June 29, 2012


Being in the music business for many years has given me some insight on some of the personal habits of musicians.  Some of those habits are quite quirky and worthy of a laugh.  Then there are those habits that are sad. Some of these habits can cost them their careers.  One of the most annoying traits inherent is being tardy.  When I was in school, if you were tardy, you were sent to the principal's office and you were in big trouble.  I spent a lot of time there, and because of that I am always on time.  Not being on time shows a disrespect for others.  Not a good way to make a good impression.  OK, I had to get that off my chest.


Believe it or not it's education.  I don't mean you have to have a masters or PHD.  I am simply talking about taking the time to learn the business of your career.  While there are some that see the value in this effort, most don't even take the time to look.  In today's world of the web, there is no excuse for lack of knowledge.  Everything you need to know is out there.  You just need to get off your lazy butt and get it.  With knowledge, passion, effort, and talent, you will succeed.  I will list some building blocks below of some of the things you need to do to get started.  While not an exhaustive list, it will get you started.

1. Start with a plan-- If you don't know where you're going, how will you get there? This is the # 1 reason most people fail. The lack of a good plan.

2. Networking -  Important beyond your imagination.

3. Social media - You must know how to navigate this world in order to succeed.

4. Publishing and how it works.  If you don't understand this part of the business, you will lose your rear.

5. Booking -- Another need to know and understand

6. Contracts -- History will tell you why you need this knowledge.

7. Management -- Ask the New Kids On The Block why you need this.

8. Demo process -- You can waste a lot of money if you don't understand this process

9. Producing - Another valuable tool

10. Your craft  -- Need I say more.

The best way to learn the business is to learn from those who have been successful in the business.  Going to music business school or reading everything you can about the business, IS GREAT and needed.  However all the schooling and reading in the world will never totally prepare you for what it's really like in the real world.  Reputable Professional Associations are one of the most valuable tools you can use.

AMP is the premiere online resource available for those with an interest in the music business.  We have Co - aligned with the Grammy's on events and they have done PSA's for us as well as SESAC.  We have members on the board of Governors of the Grammy's as well as Grammy award winning producers, engineers, writers, Artists and engineers as well as Artists from major record labels.  Our membership consist of Attorneys, Managers, Nationally successful businessmen, writers, etc...

As a member of AMP you will be advised and mentored by the highest level of professionals we can provide.  You will have the opportunity to network with hundreds of musicians, Artists, and like minded Entrepreneurs like yourself.

If you have an interest click on join and we will hit you back 

June 28, 2012


Evolution of a Song: MUSIC TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW- CURRENT ROYALTY RATE...: If your going to be in the music industry there are frequently used terms you must know. Listed below are the most commonly used terms in th...

WHAT MAKES A GOOD VIDEO/ Sample of a story board

When I was in Nashville I had an opportunity attend the shooting of a number of music videos.  As for me I must say sitting around at a shoot is one of the most boring things I got to do in my entire music career.  A music video is a very important part of your career as an Artist.  As with everything else in this industry it is very competitive.  Getting eyes to your video must be a well thought out plan.  In my opinion the key ingredient is a strong story board.  Below is a sample of a story board.

To implement this task effectively, you will need a business plan and a very detailed and accurate marketing plan.  The first step will be thorough research.  This is the basis of every new venture.  The research will focus on studying what other successful video producers did to succeed, working with unknown bands.  The point here is not to copy what others have done, but to learn from the cause and effect of their success and failure.  A good research will give you an idea of approach and most important what to avoid.  The second area of consideration is the Advertising/PR of your business plan.  The timing of the adverts must be at least 1-2 months before the launching date.  The next step will be executing the field plan, which involves a video manager and crew, equipment, select locations, determine when and what to shoot, and select the song for the video.  A studio-recorded song must be ready for the video.  This will be recorded over the video, as the singers will be expected to provide “mime vocals,” that is, singing along the video as it is being recorded.  The mime vocals will not be used as final vocals, because you do not need noises from the environment during filming.  The studio-recorded song is then “dubbed” to fit the mime-vocals line, and your video tape is ready.  However, as the band is unknown, most of the work should be invested in advertising.

Storyboard: This is where it all begins. The first step is to understand what you are trying to communicate and what your intended message is.  If you don't understand your message, no one will. Creating a script or storyboard will help ensure that you and your audience understands your intent.
Think of your video as a story.  All good stories contain certain elements.  When creating your story keep in mind the 5 W's; Who, What, When, Where, and Why.  This will help you fill in the main body of your story.  Additionally, there are some general terms that you should be familiar with; protagonistantagonist, plot, setting, turning point, dialog, introduction, conclusion, narration, and points of view.
There are two main styles for laying out your story - a storyboard or a script.  They each have their pros and cons.  Continue on to find which one best suits your needs.

Stick figures are OK to useStoryboardAs seen in the accompanying picture, a storyboard contains a rough sketch representation of the video. A storyboard is essentially a timeline going from top to bottom, with the top occurring first. Using a storyboard allows you to see what the scene will look like. This is one of the major advantages a storyboard has over a script. The storyboard method is also generally thought to provide a better overview than the scripting method. Click here to view a blank storyboard form that can be printed for your use.

Script The script style is similar to reading a book. It is very useful for dialog intense pieces. If you do have a piece with a considerable amount of dialog, use the video side to indicate who is speaking, or what reaction the character should have. This is more in line with a traditional play script. Often your talent will benefit more from this method than the storyboard, as they are more interested in their lines than creating a story. Click hereto view a blank script which can be printed out for your use.

June 27, 2012


Everyone wants a deal, cuts corners and tries to fly on the cheap. Don't play Russian roulette with your music career. Do you need to master your project? It depends. Is for personal use? Is it for pitching to publishers for other artist? The answer is always yes if you can afford it. However the only time it is a must is if your pitching it in hopes of getting airplay or to a record company for a record deal. Mastering cleans up the sound and gives your music a punch that you can't get through standard mixing. Unless you plan on becoming a mastering engineer,. all you really need to know about mastering is you need it to complete the process of recording music. However if you want to know more,  the information below is a good overview on mastering.

Mastering, a form of audio post-production, is the process of preparing and transferring recorded audio from a source containing the final mix to a data storage device (the master); the source from which all copies will be produced (via methods such as pressing, duplication or replication). Recently, the format choice includes using digital masters although analog masters, such as audio tapes, are still being used by the manufacturing industry and by a few engineers who have chosen to specialize in analog mastering.
In order to make a deterministic process, mastering requires critical listening; there are software mastering tools available to facilitate this last step, but results still depend upon the accuracy of speaker monitors. In addition, "music mastering" engineers may also need to apply corrective equalization and dynamic enhancement in order to improve upon sound translation on all playback systems.[1]



In the earliest days of the recording industry, all phases of the recording and mastering process were entirely achieved by mechanical processes. Performers sang and/or played into a large acoustic horn and the master recording was created by the direct transfer of acoustic energy from the diaphragm of the recording horn to the mastering lathe, which was typically located in an adjoining room. The cutting head, driven by the energy transferred from the horn, inscribed a modulated groove into the surface of a rotating cylinder or disc. These masters were usually made from either a soft metal alloy or from wax; this gave rise to the colloquial term waxing, referring to the cutting of a record.
After the introduction of the microphone and electronic amplification in the mid-1920s, the mastering process became electro-mechanical, and electrically driven mastering lathescame into use for cutting master discs (the cylinder format by then having been superseded).
However, until the introduction of tape recording, master recordings were almost always cut direct-to-disc. Artists performed live in a specially designed studio and as the performance was underway, the signal was routed from the microphones via a mixing desk in the studio control room to the mastering lathe, where the disc was cut in real time.
Only a small minority of recordings were mastered using previously recorded material sourced from other discs.


The recording industry was revolutionized by the introduction of magnetic tape in the late 1940s (Magnetic tape was invented for recording sound by Fritz Pfleumer in 1928 in Germany, based on the invention of magnetic wire recording by Valdemar Poulsen in 1898. Not until the end of WW2 could the technology be found outside of Europe.), which enabled master discs to be cut separately in time and space from the actual recording process. Although tape and other technical advances dramatically improved audio quality of commercial recordings in the post-war years, the basic constraints of the electro-mechanical mastering process remained, and the inherent physical limitations of the main commercial recording media—the 78 rpm disc and the later 7-inch 45 rpm single and the 33-1/3 rpm LP record—meant that the audio quality, dynamic range, and running time of master discs were still limited compared to later media such as the compact disc.
Running times were constrained by the diameter of the disc and the density with which grooves could be inscribed on the surface without cutting into each other. Dynamic range was also limited by the fact that if the signal level coming from the master tape was too high, the highly sensitive cutting head might jump off the surface of the disc during the cutting process.
From the 1950s until the advent of digital recording in the late 1970s, the mastering process typically went through several stages. Once the studio recording on multi-track tape was complete, a final mix was prepared and dubbed down to the master tape, usually either a single-track mono or two-track stereo tape.
Prior to the cutting of the master disc, the master tape was often subjected to further electronic treatment by a specialist mastering engineer. After the advent of tape it was found that especially for pop recordings, master recordings could be made so that the resulting record would sound better. This was done by making fine adjustments to the amplitude of sound at different frequency bands (equalization) prior to the cutting of the master disc.
Record mastering became a highly prized and skilled craft, and it was widely recognized that good mastering could make or break a commercial pop recording. As a result, during the peak years of the pop music boom from the 1950s to the 1980s, the best mastering engineers were in high demand.
In large recording companies such as EMI, the mastering process was usually controlled by specialist staff technicians who were conservative in their work practices. These big companies were often reluctant to make changes to their recording and production processes—for example, EMI was very slow in taking up innovations in multi-track recording and they did not install 8-track recorders in their Abbey Road Studios until the late 1960s, more than a decade after the first commercial 8-track recorders were installed by American independent studios.[2]

[edit]Digital technology

Optimum Digital Levels with respect to the Full Digital Scale (dBFSD)
In the 1990s, electro-mechanical processes were largely superseded by digital technology, with digital recordings stored on HDDs orDigital Tape and transferred to CD. The digital audio workstation (DAW) became common in many mastering facilities, allowing the off-line manipulation of recorded audio via a graphical user interface (GUI). Although many digital processing tools are common during mastering, it is also very common to use analog media and processing equipment for the mastering stage.[1]
Just as in other areas of audio, the benefits and drawbacks of digital technology compared to analog technology is still a matter of debate. However, in the field of audio mastering, the debate is usually over the use of digital versus analog signal processing rather than the use of digital technology for storage of audio.[1]
Although there is no "optimum mix level for mastering", the example in the picture to the right only suggests what mix levels are ideal for the studio engineer to render and for the mastering engineer to process.[3] It is important to allow enough headroom for the mastering engineer's work. Many[who?] mastering engineers working with digital equipment would agree that a minimum of 3 to 6 dB of available headroom is critical to perform good mastering. Ideal peak levels should not exceed −3 dBFSD and the average sum of the left and right channels should be at around −10 to −18 dBFSD (As shown on the picture to the right).
There are mastering engineers who feel that digital technology, as of 2007, has not progressed enough in quality to supersede analog technology entirely. Many top mastering studios, including Bernie Grundman Mastering (which mastered 37 Grammy-nominated albums in 2005 alone,[4]) and Gateway Mastering still embrace analog signal processing (such as analog equalization) within the mastering process.

[edit]The studio

The music mastering studio is very different from a normal audio recording studio. In fact, all the equipment and gear found in most recording and mixing studios can actually hinder the acoustics of a room to accurately monitor sound. Thus, the correct room acoustics and arrangement of the equipment inside a mastering studio is an important factor since the mastering engineer (ME) needs to hear each mix in detail. This room design should be non-environmental or with a minimum room interference. By working with an experienced mastering engineer, the recording artist is also open to alternative opinions and technical advice.


A common mastering processor for audio compression
The source material, ideally at the original resolution, is processed using equalizationcompression, limiting, noise reduction and other processes. More tasks, such as editing, pre-gapping, leveling, fading in and out, noise reduction and other signal restoration and enhancement processes can be applied as part of the mastering stage. This step prepares the music for either digital or analog, e.g. vinyl, replication. The source material is put in the proper order, commonly referred to as assembly (or 'track') sequencing.
If the material is destined for vinyl release, additional processing, such as dynamic range reduction, frequency dependent stereo–to–mono fold-down and equalization, may be applied to compensate for the limitations of that medium. Finally, for compact disc release, Start of Track, End of Track, and Indexes are defined for disc navigation. Subsequently, it is rendered either to a physical medium, such as a CD-R or DVD-R, or to computer files, such as a DDP file set or an ISO file. The specific medium varies, depending on the intended release format of the final product. For digital audioreleases, there is more than one possible master medium, chosen based on replication factory requirements or record label security concerns. Regardless of what delivery method is chosen, the replicator will transfer the audio to a glass master that will generate metal stampers for replication.
The process of audio mastering varies depending on the specific needs of the audio to be processed. Mastering engineers need to examine the types of input media, the expectations of the source producer or recipient, the limitations of the end medium and process the subject accordingly. General rules of thumb can rarely be applied.
Steps of the process typically include but are not limited to the following:
  1. Transferring the recorded audio tracks into the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) (optional).
  2. Sequence the separate songs or tracks (the spaces in between) as they will appear on the final release.
  3. Process or "sweeten" audio to maximize the sound quality for its particular medium (e.g. applying specific EQ for vinyl)
  4. Transfer the audio to the final master format (i.e., CD-ROM, half-inch reel tape, PCM 1630 U-matic tape, etc.).
Examples of possible actions taken during mastering:
  1. Editing minor flaws
  2. Applying noise reduction to eliminate clicks, dropouts, hum and hiss
  3. Adjusting stereo width
  4. Adding ambience
  5. Equalize audio across tracks
  6. Adjust volume
  7. Dynamic range expansion or compression
  8. Peak limit
To finish mastering a CD the track markers must be inserted along with ISRC, PQ codes,[further explanation needed] text and other information necessary to replicate a CD. Vinyl LP and cassettes have their own pre-duplication requirements for a finished master.