The Perfect Music Press Kit Part One – Preparing the Perfect Demo

One of the toughest things to do, as far as getting signed goes, is to earn the chance to present your stuff to an A&R. Once you finally get that chance, the last thing you’d want to do is blow it by not having the best of the best materials you have to offer presented to him or her. When opportunities knock, they won’t repeatedly ring the doorbell. They’ll just proceed to the next potential resident. Nor will they wait as you get dressed. You need to be ready at all times. In this first installment of this “The Perfect Music Press Kit” article mini series, I’ll be showing you how to have music that will blow ANY industry executive away.

First and the most important step, do you have great music? Do you have your music theory together? What about your song writing? Making great songs involves a lot of creativity especially to stand out, but it must be good creativity. If you have clashing notes or chord progressions that suck, no one would make it past your intro. Start from the theory and your songwriting will improve also. In my own words, songwriting is divided into two parts. The notes and rhythms(the theory mainly) and the lyrics. If your notes are sounding amazingly and your rhythms are very catchy, you can get away with mediocre lyrics 80 percent of the time believe or not. Just listen to the songs that you hear on the radio that have you thinking “I could do that so much better.” The verses are simple and so is the hook, but by the end of the song most people, even you, remember it. Now listen to a song that you truly love. One that you consider to be the best as far as you’re concerned. I bet it has the elements I’ve mentioned. Not only are there great melodies and theory period, it has lyrics to match. Theory is 80 percent and the lyrics are 20 percent. Not the rule just my opinion.

Secondly, you must make sure you have a great recording. Now for a demo, you should definitely get the music mastered but here’s the key. What I’m about to tell you will be the most important thing you’ll learn as far as making a demo goes. Never choose quickly. If you can afford it, and many people can, put together your own personal studio so that you can make songs and mix them well. Not master but mix them well. I say this for two reasons. One, with your own studio, you can record and test out as many songs as you want on your own time. Two, the better the mix, the less you spend on mastering. Now this is how the two work together. Record at least 20 songs. If you can’t come up with at least 20, you’re not ready for a career in music I’m sorry. Make sure you have them all mixed well and copy written. Now take a week and let as many people as possible listen to them. Why? Well these are your kids so you love everyone of them. Strangers and 3rd parties have no problems calling your babies ugly because they don’t belong to them. That harsh truth is what you need. The top six should be taken out and then you and your band should sit down and choose three or four for your demo. Those songs should be mastered. You save because the best are taken care of and the other 16 will be screened by the label if they’re interested in your act. If they’re any good, they’ll master them not you. Actually, anyone music they like will be re-recorded. The point is, no one writes a great song every time. Good but not great so the more ears to critique them the better.

The next step to staying prepared for that A&R? Reading the next installment of “The Perfect Music Press Kit.” In that article we’ll cover pictures and how to have the best with minimal money required.

Music Production Techniques – Steps to a Good Mix

Creating a great mix starts with organization – you need to organize how you will go about it. If you want to mix like the pros then you want to create the best mix and you can achieve this by breaking it down into small pieces. Here are the steps to create the best mix by breaking it down into small steps that are easy to focus on.

Step 1 – The Drum and Bass Beat

The first thing you should focus on is the drum beat or the bass side of your track. No matter what the style of music is that you want to create (rap, hip hop, house, rock…) the drum beats or bass-line will be the foundation of your track as you will be constructing your track around this so make sure it is good.

Step 2 – Insert The Vocals

Vocals aren’t essential but if you are having them in your track insert them now to make things easier for yourself.

Step 3 – Add In The Melody

The next step is all your extra instruments otherwise known as the melody. This is instruments like the piano, guitar or woodwind etc. However, one thing you need to make sure you don’t add yet is percussion as this goes in at the end.

Step 4 – Add In The Final Percussion and Finalise

The final step is to add in percussion to your track where you see necessary and the all that is left is to clean the track up. Make sure nothing clashes and make it your priority to make sure that the melody and bass-line do not clash – they should complement each other.

Web 2.0 – The Next Step in Internet Marketing

The Web 2.0 is a new way to share, gather and find information in the internet. This is a relatively new subject which is about to change how everyone sees the internet.

Ever since humanity was born, there has always been a need, an urge and a goal to evolve and make life even bigger and better than before. Starting from the caves our ancestors lived in to the small huts, to the first two story building, numerous pyramids to the Petronas Towers, things simply got bigger and better as the years, decades and generations go by. It is human nature to improve on everything we have in order to make life better. One revolutionary invention in this generation is known as the World Wide Web, commonly referred to as the internet. This innovation has changed the face of the planet which made it seemingly smaller. Now, there is a new step to evolution once again, this is known as Website 2.0.

The number following the word “web” refers to the next generation of websites. It has taken the first concept of a website and turned it into something better. Before, a website simply carried text and sometimes simple images as its content, with the invention of the Website 2.0, webmasters and other internet users have the option to do a lot more with their web pages. Different media can now be placed in websites such as MP3 music, videos, slideshows and better quality picture. You can even watch high definition TV through these websites! This has paved the way to social networking sites such as gather.com, file sharing sites such as digg.com and blog sites. With the advent of these technology comes a new way to market in the internet.

Internet marketing can make you huge money, but a point made by Christopher Freville in his Stampede, old parts don’t fit with new engines which basically means that you cannot make use of the old internet marketing techniques before in today’s Website 2.0. With the help of Stampede, you too can earn thousands of dollars by taking advantage of the different opportunities presented by this next generation internet website version. What makes this really incredible is the fact that you can easily target your market, you can make even more interesting advertisements that are interactive and be able to grab the attention of more people thus increasing traffic.

Any website is all about the traffic, and using the tips and techniques presented in the e-book Stampede, you can almost instantly generate huge amounts of traffic and money as well. However, you have to remember that this is no easy task, in fact nothing that is worth doing is easy. You have to read, understand and implement the techniques perfectly. You have to devote time and effort in making it work. After all is said and done, you will be able to reap the benefits of your labour. Today, there isn’t much who is taking advantage of the Web 2.0 internet marketing techniques, YET. You have to act now, strike while the iron is hot if you will, and take your place among the first to get into this brand new style and make your millions today.

Music Production & Sound Engineering Tutorial – Noise Reduction – Cleaning a Sound File

Hello and welcome!

For this tutorial I am using a sound file of a vocal recording. I will be using ‘adobe audition’ to edit this sound file. ‘Adobe audition’ is a popular brand of audio recording software. This software allows you to record, edit and mix sound files/recordings on independent tracks. It has loads of tools to edit/engineer your sound files exactly as you would like them to be.

This tutorial will show you how to use the noise reduction tool to remove unwanted sounds/background noise from a recording or any sound file. I am using adobe audition for this example but any decent sound editor will have this tool.

The first step is to identify an appropriate section of the sound file that contains the noise. A good area to find is that which represents a pause between the speech/vocal. Just like when you take a pause between your sentences or words when you are speaking normally. It is useful to zoom in using the software to get a nice clear view of the part your would like to work with. This is the section that will be used to clean up the entire sound file. Once you have zoomed in on your chosen section it will be apparent that where it should be a silent pause there is actually a quiet noise. This is the section that we will sample and then remove from the entire sound file.

In most cases when you record any sound there is usually a quiet hiss or humming (noise) that can be heard during playback. This can come from the recording equipment itself or from background sounds that are within the range of the recording equipment. It is generally regarded as noise because these are usually unwanted sounds.

As well as noise you will also find other quiet looking parts of the sound file that represent the sound of someone breathing in. You will usually see these breath sounds just before a vocal part begins. These breath sounds will always be recorded with voice recordings unless you use a microphone that only records outward sound. Another option is to have a very skilled vocalist! Some people choose to remove or reduce the volume of this breath sound but that should only be done after you have removed the underlying noise of the entire track first.

So now we will remove the noise!

Highlight the silent pause/noise. This is done in the exact same manner as you would highlight text in a text document. Be careful not to select any of the vocal part when making your selection. You may want to zoom in to guarantee your accuracy for this part of the process. To sample this noise in ‘adobe audition’ right-click on that highlighted section and click on “capture noise profile” from the menu that appears.

This tells the software (adobe audition) what you consider to be the noise (sound frequencies that you would like to remove or reduce). The next step is to to go ahead and remove this noise from the entire sound file. In ‘adobe audition’ this is done by using the noise reduction tool.

Whichever sound editing software you decide to use within your studio setup, the method may vary slightly, but the basic steps and terminology will be very similar.

Next, click on the “effects” menu at the top of the screen and then click on noise reduction from the menu that appears. Once you have done this a new window will appear. This window represents the noise reduction tool and displays all the options and relevant information about that tool. The noise that you captured earlier will be the default noise used by this tool. You can either completely remove the noise or you can just reduce the noise to an acceptable level using the “noise reduction level” variable shown in the image. If you click on the preview button you can listen to what the alterations will sound like before permanently applying them. This is useful to fine tune the amount of effect you want to apply.

It is important to take care and listen carefully at this stage of the process because sometimes it is possible to apply too much noise reduction. This can effect the overall sound of the file in a way that you did not intend. Once you are happy with the settings click on the OK button and the noise will be removed. Magic!

You will then see complete silence where the silent pauses between the vocal waveforms are. At this stage you will have successfully removed the unwanted noise from the entire length of sound file. This can be seen most clearly by the completely flat line (zero decibels/volume) where the pauses are. At this point you may choose to adjust the volume of the breath sounds discussed earlier if you feel it is appropriate.

It is useful to get rid of noise within all of your vocal recordings because when you have several vocal tracks playing at once it also means you have several layers of noise. This noise can easily go unnoticed but it can sometimes slightly muffle other sounds/frequencies such as your musical parts or beats. When dealing with mastering, mixing and balancing the whole mix this is a useful and important tool for a quality production and allows the beat/music to be heard crystal clear.