How hard is it to record and release a music album?

Recording music has changed drastically. In the past, a musician had to play shows repeatedly and pray to be discovered by a music producer in order to record and release his/her music. Nowadays with the new technologies, it’s so much easier to release your album. You could even record it in a home studio, edit the track yourself, release it on the internet and wait for it to go “viral”.

You have two options. One is to sign a record deal and all the recording, producing and releasing will be done by your record company. The other option is to do it independently.

Recording an album

You can do this on your own in your garage (studio) if you want to. There are also professionals like mastering or tracking engineers that are the best at what they do and can definitely help you. The process of music production can be separated into six stages:

  • Songwriting – basically it’s your musical ideas (a playlist for example), put together in a project, that should be rhythmic, have a coherent melody and harmonic. It should also have a beginning, middle, and end. For many people, the writing process goes hand-in-hand with the tracking process because they start with a drum loop.
  • Arranging – simply put the arranging of the song is deciding which instruments play during which section, how they are organized and how these sections are arranged into the bigger timeline of the song
  • Tracking (recording) – it’s the process of recording each instrument, that is used to perform the song. Usually, a song is recorded one instrument at a time and every time you record a new instrument you can hear the other ones you have recorded before. This process is called multi-tracking.
  • Editing – is fixing any issues or mistakes you made during the tracking process. You don’t want to rely on this process too much. Focus on the performance during the recording, so you don’t have to edit too much and make the song sound “chopped up”.
  • Mixing – during the mixing process, you combine everything you recorded into a stereo 2-track mix. You make literally thousands of decisions when mixing and the end result is your masterpiece
  • Mastering – the final process of all your tracks coming together. Some artists record and mix in different studios and the quality of each song is different. A mastering engineer’s job is to make all the songs sound like they are from the same album.

Releasing an album

After the hard part of writing and recording is over, don’t think that people would automatically buy your album just because it’s up for sale. Here are a few tips on what to do during your album release to promote it and hopefully win over new fans:

  1. While you are still working on your album, try to promote it.
  2. Release a single a few months in advance.
  3. Shoot a music video.
  4. Send copies of it to news outlets, bloggers, etc.
  5. Plan a release party.
  6. Arrange the distribution.