Thursday, May 12, 2011

Have to take a break

Sorry guys, I realise I didn't get a whole lot of time before I had to do this but there has been a family emergency and I just don't quite have the time right now. I'm hoping it will all get a bit easier soon and I'll have the time to do some quality posts. Sorry guys.

In the meantime:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sorry for the lack of posts

Hey guys,

Sorry for not posting in a few days, business has been hectic. Got an artist with a cd released, a show coming up and a studio under construction. I realise you guys are keen for more information though so I'm working on a post about accoustic treatments of rooms.

In case you aren't aware this is to treat the sound of a room to either get an accurate sound from the product for mixing/mastering, or to treat a room to get better sounding recordings.

Since I am in the process currently of building a vocal booth for own home studio, I am hoping to take photos of each step and show you how I do it. I am by no means an expert in this and if you're looking to build an excellent world class studio you should definately seek professional advice. I am doing this on a budget and it will give me a product that will be very workable for a professional release. I will still get my mastering done elsewhere though.

In the meantime I'll leave you with a clip to give you something to check out until I've organised myself.

This is from Australian Hip Hop artist Drapht. He recently released his album 'Life of Riley' and it's a quality release definately worth checking out. This is the track 'Sing It.'

Monday, April 25, 2011

Some advice for selling albums

So I thought it was time for me to get back to a more helpful post. So I thought I'd discuss something I've noticed a lot of groups have trouble with.

There's a few things you can do to help increase your sales traffic that I thought I would share. Of course, if noone likes your music or even knows about it, don't expect to suddenly sell hundreds of albums online. If you do however have a fan base that wants to buy your cd, here's a few tips to maximise those numbers.

1. Make sure your fans know you have a product for sale

This may seem obvious but it happens quite a lot. You can't expect to release a cd and tell noone about it and have it sell like hotcakes. It's important to connect with your fanbase so that they all know that your cd is available for sale.

If you haven't established any form of connection to your fanbase then I'd suggest trying to setup some methods to do is as soon as possible. Facebook fan pages are a great way. So are mailing lists. If you still aren't managing to engage your fanbase then you'll have to approach it through more standard advertising methods.

If you know you have fans within a certain target audience (eg. You know you have a lot of fans aged between 15-22 that live in your hometown) you can get targetted ads on facebook. This means you'll maximise the chance of someone interested finding out about it. Flyer runs can also be an inexpensive way to engage. If you do a gig, make sure to hand flyers out to everyone there to let them know that your cd is either out, or is soon to be released. Don't forget to leave some information on there on how they can obtain it once it is out.

2. Multiple payment methods.

Again, you may read this and see it as obvious but it's worth stating. If you offer your fans only one option on how to obtain your cd, you could be losing yourself a lot of potential sales. Why offer credit card only payments if you have fans that want to pay with money orders?

If you establish as many payment methods as possible you will be catering to as large of an audience as possible. You don't want to make it a job for people to buy your cd, they are the customers, you want to make their life easy as possible.

This also extends into people that don't want to buy things online or have their cd sent to them through the post. Try and get your cd stocked in as many stores as possible. If you don't have a distribution deal it can be hard to get your cd in big stores but normally independant retailers will be happy to stock your cd. You will probably have to offer it on consignment (ie. They only pay you as the cd's sell) but it's definately worth it.

If you are having trouble finding record stores that are willing to stock your cd then try and get any stores to stock it. If you know someone that owns a general store, ask them to hold them under the counter. You can then post online that cd's are available there if they ask. This means fans that live in the area will have a local spot to pickup cd's and have them immediately.

It's better to have your cd in local spots rather than online only.

3. Offer preorder specials

If you have a cd that's soon to be released, it's often smart to offer preorder deals. This means you will be making sales before your cd is even released and you will have a customer base established before hand.

You will however, probably have to offer incentives in order to get people to fork over their hard earned money without a product ready. This can be any number of things, a free cd, poster, tshirt... anything you can think of.
4. Don't engage with critics
This may not help you get more sales directly but it is important to focus your energy. No matter how good your music is, there's always going to be people that dislike it. On top of that there will always be people that will find the need to openly criticise you on your own site or pages. The truth is, the more popular you get, the more it will happen. My advice is to just ignore it. If someone has left a comment on your page that looks bad, just delete it. Beyond that it isn't worth the time and energy to try and argue back or anything. It is actually more likely to just make you look unprofessional. Just delete and block anyone trying to bring you down publicly.


Ok, so yesterday I put up a post letting some readers ask me some questions. Now it's time for me to answer. I purposely only left it going for a short time so that I didn't have too many questions to answer at once, I will be doing this once again in the future though.

So, time to get to the questions!

Jamal Crawls asked: Where did you best like working?

Well, this is a tough question. In terms of every day work most of my time is spent sitting in a room at home with a computer with the occasional run to the post office or local record store. That said though, sometime's it's hard to beat when you go out 'working' in order to do a performance for a gig.

My favourite gig was a few years ago. I was performing on the roster with some local acts for a regular show that was run in my hometown. It wasn't the biggest crowd ever but I definately had a great night because a lot of the acts were friends and there was a big bar tab available for all of us, so it ended up getting pretty messy.

In terms of actual performances though, while DJ'ing for one of my signed artists we did a support slot for a group called 'Horrorshow'. They managed to to a sellout show and the vibe from onstage couldn't be beat. Having a huge group of people all jumping and singing along is one of the best feelings you can have on stage.

Mr Dough asked Is dubstep easy to make? And why is it so fun to listen to if it's so repetitive?

Well. Dubstep is like any music genre in terms of easiness. Yes, it can be extremely easy to make dubstep. It is however, extremely hard to make high quality dubstep. Same goes for all genres, you can spend 10 minutes on something and define it under any genre you like, it doesn't mean it will be good though.

In terms of why it's so fun to listen to that all boils down to personal taste. My own enjoyment with Dubstep comes from when you're listening to it on huge sound systems. Dubstep seems to achieve that level where at a club the 'feel' of the music is just as important as what you're hearing. Dubstep for me personally starts to take a backseat to other genres though when played on crappy little laptop speakers or similar.

sandman asked: what genre do you specialize in? have you had many releases? whats your thoughts on downloading

Well. I specialize in hip hop. To be even more specific, Australian Hip Hop. While personally I haven't had any releases, artists on my label definately have. We only recently finished pressing up the EP's for one of my acts. We also just finished doing his launch in Brisbane and are now doing the plans for Adelaide.

In terms of downloading I think it's both a good thing and a bad thing. First of all, downloading has definately helped independant labels. You can make a release, put it out on iTunes or any similar download service and it is relatively inexpensive, pretty much anyone can do it. You don't have to worry about all the overheads that come with pressing up hard copies.

On the flipside, it has made illegal aquisition a lot easier. I have no issue with people downloading cd's if they really truly cannot afford it. When I start to have ill feelings though is when people just claim they can't afford it or just refuse to pay for music. Like it or, there's a lot of people involved behind a release and all of them have either put in big amounts of money or big amounts of time. If you want the cd, I think you should pay for it.

fit4life asked: how did you end up where you are, doing what you're doing?

When I was in my finishing year at high school I was really getting into the local hip hop scene. I was attending lots of shows regularly and was making a lot of friends. I originally started off a free design service for local acts as I was noticing a lot of demo's and mixtapes were going out with very amateur looking covers.

From there I was working on that, going to more and more shows and getting more involved. I started to notice a lot of acts that were of a very high quality that were having trouble even getting noticed. After seeing this a lot I just decided one day I wanted to help and that's when I started my label.

It really was one of those things I just decided I wanted to do. From that point on it was all about doing my research and working hard to make sure I was doing things right. I signed a couple of acts and started getting to work. That's all there was to it really, sorry it couldn't have been more exciting.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ask me a question

Hi guys,

Well, it seems life has gotten in the way again and doing a post has become a bit of an undoable task for the moment but I came up with an idea.

Leave a comment on this post with any questions you'd like to ask me. I'm a producer/dj/emcee/promoter and a label head. So feel free to ask me anything you like and for my next blog post I'll do my best to answer all your questions as well as I can.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Making a basic drum beat in FL Studio

Hi guys,

I was thinking about doing a production article as I realise that sometimes getting into production can be a daunting task. I remembered when I first started out and reading lots of magazines and online articles and trying to wrap your head around it can sometimes be a bit hard when you know nothing.

After thinking that I thought that it would probably be better if I could just show you exactly what I wanted to, so I thought I'd make a video tutorial.

Of course, I got a bit carried away and youtube cut the video off at the 10 minute mark. Doesn't matter though because after that point it's just me showing some details in my track and all the important stuff was already out of the way.

Please don't be too harsh on me as it's my first ever attempt at one of these, hopefully I can improve on it in the future. I hope this will help some people that are just starting to use FL Studio.

Some tips to take from the video.

1. Send all your similar sounds to the same mixer inserts (eg. Kicks -> 1, Snares -> 2, etc.)
2. Label your mixer inserts to make it easy to organise
3. Download and find your own drum packs. They aren't too hard to find, just search google. Or there's a lot of paid for drum packs out there that are great quality also.
4. Spend a lot of time just playing around for yourself. A lot of things can be learned through trial and error. Also a lot of great sounds happen by mistake, so just keep playing.

My software recommendations.

Ok so I originally wrote a post about vocal booths but wasn't happy with the article. It was a bit of a mess from my perspective so thought I'd delete it and try again another time.

In the meantime though I thought I'd show you some of my favourite piece of software to use for production, recording and mixing. Each person has their own tastes and what they like to use but these are ones that I find useful quite often!

1. Logic Pro

Logic Studio is Apple's answer to music making and it really is one of the powerhouses of the industry.

You can consider Logic an all in one package, it is pretty much perfect for production, recording and mixing and has a huge array of features and tools.

This is a
program that is often considered the industry standard for mac users and you really can't go wrong with this suite.

2. ProTools

Pro Tools is has been considered the industry standard for a very long time. It is an excellent program for editing, recording and mixing. It also has production capabilities but for some reason or another a lot of artists I know that use this program will produce in a seperate program.

As far as recording and mixing goes however you really cannot go wrong with ProTools. It has a huge array of tools and features and is used by huge artists all around the world

3. FL Studio

Back in the day FL Studio (then known as Fruity Loops) was considered the 'beginners' production suite. With an easy to use interface it was a program that didn't take too long to wrap your head around and get reasonable results. Recently though FL Studio has been getting more and more powerful and is now a great tool for all aspects of production, recording and mixing. It still has managed to keep it's easy to use interface while adding more and more features. I personally use this program for my own production work.

While many people still view FL Studio as 'amateur' it really has developed immensely and now rivals the industry leaders. It is also a good choice if you're on a budget as it's a bit cheaper than the others, definately worth checking out. To top it off, the latest version, 10, has added new features that make streamlining projects and mixing them all that more better.