The recording business, and the music business, are wrought with contradictions. You get one answer from one “expert” and another totally different answer from an other “expert”. Who’s right? That’s the $64,000 question. But there are a few things that we’ve learned about recording and the music business that seem to be common “myths”. We’re here to shed some light in the darkness.
Myth #1 - You need a record deal to sell records. Wrong! You need records to sell records. The Internet has opened the door for talented singers and musicians because it has given them a way to distribute their music. Let’s take this idea one step further - having a website doesn’t sell records either. Having a way for people to “hear” your music, will sell records. They won’t buy your music unless they can “hear” your music. So, you need to get out there, get some gigs, get your music on a website, and have a product to sell the fans. That’s how the folks with record deals do it. But then they have to pay their managers, promoters, etc., etc. You just have to pay you. So you don’t need to make as much, to make more! Make sense?
Myth #2 - You have to mortgage the farm to record. Wrong, again. What you have to do, is know what you’re paying for. Recording in someone’s home studio may be cheaper, but it will sound cheaper, too. There is a huge difference between a $79 microphone and a $2000 microphone. And there is also a difference between a studio that charges $550 a day and one that charges $1550 a day. Know what it is? It could be cable TV in the break room and catered lunches. Know what you’re paying for. Quality gear, and a knowledgeable and musically creative engineer/producer, is a top priority. Cable is not.
Myth #3 - The quality of your demo isn’t important. You may think that quality is a subjective thing. And to a certain degree, it is.But if you want to be taken seriously - if you want to compete in this professional arena, Nashville, you need to make sure that your demo sounds like the radio. Because that’s what it’s being compared to.
Myth #4 - Karaoke tracks and cover tunes make good demos. Wrong, wrong, wrong! A vocal demo is supposed to showcase your style, not someone else’s. We already know how Martina sings Independence Day. We need to hear how you interpret your own songs. If you don’t write your own songs, there are literally thousands of good, original songs in Nashville. Find some great ones - if you need help, hire a producer to help you, and let your style shine through!
Myth #5 - It’s cheaper to record at a “home studio”. Yes and no. We use this analogy all the time and it seems to hit home: you can buy a shirt at Macy's, and you can buy a shirt at Walmart. Are they both shirts?...yes. Are they the same?...no. Most of the time, home studios are not big enough to accommodate a live drum kit, a real piano, and they usually don’t have a variety of high quality microphones. What you miss out on, when you use a drum machine, is the talent of a drummer. Don’t you think that a drummer who has played on major label albums (CDs) has something musical to contribute to your project? And if you ask a piano player, they would very seldom choose a keyboard if they had a grand piano sitting right next to it. And if you’re a singer, don’t you want to sing on the same microphones that the recording artists do? Most home studios don’t have that for you. That’s why it’s cheaper...but is that what you want?
Got any more recording myths? Send 'em to us, and we'll shed some light on them.