In addition to your microphones, DAW/console, and room, an essential part of any home studio set-up is your signal processing gear. From the dynamics control of compressors and limiters to the effects processing of reverb and delay, these tools are necessary to create a professional-sounding final product. But for the new engineer, these effects can be fairly mysterious, and a tendency to overuse plug-ins and outboard gear is commonplace, especially for someone just learning the nuances of the art of recording.
How can you best use your typical signal processing plug-ins to enhance and optimize your recording? Understanding how the dynamic control processors like compressors, limiters, EQs, and gates function, and knowing how to use multi-effects such as delays and reverbs to perfection will make you a better producer and engineer. It’s also important to remember that signal processing tools are just that – tools. There are no rules stating you can’t use them in different or novel ways to create new sounds. But before doing that, it makes sense to learn about the basic parameters of each and the functions they were invented to serve.
Nearly every touring musician has at least one story about load-in or breakdown gone awry — that emotionally scarring gig where the venue promised a full drum kit but only delivered a broken snare drum, the festival slot when you expected fifteen minutes to set up but only got fifteen seconds, or that sickening post-gig moment when you realized your vintage Les Paul had grown legs and walked out of the club, all by itself.
Can such situations be prevented? Quite often, yes, and adopting common-sense habits like showing up early, making lists, and packing ahead of time can save you considerable trouble and grief before and after you hit the stage for your music gig.
For many people, listening to music elicits such an emotional response that the idea of dredging it for statistics and structure can seem odd or even misguided. But knowing these patterns can give one a deeper more fundamental sense for how music works; for me this makes listening to music a lot more interesting. Of course, if you play an instrument or want to write songs, being aware of these things is obviously of great practical importance.
In this article, we’ll look at the statistics gathered from 1300 choruses, verses, etc. of popular songs to discover the answer to a few basic questions. First we’ll look at the relative popularity of different chords based on the frequency that they appear in the chord progressions of popular music. Then we’ll begin to look at the relationship that different chords have with one another. For example, if a chord is found in a song, what can we say about the probability for what the next chord will be that comes after it?
Launching a pitch on Kickstarter might be your best shot at getting funded. The site accepts and posts 75% of applicant ideas. And nearly half of these end up raising enough pledges to receive full funding. This is ideal for students and recent graduates with fresh ideas but low budgets. With project backers giving as little as $20 to projects, the incentives and interests of investors on Kickstarter are also younger and newer than anyplace else. The crowdfunding site and others like it is changing the way that small creative projects, startups and products are launched. Of the 28,000 projects successfully funded on the site in the past four years, the average funding goals were low—under $5,000. So, if you’ve got an idea for a new food truck, solo album or an app, consider testing it out on tens of thousands of Kickstarter fans.
Musicians getting in trouble with the law – well, that’s nothing new. What’s a good music resume without a couple of arrest reports to fill out the career dips? But what about that YouTube “take down” notice you just received for the video you posted of your band covering “Freebird?” You got a mechanical license to release the song on your CD (right?), and the video turned out awesome, so you owe it to the world to post it online. But did you get a sync license for your online videos of cover songs?
In some music business schools, they still give students assignments that go like this: “Assume that you have one million dollars. Make up a marketing plan on how to promote a band.” Here’s a realistic assignment: “Go to MySpace. Pick a band. You have zero dollars. Now go promote them.”
Although most bands would like to have the kind of budget to promote their latest album on TV, radio, and billboards, they are more likely to have just enough to print up posters for the next gig. And yet indies can get the kind of attention that major label acts get. You just need to plan appropriately and implement a few tried-and-true strategies.
Here are seven effective strategies to get you and your music noticed.