Recording New Music and an Overview of the Recording Process

  • Preparation – equipment needs, pre-production, rehearsal, deposits

  • Production – recording, producer's fees, studio fees, mixing and mastering, manufacturing and artwork

  • Promotions – merchandise, posters, giveaways, advertising, online ticket sales and mailings

Just because you are at the conceptual phase of the project doesn't mean you can neglect the end game. Start figuring out what you want to put into the recording, how much money you can set aside for recording and figure out what your ideal release party will be. Start saving and planning.

Picking a Studio

Once you determine what your production budget is, start calling around to studios in the area. Recording technology is pretty advanced today, even at the lower end of the budget spectrum, so don't think you need to spend $75 per hour at a pricey studio. Many small, home-based studio charge $20-30 per hour and have comparable quality. Contact at least three studios, let them know what you want to do and arrange to visit the studio to check it out. Also, don't be afraid to negotiate. When you book large blocks of time (10-12 hours) studios will hook you up. Also, make sure that they don't charge you for meal time and for setup! Finally, get it all in writing before you put a deposit down (some studios ask for $100, some for 50% of time booked) including the schedule, start/stop times and additional costs.


This is when each musician plays their part of a song to create a layered song. Tracking is the most time-consuming part of recording. It could take hundreds of hours to record a 10 song album if the players and conditions are not optimum. Things always take longer than you think. Just because you can beat through the song perfectly at practice and you think you'll get the song in one take, doesn't mean you will once you are in the booth. Trust me. Hopefully, you are a gifted studio musician and you can wrap up entire songs in a handful of hours. For the most of us, a song can take 10-20 hours to record, depending on complexity, arrangement and tightness of players.

Mix and Master

Once you are done tracking, its time to mix and master the recording. Mixing can take a few hours per song, depending on the number of instruments to be mixed. All mixing entails is putting each part in the right place so it can be properly heard. Sounds simple, right? Mixing is an art and requires someone who is patient and adventurous. Do not skimp on this part of the process and do not rush it. Don't be afraid to have 3 or 4 versions of mixes either. But don't get overly-nitpicky either. Mastering, however, is a bit more voodoo. Mastering takes the final stereo mix and enhances it so that it is crisper, louder, and more importantly, sounds consistent from speaker to speaker. There are guys that are ninjas at mastering and can bring the major label polish, but they come with a hefty price tag. Once you are done with your master, you can make arrangements with any manufacturing house to make your new CD.

Break a leg,


[image-1] About Ivan

Ivan Pena has an Advertising degree from UF, 8+ years in corporate and consumer marketing, 10+ years in graphic design and promotions. Ivan is also the leader of the group Soulfound and runs his own independent record label, Mohawk Bomb. In 2008, Ivan was named one of the Top 30 Under 30 by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Check Ivan out on LinkedIn:

Once your band gets some songs written and well-rehearsed, it is recommended that you focus on creating a demo. A demo serves as both your product and your business card, so having a the highest quality demo possible makes sense.  Fans form their opinions quickly after they hear the first note of your first song, so why not make it bad ass?

Song List and Pre-production

The first step is to decide what the final product will be. A 3 song EP? A double album? Whatever it is make sure you determine the song list before spending money. This helps keep the project on-budget and gives you a scope. After determining the songs, rehearse and pre-produce the crap out of them. This will save you time in the studio. For my old post on pre-production, click here.

Setting a Budget

You know what you want to record, now you need to get the cash to pay for it. Setting a recording budget can be a chore and may scare you a bit, but it takes money to make money. There are three parts to a solid recording budget:

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