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Recording a track with a producer

#1 User is offline   lyricgalatl Icon

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:27 AM

I've been working with a music composer overseas and now we have a song ready to be recorded. The composer I'm working with has a producer in Dallas, TX that can record the song with a female vocalist for $750 and says he knows an artist that may have interest......sounds exciting, but I probably shouldn't get my hopes up, right?
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#2 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 10:11 AM

View Postlyricgalatl, on 05 October 2010 - 07:27 AM, said:

sounds exciting, but I probably shouldn't get my hopes up, right?


Hopes about what? Let's see what you have accomplished so far:

1) You wrote lyrics that were good enough to get a composer's interest
2) That composer has now set those lyrics to music
3) There is a producer who will record a demo for $750 (that price is a little high for a demo, but it really depends on who the producer is and who he has worked with).
4) An artist might be interested in it.

I don't know what your 'hopes' are, but why not be pleased with what you've already done?

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#3 User is offline   FunkDaddy Icon

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 03:22 PM

View Postlyricgalatl, on 05 October 2010 - 10:27 AM, said:

I've been working with a music composer overseas and now we have a song ready to be recorded. The composer I'm working with has a producer in Dallas, TX that can record the song with a female vocalist for $750 and says he knows an artist that may have interest......sounds exciting, but I probably shouldn't get my hopes up, right?


Like Neal said, it's hard to say if you should get your hopes up without knowing what those hopes are.

Since they're charging you for the demo, I'd take the "artist interest" with a large grain of salt. Have you heard this producer's music? Is it worth the $750 dollars? What are the terms of his involvement? If he truly has an artist interested in the song, he'll more than likely want to take a cut of the writing share, which I think is BS for a work-for-hire, personally.

I've heard paid-for demos posted here that I honestly felt bad for the person that had paid money for them as they could have found a collaborator to record a better version for free.

I assume you'd split the cost of the demo with the composer 50/50. If they expect you to pay for the full demo, I'd be very, very wary.
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#4 User is offline   Lzi Icon

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 11:18 AM

View Postlyricgalatl, on 05 October 2010 - 10:27 AM, said:

I've been working with a music composer overseas and now we have a song ready to be recorded. The composer I'm working with has a producer in Dallas, TX that can record the song with a female vocalist for $750 and says he knows an artist that may have interest......sounds exciting, but I probably shouldn't get my hopes up, right?


RED ALERT...

1) This business of music is absolutely brimming with thieves, and scam artists.
2) I'd be willing to bet that this "producer" is either the same person who you've collaborated with or, his best friend. lol
3)Have this person put everything on paper, in other words, ask to see a legal agreement. Sign NOTHING on buddy buddy stuff! Legalese is for lawyers to read and comprehend. No contract? RUN. Contract! Seek an attorney-PERIOD.
Most iportant: Do not get excited because someone offers a contract. No, you do not have the skills to read the contract, this is what attorney's are for. You can take your chance if you'd like, you can sign sight unseen if you'd like to but don't cry later. Do it right the first time.
4) Is said Female Vocalist the producer's girlfriend? lol...watch out, this sounds awfully fishy to me. (I have a few female vocalists I work with to but, that doesn't mean each of them can do any song they want to do because, they cannot).
5) Ask for copies of this producer's work.
6) Ask for the producer's references... And check them!
7) Artist interest? Who?
8) If a real producer has an artist who needs material, and they really dig one of your songs, they will not be charging you $750 to make a song demo, believe me, they won't.
9) By all means keep your hopes up, just don't allow people to get your hopes up falsely so, they can take your money.
10) Dreams really do come true-Somewhere over the rainbow that is! Here, on Earth, you have to work for what you achieve. When work is missing from an equation, it means one of two things, it's an outright scam or, it's a dreamer without a clue, dreaming anyway.

Hey, do you know why you write lyrics? For money? Nope. You write lyrics because, you are a lyricist. Write for money, and it runs from you. Do what you do with love, and sooner or lqater, you'll have to run to keep the money from covering you up! Believe it, just write great songs, and love what you do. It may take awhile but, work done with love always pays dividends. The important thing is to never give up.
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#5 User is offline   FunkDaddy Icon

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 03:15 PM

View PostLzi, on 07 October 2010 - 12:18 PM, said:

8) If a real producer has an artist who needs material, and they really dig one of your songs, they will not be charging you $750 to make a song demo, believe me, they won't.


That part sounded a little strange to me too.
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#6 User is offline   zmulls Icon

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 09:02 AM

The $750 raised a red flag for me as well, as did the "I have this producer friend." Might be totally innocent but here are my thoughts. There's a great difference between a "demo" and a "mastered recording."

A "demo" is what you use to get someone interested in the song. It should be of high quality, and you *should* expect to spend some money. But the point of the demo is that someone else will take the song and *RECORD* it. With a producer, with mastering, to create a track, using your song, that they can sell.

A *recording* -- a mastered recording -- is a track that you can sell. It is radio-ready, broadcast quality. And you're supposedly paying the arists more. For this you need a producer, who will hire a studio (or use his/her own) and get the musicians. With that track, you can certainly shop the song around, but you *also* can submit that track to music libraries, film & TV, TAXI, etc. It's a fully realized song recording.

In Nashville, there are different rates for musicians if it's a demo or it's a master recording. If it's just a demo, they charge you less, because they understand you're just shopping the song around, you're not going to make money selling your demo.

So here's where I come down. If there's "artist interest" you aren't looking to do a fully-produced recording. You want a good solid demo to interest that artist. There are many places in Nashville where you can get a solid demo done for $300-400 (unless you want some bells and whistles, in which case it will cost more). You can get a guitar/vocal or piano/vocal -- simple demo -- for $150-200. I can give you a place, and so could several people here.

I had a demo done in Nashville, and got charged $325 for a full-band demo. I went back to them and wanted a more country sound, so they put in a new guitar track and redid the vocal for only $150. That's pretty standard. There are places that will try to charge you $1000-1500, but I was advised that $800 is the highest you should pay.

I've participated in one pro recording with a ainger/songwriter. Since she was doing the track for eventual sale (it's unreleased still) to her fans or to film or TV, she worked with a Producer. The Producer charged us a half-fee ($1200) and would try to place the song (and if he placed it we'd pay him the other half). Since I was not the artist, I paid what I could of my half of the $1200, with an honor-system promise to pay the rest if/when I ever made any money. (Which I don't because I'm a non-performing lyricist).

So.....it sounds to me like a sweetheart deal to get a little cash to this Dallas guy. Or, your composer friend doesn't know the lay of the land and is willing to pay more than he has to. If you want a demo, talk to your composer about going to a place that's competitively priced; let him know that his 'friend' is charging a little more than is prudent, and that "artist interest" is something that everyone in the music business uses in every other sentence.

(NOTE: In cities outside of Nashville, they will often charge more, and not because they're mean and greedy. In Nashville, there are wall-to-wall musicians, and a lot of demo work. A studio can do a few demos at once with a group of musicians, and they can knock out great tracks by scanning a lead sheet. Yes, there are places where it will *sound* like they're knocking them out quickly, but most places are honorable about putting out the best work they can -- the more involved you and your composer are in telling what you want, the better product you'll get. But in Nashville, you get economy of scale. In effect, if they're doing 5 demos, the musicians are getting paid by a lot of people at once. In Dallas, or Philly, or wherever, they might be getting together to do just that demo, and you're paying the full freight.
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#7 User is offline   lyricgalatl Icon

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 11:42 AM

Okay.....some clarification. The producer that we are using is going to do a master recording with full band and female vocalist so we can shop the song around to TAXI or other artists, etc. The producer has actually played with some major artists (Billy Joel, Foreigner) so he has some major experience. I was skeptical so I looked him up and found a guy in Atlanta that used him on some of his songs and I emailed this guy to see if producer was legit. He gave him rave reviews, but gave me a different email address than the one my composer gave me.....red flag. I then emailed the producer at the new email address to ask him if the other email address was legit because it was attached to a business so it was possible. He emailed back that it was legit. I then had the composer and the producer sign off on what we are expecting to receive and the payment amount agreed to. The composer will pay half up front and I will pay other half upon completion. I feel better about things now....you gotta be careful.

The producer had mentioned that there was an up and coming Dallas female artist that was looking for songs like ours so not sure what will happen there, but at least we will have a professional master recording from a guy who has a pretty cool resume.

Stay tuned.....
Always looking for vocalists and musicial composers to collaborate with. If you have interest email me at lyricgalatl@gmail.com

#8 User is offline   zmulls Icon

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 12:29 PM

OK, if you are talking about a FULL Master Recording -- one good enough to shop to TAXI and other Film/TV outlets -- then $750 is quite a good price. Make sure it's understood whether that $750 is just his fee, or whether that covers the other musicians as well. (Honestly, $750 for studio space, and a producer, and mastering *and* a full band -- sounds a little *low*!)

And if the "up and coming female artist" is a legit lead, then that's great. Before you can pitch songs to big names they will want to see a track record of some sort, and getting a song placed with a 'new' artist is a good way to grow.

Thanks for clarifying! It paints a very different picture.
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You are an overexcited little man with a need for self-expression far beyond your natural gifts. This is not discreditable. Neither does it make you an artist. (from TRAVESTIES by Tom Stoppard)

It's a nice song. But where's the chick? (Frank Sinatra, according to Dave Frishberg)

#9 User is offline   FunkDaddy Icon

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 12:48 PM

View Postlyricgalatl, on 08 October 2010 - 12:42 PM, said:

Okay.....some clarification. The producer that we are using is going to do a master recording with full band and female vocalist so we can shop the song around to TAXI or other artists, etc. The producer has actually played with some major artists (Billy Joel, Foreigner) so he has some major experience. I was skeptical so I looked him up and found a guy in Atlanta that used him on some of his songs and I emailed this guy to see if producer was legit. He gave him rave reviews, but gave me a different email address than the one my composer gave me.....red flag. I then emailed the producer at the new email address to ask him if the other email address was legit because it was attached to a business so it was possible. He emailed back that it was legit. I then had the composer and the producer sign off on what we are expecting to receive and the payment amount agreed to. The composer will pay half up front and I will pay other half upon completion. I feel better about things now....you gotta be careful.

The producer had mentioned that there was an up and coming Dallas female artist that was looking for songs like ours so not sure what will happen there, but at least we will have a professional master recording from a guy who has a pretty cool resume.

Stay tuned.....


Cool. I hope the contract stipulated whether or not the producer gets writing credit. I also hope you listened to samples of his "professional master recordings" and not just his hyperbole about artists he's played with. Sometimes skepticism is warranted but it can also get in the way of progress, so good on you for just biting the bullet and going for it.

You do realize you are contractually obligated to pay for the demo upon completion, regardless of the quality, correct? "What we are expecting to receive" sounds like quite a gray area. I can run a horribly recorded track through TRacks 3 and call it "mastered".
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#10 User is offline   lyricgalatl Icon

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 08:40 AM

We haven't signed anything giving the producer credit. Maybe that will come up once the track is done? I did listen to some songs he produced for the artist I found in Atlanta (the guy happens to be a lawyer at a pretty prestigious firm by day) and that stuff sounded really good. I also found that he produced some well known stuff too.

Yeah, I know we have to pay regardless of quality, but I figure it will either be $375 money well spent or a mistake to learn from.

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#11 User is offline   Lzi Icon

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 02:04 PM

"What we are expecting to receive" sounds like quite a gray area. I can run a horribly recorded track through TRacks 3 and call it "mastered".<===Mark

If it "sounds like" a duck, it's a duck. This type of subjective language [ "What we are expecting to receive"] has no place in an objective legal document...I would strike this and make the note; Define your expectations please. "What we expect to recieve" leaves you open, it gives them too much control, and it certainly could be an easy way to sabotage the contract, and run with the money if this is the intention. Please be careful Angela.

LOL on the TRacks statement Mark! The word "Mastered" itself has become a huge grey area now. Don't get me wrong, love TRacks for a certain vintage eq plug that I love the sound of but, mastering? I don't know... maybe? lol This is possibly one of the places where sound becomes "dumbed down"...Once everyone actually believes they can master recordings in their bedrooms, their perception of what a "master quality recording" sounds like becomes shaped by what they believe they hear. They are already sold on the mastering at home spiel so, they believe it is very possible already. They hear a bright, glossy sheen, and belive it sounds fantastic! They also place a lot of blind faith in marketing hype so, they trust the companies which sell them software so, when they hear something better than what they are used to achieving, they believe they've found the lost ark! It is "possible" to master at home but, anything is possible. Truth is, mastering is an ear thing, and you can't buy modeled ears (yet anyway). Some seem to believe in this fairytale but, that's ok Mark, let them tread water! lol
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#12 User is offline   FunkDaddy Icon

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 12:27 AM

I actually really like T-Racks for a final polish on the mix, it's a horrible system hog though so I wouldn't use it in the mixing stages (at least not with my current setup, I really need to upgrade to a 64-bit system!). I know what I'm doing isn't mastering, just bringing up the levels a bit, shining up the overall sound, etc...true mastering is an art in itself and I don't claim to do anything of the sort. Just get a good mix and hope for the best! The room I mix in is far from ideal so until I get that sorted I'm not going to bother trying to get perfect mixes as it'll just eat up way too much time.
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#13 User is offline   Lzi Icon

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 01:13 PM

View PostFunkDaddy, on 25 November 2010 - 12:27 AM, said:

I actually really like T-Racks for a final polish on the mix, it's a horrible system hog though so I wouldn't use it in the mixing stages (at least not with my current setup, I really need to upgrade to a 64-bit system!). I know what I'm doing isn't mastering, just bringing up the levels a bit, shining up the overall sound, etc...true mastering is an art in itself and I don't claim to do anything of the sort. Just get a good mix and hope for the best! The room I mix in is far from ideal so until I get that sorted I'm not going to bother trying to get perfect mixes as it'll just eat up way too much time.


Oh, I love TRacks, more for their eq plugs than for anything else. I use it while mixing, I cannot imagine not using one of my favorite eq plugs on something somewhere. Last mix I did, I had numerous instances of the very same eq plug open. Yeah, it is a CPU hog but, I've found very few eq plugs which I can actuially get a few db's of boost out of without the results starting to sound a bit fizzy. I wouldn't go overboard with it but, 1-2.5 db boost without the fizzies is saying something.

On the room thing, I hear ya Mark. The best you can really ever hope for without spending serious money is to learn how to compensate for your room's weaknesses. I suppose I am a bit spoiled. I am not used to working in my home first of all, I believe your home should be a space to live within rather than a place to work. As far as productivity goes, you'll work much better in a space that is known to you as a work place. Home has it's distractions (4 me anyway). There are good things about working at home still, the distractions leave me frustrated.
Working by myself can be great but, it can also be a supreme hassle. Myself, I always like to have someone working with me, it makes thhe tracking process go much easier. Mixing I'd rather do alone. Mastering? Time for Lz to run away lol! Actually I'm of the opinion that if you do a great mix the mastering engineer doesn't have much to do, and this is how it's supposed to be.
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