BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS: How to record and release your own music

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First Posted: 9/30/2013

Recently, I gave a basic outline for booking a show. This is an extremely important facet to every local music community, but this week I’d like to touch another aspect: releasing music. This is arguably the most important part of the entire scene but one of the most complicated at times. How do you write, record, and release music and get it out to people?

Well first off, you need a band. This is probably the hardest part of the equation, but once you have this sorted out, you will probably write some songs. Once you get enough songs to your liking, you will have to record them. This is where the confusion starts, and it’s mainly because of options. Even locally, there are numerous recording studios. You will want to consider several things: reputation, cost, and time. Look at the liner notes of other bands’ records and see where they recorded. Chances are you will be able to get information through a quick search online and be able to find rates and a way to contact the person.

Now that you have recording time booked with your favorite engineer, you have some logistical information to sort through. How much are you going to have to pay, and mainly, who is going to pay for it? It is easy to get intimidated by this, but there are infinite ways to figure it out. You can send out some songs to labels and see if they want to put it out, you can ask friends if they want to help you out, or, realistically, you can just do everything yourself.

Once you figure out the first logistic step, go and record. This can either be an extremely easy process or extremely stressful, but either way, you should be trying to make the songs sound the best they can possibly sound. Once you record and get the songs sounding the way you want, you will need to figure out the last steps. You will need to do things such as figure out a title and get some artwork, but you will also have the most daunting task, and that is the actual release.

There are numerous possibilities of how to release music. You can release it just digitally or you can press records, CD’s, or cassette tapes. You can put it on flash drives. You can do just about anything in 2013. However you want to do it, you will need to figure out how. With physical music, you can easily find companies and compare pricing as well as services. All ordering information can be found online, and most places have a friendly staff that can help you through the process so you get everything right. This sounds easy enough, but you will need to be patient and understanding as well as prepared just in case something goes wrong.

Now you have songs and you have them in some form, and now all you have to do is get it out to people. Again, it’s 2013 – you can literally put it out to the entire world with the click of a button if you want, but there are some things you can do right at home to get the word out. If you are going to a show, make some flyers and pass them out. If your friends’ bands are playing, ask to put your new record at their merch table. Or better yet, book your own show to play the songs live for everyone.