t susceptible to outside noise is a crucial aspect of producing your own album. Again, it’s ideal to be able to rent a recording studio, but that may not always be feasible, especially if your music is going to need a multitude of takes to get right. However, with a little effort, you can create your own recording studio by purchasing some soundproofing material and taking a small space that you turn into a studio. This may be a room in your home, or it could even be a storage unit, which is ideal as plenty of businesses utilize storage units for their operations.
Give it some digital editing (even if minimal)
One of the things that makes self-producing an album such a possibility today is the fact that digital audio editing software is so cheap and accessible to everybody. Even the industry standard Avid Pro Tools is a very manageable $300 for a 1-year subscription, while free tools like Audacity have many of the same capabilities in a freeware product. While your style of music may not require a ton of digital editing, simply being able to clean up the sound of your recording and give it some added dynamic range is going to make a richer and more fulfilling recording. If you’re not sure how to do this, see if a knowledgeable friend can help you out, or check YouTube for many of the countless tutorials available to learn.
Have a release plan
Before you actually do the recording of your album, you should sit down and do some research about what avenues you want to take to release your album. There are plenty of options to self-release an album, today, as musicians can take advantage of Spotify, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, or even SoundCloud, among many other options. Hell, you could even decide that you just want to sell cds at your own live shows. There’s no wrong answer to how you want to handle distribution, so long as you have an actual plan in place.
Play a release show
Once your album is close to being finished, you should look at hosting an event for a release party, where you can play music from the album and get people pumped about this awesome thing you created. A release show is also an important step for a release plan, as it helps get the ball rolling to build excitement for the album online.