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Browse for December 2013

The Loudness War: “Mastering Beats?”

The loudness war is something that’s been going on now for quite some time. The fact is, most artists and producers want their material to sound as loud as possible. They want their songs/tracks to stand out among the mix and “dominate” the competition. They feel that louder songs, make better songs. Forget about the fact of writing catchy lyrics, developing great songs, and mixing tracks so that they blend o’ so perfectly together so that you can still hear the different aspects of the mix. No, a lot of producers today would rather slap a brickwall limiter or heaven for bid, “maxim” on a track, crank it up as loud as possible so that it smashes every last dynamic and sell it as is, to the first artist they can. What’s even more disturbing is that a lot of artists think it’s great because it’s louder than other beats that they’ve heard.

I can guarantee you that every professional audio engineer and producer would sign off on me saying: “Never record vocals over a stereo track that is already being pushed to its maximum.” Meaning it’s been squashed by compression/limiting so that it’s simply louder. I can understand if you have a song that has vocals recorded onto it and it is fully mixed, that you would want it to be loud. Every commercial album and recording is compressed/limited and this process is done in the mastering stage, AFTER THE VOCALS ARE RECORDED ONTO THE TRACK!

Ok, why can’t I properly record my vocals on a beat that is screamin’ loud? Well, for starters there isn’t any headroom left on the master buss. Most of the time these mixes are hitting around -0.3 to 0.0 dBFS, and this is without any vocals mixed into the equation. We must consider that every individual track that makes up a song gets added cumulatively and displayed on the master buss. So, when an artist buys a beat that’s been “mastered” already, here’s what happens. First, the engineer or in many cases the artist themselves will need to turn the track way down, which ruins the concept of proper gain staging. Next, when the vocals are recorded onto the track, you will need to place another limiter onto the master buss, causing the song to sound as though it was truly produced, engineered and performed in a bedroom. Even if it were, it doesn’t have to sound this way. We can achieve better quality recordings, mixes, and songs by doing things differently.

So, do yourself and your music a favor by either buying beats that have track separation available so that you can control each tracks individual levels or make sure that the stereo track of the beat that you want to buy has some headroom left on it. And preferably lots of headroom, so that you have room to properly record and mix your vocals onto the track.


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3 Easy Steps To Promote, Advertise Your Mixtape Online!

It seems like everyone has a new mixtape out nowadays. Everywhere you look the internet is flooded with people trying to promote and advertise their latest and greatest mixtape. However, there are actually very few “successful” mixtapes due in part to the lack of proper promotion and advertisement. If you are promoting a mixtape, there are 3 very simple steps to follow.

1. CREATE A HIGH QUALITY MIXTAPE
This may seem like a no-brainer to most people but you would be surprised at the number of mixtapes lacking quality music production and audio engineering. If you are sharing a song or mixtape with someone, it needs to immediately grab their attention. You have about 10 seconds from the time someone pushes play to make your first impression. When a person plays your music, it should immediately inspire an emotion. If your mixtape could talk it should say “listen up! I have something important to say!” No matter what the genre, if your music doesn’t grab people’s attention you will potentially miss out on fans. Not only your voice is important to catch the listener´s attention. The first thing what people hear of a song is the beat. The beat should be a ear catcher. When a person plays a track of you he should be impressed of the beat and the feeling of your song. You can choose free beats for your non-commercial projects. The most producer only offer free beats with voice tags. All my beats on my free beat tapes are without voice tags! You also can lease beats online for your commercial mixtapes/albums. If you plan to sell thousands of units, make commercial musicvideos for your songs and plan tv&radio airplay then you should think about buy exclusive rights for your choosed beats.

Carefully choose the song order of your mixtape. You want your mixtape to have a good flow. Take your listeners on a journey through sound! It is critical that you do this to keep your listeners from getting bored. If listeners get bored, they typically forget about what they were listening to. This means your music will likely end up hitting the digital trash can.

2. CHOOSE 1 SONG FOR FREE DOWNLOAD

After choosing your mixtape’s song order, choose 1 single representative of you and make it available to the public as a free download. Make sure that this is a song you feel strongly about and that you’d be comfortable performing. Make the song available for free via all your social networks like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Google+, etc. Be sure to upload your music to free mixtape websites such as Datpiff and livemixtapes.com, if you are making your entire mixtape available for free. Provide links to all your contact information wherever you can. Be sure to have your digital/electronic press kit available for online viewing in case someone wants to hear more of your work.

3. Target Prospective Fans, Promote the Mixtape

Here is where the tire meets the road. After completing the first two steps you will need to find out who your fans are AND promote to them. To do this you will need to begin building relationships with potential fans. please do not spam! This is one of the worst ways to damage your name and brand. It will usually get you blocked, banned, unfriended, etc.

Free Ways to Promote Your Mixtape Online:

Blog about your mixtape and encourage people to subscribe to your blog

If your mixtape is free, upload it to the top free mixtape websites

Ask fans or friends to write a mixtape review for you to post on a blog or website

Have fans or friends recommend your mixtape via their social networks (e.g. Have someone tweet: @joeblow My friend @soandso makes some really great music. I think you’d like his mixtape www dot whereeveryourlinkisat dot com)

Note: This method of promotion is WAY better than you randomly hitting someone up saying “hey check this out…” Why? because someone is referring your music and edifying you at the same time! That equals a win-win situation for you!

Create a mailing list for your fans to keep them updated on your latest work

Write an article on Wikipedia about yourself and your mixtape(s)

Create promotional videos of yourself with your mixtape music playing in the background

Preview your mixtape live via Ustream and hold a Q&A session afterward

Create fan pages on social networks or on music websites such as Reverbnation

Network with Djs online and see if they’ll spin your records

Track your internet spins, plays, downloads, etc. and use that in your promotion information (i.e. This is Hot -mixtape downloaded 3,000 times in 1 hour! Drop your link.)

Offer a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th song for free download

Do promotion exchanges via your social networks (i.e promote someone else in exchange for promoting your mixtape)

The suggestions listed above are just a few of the ways you can begin to increase exposure and advertise your mixtape online. Ultimately, you will need to begin building strong relationships with each of your potential fans in order to gain the support needed to have a successful mixtape release.

Good Luck!


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