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Indie Artists: Stand Out From The Rest By Sounding Better

By Author: Bob Smith
Total Articles: 261

For the independent recording artist, sounding great isn't a luxury only available to well-funded artists anymore - it is a requirement. Music sales may have diminished, but that doesn't mean that recorded music is going away any time soon. Far from it. More music is being consumed on more devices by more listeners than ever before in history! Musicians 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 some people, audio engineers are still a mystery. To others, they are ‘evil' manipulators of sound, creating false, auto-tuned, machines out of unskilled artists. This, however, is far from fact. Every recording, no matter the type, gets taken care of by a recording engineer, mixing engineer, and mastering engineer. The recording engineer utilizes a plethora of microphones and technique to accurately capture and record the artist's performance as it occurs in the recording studio. The mixing engineer takes all of the separate audio tracks and crafts the music to sound great and convey the song's emotion. He sets correct levels, panning, EQ, compression, and adds creative effects where needed to enhance the musician's vision. Lastly, the mastering engineer uses special gear and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the production for final release and ensure the music plays back well on 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.
Recordings are more often used as promotional tool for musicians. The real money these days is in touring, publishing, sync placements, and merchandise. When a fan connects with a band's music, they'll listen to their music, comment, and share the music with their friends. The fans want to help the artist and buy tickets to their concerts, purchase t-shirts, and follow and interact with the group through social media. As the musician 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 convincing recording.
The rise of do-it-yourself recording has led to more musicians releasing music than ever before. With a powerful computer, some mics, a digital audio workstation, and a little know-how, anyone can record and distribute music. One area where many artists fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in mixing. An experienced mixer has the right gear, but most importantly the knowledge to make a production reach its full potential. Though it can be difficult for an artist, letting go and trusting your engineer will take your recordings to the next level and help you stand out from the crowd. Fans are instantly attracted to a well-written and performed song that sounds like a hit.
Spend the proper time in pre-production, ensuring your song and arrangement are as solid as possible. Then and only then, book time in the best studio you can afford to lay down your basic tracks. Connect with a local or online mixing engineer within your budget whose work and personality you like, and tweak the mixdown until you're satisfied. Lastly, send the songs off to mastering for that final touch. Once your recording is completed, you can get the music into multiple retailers and into the phones and computers of your listeners and fans. Scott Horton is the epitome of today's cutting-edge mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. He has worked with countless recording artists 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 superb sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Get in touch with Scott at http://www.virtualmixengineer.com

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