Indie Artists: Stand Out From the Pack by Sounding Your Best






     For the independent artist, sounding good isn't a luxury only available to hit artists anymore - it is essential. Music sales may have went down, 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 fans 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 release poor recordings.

For some people, audio engineers are still conundrum. To others, they are ‘evil' manipulators of sound, creating false, auto-tuned, drones out of unskilled artists. This, however, is far from the truth. Every recording, no matter the type, gets taken care of by a recording engineer, mix 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 happens in the recording studio. The mixing engineer takes all of the separate music tracks and crafts the music to sound correct and convey the song's emotion. He sets proper levels, panning, EQ, compression, and adds creative effects where needed to enhance the musician's vision. Lastly, the mastering engineer uses special equipment and highly trained ears in an acoustically accurate room to subtly polish and prepare the track 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.

Recorded music is more often used as promotional tool for artists and labels. The big dough currently is in live shows, publishing, sync placements, and merchandise. When a listener connects with a band's music, they'll listen to their records, tweet, and share the music with their friends. The fans want to support the artist and buy tickets to their concerts, purchase t-shirts, and follow and interact with the artist through social media. As the band grows in popularity, their music may be chosen for sync placements in movies and TV, which not only provides great exposure, it also pays very well. To make it to this stage however, it all starts with a great song and quality 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 knowledge, anyone can record and distribute music. One area where many musicians fall short is failing to recognize their weaknesses in audio engineering. An experienced engineer has the right tools, 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 engineer will take your productions to the next level and help you stand out from the masses. Fans 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 composition and arrangement are as strong as possible. Then and only then, go to the best studio you can afford to record your basic tracks. Hire a local or online mixing engineer within your budget whose work and personality you connect with, and tweak the mix until you're happy. Lastly, send the songs off to a mastering house for that final polish. Once your recording is completed, you can get the music into multiple retailers and into the phones and computers of your listeners and fans.






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Scott Horton is the epitome of the contemporary mixing engineer/producer/songwriter. Scott has collaborated with a myriad of artists the world over 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 industry standard sounding mixes which make impressions that count. Get in touch with Scott at www.virtualmixengineer.com


Posted on 2014-10-05, By: *

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