Sometimes, the most difficult part of learning to play a musical instrument is capturing what you are playing and putting it on paper or a recording.
Many people, especially beginners, usually wonder how to record ukulele with the best audio quality. Check out this article if you want to find a quick guide with easy tips to follow!
What Do You Prepare Before Recording Ukulele?
Having your preparation is crucial to having successfully recorded. So practice often. The more you practice, the more likely it will be that you can play your piece perfectly with little effort when recording.
If you could not play it well in practice, odds are you won’t be able to play it right during the recording either.
Make sure your Ukulele is in tune
Please pay attention to your strings and make sure to check whether all of them are out of tune or not. Even a small flat note can cause a big difference in sound quality and make the whole record sound weird.
Another point to note is that other factors can affect the sound quality of your instrument, for instance, type and price.
Most common for an amateur is Concert Ukulele, and definitely, higher concert ukulele price can release better sound quality than the cheaper one.
Wear quiet clothes
Try to find the most comfortable clothes with simple material when recording and avoid wearing too many layers.
The problem is that your clothes can make noise when you move and it can be recorded too. We’re sure you don’t want to ruin your effort just because of the garment you are wearing.
Sit in a quiet chair
Choosing a suitable position is also the right thing to do. It’s challenging to stay still while you’re playing the whole 4 minute – track.
Therefore, no moving and sitting on a wooden chair or padded stools to avoid making disturbing sounds.
Try to find a quiet place to record
Internal or private rooms are a great choice if you have a noiseless space for your best ukulele audio quality. Also, remember to stay away from electronic refrigeration devices or any objects that make noise.
What Are The Tools To Prepare Before Recording With Your Ukulele?
Check out the list of what you should have on hand and make sure that you’ve already prepared them before the recording session because these are quite specialized:
If you’re beginning your journey into recording and don’t know what microphone to buy, any mic will do. But the wise choice right now is a small-diaphragm condenser microphone.
Moreover, a mic stand is also a must-have item. Your mic will need its stand and positioned near the Ukulele where the sound is best picked up. In case your uke has a pickup, then you can plugin with a 1/4″ cable instead.
You might need an interface – a box that helps get the signal from your mic into your computer. Some interfaces are input jacks, and some are complex units that can do everything the computer isn’t handling well.
It doesn’t usually take a lot of computer power for amateurs to record unless you want to render tracks or add more sound effects. Just the basic requirements on the DAW’s box are enough.
Digital audio workstation
There are various choices of DAWs. Choosing the best DAW for you depends on your needs. If you’re just starting and prefer free-trial software, Audacity is a good option.
You’ll need to take care of some basic tools and procedures before you start recording:
Do all the setup and settings (Gear, System, DAW)
Creating A Track
Arming The Track
How To Record Ukulele?
Now is the time to finally sit down and record your track once all the setup is completed and the equipment is positioned. Don’t forget to take a deep breath, then turn and click, and your first try at your first song will be about to begin!
It’s difficult to record when under pressure, but it’s best to act normally and not overthink what to do while recording. Doing exactly like what you do in practice and don’t expect it to turn out to be a perfect performance on your first try – you’re just on the way to capturing it.
When it comes to the end of your performance, remember to stay silent if you don’t want your whole effort to be in vain just because of a noise in the outro part.
You can do one take, and feel free to call it quits whenever you feel your playing is on point. If not, then keep going for more until you find your best performance.
And you know what? You’ve just finished your first track – congrats!
With this helpful advice and information, you will no longer be an amateur trying to work out how to record Ukulele to release your recording. So let’s give it a try and see your result!
Thank you for reading our article and we will see you soon!
If you experience skipping, it may lead to a few key factors during record replay. By taking steps to counter common causes that contribute to skipping, you avoid record loss and improve the sound quality.
One common cause your records will miss is the dirt and dust in the grooves. Although old documents may be recorded in the atmosphere because of packaging, paper sleeves, or dust, new records may still contain dust and debris. Other cleanliness factors also influence the quality of tones, such as hand oil or other factors.
Until listening, you want to delete some dirt from the record to avoid skipping. In certain cases, more advanced cleaning techniques may be required to remove soil.
If your record isn’t rusty or dusty, your real record player may be the problem – the tonearm may be out of control. How you balance this depends on the record player, and we suggest that you check the instructions with your producer, but the article will contain measures later to help you rebalance it irrespective of how you balance it.
If your arm is off balance, two complications may emerge. If the weight is set too low, then your music hops over the grooves of your album.
Yet music jumping is the least concern if it happens over time. This skipper will harm your record.
In certain cases, the cause is record damage. If your record is scratched or broken, the root issue will not be solved. A scratch allows the vinyl to be scratched and as a result it will skip.
Issue resolution Problem
Since dirt and cleanliness are the most common causes of skipping, troubleshooting by cleaning the record. Using a lint-free soft tissue to clean the record carefully in a circular step. Try to play the album after you dust. In certain situations, the dirt is on the back of the record and the skip ends with easy dusting.
When the skipping continues, use a record cleaning machine and a soft cloth or record brush for deeper cleaning. The cleaning products have a range of guidelines such that any instructions set by the product are followed.
Usually, you add the liquid and allow it to settle down with purified water before rinsing it. The brush may also be used to clear soil and dust from the record. Be vigilant when using some liquid to protect the sticker from wetting. Enable your record to dry completely until it is played again.
In most cases, the skipping ceases until the record is wiped. If it continues, use a lens to look at the record closely.
If you see some dirt in the groove, use a record brush or a similar method to clean it. If the brush doesn’t clear the object or debris, you can need to use a toothpick or a similar tool for any issues.
The last complication is your record player setting. Check the balance of your cartridge when cleaning is not workable and you cannot see any dirt put on the ledger. Balance the cartridge in compliance with the vendor guidance if the setting for your player is not suitable.
Skipping indicates that your vinyl records are a concern, but not always a signal of record damage. You can fix this issue by changing the balance on your record player or removing dust and dirt by cleaning the record.
Any record play skipping situations are quickly remedied. Hopefully it was your situation.
But if your experience with skipping was triggered by a record broken, I’m sorry. I was there too. It hurts. It hurts.
That’s why I urge you to do whatever you can to keep your record collection from being destroyed. Treat your albums like they are irreplaceable because they are in certain respects. If the album is broken, even the finest record player turntables can sound poor.
Manage and archive your records correctly and hopefully, you can never ever want to remind us that your record is skipping.
When happen, It’ll happens. You wanted to practically give vinyl a whirl. Well done! But now you have hollow bottles, plastic corners, wrapping bubbles, random cords, and costly devices around you. And what you want to do is listen to your house to the sweet sounds of the vinyl.
How would you do as an audiophile?
Next, take a deep breath and don’t dream about opening your playlist for your iPhone. We will lead you through the step by step method of connecting record player speakers so that you can be linked to your music in no time!
The four components required in a vinyl stereo
I am sorry, but as I have already described, there are four components which must be in a stereo to play vinyl records.
Let us look at them in more depth before we get to the five potential vinyl player stereo system setups.
We all know this one, I suppose. There’s one thing worth remembering. When it comes to what kind of signal, there are two versions.
Some swivel outputs a PHONO signal. And a few switchboards exit a LINE signal.
A toggle that provides a PHONO signal must be attached to a preamp. And a turntable with a LINE signal would have an integrated preamp.
So turntables come with preamps and without preamps.
If you have a preamp in your turntable, you’re ready to go. It can be wired to an amplifier or powerful speakers.
But if your turntable does not have a preamp, you require a standalone preamp or a built-in amplifier.
Make sure your turntable has an incorporated preamp and a line signal is provided if you wish to connect it directly to the speakers.
The Phono or Preamp Level
The preamp is a part that cannot be omitted in a stereo system for vinyl play.
It has two main roles.
The first is to correct the sound of the signal collected by the platform. The bass (lower tones) of the music is considerably reduced and the treble (higher notes) is considerably reduced when a song is sculpted.
This is because fewer tonalities take up more spatial space than higher tones in recordings (wider grooves). This RIAA equalization strategy is used in order to space more than one song on either side of an album.
The first and most important duty of the preamp is to adjust the signal tone so that the music sounds correct.
The other job is to raise the small PHONO signal which the turntable receives to the level signal known as a LINE signal. LINE level is a normal signal level, which is created by all consumer music devices such as CD and DVD players. And an amplifier may be input. Or to speakers involved.
The amp clearly (or not simply takes the signal from the preamp as the intermediary between the preamp and speakers, which raises the signal to one that your speakers can hear. So its name.
The speakers translate the power-enhanced music to sound in the air.
If the speakers are passive, a standalone amplifier is required for driving them.
But they have a built-in amplifier whether they are active or powered. This implies that every source that sends a LINE signal may be related to it. Requires a tourniquet and an incorporated preamp.
In order to directly attach your turntable to speakers, make sure you operate active/powered speakers.
There are a total of five different ways to install a stereo that plays vinyl albums. As we saw, only one of them helps us to connect to speakers directly.
Turntable with integrated preamp
Turntable with integrated preamp
Turntable with output PHONO
Turntable with integrated preamp
Turntable with output PHONO
Amplifier/Receiver with integrated preamp.
Turntable with output PHONO
Up set, Spin! Ready, set, turn!
Congratulations on going back to the past to hear the warm, rich sounds of vinyl by using digital technology! Who says you can’t get everything?
In reality, digital music is a gift in your car, in the gym and on the go. But we think that there is no pure style of music except vinyl on a turntable for full music immersion into your home — no matter how you plan to set up it.
Now we will help if you know what you want and wonder what the speakers cost.
The appeal of vinyl records has recently resurged, as younger audiences have begun to enjoy the broad range of sounds that analog can produce.
Many recent vinyl releases come with a digital album code, enabling the iPod crowd to experience the album online in their headphones.
Album player needles wear out with time, though, and ultimately require replacement. Changing a record player needle mechanism is reasonably easy.
The role of the needles
Until we discuss how to substitute turntable needles, let’s take a minute to talk about the needle and why a record player is relevant. The needle is a vital component of a record player’s cartridge which defines the sound output of your speakers.
The needle is at the metal arm end, named the tonearm. It’s the only component that allows direct communication with the vinyl album. The needle passes through the grooves on the vinyl surface and reads the music initially graved there.
The needle is basically the part that interprets and transfers the music imprinted on the album to the magnetic cartridge, where it becomes electrical signals. The amplifiers and speakers then make certain electrical signals and give them the vibration we experience in our ears.
If the needle does not accurately read music on your albums, the electrical signals pumped into the amplifier or speakers are extremely unreliable. This results in a warped song rendition.
Now that you know a needle’s essential function in reading music on records, you can recognize the value of handling it properly and taking more caution while removing it.
Replacing the needle is a job that needs utmost caution and attention to detail to minimize the possibility of on-road problems.
Why replace a turntable needle?
What sort of record player you have: if it’s called a turntable a photographer or something in between, you ought to take care of them and they’re known to wear. On every record player, there are generally just a few pieces to take control of:
You ought to look after the stylus (which is the component on the needle), typically constructed of diamond, steel, or bamboo, and known to travel on the record grooves.
You must look after the cartridge, which will adapt and affect the mechanical vibrations on the record player
You can search the drive belt that transforms the record itself
Of these three, the most commonly modified component is the stylus, which is often referred to as the needle of the record player. It has to put up with a lot of pressure as it’s the one worn on record by the grooves.
Whether it chips or is scratched off it can make the album sound bad. It won’t fit properly into the album grooves and may also ruin your vinyl.
Now that you’ve learned how to fix the needle, you can wonder how much you can do this. A needle replacement isn’t anything you can perform daily or some routine care activities like washing. You can just do it when appropriate.
Ensure you have a decent turntable because you know how to replace a needle record player, we decided to finish with some of our recommendations on choosing a better record player.
It’s understood that the better the player’s output, the less you’ll have to think about removing a record player needle.
The first thing we often suggest to first-time buyers is to choose one that’s affordably priced but also constructed of high-quality materials. Typically you can see these among brand names known in the industry as the best of the best.
It is important if you take the time to research the right suppliers and the goods they sell.
Anything you should do to guarantee that the needle of the record player is still in tip-top condition is to ensure that the record is set properly.
Many of the new players do it immediately so you don’t have to think about it but we suggest watching YouTube videos so you can know how to do it properly to prevent more unnecessary harm.
Looking for vinyl records and need to know the cost of a record player? Prepare for a fair starting outfit between $80 and $300. Furthermore, there are other factors.
What’s a positive thing about a turntable?
Many variables make a turntable successful or not. But I assume there are three simple ones that must be ticked to make a turntable a decent one. There are three non-negotiable ones.
The record player does not break the records
Record player is made to last a long time (decades)
Other considerations include architecture, upgradability and ease of setup and use. Still let us concentrate on the three primary ones.
Why do you buy recordings of vinyl?
Audiophiles can be difficult to satisfy, which is one of the reasons for the revival of vinyl. The variation in recording means that vinyl sounds much smoother than your regular CD.
CDs are digital recordings, but not all sound input is captured as playing. If there are sounds holes, it doesn’t matter because the machine will fill in them.
On the other side, vinyl documents any nuance. How Stuff Works describes the process really well so check it out if you want to hear more about it. However, for most of us it is important to actually realize that a vinyl album has more scope.
You should consider purchasing a record player for this purpose. The next question will inevitably be how worthy a record player.” The answer, maddeningly enough, is It varies.” You can get tables at a variety of different rates as anything in existence.
Why is the $400 to $700 the location for a decent turntable?
Since this is the price point where all three basic boxes are ticked up by the lowest price plates. And that really gives a fantastic return for money.
It is tough to locate a turntable under $400 to tick both boxes. We can find vintage record players of decent quality that do not break your wallet. But it is difficult to locate a turntable of less than $400, which sounds fine enough not to show shortcomings in an impressive Hi-Fi stereo.
Of necessity, this is a debatable and to some extent personal choice. But in my own experience, I find this to be real. And several other lovers of vinyl appear to share this vision with me.
When we cross the $700 mark, turntables deliver greater and better sound, but the value for money is drastically diminished, as we continue to spend a great deal for smaller and smaller sound quality upgrades.
The $400 to 700 price range is the best place to buy a nice turntable that looks amazing and can be appreciated for a long time.
What is the right record player to purchase?
This is a busy issue that will focus on the budget you should set aside. What choice you get depends on the output you seek. It is advisable to receive the highest standard, ideally in a model that you can update later.
If you don’t know if this is the path ahead, keep within a minimum $80 – 100 price range. Make sure it has an incorporated preamp so you can conveniently pip the signal to your speakers.
See our full purchasing guide for more detail on selecting the right record player.
How much is the expense of a record player? A decent preamp with good mid-range turntable output costs between $50 and $200. The Pro-Ject Phono box MM which usually sells for just under $100 and the Rega Fono Mini A2D that usually sells for just under $200 are two perfect options.
If you need help with your needle, check these following instructions:
With time, the needle wears off on your record player and will distort the sound fidelity. You will also note that the records skip more than they usually do when the stylus, the bracket to which the needle is fixed, has to be removed.
There are 2 ways to change the record player’s needle. The best approach is to replace the stylus. The other way to substitute a needle is to adjust the cartridge, which is the attachment that holds the stylus in place. You can not do this, however, unless the cartridge is destroyed.
Although your cartridge does not have to be changed for decades, your stylus should be regularly replaced to make sure it sounds crisp and beautiful. These techniques are used by the vast majority of record players since 1980.
Fire Trial: Maintenance Record Player 101
In reality, more care is required for a record player than any modern audio player. This is part of it and the way you cope with it impacts the results. The Department raises responsibilities that in turn encourage engagement — in other words, you get what you put into it.
You must know the unit. Record players seem like pets than a filtering system for water. Historically, a record player has no red blinking button when a part is needed to be removed. You need to be mindful of the needs of your record player and plan for the replacement needed.
Thorough Washing Progress
Usually a dirty record player doesn’t work the way it should. While most turntable players are fitted with dust covers and seals that avoid the intrusion of extraneous particles into the instruments, over time they can accumulate dust and grime.
You don’t want this to happen, since it will impact the efficiency of the machine. It can even destroy or at least, dirt your vinyl so that you have to waste time cleaning them up.
Daily thorough cleaning of your system is recommended. Remove some caked dirt and dust you can get at without the player being disassembled.
The player’s surfaces can only be cleaned with a towel, but the best thing is an anti-static cloth. Using a rubbing alcohol to wipe the machine with softer dirt, much like fingerprints.
Of course, with your player, you want to be delicate, particularly around sensitive components like the stylus. Special attention is required.
Clean the Stylus
After every use, clean the stylus. Special stylus brushes are available, but you can also only use a soft paintbrush. The trick is to clean the needle from back to front, never side by side so that the needle is not bent.
A little rubbing alcohol may be placed on the brush for more extensive washing, but only rarely, not after every application.
This space-age silicone bubble cleaner is much safer than using a brush with or without a cleaner. That is the best way to clean it with much more than just a brush.
This post explains the whole process of washing.
When a needle is replaced
Prevention is the safest drug, but look at what you need to look for to prevent wear and tear.
When you buy a used device
Just a word to the wise: replace the needle if you have acquired your record player second hand. The total lifetime of a new needle is 500 hours, but if they didn’t mention it in the record player, you can’t really tell how old the needle is.
And you cannot risk risking the value of your record. Yes, a needle may be pricey. But at some point, you will have to replace it. Can you do it until it damages your favorite record, no?
Sounds weird when play the song
We used to say ears when we said we keep an eye on early symptoms of needle wear. It points out that the ears are more useful for a needle substitution.
Audio Warps Sound
You could be liable for a fresh needle if you hear any of the following symptoms:
Cracks and pops
Strong notes muffled
The good thing is that these sounds are so unpleasant that they are much safer than silence. If a needle is too worn to play, you are in danger of wrecking your albums.
Other abnormal audio playback possibilities
Substitution with a needle is not necessarily the solution. Remember that odd noises can be triggered by foreign influences such as:
Easily accumulate ashes, dirt, and grime on vinyl. Fingerprints too would decrease record production quality. It is not unprecedented for the dust to be put on the needle itself. Make sure to search this time with your eyes if the needle is blocked by accumulated dust.
You’re still going to make sure the computer rests on a smooth floor. A record player would be influenced by angle replay. The turntable has to function flatly after Emile Berliner invented the gramophone in 1877.
A revolutionizing innovation to the cylindrical phonograph by Thomas Edison was the flat revolving table on which the disk is mounted, an invention so successful that it remained unchanged until today.
Replacement of the belt
Belt-powered players won’t function on a broken belt properly. You have to buy a new one to repair it if it fails. Again the guidance manual should be the first stop since it generally offers step-by-step instructions on how to replace the belt.
Check online if you do not have the manual. I have also published a comprehensive essay about how a broken belt should be replaced. The method will get you through.
The fundamental fixes mentioned here are all pretty basic (except maybe the repair of the power source) and something that you can perform on your own. I would make a professional look at something more involved to take care of you, especially if you had a high-end model.
It’s not that huge if you smash one of these regular turntables when attempting to fix it. However, if you split a device costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s just not worth the risk.
Furthermore, most high-end units should still have long warranties, so let the pros deal with it.
Bad Religion was one of the first punk bands I ever listened to when I started getting into punk rock. Their intelligence and true life lyrics really made me think and I valued that about them. They made some truly amazing records in the 1980’ and ‘90s. They were records that stood for something, records that had a sarcastic wit to go with potent three chord structures that struck a nerve (pun intended) at society’s complacency in wars, lies and death.
Lately, though, Bad Religion has been all over the place. Ever since New Maps of Hell, they seem to be going through the motions. Their lyrics being overly hyperbolic, the rhythms nearly identical (really how many combinations of three chords can there be before you start repeating?) and the voice of Greg Graffin, after a foray into country music, seems to be worse than ever. Bad Religion has had many albums that aren’t great, but had some likable songs on them. True North, their 16th studio album is abysmal and is borderline unlistenable.
I have loved this band for as long as I can remember and that love will never wane. However, it is time for Bad Religion to reassess their relevancy. If they don’t want to fade into more obscurity than they already have faded into with age and time and an ineffectual public that cares little about intelligence, then they must go back to the style and essence of what they once were. This latest incarnation is disappointing and sad. I’m not saying that they have to go back to Suffer, but maybe The Gray Race or even The Empire Strikes First. This is just not where Bad Religion should be, the anger of youth having dissipated, perhaps these punk veterans don’t have anything left to say.
One of the writers I have admired my entire life is John Steinbeck. More than any other writer he explained the dust bowl migration to California, the immigrant experience, and the affectation of the abundance of people settling into homesteads after the Depression. You could say he was at the forefront of roots writing. It’s not an actual literary designation, but really it should be. Steinbeck really courted that blue collar, hard-working settler than with nothing but the clothes on his back sought a better life.
Much like Steinbeck roots rockers speak of those Salt-of-the-Earth times. They speak of struggles and converge in the center of blues, country and folk, borrowing bits from every piece. Creedence Clearwater Revival did this and took roots to an astronomical level, but then The Band came along and redefined roots. They collected this immense group of phenomenal musicians would lead to a generation’s worth of copy cats and admirers. One of the latter is Sassparilla, a name that evokes cowboys not being able to handle their liquor. Despite that connotation what we have is a group combining aspects of that sound that made the Band so well loved.
We’ve seen this working lately though, haven’t we? I mean look at Old Crow Medicine Show and see their success with a model that wouldn’t have worked even five years ago. The album is called Magpie, and evokes such emotion that it does something that not a lot of music does these days. It reminds us about humanity. It’s utterly brilliant simplicity, its complex harmonies, the echoes in the vocals and the way it simply flows through vocals that make you want to drink shots of whiskey while crying of a forlornness that only comes from lost love and past mistakes.
It howls like a wind through a valley and like a Steinbeck novel makes you feel the pain of a man that is at his wits end. This is an album that is part of a group that is bringing roots back to the forefront, a revolutionary sign of wonderful things to come. There is a distinct Irish immigrant flare about it as well, especially in “All the Way In” which has a sound reminiscent of the Pogues and Charlie Daniels. Perhaps, Old Crow Medicine Show was the spark that was needed to bring roots back to the mainstream, but when all is said and done it may be Sassparilla that creates the explosion to make the fire burn out of control.
Download “Threadbare” the new single from Magpie here:
Record labels have been a necessary evil in the world of music for nearly 100 years. Artists feel like they put their hearts and soul into a project and the label rips them off for their art. They aren’t wrong in that, the labels do keep a lot of the money from albums and from touring, especially in the early stages of a musician’s career. That really isn’t disputable, it’s factual. Labels aren’t all evil, they’re trying to build a musician up so that they can go out and make millions for themselves and the label. However, in the internet age it has become possible for record labels, the middle man if you will, to be cut out of the equation.
Bands can now record an album in the comfort of their own homes or even rent studio time themselves, master and mix the album and throw it up digitally. All of this can be done for under $10,000. If you want to put it out on CD that gets to be a little more pricey. Radiohead famously did this when they paid to make their own record, In Rainbows and then offered it up at a pay-what-you-want rate. Now, the Limousines are trying something different and controversial. They’re using funding website Kickstarter to raise money from fans to make their album. It’s controversial, because instead of earning the money themselves, while subverting the label system, they’re asking fans to donate to their cause.
I found this to be a shameful way to go about making a record and registered my complaint on Twitter. When lead singer Eric Victorino took issue with my statements he agreed to an impromptu interview. Here is that interview in its entirety:
Matt: So I guess my issue is as an investor I would expect to get a return back on my investment. I wonder about the ethical implications that go along with asking for money from fans while they recoup no return for their investment. I strain to find an analogy to this circumstance of giving money while a band profits. Now I understand the dynamics of a label profiting, but again the consumer knows what it is they’re getting.
Eric: Ok so that’s the beginning of an interview? What we’re doing on Kickstarter has nothing to do with investments. These are donations. While that may seem an issue of semantics to you, I’m happy to clarify what’s going on so that you can understand why. Today you might look at a band reaching out to their fans for funding as “begging” and “disgraceful”, a year or two from now you’ll be wondering why it took so long to catch on.
Here’s what a fan gets when they get involved in our campaign. It’s not a return on their investment, it’s a thank you gift, and at the very lowest levels, it’s a chance to pre-order an album from a band they already know they like. If I were on the other side of this, a fan of The Limousines, I would love to be a part of helping them find another way to release their music if I knew they’d been burned by record labels in the past. I would love to get my name in the credits of the album package, proof that I was in on the ground floor. If I had the money I would love to have my favorite band play at my house or write me a letter. I’d love to have the chance to own clothes and props used in their music videos.
You said something to me on twitter like, “At least with a record label the fans know what they’re paying for.”
You think so? You think fans know how their 10 bucks breaks down when they go and buy their favorite band’s CD at a store? Maybe you don’t know either, so let me break it down for you.
Retail Price of a CD: $10
Retailer bought CD from Distribution Company: $6
Retailer keeps: $4
Distribution Company Bought CD from Label: $4
Distribution Company keeps: $2
Label has $4 from sale of CD.
Apply that against what is owed by the band. Much of which could be travel, food, telecom, hotels and rental costs of label employees traveling, sometimes traveling to meet new bands they might want to sign. Maybe the band has a bunch of debt from borrowing gas money from the label. Either way, if all that debt is paid off, which it rarely is but let’s say for argument’s sake the band has broken even.
The label gives $0.80 of the money it made from that one CD being sold at retail to the band. The band takes that 80 cents and gives managers and lawyers 20 cents. The band now has 60 cents (from an album sold, not a single song). The band has, let’s just say two members instead of 4 or 6…Payday! Thirty cents each! No, wait now, let’s not forget about taxes. So I, a band member, have now made 17 cents from the sale of my album at a store.
“At least with a record label the fans know what they’re paying for.”
I think if they knew that they might be open to ways they could actually help their favorite bands, don’t you? With our Kickstarter campaign you can pay 10 dollars to reserve yourself a copy of our next album. Out of that 10 dollars, do you know how much money each band member will make, even after the costs of mass producing the CDs? It’s more than 17 cents.
You’re hung up on the idea of a stuffy business person who wants to know what his yield is gonna be with a nice diverse portfolio. That’s not what this is about. If we raise enough money to do this without a record label getting involved, we won’t have anyone telling us our dreams aren’t possible. We won’t have anyone but ourselves to blame for our failures. We’ll have our friends and fans to thank for every inch of ground we gain. We will own the rights to our music.
I don’t know how your music career has gone, must have been pretty fantastic so far for you to be supportive of record labels, but ours hasn’t gone so smoothly. We don’t like the fact that people we hardly know, people who barely tried when our lives were in their hands, still own the controlling rights to our album for another 13.5 years. That hurts. I’m sure when you signed your really great contract and went on to sell 10 million records and recouped all your expenses, it left you feeling like labels are the only legitimate route. More poser to you, superstar, you got lucky.
I’m in a little independent band. I have $14 in my bank account. I love to make music and I’m fortunate enough to have people all over the world who’d like me to continue making music. I think selling out is quitting music for a cushy desk job. I think rock n’ roll is about doing what you want to do the way you want to do it, not selling ownership of your art to a company who’ll try their best to package and market you to the largest audience possible.
To say I’m begging anyone is an insult. To say what we’ve done here is a disgrace? We’ve made a direct bond and partnership with our fans, we’re all in it together and we’re all going to get exactly what we expect and want. Nobody is being lied to, nobody is being taken advantage of, and no one is doing anything that goes against their principles. You want to talk about what’s “not very rock ‘n roll”? I think someone calling me out in public for what we’re doing, meanwhile defending the traditional music business practice of exploiting and abusing artists – man… rock n’ roll is fuckin’ dead.
Matt: I’m all for breaking away from the traditional model, it is inherently broken and if you were paying for this album yourself, like you said you did the first time, “We released our first full length album, Get Sharp on our own label back in 2010.”, then it wouldn’t be an ethical issue. However, what you’re doing is going to your fans and saying, “Give us your money, we’ll give you a CD and we will profit from it.” Why not use your own money? Why not take out a loan yourself and put faith in your own talents recouping your own money? Why go to the fans and say, “give us your money so we don’t have to give that money to the labels.” What you fail to mention in your breakdown is money received from touring, merchandise and signing bonuses. I’m well aware that artists make about 10% off an album, which I don’t agree with, but that’s something that can be negotiated in a contract. That’s where that 20% for a lawyer/manager comes into play. The fans will give their money, because they want to be a part of something and you, as a band, will gladly take that money, put out an album and say thank you in the liner notes. Again I’m not against you, if you were doing this on your own instead of shilling from the fans then I’d have no problem with it. In fact, when Radiohead did the same thing and released their album at a pay-what-you-want rate it was applauded industry wise and yet it hasn’t become a thing.
You say it has nothing to do with investments, but it really does. These fans are investing in you; they are giving their money so that you can subvert the record companies and make more money yourself. This isn’t, as the Owl put it, “Your story of leaving your record label strikes a similar note to stories of soldiers refusing to return to duty. Do you consider yourself to be a music industry conscientious objector and refusenik?” You guys are making music not avoiding death and your intent is to profit from it without putting out your own money. I find your cause of breaking away from the labels and doing it on your own to be admirable, but the way you’re going about it to be disingenuous.
Eric: Singing bonuses! Haha what fucking decade are you living in, man? How many record deals have you had? How many have been what you wanted them to be? I’ve had three in my lifetime and I think I deserve to try a different route. Do you know how much money a band that isn’t huge makes on tour? Sometimes nothing…the nightly guarantee usually isn’t even enough to buy gas, feed and pay your crew, pay your insurance, pay your taxes, pay for hotels, pay for equipment and hopefully have enough to be able to afford a phone or computer to keep in touch with people back home. What other job do you know of, that isn’t the fucking Peace Corp, where you leave home for months on end, essentially working 24 hours a day and come home with nothing? That’s what touring in a band that isn’t famous is like. Would you do that? I would. I have. And I will continue to do so, because I love making and performing music and I love meeting the people who enjoy the music. The fact that you keep using words like “Gaming our fans for money” like you’re accusing us of scamming people makes me fucking sick. Nobody who’s participated in our Kickstarter project feels ripped off. Everyone knows they’re not buying something or making an investment. You have the most bizarre view of the relationship between bands and record labels if you think that coming out of this thing with a finished album and the money we need to promote it ourselves, the way we want to, with no interference, and hopefully even have enough to go on tour without having to borrow money from a label who owns our music. It’s just mind boggling to me. I can’t believe I’ve let you piss me off. It’s like if a dumb old dog barked at me and I took it personally enough to go on an email rant against him…
Matt: Yes, people know what they’re paying for, no one is being lied to, but you stand to make quite a bit of money just as Amanda Palmer did. I’m not saying that doing it yourself is wrong, but why go to the fans? Why not do it yourself and stand on your own feet and accomplish it yourself? Do you not feel the slightest bit of embarrassment going to fans and saying give us money so we can make our art and sell it to Toyota or Honda or Tide or Kraft and make money? We can get airplay because we have powerful friends that out of the goodness of their hearts want us to succeed like Aaron Axelson at Live 105? So we can say your name in our liner notes as we line our pockets with your donations? As such do people get a tax deduction from this “donation” as you call it? That’s slightly rhetorical, because you’re not a non/not for profit agency, you’re a band that is trying to subvert the labels (good) while taking money from people and keeping the profits for yourself (bad). How is that art? You can say I’m ignorant until you’re blue in the face, but am I ignorant for putting my faith in someone who is going to make money while all I get out of it is a cd? OK maybe a cd with my name in it. So there’s my name along with 1000 other people who donated their wages that they earned from working so you don’t have to? How am I ignorant because I think you should make your own money to create your own art?
Eric: OK. I should make my own money to make my art. So every band should just be a hobby until they make enough money to make more money? Bands don’t get good unless they have time to, they don’t write good songs when they have to work 40 hours a week to make their rent. That’s when a label comes in, hopefully gives them the money they need to focus on making music, but more often than not they give a band just enough to pay for a producer and an overpriced studio. The band no longer owns their music. Most bands trade lifetime ownership of their art to a record company for less than we’re going to raise in this campaign.
We want to make this thing and own it ourselves and our fans want to help us make that happen. You seem to have a problem with that and I can’t change your mind. If you want to run around telling everyone who has donated to us that we’re scamming them somehow, go for it. See how well that goes for you. We’ve been honest with everyone about what we are raising money to do. If you have a problem with the whole concept of Kickstarter, then I’m afraid you’re going to be pretty uncomfortable in the future when things like this become the new normal. I have been ripped off all my life by this business and if I can find a way to make the music I want to make without a company standing in my way, I’m going to do it, regardless of what some bitter stranger on the internet has to say.
You seem content in your belief that bands are better off with record labels than doing it the way we are. My advice to you is simple. Start a band; put half your life into honing your craft. Hope you’ll get lucky with longshot after longshot. Invest every penny of your own into your future, forgo college and job security to sleep in a van through a few Texas summers. Play shows to empty rooms. Play shows to full rooms, then empty again, and wonder if you’re wasting your time. Jeopardize and complicate every loving relationship you’ve had for decades, all in a feeble but noble attempt to live the life of your dreams. Eventually, you could find out it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, it’s lonely, it’s emotionally draining, there’s always some asshole waiting for the right time to say the wrong thing that just crushes your spirit. You’ll watch everyone you grew up with buying houses and driving fancy cars. You’ll hope someone buys a T-Shirt so you might have enough cash to buy a gas station burrito. But at least you’re proud of yourself for trying so hard. It feels good when someone tells you a song you wrote saved their life or just makes them smile. They might ask for an autograph. Who knows? Maybe eventually you’ll meet the right people, maybe you shake the right hand, and maybe you’ll sign a record deal. Call me one year after all that happens, when you know what the fuck you’re talking about. Then maybe our conversation will be a little more light-hearted.