BOOKING STUDIO TIME
Do you even need to hire a top notch studio anymore? Especially if the average listener uses earbuds or plays music through their phone speaker?!
Yes! Because for a song to sound great on whatever device it's played on takes skill and experience.
There are of course plenty of people with home studios that can do a great job, so it's worth checking out smaller studio’s and individuals and getting recommendations from people you trust.
Whether you decide to have a studio day or just hire a remote producer, there are a few things to consider.
Firstly listen to other work that the studio has put out. If you can't easily find out, ask! Examples should ideally be on their website.
Set a budget. We all know how hard it is to make money at the other end of this process, so don't expect everything for free unless you are working in a team together on something you will all benefit from, and can trade skills to help each other out.
Will you need extra session singers / players? Who will provide them or recommend them? This likely will be an extra cost on top of the studio hire.
Are you paying by the hour / per day / per song? What exactly is included or not? Remember edits can cost money too.
Being in the room
Being in the room as opposed to using a remote producer is a massive advantage. It's hard to control the production process or direct the creative process remotely. There is none of the “what you just played is great, do that again”. Being in a studio with a good producer is likely to create some great moments of creativity.
Perhaps the only downside of in person studio sessions is that it's easy to get carried away and perhaps waste time, so do plan ahead what you would like to achieve on the day or days and get that clear understanding in place with the studio beforehand.
Understand the lingo
Being roughly aware of music production language before you use a professional studio can really help to get the most out of the day - it allows quicker communication of what you like and don't like. Doing a basic music production course can be really useful to an artist or singer even if you never plan to be a producer yourself.
This is something to be aware of, because if you are expecting the producer to add creatively to your song, then they may expect a percentage cut. Again, have that conversation before the day. Trust me, doing that during the day or worse still after the day, can make things awkward!
Guide tracks can really help even if they are only roughly recorded on a phone.
Think about bpm, and time signatures 4/4 or 6/8 or something else. Think ahead about arrangement, song length, repeat choruses, intros / endings and how you want them roughly to be.
Reference tracks are a great idea as this gives the producer a very clear suggestion of how you want the song to feel and what sort of instruments and sounds may be needed.
Most of these things can be discussed before the time in the studio, giving you maximum time for the track to be produced and enough time for recording everything.
Above all though, enjoy your time in the studio, and always ask before pressing any buttons!
Today I help singers and songwriters explore their own potential, working alongside them to transform their ideas into fully finished songs they are proud of.
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