We’ve all been there. The band has written a banger of a tune, it’s destined to go down in the annals of history as a modern day “Stairway…”, a guaranteed hit.
There’s only one problem: you just played it live in a dingy practice room and nobody else heard it.
So, how can you get your first hit out to the masses and show them what you’ve got? Recording, obviously.
Recording new music is an exciting process and a great experience for any band rolling up to a studio for the first or hundred and first time. But, there’s a lot more to it than finding an engineer happy to hit record and then listening back in the car on your way home.
Here are a few things to consider before you begin planning the recording and release of that aforementioned banger…
You’ve written one great song that you love and you’re sure is going to get your band noticed. But is it the only one? Now is the time to consider exactly what you’ll record. How many songs you decide to record will affect the cost, so carefully plan which songs you think will have the most impact and portray your band in the best light, especially if it’s your first release. Will your new tune to be a stand alone single, or do you have enough material to make a strong 3-5 track EP? The key here is thinking long term and how the new song fits into your plans for the next 12-18 months. A single released in isolation may be a drop in the ocean if it’s not followed up with more music, while more music on an EP can be released gradually for more value.
Who you record with and where you record is as important as the music you’re recording. Listen to bands you like and find out where they recorded and contact the studio to find out their rates and availability. It’s also important here to find out how the producer or engineer may be able to contribute. You might want someone to simply hit record and adjust the levels, but choosing the right producer could mean you benefit from a wealth of experience. Have a look here at what Sonja Sleator wrote about working with Michael Mormecha at Millbank Studios. Finding a studio which matches the music you want to make may not be as expensive as you’d think and it will definitely enrich the process.
How many CDs are you realistically likely to sell? As much as we’d all love to be selling millions of records, our parents’ garages simply aren’t big enough to store all the surplus stock and duplication can be one of the costs many bands don’t factor for when they’re planning a release. Initially getting a small run of CDs printed may be the best way of testing the water and judging how many you’ll sell, while keeping costs at a minimum. Don’t forget to consider the cost of having artwork or photography produced to go with your release! CDs aren’t the be all and end all though. If you have a great following online you might consider a digital only release which is the cheapest way of getting music out. We also love Rory Nellis’s USB package idea, so there’s always scope to get creative.
Do you have the live show to back up the new song you’ve just written? If it’s your only song and you have to fill the set with covers you might want to get back to writing. Get tight with around 45 minutes worth of original music and start gigging in your area. When you finally get your CDs duplicated, gigs are a great opportunity to sell some and make new fans, so get used to mentioning that you have some for sale while your on stage. With an EP or an album release, you might want to plan a launch gig, where you have the CDs available for sale for the first time. This is something that should be considered before you even record, and any costs factored in from the beginning.
You could just have written the song of the century, but without a solid release plan you risk it not being heard. If anyone in your band or group of friends is handy with words ask them to write a short band biography and contact some radio shows and reviewers to see if they’ll feature your music.
If you need support with radio plugging, securing reviews or simply getting a band bio that gets you noticed, there are lots of options for a range of budgets, and Tin Man Heart is just one of those. So far, we’ve worked for for acts like Aaron Shanley, Dolbro Dan and Sonja Sleator. You can see some of what we do here, and get in touch if you’d like to find out what we can do for your band.
Like anything, time and planning ahead are your best weapons, aside from great music of course. Don’t contact a PR agency the week after your new music has been released. Get in touch as far in advance as you can and let us help with planning and media approaches to ensure your release has the maximum impact.