Sunday, July 1, 2007

A great time to be in a ska or reggae band.

What do Lily Allen and The Arctic Monkeys have in common?

In addition to being both British, they went from being nobody to super stardom in a very short time, and they did it themselves. You can too.

First, both created a Band Profile on My, uploaded some songs, grew a cult following that got them noticed by the A&R departments of the major labels. The rest is history.

So obviously, the first step is to get a My Space page for your band. Keep it simple, but have enough bells and whistles to make it eye-catching. (My Space has tools which allow you to "pimp out" your page with a slide show, calendar, graphics, etc.)

My Space also allows a band to upload 5 mp3's to their page. But how can a new band record songs on a budget? I asked Esco Chris form Boss 501 how he did it. What you're about to read may shock you.

"Everything I record is recorded in my living room."

That's right. His living room!

"I use a Tascam 8 track DP-01 digital recorder, one AKG (D790) microphone for recording all instruments and Vocals, and one cheap microphone that I bought from Best Buy for $20. We use that microphone for horns. On a few of our tracks we use my guitar pedal for the delay effect.

The only computer software I used was Nero wave editor to compress the files and fade the songs in and out. We recorded the Boss 501 CD [this way] and I record all my stuff with that set up. I just recently bought 2 new microphones and a pre-amp.

For $99 you can get an audio buddy preamp and 2 MXL microphones from musicians I just starting using the pre amp and I already hear a difference in the recording quality of my music.

This is definitely my favorite way to record. I don't understand why people would spend $3,000 for a recording session when you can buy recording and editing equipment and rent a room for less!" - Esco Chris

Many local companies will mass-produce your cd for you. Expect to pay around $1000 for about 999 cd's. A cheaper option would be to do away with cd's altogether and go digital. There are two ways to do this: SNOCAP and Discrevolt.

SNOCAP is a company that works with My Space that allows bands to sell their music digitally right from their My Space profile. Mp3's can be sold individually for about $0.89 or you can buy an entire cd. To see an example of what this looks like, check out The Slackers profile:

DiscRevolt is a company in which a band uploads their music to DiscRevolt's server for a fee. In return, the band gets "gift cards" with a code to their music. Bands can sell these cards at shows instead of cd's. The fan can then log on to DiscRevolt's site and type in the code to download tracks.

So there you have it. The tools available to bands today simply weren't available 5 years ago. Today, a band can market their band, record music, and sell their music all by themselves.

No major label necessary!

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