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Indie Musicians: Stand Out From The Crowd By Sounding Your Best

By Author: Bob Smith
Total Articles: 151

For the independent recording artist, sounding great isn't a luxury only available to major label artists anymore - it is a requirement. Music sales may have diminished, but that doesn't mean that recorded music is on its way out. Far from it. More music is being consumed on more devices by more listeners than ever before in history! Artists are making their music available on internet and satellite radio, online music streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, and YouTube, selling on direct-to-fan sites such as CD Baby, Bandcamp, and ReverbNation, and still pushing sales through ‘traditional' online retailers such as iTunes and Amazon MP3. Simply put, there is no excuse for an artist to put out poor recordings.
For many, audio engineers are still a mystery. To others, they are ‘evil' manipulators of music, creating fake, auto-tuned, robots out of terrible artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every recording, no matter the type, gets touched by a recording engineer, mixing engineer, and mastering engineer. The recording engineer uses a plethora of microphones and technique to accurately capture and record the artist's performance as it happens in the recording studio. The mix engineer takes all of the separate audio tracks and crafts the music to sound convincing and convey the song's emotion. He sets the right levels, panning, equalization, compression, and adds special effects where needed to complement the musician's vision. Finally, the mastering engineer uses unique gear and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the song for final release and ensure the recording translates to a variety of speakers. "While many audio techniques can enhance the final production, we engineers are not magicians and can't replace a poor performance or terrible recording," says Scott of Virtual Mix Engineer.
Recorded music is more often used as promotional vessel for artists. The most income these days is in live shows, publishing, film and TV placements, and merchandise. When a listener connects with a band's music, they'll listen to their records, comment, and share the music with their friends. The fans want to support the artist and buy tickets to their concerts, purchase apparel, and follow and interact with the band through social media. As the artist grows in popularity, their music may be chosen for sync placements in movies and TV, which not only provides great exposure, it also pays well. To make it to this stage however, it all starts with well written song and polished recording.
The rise of DIY recording has led to more musicians releasing music than ever before. With a powerful laptop, some microphones, a DAW, and a little know-how, anyone can create and distribute music. One area where many artists fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in audio engineering. An experienced engineer has the right equipment, but most importantly the skills to make a recording reach its full potential. Though it can be hard for an artist, letting go and trusting your mixer will take your recordings to the next level and help you stand out from the others. Listeners are instantly attracted to a well-written and performed song that sounds like a hit.
Spend a good amount of time in pre-production, ensuring your song and arrangement are as solid as possible. Then and only then, go to the best studio you can afford to record your tracks. Connect with a local or online mixing engineer within your budget whose work and personality you gel with, and tweak the mixdown until you're happy. Finally, send the songs off to the mastering engineer for that final polish. Once your recording is complete, you can get the music into multiple retailers and into the ears of your listeners and fans. Scott Horton is the definition of the modern mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. Scott has mixed for countless artists and labels from around the world in all musical genres ranging from Pop, Pop-Rock, Hip-Hop,RnB, Urban and more. His online mixing and mastering service, Virtual Mix Engineer, provides recording artists with spectacular sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Come say hi to Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com

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