Thursday, January 24, 2013

10 Levels Of Artist Income

Here's a great post from Digital Music News from a while back that looks at the 10 levels of artist income. You'll see a picture who's size is commensurate with the amount of income, then find an explanation underneath.

I never have to work another day in my life, thanks to my royalties and other music-related revenues. If I go on tour or make new music, it's because I want to. I can live a fairly outrageous, lavish lifestyle, and enjoy this healthy stream of income for the rest of my life.
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I never have to work another day in my life, thanks to my royalties, touring receipts, and other music-related revenues. However, it could run out: although I can live quite comfortably, I have some budget considerations and long-term financial planning to consider.  
I am making a very substantial amount of money from my music, but I cannot retire. I tour, release albums, and write songs, not only because I want to but because - frankly - I have to.
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I am a middle–class musician, producer, or other music-related professional who makes a decent, livable wage that supports not only myself, but my family as well.  I can put some money into long-term investments, like retirement funds, property, etc., and can get a kid or two through college. 
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I'm a working musician, producer, or other music-related professional, and making a decent, livable wage that barely supports myself. Or, I can cover the costs of a team, touring expenses, and my own expenses, but not much else.
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I am not quite breaking even, but staging full tours, creating serious recordings, and hiring others to help manage things like digital distribution, tour management, and social networking.   
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I am making the equivalent of a minimum wage salary and surviving off of my music.
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I make a modest amount of money from my music, but I must work another job at least part-time to survive.
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I make little to no money from my music, and rely entirely on other sources of income. I may not be trying to generate income from my music, but still face some expenses related to this hobby. 
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I've unfortunately given up, due to financial challenges related to making music. I'd blame this partly on piracy, and the generally low level of compensation from most performance outlets. I've found another profession, or am looking for another profession.
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I can't tell if this is depressing or not. Which one are you?

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Can't Help Myself" Isolated Bass

The Four Tops image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Motown's James Jamerson is ones of the giants of the bass world, so it's always a pleasure when we can get to closely study his work. Here's a video of his isolated bass in The Four Tops hit "I Can't Help Myself (Suger Pie Honey Bunch)." As you listen, take notice to a few things:

1. The leakage of the rest of the band onto the bass track. Most of the recording of those early Motown hits recorded in Detroit were done on an 8 track tape machine, which means that many of the instruments had to be recorded together on the same tracks. The bass was the exception as it always had its own track, but that didn't mean that it was totally isolated. Since it was recorded through an amp, you can hear the rest of the band playing as well, which is something that we probably wouldn't stand for today. Didn't seem to hurt anything here.

2. Listen to how Jamerson's articulations change throughout the song. Sometimes he has a smooth release and sometimes it's staccato and chopped off. This is something else we would probably replace today, asking him to play it one way or another throughout the song.

3. There's a mistake that Jamerson makes throughout the first third of the song as he plays a major against a Dm (the third chord in the pattern) over and over. At some point he realizes the mistake and makes the change (it's only one fret difference). Not that this has ever bothered the millions of listeners that have enjoyed the song. In fact, if it weren't for the isolated track, no one would probably hear the difference.

This track is a perfect example of how modern production techniques have changed from the 1960s. Today we look for more precision and isolation, but we often lose the feel and groove as a result. That said, the track is proof that a hit is still a hit, mistakes and all.




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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Producer's Overdub Checklist

Overdub Checklist image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Here's an excerpt from The Music Producer's Handbook regarding a checklist for overdubs. If you want your overdubs to go fast and easy, follow this list. It works every time.
  •  Do you have a list of overdub priorities? Do you know which overdubs absolutely must get done and which ones are less important? A list will keep you on track budget-wise and time-wise.
  • Can you record in the control room? Most players prefer to record in the control room because they like to hear what you’re hearing and they like the immediacy of the communication.
  • Are there too many people in the control room or studio? The fewer people, the fewer the distractions. It's best to keep all friends, associates, entourage and hangers-on out of the studio when you're working to keep the distractions to a minimum.
  • Did you move the vocal or instrument into the big part of the studio? All instruments sound best when there’s some space for the sound to develop, so move it to the big part of the studio for overdubs (after you've done any basic track fixes). You can cut down on any unwanted reflections from the room by placing baffles around the mic and player.
  • When doubling, are you trying to do something a little different on each track? A different mic, mic preamp, room, singer, or distance from the mic will all help to make the sound bigger.
  • When doubling or adding more guitars, do you have a variety of instruments and amplifiers available? Two guitars (a Les Paul and a Strat, for instance) and two amplifiers (a Fender and a Marshall is the classic combination) combined with different pickup choices will allow a multitude of guitar tracks to more effectively live in the mix together.
  • Are you making it sound better, not just different? Changes aren't always for the better. Is there a big difference between what you just recorded and the original part? Does the new part make everyone in the studio go crazy in a good way?
  • Would it be better to try the part tomorrow? You'd be surprised how much more you can Will you accomplish more when you're fresh?
  • Do you have the studio talkback mic on? Can you hear the musicians in the studio at all times between takes? If they're talking to you and you can't hear them, they'll feel isolated.
  • Do you have the control room talkback mic always on? Can the musicians hear you at all times in between takes? Periods of silence can be a mood killer.
  • Does the player want to play it again? If a player feels strongly about playing it over, he probably can do it better. Be sure to keep the last recorded part before recording again.
Just another quick plug - If you're looking for some tips and tricks for using social media, check out the Music 3.0 Guide To Social Media, a compendium of posts taken from the Music 3.0 blog. Available as an ebook, for only $4.99.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Get Ready For Huge Flash Drives

Kingston Terabyte flash drive image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blogI've been prematurely predicting the takeover of solid state memory from spinning disc hard drives for a couple of years, and even though the technology has made some inroads, it still hasn't come to pass. 2013 just might be the year, starting with the new USB 3 flash drives from Kingston that are now available up to a terabytes.

Although the terabyte version is not shipping yet, the 512GB model, known as the HyperX Predator, is readily available. It's not cheap however, with a price of $860 online.

Solid state computer drives prices have come down in the last year, but not as much as was probably expected. A 256GB drive is still around $200, although 64GB drives can be had for under $60 if you look around.

Still, if you need a major amount of storage at your fingertips, it really is now at your fingertips. If you have the cash, that is.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: Novation Launchkey

Now that the majority of us are in a in-the-box world with the DAW as the heart of our studios, we all face the issue of clutter on the desktop. Keyboard, mouse or trackball, controller, mixer - you want them all in front of you at once. The problem is there isn't enough room. Now comes the Launchkey from Novation that's about to be introduced at NAMM 2013 later this week, and it looks to be an elegant all-in-one solution to that desktop clutter.

Launchkey is an integrated work surface that features a keyboard, velocity sensitive pads, transport control, mappable faders and rotary controllers, plus iPad connectablity and apps all in one. It comes in 25, 49 and 61 key versions, and looks like it should be a great addition to any studio. Prices are a very reasonable $149, $249 and $299. Check out the video below.




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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

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