How to successfully self-publish and promote your own audio material.

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Welcome. Selfpublish your own successfully selling retail ready, and wholesale ready CDs!

  Why? Getting Signed versus Self Publishing To Get Started Recording Mastering Retail Ready CDs One Sheet Promotional Materials Low Cost Comercial Printing Equipment Distribution Digital Media Creation Duplication Web Design Bussiness Cards
 

First of all: I would like to encourage you to consider self publishing of your music and audio material as a vital option to advance by leaps in your career. I am here to tell you that you can do it, why you should do so, how to do it, and what you need to succeed at it.

If in doubt, here reasons why you should go for it: Recent advances in technology have delivered the needed equipment right to your desktop at consumer prices. Recording, Mastering, Duplication, Packaging, Promotional materials? You already have it sitting right in front of you. Stop playing that silly game and get down to business with this realization: The power to publish yourself has been given to you - even if you don’t have fancy computer equipment you should move forward with it, because there are many things that you actually can do for yourself, even on a low, or even zero budget. The few steps seemingly beyond reach, can be easily purchased these days, at an expense little enough to pay for itself, in just weeks. Invest in yourself. Go into business for yourself!

Why? You should self publish, especially, if you are performing live as an entertainer, musician, or what ever your mission might be: It is to your advantage to offer your work for sale in form of a CDs right there - where and when you perform! You generated the energy and people want to take it home with them. A winner for all involved!

If your main goal is to get signed with a major music publisher, or independent publishing company, consider this: it is a golden ace in your hand to be able to say: “I have well a tested selling product” It's even often expected now to get consideration for a deal.

If you are a singer or a hired musician, most of the here discussed issues especially apply! The majority portion of the needed work is promoting yourself. Promotion is what this industry is all about, more than ever so!





Services provided for the steps outlined here in detail are provided to be purchased in elements, or as complete as you need them. This to support you in doing a smuch as you wish to do by yourself:

Recording - vocals / narration for guided meditation, acoustic and amplified instruments, solo or duo. Keys and other electronic instruments in any number. Special effect processing and sound design. For bands and larger settings etc. record at a locally contracted studio.

Editing - any portion of any length in any audio material can be repeated resequenced faded in, out and cross faded. while the limit is the imagination useful applications are: to cut weak, or poorly performed sections, or to cut for example a lengthy talk into separate tracks while editing unwanted material away. Restoration of sonically poor audio material can be accomplished as well. We use none linear fully digital stations with ProTools.

Mastering - Can work form any type of recording. Mastering is actually a term that sumerizes several different processing steps. If the recording is of multi track nature this involves mix down, proper maximizing and optimization of the stereo signal. If a release is to be created: Track sequencing and indexing of the CD. This can include for example a continued play of the CD by cross fading from one track to the next. After all: a master is what s needed form to make copies.

Graphic Design for all printed materials used to assemble a retail CD and for all promotional materials. We do all from concept development to the artistic creation to print. This may as well include photography or videography.

Copyright - There are quite a few resources on this subject on the web, A great resource for copy right related information is the questions and answers page (FAQ) of copy right office's web site. For many self publishing legal questions California Lawers for the Arts is a valuable resource, as they offer legal assistance for artists and great workshops relating to various art and music related topics. But also ask me and I will adress what I have learned.


CD Duplication - We duplicate your master from 1 up to 250 CDs in-house. Larger volumes we outsource. Replication is a printing process that requires a glass master. Duplication is the multiple recording of CDs. We also cut you demos or short CDs and audio casette tapes.

One Sheet and other promotional material, that for example, go in a press kit. We design and print such materials optimized to the message to be communicated. Imagine full color photo resolution materials including business cards and bios. Promotional materials include: catalogues, post cards, posters (up to 8.5 x 11 + larger, if several sheets used -> it's inexpensive!), display items etc., etc..

Whole Sale materials: from catalogue to price lists to order forms, to help with your pricing structure.

Sell your CDs - While we currently only distribute our own CDs this is planned in the future. but we would like to share one item with you that is absolutely indispensable if you want to retail your own CDs at shows, gigs, or markets: THE QUICKBOX!

Web Design - All: from concept development to media creation, to the ready site, to hosting, domain name registration, search engine registration and maintenance. Did I mention shopping carts? Check out all on this site for example, or other sites we created.

Video - A music video of you, your band, or a commercial. Output to DVD, CD, broadcast, or web. Not the best zero budget item though, as a LOT of time goes into a project this magnitude and editing takes several times the amount of time than shooting.

Layout of the involved steps to successfully publish and promote:

Here a break down of the steps needed to publish and promote your own audio material successfully. Look at the elements to see how feasible selfpublishing actually is.

If needed: I provide all services and materials needed to complete any of these steps in elements, or as complete as you need them - computer file to retail ready shrinkwrapped product. Please contact me should you need assitance on your path.


Preliminary:

• Decide amongst all members of the band who owns what. Who owns the music? Who the recording? Who owns the artist, the name, and the business? (yes, a band is a business!) Who decides on the rights to your materials? Get it down in writing, a notary could help, better yet an attorney. Friends can turn into monsters once money is involved. Do it upfront for the benefit of all. It’s about creating a clear and strong foundation that is prepared to support mountains of success.

Creation Phase - (and getting ready for promotion!)

Recording (you can do it yourself to get started! My fist CD was published from audio cassette tapes and I still get lots of positive feedback on it. Amazing music is a force much stronger than the best equipment or recording engineer! A lot of the early Beatles songs were recorded on just 4 tracks!) If needed: I can record you too!

Editing (applies to spoken material especially, but music can benefit too!)

Mastering (what else do you make copies from...)


• Design for CD Cover, inlay, booklet, tray card and CD label; at least one good photo of yourself or the band! The cover is the most important element of the whole CD. It’s your public face to show for you when you are someplace else. For most CD buyers that’s the only thing given to them to base their decision on.

• File copyright registration (definitely a must!) for your CD (Not as difficult as one might think! The law states: You already own copy right by default for everything you create. Fill out one form to register and mail it plus $30 to Washington!).

CD duplication / replication with shrink wrap (all of above = retail ready CD and wholesale ready! - With bar-code: distribution ready CD)

• Design of a CD One-sheet (a standard formal page, that gives all information describing one CD - especially important when distribution is desired, excellent for radio.)

• Design of Whole sale catalogue, price list and pricing structure (if you want to distribute yourself)

• Design of your bio / band info sheet - shocking photos!

• Creation of your promotional sampler CD (Promo / Demo)

• Create a Web Presence (your web site, ideally with streaming audio and shopping cart, best with your own domain, good if hosted with a web host, not a free site - Everybody hates advertising!; okay and definitely helpful (if used in conjunction with your own site): to have a page at mp3.com / garage band.com etc.)

• Create Business Card (best: full color glossy with photo - at the least a card for the URL of your web site)

Promotion Phase:

• Use all promotional items bundled in appealing folders to create press kits

Custom tailor press kits to your target audience: a different one for radio, clubs, retail stores, music labels, television, agents, promotional firms etc.

• At gigs: hand out your cards! Make sure there is a business card with your URL on every seat, or at least some on each table

• At gigs: SELL YOUR CD’s (You are self published and self promoted now!) And... make sure you get as many names as possible onto your mailing list! Best ask someone to occupy the CD sales table the whole gig. Get your fan’s e-mail address and have them subscribe to your newsletter, which you publish promptly every month (easy: send out a SHORT newsletter e-mail once a month!)

• Research targets for your promotion to send press kits out to: radio, clubs, retail stores, music labels, television GET the names for editors, owners, buyers, reporters, P&R people. Pick up the phone and call! (Everytime you do, it gets easier - The first call is the hardest so just go and do it!) Then follow up with sending a custom press kit. Then follow up with another call to make sure that they have what they need and to stay present in their busy minds.

• Get as much air play, interviews, reviews etc. as possible. Revise your press kit by including the new material: newspaper and magazines clippings of your reviews

• If your route is self distribution: get names of retail businesses in one area that retail your product and the names of their buyers / owners. Pick up the phone and make an appointment. Plan trips. Show and tell! - Get an order. Presto.

• If your route is to get distribution through a distributer: look into what it takes to get a bar code for your CD (web). Sub codes can be had cheaply. This is one of the ticket items. No bar code - no distributor. The other is a one-sheet. Find the right distribution company for your product (web). Read their submission guidelines to know what they need. Get names and submit your package to the right office.


True for all what you do: make sure that any and every item you send or hand out has your full contact information, CD’s too (not just the jewel case!).

Now you are ready to take the next bigger step! Submission to a publishing company? To corporate headquarters? To major productions? To a distributor? To a major publication? Main stream TV?
Your imagination is the limit. Go for your dream - nothing less! And when the money starts coming in - think of what got you started with this.... give some back to complete the cycle. Support others.


Tell me your story. I want to hear it!
If relevant to the topic and if okay with you, I may post it here with a link to your web site.


Questions? Please ask!

Suggestions? Please send them.



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