How To Make Your Band Sound Great

BobbyAES2Guest Blogger: Bobby Owsinski, author of music guides such as How to Make Your Band Sound Great and Music 3.0Below is an excerpt from How to Make Your Band Sound Great from Bobby’s blog, Music 3.0.

One of the most difficult things in life is to keep everyone happy in a band. In most situations, you’re playing together because of the music that you collectively make, not because you’re friends. That can lead to a number of personality clashes that will need to be resolved, or else you’ll find the band folding right before your eyes. Here’s an excerpt from How To Make Your Band Sound Great (the band improvement book) that covers the 6 steps in resolving a band conflict:

“Being in any relationship requires at least some compromise and a band is no different from what you’d expect between family, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands, bosses and co-workers.  There are times where you just have to bend in order to keep the peace.

While compromise is easy for some people, others have a personality that would never allow it and a conflict occurs. Here are some effective steps that you can take to state your case in a way that should resolve the conflict.

1. Cool off first - Conflicts can’t be solved when emotions are running hot. Take some time to get away from the problem for a bit and brainstorm on exactly what the problem is, how it was caused, and most important, a possible solution.

2. Present accolades, support and respect - The first thing to do is acknowledge the person’s accomplishments and talent. Something like, “I want to start by saying that I think the band has never been better since you joined and the parts that you’re singing are way better than I ever expected.”

3. Analysis of why the problem occurred - If you give a clear explanation of why you think there’s a problem or why the problem or conflict has occurred, you set the initial groundwork for solving the conflict. If the other person knows exactly what your side of the story is, you might find more often than not that you’re both on the same page, but on different sides of it.

Read the next 3 points on Bobby’s Music 3.0 blog!

 

 

How to Make Your Band Sound Great

This book explores every aspect of playing with other musicians, including the equipment, hardware, and software used in today’s increasingly complex technological world, and the principles of sound every musician needs to know to work at the level of a professional band.

5 Social Media Myths Busted

Bobby OwsinskiGuest Blogger: Bobby Owsinski, author of helpful music guides such as Music 3.0 or The Music Producer’s HandbookBelow is an excerpt from his music industry blog, Music 3.0.

There’s a lot of myths when it comes to social media, and most continue to be retold as truths. Let’s bust 5 of the bigger ones. I’ve personally busted these with my own testing, but there’s a lot of research to back them up as well.

Myth 1: Get as many friends/followers as you can. What good is it if you have 30,000 Twitter followers and only 30 care about what you’re posting? The quality of these friends and followers is more important than the quantity.

Myth 2: The more you post, the better. Study after study has found that the less you post, the more effective it is. Once again, it’s the quality of the post that counts, not the quantity.

Myth 3: You should focus on social media and forget about your website. If fact, your website should be the center of your online universe and all of your social media sites should point to it.

For the last two myths, go to Bobby’s blog, Music 3.0!

 

Music 3.0:  A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age is a completely updated edition of the original best seller, featuring the latest music business and social media concepts as well as brand-new interviews with a variety of the industry’s top movers and shakers.

The Producer’s First Meeting

Guest Blogger: Bobby Owsinski is the author of The Music Producer’s Handbook, one of guides in his Handbook series along with The Touring Musician’s Handbook and The Studio Musician’s Handbook.  Below is an excerpt from his music production blog, The Big Picture.

Almost everyone knows the main phases of an album project (preproduction, tracking, overdubs, mixing, mastering), but the fact of the matter is that there’s one more phase that actually begins the process – the meeting.

That’s where the producer meets with the artist for the first time and they both decide if they like each other, can work together, and most importantly, be creative together. Of course, there may be other meetings before this decision is finally made, but the first one is critical for both the producer and the artist.

The problem is that any times the artist or band doesn’t know exactly what to do or expect (especially one without much experience), so that leaves it up to the producer to guide things. Here are some questions to ask to determine if you’re a good fit with the artist.

What are some of your favorite records? Why?

What are your biggest influences? Why?

What recordings do you like the sound of?

What kind of sound are you looking for?

To read the rest of Bobby O’s questions, visit his blog!

The Music Producer’s Handbook

The Music Producer’s Handbook (another book in Bobby Owsinski’s successful Handbook series) describes in detail the duties and responsibilities of a music producer. In his thoughtful, down-to-earth, and savvy style, Bobby O. brings his wealth of experience to bear in answering the questions faced by all budding music producers: How do I become a producer? How do I get the best out of the musicians or vocalist? How do I get a great mix? How much money can I make? Covering the entire range of producer concerns, from organizing each phase of the production to mastering the final mix, The Music Producer’s Handbook takes a sometimes intimidating and mystifying process and breaks it down to an entertaining tutorial that will fatten the toolkits of professionals as well as novices. As with all the books in the Handbook series, a third of the book is dedicated to exclusive interviews with name producers who share their techniques and stories with the reader. An accompanying DVD takes the viewer through each phase of the production process.

 

 

 

The Quick Vocal Performance Guide

Guest Blogger: Bobby Owsinski is the author of How to Make Your Band Sound Great and The Music Producer’s Handbook. Below is an excerpt from his blog The Big Picture.

The voice is just as much of an instrument as any other instrument in the band. Like other instruments, it needs regular maintenance to stay in its best shape. Here are a few tricks compiled from How To Make Your Band Sound Great and The Music Producer’s Handbook to not only get the best vocal performances, but to stay away from a sore throat as well.

1. Remember the 3 P’s – Pitch, Passion, Pocket. You need all three for a great vocal.
2. You’ve got to hear yourself at the correct level to stay in tune. Unless you have a lot of experience, you’ll most likely sing sharp if you’re not loud enough, and flat if you hear too much of yourself.
3. Avoid alcohol, dairy products, tea, coffee and cola before recording or a gig. All will make it more difficult to sing by either drying your throat or increasing your phlegm production.
4. Choose the best key for the song. Better to change the key than hurt yourself or sound bad trying to sing something that you’re not capable of.
Keep reading this post on Bobby O’s blog, The Big Picture.
This book explores every aspect of playing with other musicians, including the equipment, hardware, and software used in today’s increasingly complex technological world, and the principles of sound every musician needs to know to work at the level of a professional band.
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The Music Producer’s Handbook (another book in Bobby Owsinski’s successful Handbook series) describes in detail the duties and responsibilities of a music producer. In his thoughtful, down-to-earth, and savvy style, Bobby O. brings his wealth of experience to bear in answering the questions faced by all budding music producers: How do I become a producer? How do I get the best out of the musicians or vocalist? How do I get a great mix? How much money can I make?

Ten Great Music Marketing Ideas

Bobby Owsinski

Guest Blogger: Bobby Owsinski is the author of Music 3.0. Below is an excerpt from his blog, Music 3.0.

1) Develop a package - This could mean anything from a CD and a vinyl album, to a digital download and album with all alternative mixes, to a boxed set of CD’s or anything in-between (Trent Reznor’Ghosts I-IV is a great example). The idea is to go beyond just the typical CD and digital offerings.

2) Sequential numbering - Numbering a physical product (for example; “#5 of 1000″) gives it the feeling of exclusivity. The product becomes a special edition and a must-have for the true fan.

3) Tie it to merchandise - Offer a physical product that contains the code for a free download of your album. Mos Def was so successful with the T-shirt release of The Ecstatic that Billboard magazine even began counting it as a music release on their charts. Other artists have sold their music via codes on such items as golf balls, bandanas and even canned food!

4) Release a “double-sided” digital single Rhino Record’s digital releases celebrating 60 years of the 45 RPM single set a fine example for this format. For between $1.49 and $1.99, Rhino provided the original hit song, its B side (the flip side of the vinyl record) and the original artwork. You can do the same by providing two songs for price of one – an A and a B side.

5) Release on an old alternative format - We’ve seen some artists (The Decemberists Hazards of Love come to mind) release a vinyl-only physical product to great success. Cheap Trick did it on the old 8-track format from the 60’s, and some bands have even recently released on cassette tape. Releasing on a older format can be good as a publicity tool (as long as everyone else isn’t doing it) and who knows, maybe you can start a trend?

Read Bobby’s last five tips on his blog.

Music 3.0

What has changed? Who are the new players? Why are traditional record labels, television, and radio no longer factors in an artist’s success? How do you market and distribute your music in this new world? How do you make money in this new music world? How do you develop your brand? How do you use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as marketing tools? What are the new technologies that are being introduced that will influence how we sell or market? All these questions are answered in the book. This edition also contains new low-cost high- and low-tech tips for marketing and promotion.

6 Common Songwriting Problems

Bobby OwsinskiGuest Blogger: Bobby Owsinski is the author of How to Make Your Band Sound Great. Below is an excerpt from the blog THE BIG PICTURE.

Whenever I listen to songs from a young songwriter there seems to be a number of common problems that pop up, so here’s a checklist that you can use before you deem your song finished. Regardless of how long you’ve been writing songs, these items can be useful, especially if you intend for your songs to be as commercial as possible.

1. Are the sections too long? Sections of a song that are too long cause the listener to rapidly loose interest.

2. Is there a clear distinction between sections? For instance, can you tell the difference between the verse and the chorus? Once again, listener interest wanes if a song goes too long without something new happening.

3. Does the song have a bridge? A bridge adds tension and release, keeping the interest high and enabling the song to build to a peak.

Read the other three songwriting problems on Bobby’s THE BIG PICTURE blog.

How to Make Your Band Sound Great

This book explores every aspect of playing with other musicians, including the equipment, hardware, and software used in today’s increasingly complex technological world, and the principles of sound every musician needs to know to work at the level of a professional band.

A Drum Recording Checklist

Guest Blogger: Bobby Owsinski is the co-author of The Drum Recording Handbook. Below is an excerpt from his blog THE BIG PICTURE.

Remember that each situation is different and ultimately the sound depends upon the drums, the drummer, the song, the arrangement, and even the other players. Sometimes things are just out of your control. Also, these are not hard and fast rules, just a starting place. If you try something that’s different from what you’ll read below and it sounds good, it is good!

1. Do the drums sound great acoustically? Make sure that you start with a great acoustic drum sound with the drums well tuned and minimum of sympathetic vibrations.

2. Are the mics acoustically in phase? Make sure that tom mics and room mics are parallel to each other. Make sure that any underneath mics are at a 45° angle to the top mics.

3. Are the mics electronically in phase? Make sure that any bottom mics have the phase reversed. Make sure that all the mic cables are wired the same by doing a phase check.

4. Are the mics at the correct distance from the drum? If they’re too far away they’ll pick up too much of the other drums. If they’re too close the sound will be unbalanced with too much attack or ring.

5. Are the drum mics pointing at the center of the head? Pointing at the center of the drum will give you the best balance of attack and fullness.

Keep reading this article on Bobby O’s THE BIG PICTURE.

The Drum Recording Handbook by Bobby Owsinski and Dennis Moody

Recording acoustic drums is one of the toughest challenges faced by every audio engineer. In The Drum Recording Handbook, mega-selling pro audio author Bobby Owsinski and in-demand recording engineer Dennis Moody reveal amazing secrets to getting outstanding drum track recordings every time, from every session. Interviews include Bernie Dresel, Ricky Lawson, Brian MacLeod, and Dave Weckl.

What Is Hal Leonard up to at AES This Year?

The Audio Engineering Society conference takes place in San Francisco this year from Oct. 26 to Oct. 29. Stop by the Hal Leonard booth. Buy books, talk to authors, enter our giveaway, and more!

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In the Booth

Hal Leonard’s new, innovative Quick Pro Guides series and newly revamped Power Tools line include tutorials on Ableton, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Reason, Cubase, and Studio One. Hal Leonard’s authors include Bobby Owsinski, Mixerman, Moses Avalon, Bill Gibson, Howard Massey, Alan Parsons, Dave Hampton, Chilitos Valenzuela, Steve Turnidge, and many others.
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Giveaway

Drop your business card in the jar at the Hal Leonard booth for your chance to win a copy of Alan Parsons’ The Art and Science of Sound Recording DVD set. The winner will be contacted by email the week following AES.
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MusicPro Guides YouTube Channel

MusicPro Guides is giving away prizes on our YouTube channel. To enter the drawing, subscribe to youtube.com/musicproguides between October 26 and November 10th. If you are already a subscriber, enter the drawing by commenting on the front page video. We’ll announce the winner on November 27th on our YouTube channel. Prizes include the complete Mixerman book collection; a prize pack of books that include Quick Pro Guides, Desktop Mastering, and Electronic Musician Presents the Recording Secrets Behind 50 Great Albums; and a Skype call with Bruce Swedien.
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Panels, Tutorials, and Workshops with Hal Leonard authors

Presenter: Bobby Owsinski
Session T3
Friday, Oct. 26, 4-6pm
Bobby Owsinski, author of Music 3.0, will give a presentation on social media. Facebook,  Google+, Twitter and YouTube are important elements for developing a fan base or client list, but without the proper strategy they can prove ineffective and take so much time that there’s none left for creating. This presentation shows engineers, producers, audio professionals, and musicians the best techniques and strategy to utilize social media as a promotional tool without it taking 20 hours a day.
 
2. Total Tracking: Get It Right at Source: Choosing and Recording Your Sound Source
Presenter: Bill Gibson
Saturday, Oct. 27 at noon in PSE2 and Sunday, Oct. 28, noon-1pm  in PSE8
The astonishing and ever-improving power and versatility of digital signal processing plug-ins for computer audio workstations has encouraged the widespread belief that everything can be “fixed in the mix”—and in many cases, of course, it can. However, this approach is always extremely time-consuming and the results aren’t always perfect. It is often much faster, and with far more satisfying results, to get the right sound from the outset by careful selection of the source and appropriate microphone selection and positioning. This workshop will explore a wide variety of examples, analysing the requirements and discussing practical techniques of optimising source recordings.
 
Chair: Bill Gibson
Panelists: Dave Hampton, Mixerman, Steve Turnidge, Dot Bustelo
W10
Sunday, Oct. 28, 4pm-6pm
Music Business Panel: Show Me the Money! Finding Success in an Evolving Audio Industry includes a panel discussion about the new music business. The mission of this workshop is to provide insightful tactics and techniques for the modern audio professional—ways to make money in the current business reality. Topics include proven ways to increase profitability, nuts and bolts explanations of setting up your business to receive payments for licensing, sync fees, Internet and other new media delivery systems, and more. Panel consists of noted authors and music business experts, Dot Bustelo (author of The Power in Logic Pro), Dave Hampton (author of The Business of Audio Engineering), Mixerman (author of Zen and the Art of Producing and The Daily Adventures of Mixerman), and Steve Turnidge (author of Desktop Mastering). Bill Gibson (author of The Hal Leonard Recording Method and Q on Producing) will moderate. 
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Hope to see you there!
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Here we were at AES last year:

Chili Peppers Follow The Music 3.0 Strategy

Bobby Owsinski


Guest Blogger:
Bobby Owsinski, author of Music 3.0 (Hal Leonard Books). The following is from the author’s blog.

Anyone who’s either read my Music 3.0 Internet Music Guidebook or has been reading my blog for a while know that I’ve advocated a new release schedule where there are more single releases on a timely basis instead of waiting until 10 songs are finished then releasing an album.

There are 3 reasons for using this strategy:

1. We now live in a singles world. The majority of people, especially those under 35, now consume their music a song at a time. That’s how they like it, so there’s no use fighting it.

2. Releasing 10 singles actually gives you 11 events to promote, not just one. You can promote each single as a separate event, then put them all together for an album release, which is the 11th. Which do you think gets the artist more exposure?

3. And maybe even more importantly, releasing just a single focuses the fan’s attention on just one song at a time, instead of picking out only 1 or 2 from an album and listening to just those (which is what usually happens).

Now The Red Hot Chili Peppers are taking a page from the Music 3.0 notebook and releasing a song a month for the next 9 months beginning on August 14….

Read the rest of this article on the author’s blog!

A clip of Chad Smith (Chili Peppers drummer) at the Hal Leonard booth at NAMM:

Music 3.0, 2nd Edition by Bobby Owsinski

Music 3.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age is a completely updated edition of the original best seller, featuring the latest music business and social media concepts as well as brand-new interviews with a variety of the industry’s top movers and shakers.

How To Make Money In Today’s Music World

Music 3.0 book coverThe following is an excerpt from Music 3.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age, Second Edition by Bobby Owsinski. You can read this whole chapter for free on MusicPlayers.com. You can read the whole book by purchasing it from Amazon, B&N, halleonardbooks.com, or your local bookstore.

Swag Is Your Friend
Performing live is only one ingredient of the recipe, however. You’ve got to have merchandise (other terms include “swag” or “merch”) to supplement your income. It’s always been a huge part of the income of an artist, but until recently was considered just an ancillary revenue stream. Today it’s an essential part of most artist’s earnings.

It used to be that merch required a sizable capital outlay in order to get in the game. You had to buy enough to get some sort of economy of scale, but then you also had to worry about storing the inventory. And what if the item didn’t sell? What do you do with 4,835 custom key chains or 492 pairs of branded underwear? Luckily, there are now alternatives that make the buy-in easier on the pocketbook than ever.

Today both Café Press (cafepress.com) and Zazzle (zazzle.com) make it easy to provide quality merch of all kinds without worrying about either the up-front money or the inventory. Both companies provide a host of items that they’ll manufacture to order, and they’ll even allow you to show examples of merch on your website or store. In other words, whenever an order is placed, that’s when they’ll make the item. They’ll even drop-ship it to the customer for you so you don’t have to worry about shipping and inventory. All this comes at a cost, and so your profit won’t be as high, but it’s an easy and inexpensive way to get into the merch business.

So what kind of merch should you have? You can now get a huge variety of items branded with your logo, but typical merch items are:

  • T-shirts (probably the number one item ever for a musical artist)
  • hats
  • lighters
  • sweatshirts
  • coffee cups
  • posters
  • bumper stickers (a high-profit item because they’re cheap to make)
  • mouse pads
  • bags (timely now, since people use them instead of paper or plastic at the supermarket)

Just about anything you can think of can now have your logo on it. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that just because you can make it available, it’s a good idea. It’s still best to narrow things down, since offering too many types of items can actually prevent willing customers from buying anything because they can’t make up their minds. Keep the number of types of items to a maximum of 2 at first, and be sure that they will sell before you add more options.

Another interesting idea is to offer a tour book of photos (available from blurb.com) like the one the Grateful Dead did on their recent tour. Once again, it’s on-demand printing, and the company offers a number of professional templates to make the design easy.

Don’t forget that in the end, branded items such as T-shirts, hats, beach towels, and Frisbees are for marketing you as an artist, so be sure that the design looks professional. If you’re going to spend hard cash, this is the place to do it. Find a pro or an advanced hobbyist to design it for you. Don’t forget that the true reason for selling merch is that if enough people see your intriguing logo on a T-shirt, coffee mug, or bumper sticker, some of them will be interested enough to check you out.

Read the rest of this chapter on MusicPlayers.com