This article originally appeared on the CreativeLive blog.
Audio engineers often think they can do it all – including recording and producing. And honestly, that's what makes them so versatile and knowledgable about the ins and outs of making sounds. It often starts out modestly, with a stab at recording your own band's demo. I don't want to dissuade any engineer from taking that kind of work (especially at first) because it can be an incredibly fruitful learning experience and a great way to try out new production ideas you might not have mastered yet.
That being said, too often producers and engineers have a hard time moving beyond the weekend-warrior demo game and really honing their skills in the fine arts of production. As with any creative person, there comes a time in your career when you need to stop noodling around and begin to define what sets you apart from everyone else.
This article originally appeared on Performer Magazine.
Free music online can either spread like wildfire or sink like a stone. It largely depends on the work put into promotional efforts. Many bands post their album for free and think, "I'm done! Our album is free and available, and who wouldn't want a free album?"
Well, first of all, those who don't know about it. If you want to generate those downloads, you'll have to put the hours in spreading the word. Artists who obsess over where their next 99 cents is going to come from (will it be Aunt Jackie or possibly your friend Dave?) may be unaware of this, but there's a major underground support network for artists who release free music. Much of this promotion machine is completely unavailable to artists who don’t give up the goods, so to speak.
You've put a lot of time and effort into your band. You've spent years working your way up, rehearsing, playing gigs, and releasing new music and covers, all while growing your fanbase with your awesome social media, email, and marketing strategies. All your efforts are paying off. There's no better feeling than getting to the point where you can say that your band is your job, but it also presents a whole new set of problems you need to think about.
When you start making a bit more money as a band and get to the point where this is really your career, you need to start treating it like a job. Your band has become a company, and just like any other company, you need to organize yourself, deal with taxes, and protect yourself.
In today's digitally dominant era, there are a number of ways for artists to measure their success in order to judge the progression of their career. For many young up-and-comers, receiving placement on major music websites/blogs which span the internet is widely considered a crowning achievement. The oohs and ahhs commence immediately when a promising talent is recognized by a well-followed publication. But despite the inevitable spike in traffic your song or video receives after a prominent blog post, a number of other important factors come into play when analyzing artistic longevity.