Dave Cool

Musician Website Love: Camila Meza

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Camila Meza
What: Jazz, Latin, Alternative Singer/Guitarist
Where: New York via Santiago de Chile
Why her website rocks: This week we announced a partnership with All About Jazz, and we don’t just love that Camila Meza had nice things to say about us in the press release (read it here). We also love her website!

We often tell artists that they should put their best foot forward on their website, and Camila does that perfectly. First, Camila uses a great professional photo using the full-width header image area on our theme Primer.

Then, the first sentence of the Welcome message on her Homepage says:

Camila Meza is a rising star in the New York jazz scene and has been described by the New York Times as “a bright young singer and guitarist with an ear for music of both folkloric and pop intention".

When you’re able to use a quote from the New York Times about your music, that is definitely something you want to put front and center. Nicely done Camila!

Check out her site at: www.camilameza.com

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/12/2014 | 1 comment
Dave Cool

Back to School Reading List: Book Recommendations for Musicians from Bandzoogle Staff

For some musicians, September means back to school. For others, it’s time to hit the road to play shows at colleges and universities.

So whether you’re looking for something to read outside of the books you’re assigned at school this semester, or for something good to read during down time on the road, here are some books the Bandzoogle staff recommends. We hope you enjoy them!

If you have any that *you* would recommend, please let us know in the comments!


Chris (Founder, CTO), Adam (Support), and Josh (Designer) recommend:

How Music Works by David Byrne

How Music Works is David Byrne’s remarkable and buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about. In it he explores how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and he explains how the advent of recording technology in the twentieth century forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music.


David (CEO) recommends:

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession by Daniel J. Levitin

In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music - its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it - and the human brain. Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language.

Stacey (Head of Support) recommends:

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

Scar Tissue is Anthony Kiedis's searingly honest memoir of a life spent in the fast lane. In 1983, four self-described "knuckleheads" burst out of the mosh-pitted mosaic of the neo-punk rock scene in L.A. with their own unique brand of cosmic hardcore mayhem funk. Over twenty years later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, against all odds, have become one of the most successful bands in the world.

 


Dave (Developer) recommends:

Inner Game of Music by Barry Green & W. Timothy Gallwey

A book designed to help musicians overcome obstacles, help improve concentration, and reduce nervousness, allowing them to reach new levels of performing excellence and musical artistry.

 

 



David (Support) recommends:

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross

In this sweeping and dramatic narrative, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, weaves together the histories of the twentieth century and its music, from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties; from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies up to the present. The Rest Is Noise is an astonishing history of the twentieth century as told through its music. Find it on Amazon



Dave (Director of Artist Relations) recommends:

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/11/2014 | 3 comments
Dave Cool

Bandzoogle Announces Partnership with All About Jazz


We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with All About Jazz, the most comprehensive jazz music resource on the web! Here’s the official press release from All About Jazz:


Bandzoogle, the leading website platform for bands and musicians, and All About Jazz, the web’s premiere jazz music destination have announced a strategic partnership. All About Jazz, home to over 65,000 musician profiles, will promote Bandzoogle to their community as the preferred website building platform and integrated hub for a musician’s online DIY strategy.

All About Jazz musician members can take advantage of Bandzoogle’s best-in-class customer service and design, as well as the ability to manage their mailing lists and sell music directly from their website.

 David Dufresne, CEO of Bandzoogle states, “Bandzoogle is very excited to collaborate with All About Jazz, the top jazz music online destination that's always been ahead of the curve in offering advanced web technology to the jazz world. We are happy to provide our affordable services to jazz musicians and labels needing an easy but powerful solution to building a professional web presence.”

Michael Ricci, All About Jazz’s Founder, concurs, “Bandzoogle is an easy-to-use and powerful website building tool designed specifically for a professional musician. They make it simple to secure or transfer a domain, their customer service provides direction if needed, and you don’t have to be a technical person to rapidly build a professional website. What appeals to me most about Bandzoogle is it gives a musician full control of their website so they can update it at any time and without delay. It’s a modern approach to building a website with the goal of helping musicians reach new levels of success.”


About All About Jazz

All About Jazz is the leading and longest running jazz music website, attracting both enthusiasts and industry professionals since 1995.

A daily resource of impressive depth and breadth, All About Jazz aggregates, publishes and syndicates a variety of jazz-oriented content daily and is committed to raising the awareness of jazz's cultural significance and historical legacy while actively celebrating the creative leaders of today.

All About Jazz is the highest ranked jazz music website in the world and has received “best of the web” designations from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Forbes, the BBC, and is a 11-time winner of the Jazz Journalist Association (JJA) award for best website covering jazz.


About Bandzoogle


Bandzoogle, the leading website platform for bands and musicians is proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a new, completely redesigned platform.

More than 20,000 musicians and bands use Bandzoogle to build a professional website and create a solid hub for their online strategy. Bandzoogle allows them to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing digital music landscape and web design trends. Bandzoogle also gives artists the ability to manage their mailing lists, and sell their digital music and physical items directly to their fans from their own websites. Artists keep 100% of their sales, something unique to Bandzoogle in this industry.

Fiercely independent and self-funded, Bandzoogle is built by musicians, for musicians. Grammy-winning performers, producers, music legends, indie cult heroes and orchestras all rely on the platform to grow their fan base and have chosen Bandzoogle over its many competitors. With the platform's straightforward system, users can be online in minutes, without coding or downloading of software, and can choose from hundreds of themes created by award winning designers, creating a dynamic and evolving website.

What jazz musicians are saying about All About Jazz:

“I'm constantly amazed and overjoyed with the ever growing, and near all encompassing content and services that All About Jazz offers." —Joe Locke

“All About Jazz is an invaluable daily gift to the jazz community. It's comprehensive, insightful, open minded, and always current." —Paul Wertico

“All About Jazz is a real resource on the web for the serious jazz musician. It's helped my solo projects reach a much larger audience." —Edward Simon

What jazz musicians are saying about Bandzoogle:

“We chose Bandzoogle because it was almost 10 times quicker and easier than the software we used before. We also appreciate the functions which are specialized for musicians, especially the music player — easy to customize and easy to reuse tunes I already uploaded." —vanguardjazzorchestra.com

“I'm so glad I discovered Bandzoogle after trying many website builders. I find Bandzoogle straightforward to use and up to date when merging social networks. There are great designs options and there's always support available when you need it. It is the best solution for independent artists." —camilameza.com

“Since finding out about Bandzoogle I have been continuously impressed with the quality of the product, the feature sets and the company’s continued commitment to making it the best tool for musicians and bands. I believe it plays a big part in the success of our band and the bookings we get online." —nedfasullo.com

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/10/2014 | 0 comments
Dave Cool

Berklee Online Open Mic Series: PledgeMusic Founder Benji Rogers on Best Practices for Merch


This is a guest post by Berklee Online music business instructor Chandler Coyle that originally appeared on the PledgeMusic blog. Chandler is one-half of the fan experience agency Music Geek Services and is also the publisher of the The Coyle Report, a free music marketing newsletter that provides tips, tricks and solutions on fan engagement. Click here for a free subscription to The Coyle Report.


PledgeMusic’s Benji Rogers was recently interviewed by Berklee Online’s Mike King at the Boston campus of Berklee College of Music. Mike is the course author of various music business courses offered by Berklee Online, the online extension of Berklee.

This first video in the 4-part interview series is focused on: Best Practices in Merch. One of the courses authored by Mike for Berklee Online, Music Marketing 101, covers merch best practices extensively and will feature Benji Rogers as a guest instructor for the Fall Term.

Benji and Mike discuss best practices for merch related to the three channels that most artists should be concerned with: merch booths at live shows, online stores, and, of course, PledgeMusic / direct-to-fan pre-order campaigns (as exclusives).

Key Takeaways for Best Practices for Merch

-Don’t forget to ask your fans what they want to buy.

-Vinyl, CDs, T-shirts and posters also sell well online and at the merch table.

-PledgeMusic has noticed that for most campaigns 75% of fans typically want vinyl over CDs.

-Vinyl is definitely hot these days, just keep in mind the lead-time, weight/bulkiness and cost/unit.

-Vinyl serves a dual purpose of being both a music delivery vehicle and a physical poster-like memento of the show.

-Fans will want to talk to you at your merch booth and will likely buy merch as a physical memento of the show.

-Remember to coordinate merch strategy and available items across all 3 channels: 1) live shows, 2) online stores, and 3) PledgeMusic campaigns.

Stay tuned to the PledgeMusic blog, this week they’ll feature Part 2 of this 4-part Berklee Online Open Mic Series: Benji Rogers on Best Practices on Pricing.


Study music marketing online with Benji Rogers and Berklee Online this fall. Get personalized feedback on your work, and direct access to Benji in Berklee’s 12-week Music Marketing 101 course, which begins on September 29th. As space is extremely limited, please contact Berklee Online’s registrar if you are interested in studying directly with Benji, at registrar@berkleemusic.com, or 1.866.BERKLEE.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/09/2014 | 0 comments
Dave Cool

Bandzoogle in Nashville: Music Marketing Workshop, Member Meetup + Americana Conference!

Bandzoogle CEO David Dufresne and Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool are off to Nashville next week for the Americana Music Conference. While in town, they’re also hosting a free music marketing workshop and member meetup! Here are all the details:

Free Music Marketing Workshop

Online Marketing for Musicians: How to Gain More Fans & Generate More Income for Your Career

Where: Emma Bistro (9 Lea Ave.)
When: Monday, September 15, 6:30pm

There’s no shortage of online promotional tools for musicians out there, so it can be daunting to figure out just how to use them effectively to promote your music. Which social media sites should you be active on? Do you still need your own website? Are mailing lists outdated?

This panel will discuss the “Hub & Spokes” method of using all of these tools in a cohesive strategy to gain more fans, and generate more income for your career.

Panelists:

Dave Cool (Director of Artist Relations, Bandzoogle)
Charles Alexander (Founder, Outside the Box Music)
Wes Davenport (Founder, Echo Ave)

This workshop is FREE and open to all musicians. RSVP here.

Bandzoogle Member Meetup!

Where: Pinewood Social (33 Peabody St)
When: Monday, September 15, 8:30pm

After the workshop, Bandzoogle members are invited to Pinewood Social for some food and drinks to continue the discussion about music marketing, websites, and Nashville’s incredible music scene. Bandzoogle CEO David Dufresne should be arriving just in time to join us for the festivities as well.

Please RSVP to confirm if you'll be coming to dinner, space is very limited!
 

Americana Conference: September 17-21 @ Hutton Hotel

Website Demolition Derby
Wednesday, September 17
3:30pm (Palmer 300)

Bandzoogle CEO David Dufresne will lead the Website Demolition Derby panel, along with Dave Cool, Michell Conceison (Market Monkeys), Charles Alexander (Outside the Box Music), and Tommy Stalknecht (Music City Networks).

The interactive session will offer live critiques of musician websites where each site's design, organization, content, and functionality will be assessed. It should be lots of fun, we hope you’ll attend and submit your site for review!

Free Website Reviews at Exhibit Hall

We’ll also have a booth at the Exhibit Hall. So if you’ll be at the conference, please pass by to say hello and get your site reviewed. We’ll have some free candy to give you that extra sugar rush to get through the day, and some free t-shirts for members! Here are the Exhibit Hall hours:

Wednesday, September 17: 1pm-3:30pm
Thursday, September 18: 2pm-5pm
Friday, September 19: 2pm-5pm


Stay tuned to our blog, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages for more updates on where we’ll be this Fall...

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/08/2014 | 0 comments
Dave Cool

Musician Website Love: Duane Eubanks

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.

Who: Duane Eubanks
What: Trumpeter | Composer | Educator
Where: New York
Why his website rocks: We love the website for New York trumpeter Duane Eubanks for his great use of photos! We just wrote a blog post on the importance of photos and how to use them on your website (read it here), and Duane’s website is a nice example.

Using our Manhattan theme, his site features a header slideshow, displaying several great professional photos. He also adds photos to his Shows section, which adds a nice visual touch to the page. Duane then uses our Modern photo gallery layout on his Photos page, and offers high-resolution photo downloads for press in his EPK section. Nicely done Duane!

And if his name sounds familiar, it’s because Duane comes from a very musically gifted family. His brothers are renowned trombonist Robin Eubanks, and guitarist Kevin Eubanks, former bandleader of the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”!

Check out his website at: www.duaneeubanksmusic.com

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/05/2014 | 2 comments
Dave Cool

Website Demolition Derby and Member Meetup at San Diego Music Thing!

Our Director of Artist Relations Dave Cool is off to the West Coast next week to attend San Diego Music Thing! The conference takes place September 11-13 at the Town & Country Resort Hotel.

The conference features a keynote talk from Moby, along with lots of panels and workshops for musicians. The festival features dozens of bands playing in venues around San Diego, including Bandzoogle members Dengue Fever!  

Dave will be moderating a Website Demolition Derby panel, offering free website reviews, and hosting a meetup for Bandzoogle members. Here are all the details:

Website Demolition Derby
Friday, September 12
3:30pm
Hall 1

In an increasingly computer driven world, a good artist website could mean the difference between moving to the main stage or not. Be sure you're giving yourself every opportunity to be discovered with SDMT's Website Demolition Derby. Come by for a critique of your site and a rundown of all the essentials to help make the best first impression possible on fans and industry alike.

Panelists:

Dave Cool (Bandzoogle)
Chelsea Schwartz (High Voltage Magazine)
Rynda Laurel
 

Free Website Reviews
September 12 & 13

Dave will be at the Bandzoogle table during the conference offering free website reviews. So if you’ll be in attendance, please pass by to say hello and get your site reviewed! And if you’re a member, be sure to ask Dave for a free Bandzoogle t-shirt.
 

Bandzoogle Member Meetup!

Thursday, September 11
6:00pm
Charlie’s Bar (@ Town & Country Resort Hotel)

While in town, we’ll be hosting a little meetup for members at Charlie’s Bar, located just next to the Town & Country Resort Hotel. Join Dave Cool to talk websites, music, and meet other Bandzoogle members in San Diego. The best part: drinks are on us!

Please RSVP to the event, as space is limited. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/04/2014 | 2 comments
Dave Cool

8 Ways You Should Be Using Photos on Your Band Website

We cannot overstate the importance of photos when it comes to your website. In fact, we often tell bands that they should spend more money on professional photos than on their website.

Great photos can create a positive first impression for potential new fans, as well as for industry and media. But if the images on your website look unprofessional, chances are, people won’t take you or your music seriously.

Getting Photos for Your Website

So how can you go about getting professional photos for your website? Here are some options:

Photoshoot

First things first, if you haven’t already, plan a photoshoot with a professional photographer. Not your uncle/cousin/friend/spouse who does it as a hobby. Do some research to find the right photographer. Talk to other bands and musicians in your local scene to get some recommendations.

If you have a tight budget, you can try contacting your local college or university to see if they have a photography program. You might be able to find a student to do a photoshoot for cheap to add to their portfolio.

Tip: To help plan for your photoshoot, be sure to check out The Definitive Survival Guide for Band and Musician Photo Shoots

Stock Photos

Another option is to use stock images. We recently added close to 200 stock images that you can use for your website, which can be found in the image picker:

stockimagepicker.png

Stock photos can help with design elements like your background image and header image.

Here are some other places to find stock photography:

Flickr Creative Commons
Unsplash
Picography
Subtle Patterns
Creative Market
MorgueFile
Magdeleine
Little Visuals
Super Famous Studios

If you can’t find any free images that work for you, you can try these sites which charge for stock images:

iStockphoto
Shutterstock
Getty Images
 

8 Ways You Should Be Using Photos on Your Band Website

So when you have professional quality photos, where do you use them on your website? Here are some places where you can and should use photos on your site:

1. Header Image

Your header image is arguably the most important image on your website, which is why it’s #1 on the list of 6 Essential Elements for Your Homepage.

It’s what people will see first when landing on your site, so you’ll want to be sure to create a great first impression of your music with the header image.

Some of our newest website themes like Primer and Cavern feature a full width header area for you to show off that great photo. You can even create a header image slideshow.

Check out some of these great header images:

www.kathleenmurray.org
www.jonahvermilya.com
www.amybricemusic.com
www.originalmatik.com

2. Background Image

By using one of our newer themes like Dusted or Cross & Fade, you can feature a full-screen background image. You can use a large photo, incorporate images from your album design, or use a stock image. You can also turn it into a background image slideshow!

Check out some of these great background images:

www.libbykoch.com
www.mahmoudaltaf.com
www.keramsongs.com
www.dellamae.com

3. Photo Galleries

This might seem like a no-brainer, but we still come across artist websites that don’t have a Photos section. A Photos section is an essential menu option to have on your website, as they can be some of the most popular content on your site, as well as help drive fans to your site.  

When you have a Photos section, remember to create separate galleries for different kinds of photos to make it easier for people to find the content they’re looking for.  So you should have separate galleries for official photos, live photos, fan photos, etc.

You can use Bandzoogle’s Photo Gallery feature to easily add photo galleries to your site. You can then edit photos, set thumbnail sizes, add descriptions, as well as delete and reorder photos as you see fit. There is a Grid style, a Modern style, as well as a slideshow gallery option.

If you’re active on Instagram and want to easily keep your website content fresh, use our Instagram Gallery feature which automatically refreshes to display new photos.

Tip: Just remember to not overdo it when it comes to photo galleries. Curate the galleries to display only your best photos from each category, whether it’s for official photos, live photos, or photos from specific concerts.

4. Blog

Whenever you write a new blog post, try to include a feature image with it. It will help bring attention to the post, and make it much more visually interesting for your fans. A blog post could even be just an image with a caption, you don’t always have to write a lengthy post to update your fans.

5. Press Kit

If you have a digital press kit on your website, make sure to offer several image options. Some of these should be hi-resolution images in case the media person or festival programmer needs to use the image for print. Ideally, you should offer a few different photos, including vertical and horizontal options, as well as black & white versions.

For more tips on creating a digital press kit on your website, check out these 6 Essential Elements for your Digital Press Kit

6. Bio section

Another place you can add a photo is in your Bio section. Having a different photo next to your bio is a simple way to make your site more visually appealing. You can even add individual photos of band members underneath the main bio, and include a short bio next to each photo.

7. Calendar/Events

Another nice visual touch for your website would be to add a great live photo in your Events/Calendar section. With the right image, you can convey to fans, media and industry people just how good your live show is.

8. Contact section

Contact sections can be pretty boring/functional, but they are essential to have on your site. You can spice it up visually by adding a photo to this section as well.


Did we miss anything? How are you using photos on your website? Let us know in the comments!

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/03/2014 | 4 comments
Dave Cool

The Evolution of Mastering & The Independent Artist

This article takes a look at the evolution of mastering, and how the playing field has leveled over the years for indie musicians to compete with major label artists.

The post is written by Sage Audio, a Mastering Studio in Nashville, TN. You can find them online at www.sageaudio.com

To say that the music industry has changed would be the understatement of the century.  The fact of the matter is that the music industry has never looked the same from one generation to the next.  It is a rapidly evolving creature that continually reshapes itself to fit the demand of its listeners.  While a minority of independent musicians lament this progression and cling to the old, the majority are grateful that they now have not only the ability to record, but to actually compete with the quality of the major labels.  One of the primary factors contributing to the advancement of the indie artist is the accessibility to affordable mastering studios.  Mastering has evolved over the years which has had a direct positive effect on indie artists today.  To better understand the benefits of mastering, it’s important to take a step back and look not only at the history of mastering, but also the bigger picture of the music industry and the production/distribution process as a whole.  

For example, in 1969, The Grateful Dead’s third album, Aoxomoxoa, took seven months to record and cost $180,000.  With inflation, that would equal $1,162,750 today.  Clearly, there were very few artists in the 1960’s and 70’s that could afford this budget to produce a record.  If you wanted to record an album you had to have the help and backing of a major label.  Now, world famous acts such as Foo Fighters and Bon Iver can serve as inspiration for indie artists creating their own albums from home on a limited budget.   Foo Fighters produced Wasting Light from Dave Grohl’s garage, and Bon Iver won 2 Grammys for an album primarily recorded in a cabin in the woods of Wisconsin.  Today, through advancements in technology and innovation; the landscape of music production has changed, making it possible for independent artists to produce the music they love at a price they can afford.

Major Labels vs. Indie Artists

Before the birth of the Digital Age, major labels were in control of all of the resources.  They not only had built lasting relationships with the best studios but often owned their own.  Sure, there were other smaller studios that could be utilized, but none that could create a sound that would rival that of the superior major label studios.   These labels had all of the cutting edge recoding equipment and resources at their disposal.  The gap in sound quality between an independent album and a major label release was exponential.   

Even if an independent artist was able to create an album that could rival the quality of major labels, they had no way to be heard.  At that time, the major labels also had full reign of promotion and distribution.  Radio airplay was the driving force behind album sales, distribution, and touring.  Without an inside connection, it was next to impossible for unsigned artists to get mainstream attention on the radio while labels controlled the airwaves with their signed acts.  Major labels had a stronghold on the industry in these days, but as we’ve seen throughout history, the music industry will inevitably transform over time.

Indie Musicians & The Digital Age

The Digital Age, with the invention of the internet, was the Che Guevara of independent music (albeit far less demonstrative).  For the first time, artists that had not been signed were introduced to the tools necessary to create a competitive sound.  In 2012, it is estimated that over 81% of Americans had access to and were using the internet, and that percentage only ranked the US at 28th of the 211 countries in the world.  76% of Americans owned a computer at that time which opened up a wide variety of options for online interfaces and professional plugins (some of which are offered free of charge).  

The Internet also opened the door for the Indie Revolution to take some control of the airwaves.  In 2007, independent artists controlled only a quarter of the music business, which ranked them a respectable #2 in profit sharing behind Universal Music Group’s 29%.  However, by June 30th of 2013, Indie music leapfrogged Universal by expanding its market share to 34.5% compared to Universal’s 28%.  

Songs from outside the major labels now make up half of the content streamed on Pandora but only 13% of broadcast radio.  However, independent artists are able to compensate by utilizing online promotion sites such as ReverbNation, Soundcloud, YouTube, and Bandcamp as well as social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace.  More and more artists are also creating well-designed, professional websites to keep their fans up to date on their tours, album releases, as well as featured songs and videos.

Another advancement that helped to level the playing field was the invention of the microchip.  The microchip made it possible to manufacture computers and electronic devices at a fraction of the cost.  In turn, studios were able to reduce their rates for sessions and independent artists were given the opportunity to build their own home studios without taking out a mortgage sized loan. Over the years, manufacturers of audio equipment have worked to reduce their production cost as well to increase the amount of people that can afford their product.  

Where independent artists were once unable to record without buying expensive studio time; they are now able to set up a basic home studio with a computer and an Mbox ($250) which includes ProTools.  With the additions of affordable plugins, microphones, interfaces, and monitors; a home studio is capable of producing clean and professional sounds.  This combined with the access to experienced engineers at affordable rates and the ability to digitally distribute their own music is what has led to the rise of independent music’s share of the market.  However, without a commercial and professional sound, the ability to distribute music throughout the world may not be enough to catch the ears of listeners.  Nowadays, the prevalence of affordable audio mastering studios has helped level the playing field in the quality of music and is an important step in the rise of modern day indie artists.

What Is Audio Mastering?

Mastering is a form of audio production that has greatly evolved over the last few decades to enhance the definition and clarity of a track while creating a competitive overall level.  In the past, mastering used to be a one process conversion, but there are now numerous steps that are involved in transforming a mix into a track that is radio ready in level and quality.  Through equalization, compression, stereo enhancement, de-essing, noise reduction etc., an experienced mastering engineer is able to use professional audio equipment in an acoustically tuned room to create the best possible sound for a song before it’s released.  

Mastering Music in the Past

In the early days of recording, there was no separation between a recording engineer and a mastering engineer.  Audio was cut directly into a wax disc which was then used to stamp 10 inch vinyl records that played at 78 RPM’s.  In 1948, Ampex introduced the Magnetic Tape Recorder which created the role of a Dubbing Engineer.  They basically transferred the audio recorded on the tape to a disc, which involved no artistic input in the process.  Another important innovation in the mastering process came about in 1968, when Sterling Sound became the first studio in the US to cut stereo discs.

Over the years, the technological advancements in equipment and final playback mediums created not only the role, but the necessity of a mastering engineer.  Due to this new crucial step in the production process, hundreds of thousands of dollars went into constructing sonically advanced facilities, monitors, compressors, equalizers and converters.  Since there was limited access to experienced professional mastering engineers, studio time ranged anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 for a full-length album.  

Before the use of the Internet, audio had to be physically transported to the mastering studios.  This limited revisions and direct communication between the engineers and artists.   Due to the significant amount of time and money put into a mastering session, artists weren’t offered free previews for their tracks, and unless a studio was provided by a label, the artist chose which studio to use by word of mouth.  Essentially, only signed artists had access to the best studios.  Most independent artists didn’t stand a chance in regard to sound quality for their project.  

The Rise of Independent Artists

In recent years, indie artists have access to mastering engineers and studios like never before through online mastering.  Since online mastering studios require no transportation for audio or attended sessions, they are able to offer more convenient mastering services at a lower cost.  In addition, many of them offer free samples which allow artists to hear the quality of the master before submitting payment.  Even world-renowned studios such as Abbey Road see the need to offer this online service.  

In the past, demo releases were rough recordings that an artist would use to try and promote their sound. Artists now have the ability to create better recordings from home and have them mastered affordably to create a hi-fi sound which is a necessity in today’s highly competitive music industry.  With internet distribution, indie artists can release demos, EP’s, and full-length albums that compete in the marketplace with albums released by major labels.  This offers up and coming artists the opportunity to showcase their talent worldwide.

Through the invention of the Internet and innovations in technology over the years, independent artists are able to take matters into their own hands when it comes to the quality and distribution of their albums. While major labels still control a significant portion of the market, they are now forced to compete with the product and success of unsigned artists.  There is no longer an exponential gap in the sound quality of the albums recorded at home and in a professional studio.  Through online mastering and distribution, talent naturally rises to the top in today’s music industry.  May the best artists win.

Posted by Dave Cool on 09/02/2014 | 0 comments
Dave Cool

Musician Website Love: Ainsley McNeaney

Every week, we highlight one of our favorite websites on Bandzoogle.  

Who: Ainsley McNeaney
What: Pop Singer-songwriter
Where: Montreal, QC
Why her website rocks: All we can say is: dino-unicorn! Ainsley uses an awesome and unique illustrated background image on our theme Dusted to make a visually striking website that matches her new album branding.

We also love that she’s taking advantage of many of our new features. She uses our new Bandcamp integration on her music page, combines physical with digital music on her Store page, and uses the Sale Pricing feature to put several items on sale as well. Looks great Ainsley!

Check out her site at: www.ainsleymcneaney.com

Posted by Dave Cool on 08/29/2014 | 0 comments