Recording and releasing an album is a massive undertaking… If you do it right.
But this is your music, your passion, your life work. Why wouldn’t you want to do it right?
To find out how much you realistically might need to release an album without skimping out, listen to episode ten of the Bandhive Podcast now!
What you’ll learn:
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How You Can Use Competitive Marketing To Get Thousands Of Fans
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
Kellin Quinn/Sleeping With Sirens
American Federation of Musicians
Welcome to Episode 10 of the Bandhive Podcast.
Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. My name is James, and I'm here with Matt Hoos. How's it going today, Matt? I'm doing awesome, James. How's everything been going for you?
Things were going really well here. You know, it's Ah, nice crisp air here in Vermont. It's about 20 degrees cold. I'm sure you have it about the same in Colorado. You know, uh, right now it's a little bit warmer than 20 but it is definitely brisk. And I'm definitely feeling that nice, thin mile high air on my lungs. Oh, yeah, Gotta breathe a little extra. They're absolutely well, I have to say, for those of you who didn't get to hear your introduction episode that's going to be linked to in the show notes.
So if you missed Mats introduction, He is the vocalist and primary songwriter for a live in Barcelona who, of course, will also be in the show notes. So check that out. Those will be online at Band I've Got Rocks, slash podcast and then just click on the link for this episode, which the title will be something along the lines of the true cost of recording and releasing an album. And I just gave it away our topic for the day, which is what d I y Baines really pay for when you're releasing an album the right way just to reiterate what we said in maths introduction episode Aaron, Generous from suburban Sandra and I. We both have extensive experience inthe e touring world, which Matt does as well.
But Matt is also really good at branding and marketing, and that kind of mawr involved stuff that is less logistical and mawr getting your music in front of people. So you'll start to notice as a listener that when Aaron and I are talking, it's gonna be touring focused, maybe like mental health, that kind of stuff, staying, staying on the road. And then when Matt is doing his episodes, which we're gonna be alternating them every other week, Matt will be talking about the things I mentioned branding and marketing and that kind of stuff.
Um, and it may expand beyond that, but we're going to focus on that because that that is your expertise. And we're so glad to have you here on the podcast. Yeah, I honestly, I'm really, really looking forward to all this. And, you know, the intro was a lot of phone and can't wait to see what today holds. Awesome. Well, thank you so much again for joining us, and we'll get right to it. I'm gonna breeze through what most way too many? Almost all D i Y bands dio they record an album.
They mixed the album. They master the album. They make four or five social media posts being like, Hey, this album's coming out next week They played released show and released the album, and they never mentioned that album again. Or maybe they mentioned it once or twice a month for three months. And then it's just on their band camp. And so this whole process, from start to finish, typically would cost anywhere from $400 if you buy a scarlet to I to interface and a couple sm 50 Sevens and mix and use GarageBand or deeper or audacity, some kind of free software and do a super d i y potentially good, but probably not recording in your mom's basement like that's one way to do it.
Or you could get up to about $5000 when you go to a friend's studio down the road. And he does 10 songs for 500 each or something, which is not super cheap, but it's also not super expensive for a full recording From, you know, recording it to editing it to mixing and mastering $500 a song is very cheap, actually. I'm sure you'll find people who will do it for, like, 100 or 200. But those they're going to be the people who are just starting out. And it's like the friend in his mom's basement that is going to do as good a job as you could in your mom's basement.
Eso Absolutely, yeah, but that's what a lot of D I y bands dio And so before we jump into the list of what d I y bands should dio what is the biggest issue you see, with this mat with this process and C s o. I love already that you're using the term D I y band, because in my mind D I y band is like That's still that's still a local band. You know, they're not even at the point where they're doing it themselves. They are.
They're trying to they're curious about You know what they want to dio. But the bottom line is, is whenever you get into a situation like that, you know, the recording gear is not going to be what you need. Yeah, if you want to be taken seriously, If you wanna look like a professional, you want to sound like a professional. Well, then you have to pay the professional bill now, like you were saying that, Can you know there's a very wide variety of what that looks like. You know there's more than one way to skin a cat.
But what I think the primary focus in that approach is like, oh, well, where can we cut costs? And if your first focus is cutting costs, well, then your product is going to be cut. Your first focus always needs to be. How do I put out the best product possible? We're in an industry where we have products and services and our service is playing live music. But our product is going to be what they take home, what they listen to all the time, what they show to their friends.
You wanna put your best foot forward? You wanna make sure that your product being the best is your first focus? How can I make my product the best? And then from there go Okay, How can I make this cheaper without sacrificing quality? And that's, I think, just a perspective that most people starting off don't think about because they're not, You know, Worrell in business, you know, And so, like, rule number one of businesses that money talks. So if you're imagining that, you're you know, you go talk to a producer and he says that something is expensive and you think that it's expensive.
Well, chances are it is expensive. But chances are also that the product that you're gonna receive is gonna be 10 times better than if you're doing it with Joe Schmo and Grandma's basement. With whatever garbage equipment he was able to pick up from RadioShack just to date myself a little bit. Yeah, I like the old RadioShack quarter inch mike like that. It's not even XLR. Uh, Yep. Just straight in. Yeah, that was rough on off switches. Oh, yeah, She's so I think what you're saying about products and services kind of coexisting in this industry is totally on the spot.
And, you know, at the better band your I always love to say your band is a brand. Your brand is a business People will come to expect from your band what they hear. So if your first album is awful, even if you have great songs, great arrangement, great production. But the recording, mixing and mastering aren't great. That's where it stops. You know, people are gonna hear it and say, I'm just not into that. And I should clarify what I'm saying. Production. I'm talking about actual production, the process of producing these songs into an album, a lot of people kind of lump of production and recording into the same thing.
But they are really two different processes that have some overlap. Somebody who calls themselves a producer. But all they do is record and Mix is not truly a producer. Ah, producer would help you pick the songs and form that whole album into a cohesive whole, whereas the other guy is just a recording engineer. And that's one of the differences. If you're doing D II recordings in your basement or local band recordings in your basement, you don't have a producer you can say yourself producing. But what experience do you have producing an album?
You know that's not really something that is going to benefit you or your music. And I know a lot of bands don't have the budget for a producer to come in and sit with them in the studio or do anything like that. But I think maybe, and this isn't even on our outline. That might be the time where you get some local songwriters who you look up to and respect and just asked them like, Hey, if we talk to you 100 bucks, would you come in and sit down with us?
Listen to these 10 songs and just tell us what you think. Find a similar band with a good songwriter and do that absolutely. You know, you could offer to list them as a co producer or give them a small portion of a writing credit. If you use those those tips that feedback. But those are some good options that a D. I. Y band has to get a little bit better with their skills and what they're doing. I really like what you said, though, about, you know, using another musician to sharpen you as a musician as well, you know, reminds me of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis.
You know, both phenomenal writers, and they used to get together and go hang out at pubs, and they would read each other's writing. And at one point when I believe it was C. S. Lewis's writing that was under scrutiny from the vast majority of the public jrr Tolkien actually wrote a piece defending C. S. Lewis is writing, you know, and it was just, you know, a lot of people I don't think realize that we need other artists in our our lives. You know, each and every one of us is a medium for something.
We we put out the art that moves us and that art, you know, being art might move somebody in a different way, which is one of the most beautiful things about art and music as a whole. And so I really like what you said about, you know, bringing in another musician because everybody needs a mentor. You need people that are at your same level. You need people that air ahead of you, and you need people that are behind you because all three of these will be motivators towards pushing you to be the best that you can be to put out the best product that you can put out.
That's so well said. I completely agree with that. And in a way, what they had was a two person mastermind group. When a mastermind group is essentially a group of people who are doing similar things, similar businesses and they get together and talk about their businesses, and they're not afraid of people stealing into those business ideas or you know, their ideas for a book or anything like that, or in this case it would be a song that's not something you really should be worrying about. At this point.
Everything's been done before. Everybody's used a 145 progression. You can't steal a 145 progression. That's just not a thing. I know Selena Gomez, she said. Every you know, every song has already been song. She got it. It's just like with books and plays movies. There are seven basic plot lines, and those seven plotlines are, you know, like 99. 9% of all the stories in history. That's just how it goes. So I think that comparing what C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien what they had going on as there to person mastermind really was beneficial.
I would say to both of their careers, Absolutely as an artist, if you could do that, that would be one very beneficial way. As long as you get somebody who's actually going to push you and motivate you to do something better, look at Matty Mullins and, uh, the guy from sleeping with sirens. Um, Colin Quinn, Yeah, yeah, Kellen Quinn and Matty Mullins. You know, it was like they became best friends. Their posts on social media always included each other. It wasn't even necessarily that their their music ended up influencing each other, and I think it did, because I mean, I think believe they both did songs.
I think Kellen did a song with Memphis and Maddie did a song with sleeping. And so you know, I think in a sense it did help their brand. But it was kind of a similar thing where, you know, are in pop music, how people start dating. They put out one song, and then they break up. But each and every time they put out that song, that song, you know, blows the charts because people want to hear their greatest artistic influences. They wanna hear them collaborate. That's something e mean, that's what zoos One thing it's so amazing about the live concert setting.
And I think that one area that will make the live music setting never die is that there's certain things that you're, you know, like an album is going to be a band playing their best show on their best day with the best audio equipment and the best sound engineer. The best, you know, like all of the best stuff, is, if you wanna hear the best, you listen to the record. If you want to see an experience that you can only see one time, you go to the live show.
And so you know, in a lot of artists like one year warp tour, which you were out there as well. Taking back Sunday, their guitarist flew home because his wife was having a baby. And so, for the final show of the tour guitarist from Every Time I Die and four years strong, filled in while they also have other vocal parts that need to be filled in either one of those guys saying And so the vocalist from Thursday came out and he did all the other vocal parts, you know.
So it was every time I die four years strong, taking back Sunday and Thursday, all sharing the same stage, playing one song and it was beautiful and something that doesn't matter how hard you try. You will never be able to replicate that experience again. That also reminds me of Warped Tour 15. I think again in like, 17 or 18 silver tooth. Silverstein and Bear Tooth both got up on stage and played each other songs and did mash ups and stuff. That's insane. That's amazing. I wish I could have seen that.
Yeah, it was the talk of the town. Those two days and I think they didn't like Minnesota in San Diego or something. Ah, that's so cool. The next time they did it, 17 or 18, I wasn't on the tour of that year, but I heard about it. I was like, Well, I'm glad they're doing that again, but I wish I was there. No joke. Talk about missing the unicorn walking by. You know, that's really something that I have to say. I think Onley ah, work toward type environment would foster.
And it was a nice long set to because they combined their set. And so instead of playing for, you know, a half hour each, they played for, like, an hour or 20 minutes or something, right? Didn't have any change over times or anything. Excellent. So they just played straight through on then. On top of that, you literally have, like, 15 people loading off. Can you imagine? It would be great. Everybody else carrying your baby. That's heaven for a musician. Yeah, yeah, really. Everybody that thinks that making it is getting signed and you know, on getting a record deal and getting all these recoup a ble funds given to you.
It's not the dream is having somebody else carry your gear for you and set everything up. That's the dream, says the vocalist, who has a mike. Yeah, that's because I have the reason I say it is because I help every single one of my band mates get loaded in, get set up. I build drums. I move amps. I re string guitars. I've played everything. So I'm used to doing whatever is needed. Yeah, and you're the one who always doesn't have your own stuff. So they all ask you for help. Exactly.
Everybody else's busy setting up their acts. Effects. I gotta get there sans amp Tone, right? You know, something is broken. My wireless isn't working, you know? You know, how does the more technology you end up adding into the mix, the more problems can go wrong? Oh, yes. Which is why there should always be a redundant backup. Absolutely. Uh, never be afraid of having all those backing tracks start on a crappy 2010 iPod shuffle. Yeah. Never overestimate that. I I mentioned this on a recent episode of the Aaron, but I saw a video of I forget which banned.
It was But it was, you know, like a generic corporate or metal core band, and somebody's going to yell at me like they're not generic. James, their engineer, had the digital mixing desk in the hallway next to the Green Room because it was so hot outside they were playing Las Vegas or somewhere that their digital desk was overheating. Eso Thankfully, with this, all that you have to do is run a Cat five cable. But so he's sitting there with studio monitors, not hearing at all what the audiences hearing doing his best job to make it sound good out there.
But it's a completely different system. It's outside versus he's in the hallway, like with headphones in Hey, had, like, little studio monitors like Carrick Rockets or something ridiculous. Oh my gosh, that's horrible! That's terrible. At that point, I understand having the technology is great, but you gotta have some kind of backup. Like if he had an analog Allen and Heath or sound craft board or something I think would have overheated. Yeah, because all it is at that point is circuits and wires. There's no computer running in there, which I mean, I understand what a computer is circuits and wires, but a computer is much more sensitive to heat.
Yeah, to say it's also a processor. Exactly. It's a processor, that super heat. So and that's why you have a fan. Yeah, but if the air outside is 115 degrees, that fans just sucking in hot air anyway and Vegas is brutal. So to get down to What d I y bands should dio when recording and releasing an album. This list is 2. 5 for three times as long as the typical D i y band list of things, which is what you should not dio. But this one is what you should dio, first of all right, three times as many songs as well be on the album at minimum.
And then you begin preproduction, ideally with another songwriter or producer. If you can afford a producer and cut the shaft, choose which of those songs to record record those songs, mixed the album and master the album, and when I say this, I mean, you pay someone to do those things for you, you record it, but you pay someone to record it. You pay someone to mix it, you pay someone to master it, and that does not necessarily have to be the same person for all three of those things.
If you are in Missouri and you're not in ST Louis or Kansas City, you're like in the middle of nowhere. Missouri and the only recording studio around you does country music and have no idea how to mix the metal record. But they figure out like, Okay, we can do the tracking. Here you go through the tracking, get the file, send them to some mix engineer who you've hired who you know is good at doing metal and is going to kill it. And they will make your album sound like a metal album rather than a country album that has super distorted guitars.
And they'll say, Well, you know what? I'm really good at mixing, but this sounds so good. I don't want to mess it up by not doing the best mastering job. Go talk to this person for mastering. That's it. Just be aware that you don't have to have the same person do all of the steps for recording Mexican mastering. You could totally split that up if an engineer has a problem with that. I would honestly consider not working with them because I think that's just in most cases, very weird.
And that's not how the industry typically works. That's how people who want to have full control of the whole process works. And at that point, are they really doing the best for your music, or are they just trying to get us much money out of you as possible? If they're not willing to say, You know what? I'm good at this, but I'm not as good as that. I can do it. But it's gonna be better if you hire someone else. That honesty and self awareness is something that anybody you work with should have, like Don't work with that, someone who is going to be like, No, I won't let anyone else work on this.
I'm going to do the whole thing continuing while you are working on producing the album itself, you should develop a release plan or marketing plan, and then that's gonna include having branded graphics, which are in line with the album art. So you have enough for social posts and videos and things like that. You should release a single along with the video for that single about a month to a month and a half before the album is gonna drop. And that should be when you actually announce Theobald.
Um, are you with me so far here, Matt? Okay, perfect. From that point on, you should post regularly on social media leading up to the release by regularly I mean every day or at the absolute minimum every other day. But every day is really best, and it can't just be the same thing. You have to have some creative content that will keep people engaged for every show you play between the announcement and the release date, you need to mention the album and where they could get a pre sale or a pre order.
So at your merch table or online on your website, wherever they can get it mentioned that while you're doing this, promote your single to music blog's YouTuber Spotify playlist, er's or anyone like that, you should also have a tour set up in support of the album, so you can then tell people while you're playing shows about the album, whether it's come out yet or not, you can either talk about the pre orders or say Go buy it at the merch table. Download it. Whatever download. What am I talking about?
It's 2019. We have Spotify. Yeah, old habits die hard. But anyway, thes air all marketing opportunities. Ah, show is not the end goal. Playing shows is great, and if you're lucky, you're earning money from playing shows. But they're not the end goal shows are a way to market your music and your band, which is your brand. That's how you get your music out there in front of a new people. That's one of several ways, but probably the easiest way. Actually, which is kind of amazing to say, since touring is so difficult at sometimes. Absolutely.
I think, really, what you're trying to hit home here is that marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, market, marketing, marketing, marketing And you know, if you want to be a musician, you either need to be a marketer or you need to work with marketers and the only way that people hear your product. Like you know, there's all different kinds of marketing. I have direct marketing where I walk up to you, and I say do you want to buy my record for $10? That's direct marketing, very ineffective in today's society, but it definitely has its place.
And when utilized in the right venue or scenario can be really, really helpful. That's what shows are. You know that Z that is the right venue for a CD and direct marketing is, you know, when a band performs singer leave stage and he walks over and says, Here's my album. Please buy it. That's direct marketing when you walk up, you know, First, his performance brought you to the table, which was marketing. And then he's standing at the table, which is marketing because you wanna meet the singer and then he sells you the record directly, which is direct marketing, you know, things like on stage.
You know, I've seen bands do some really awesome things. Um, e can't remember what band it was, but they had, you know, a lot of bands used scrims for a while, and a scrim is a, you know, basically a stand that sits on stage that can say any one of things. Sometimes they say people's band names, you know, people have adapted out of the scrim world, but a lot of bands used them. You know they're on PVC pipe or some bands weld their own scrims together. But one band I saw, they just put a QR code with no explanation whatsoever.
And it was just a giant Q R code. Well, at first I thought this was weird because it kind of distracted me from their set. But then, after a little while, I realized that all these people that had their phones out that we're taking pictures of this band. Not only did they have their camera pointing at the QR code, and so they were immediately able to access what I believe was this band's website and their online store instantaneously. But then also, when they further posted those pictures on social media, then other people then have the opportunity to like, see these photos and look use their QR code Now.
It wasn't like the world's most successful marketing strategy, but it was thinking outside the box, and it was something you know. And that's kind of what I really think. James is trying toe hit home with the marketing with every single step of your of your D. I y process. The end goal is how you are going to get your product, which should be top quality into the hands of a listener. And you do that through marketing. Exactly. And I have to say, I think even if the Q R code wasn't that effective, I think that's a genius move just because, like you said, it's thinking outside the box.
And that is how people discover the next big, most effective thing. Absolutely. People get desensitized to repetition. You know, I don't pay attention when TV commercials Come on. I don't pay attention. When the radio plays ads, I do pay attention to something that I'm like. I have never seen that before, and now it's popping up. Or, you know, I'm going, you know, I'm sitting in this. I'm gonna be watching these guys for 30 minutes. I may as well pull out my phone, which automatically has a QR code reader in it now and boom, you know.
So it was just ingenious, even though it wasn't necessary. The most successful thing, you know, on that very note yesterday I was playing video games and it was on a custom map and there was a QR code on the map. I'm like, I've never seen that before. I think it's such a coincidence that you're talking about this now because literally I have the same experience yesterday in a video game that's crazy. And I pulled it up and it was a YouTube video of some like Russian music and, like, how is this at all related to the game?
But I'm sure that whoever made that map made the song or in some way related to the artist that did that song, and they're like, Oh, I'm just gonna put this in here And then people will hear the song, you know, get those YouTube place. You are proof that it was actually you're living proof. Yeah, and I just admitted it to be published. Yes, part of all this marketing to is you have to be thinking two steps ahead. It's like chess. You have to be ready to adapt at a seconds notice, but you also have to have a plan in place.
So by the time you release, you're single and you know the album's coming out in a month and a half and you have everything laid out. You already have your posts for the next month and a half, scheduled or at the very least, if it's something like live content when you're posting from a show or something, you're going to do a live stream. You can't schedule that stuff yet, but you have it on the calendar on your social media list. Basically, that okay on January 23rd, we're going to do a live stream at this time, and you have you have all that kind of stuff planned out.
It's not literally like, Oh, I'm gonna make a post about the album today. No, you plan everything out with intent because part of marketing is you want to add value to people, and that could be really difficult to do as a band, because you're not gonna go out and post A you know how to list ical or something. But you can build a personal connection by doing things like live streams or behind the scenes videos or Q and A or something like that. And so, even though that's not necessarily adding value in the traditional sense that a marketer would say, you should add value, you're still building a personal connection and that is what will really help your band in the long run.
As part of marketing, I mentioned this earlier. You should be promoting your music toe bloggers, you tubers Spotify playlist. There's all that kind of stuff, and when you're playing shows, you should also be reaching out to local outlets as ineffective as they might be in the 21st century. Hit up the local radio stations, and I'm not talking about big commercial stations. But like a college radio stations hit up the local weekly newspaper because pretty much everywhere has, like a weekly arts and events newspaper or something of the sort that you can submit your show, too, and just have it in their show listing.
Look up online communities like here in Vermont, we have an online community called Big Heavy World, and they've got their own local radio station. That's all about local music. And so chances are, if you're playing in a city that you've never played before, you're going to be playing with local bands. So say, Hey, we're playing with these bands. Can you mention it on your on your radio show? And they'll probably do it. I think That's awesome, too, because, I mean, even even if they say no, you're gonna be slowly but surely building a relationship with these contacts And, you know, like eventually my band is based out of Spokane, Washington, and you know, we played out of there for years and years and years until the first time that we were played on a mainstream radio station and it took a really, really long time for us to get there, and they knew who we were beforehand.
We knew there radio DJs ahead of time. We had played in, you know, festivals with band, you know, with these guys, before they all knew who we were. It doesn't necessarily mean that they were just gonna throw us up on the radio station. But then when it got to the point where we were putting out a product that was radio quality, we were putting out enough content on a regular basis that it was beneficial to their brand to incorporate us and you know, so back with what you were saying and adding value, it's that the more value that you're adding to yourself your brand, your business, your product, the mawr, other businesses and products and individuals will coexist with yours more naturally. Better.
You know, that's how you're able to pick up a record label. You know, it's that A and R reps coming and they say, Oh, look, this album is really good. People like it. These guys do an awesome job on their own marketing. They know how to release an album correctly. They're working with top class producers. They have touring experience. Sure, I'll put my name on them every once in a while. We'll put him on tour with one of these other flagship bands that we have. But for the most part, it's all on you.
It's all about that adding value to your product, adding value to your brand. Yeah, and I think you hit the nail on the head there. The question you should ask as a non artist is not. How can they help me or what can I get from them? But what can I do for them? So perfect example There the record label. If you can't do anything for them, even if your music is great, they're not going to sign you. But if you can show them Hey, you know we have 20,000 Spotify streams and we've been touring for two years solid.
We've played 160 shows in those two years, so that's about 80 shows a year. This is how much money we've made. We need a little push, that kind of stuff. Having essentially a history for your business and tracking all that kind of stuff is what will get them to consider you business metrics. Yeah, and I don't know. That's something that Aaron does for his band, Suburban samurai, like he can go back to day one and he has a list of every single show they've ever played. I wouldn't be surprised if you or somebody else in a light in Barcelona has something very similar to that.
Yep, absolutely every dollar spent every dollar that came in every mile driven. I mean, if you don't have those, you know, like a big thing that a lot of musicians don't think about, and this is a little bit off topic, but I think very important is that they don't have in order for you to get a loan from a bank, you need a provable income in order to have a provable income. You have to have paid taxes on that income. So for all you musicians who are thinking, Oh, cool.
I make this money and I don't have to pay taxes on it. You're right. Congratulations. But you also will never be able to get a loan for a home because you're never going to be able to prove if you made $200,000 on a show and you didn't tell the government that's between you and them. But you also won't be able to take that money, put it in a bank, qualify for a home line and live out the rest of your days before the I. R s is knocking on your door.
So you have to really think about, you know, like keeping detailed logs of every single thing that you do in the long run. You know, you don't wanna pay money, you know, like necessarily on money that you make because most of us are reinvesting our money back into our business. So you keep detailed logs. Yeah, chart how much money you make You chart all your expenses when you pay your taxes, you go onto the next year and then you can actually really see how your brand is building year over year, you could say, Oh, last year we made $15,000.
All this. Next year we made $20,000 suite. That's a 25% increase over last year, and you could go back and look and say, Oh, you know what we played. The same amount of shows this year is we did last year with a 25% increase. That means that we might be getting more popular in specific markets. Then you could go to those shows get you know, a lot of promoters if they are good at what they dio, they have exact numbers of every single thing that you need is well, including attendance, what bands played, how much you get paid and so on and so forth.
All it really is is making sure you maintain a good communication log and basically get every single number that you think you might need because you probably dio yeah, bands who might not have any idea where to get started. I would say the number one thing you should do is have a separate account for business expenses, which in most places. If your band is a sole proprietorship or a partnership, it doesn't have to be a specific business account. You could literally just open a second personal bank account and probably get by on that.
Ask a C p A. But in most states, that's okay. And then just use, um, accounting software like QuickBooks is 10 or $15 a month. QuickBooks is great. Yeah, it is. And wave APS is actually free. Both of those will be so beneficial for tracking your expenses. I use an app called Trip Log, which does my mileage. It costs me $30 a year, which that alone is a business right off and then all the mileage that I use for business. I get to write that off a swell, so it's like a double whammy right off as faras tracking the metrics from shows.
This is where you're most likely gonna have to get down into spreadsheets unless you're using software like Master Tour or something. But that's ridiculously expensive. For any D I y band, it would come out to about $600 a year. I think it's $50 a person per year. It's a lot. Yeah, There is a new software out there, which I'm not gonna name drop just yet because it's very new, and I haven't gotten to poke around it much. Um, but they do have a free plan, at least for now.
And if it's something that I think is reliable and worth it, I will definitely mention it in the future. On the podcast. Like Matt said, Track everything you possibly can. There is no piece of information. I shouldn't say. There's no piece of information. You're probably not going to care how many grilled cheeses were sold by the bar, but unless, of course, you have a back end deal. Yeah, unless you're the pizza underground. Move Macaulay Culkin. And it's how many pizzas were sold. Now to kind of get to what this whole process could cost for a D. I y.
Band to properly release an album and record it and market it. You're gonna be looking at anywhere from 2000 to $40,000 and 2000, I have to say is really, really, really low because that's assuming you can do a good recording yourself and already have the equipment. So you know if one of your bandmates or you yourself are recording engineer and you put in about $1000 of work for that album for the actual costs. And at that point, we would be talking about consumables like drum heads, strings, all that kind of stuff thinking, Okay, you're already a good recording engineer who could do this, and you're just gonna do it for free.
You just have your actual costs, and then you drop $1000 on marketing. That's pretty much a drop in the bucket budget. And I hate to say it, but you're gonna need to spend a lot more than that to make a big impact. And I don't want to say that the money you spend on marketing multiplies like if you spend 1000, that's only, you know, a quarter as effective as spending 2000. But in a way, it is because the more people see something like you were talking about this earlier. Matt, The more people see something, the more familiar it becomes to them.
So if you spend $1000 on advertising and let's say 500 people see it twice, maybe 25 of them. Check it out. But if you spend $2000 in advertising, target those same 1000 people and they all see it four or five times you might have 102 150 people. Check it out. There are lots of factors like How good is your ad? How good is your music? What are you targeting? How does your copy your text? Speak to them. In a sense, if you spend money on marketing, the more you spend, the more effective it will become.
If you do it properly, that's how it should be, at least or getting up to the 40,000 range. That's looking at spending 15 to $20,000 on the recording process, hiring a producer, hiring a recording engineer, a mixing engineer and a mastering engineer, and having it done truly, professionally and getting the best quality product you can and then dropping another 20 to 25,000 on touring and marketing. Because touring chances are you're not going to make money. If you're lucky, you'll break even until you're Mawr established, which is definitely a lot harder to do when you're D I y as well, you know, and we haven't even hit on like some of the small costs.
But I've I've seen artists that have ranged all the way from, and there's an artist done in Texas that they made all their drums. They, uh, tracked all their own guitars. They did everything themselves with just basic stuff. Then they sent it off to an engineer. They re amped all their things Adam swap out for, you know, all all their many drums for live drums. And then, you know, he sent it back and it was like, I want to say, $3500 later they had a top shelf product, and, inversely, I have seen I. There was a gal I met a few years ago to Music Festival, who's a country artist.
She needed studio musicians to come and record her entire album, and it waas $40,000 for the musicians for the studio time for the mix, for basically the finished product out the door, including all of her artists. That was without any marketing money or a physical printing of the disks. You know, that was eso like, you know, one thing to be aware of is like the area that you're trying to record she recorded in Nashville. So they're all union musicians. Um, and that's where a majority of that huge, huge bill comes from is that you're literally, you know, in a town that saturated with musicians where musicians can make a good living, even just playing bars, it's gonna cost a lot more versus if you live somewhere like James was mentioning away earlier.
If you you know you're in the middle of Missouri, you don't have a good quality recording studio. Go spend the $250 on some gear. Get the $300 software by the 50 to $100 plug ins, do it yourself and then send an email to five producers that you like their work shop around, make sure you get some prices from all of them. Maybe one guy really loves mixing, you know, maybe his total cost is $10,000 but he really loves mixing so he'll do. Mixing, which is a majority of the work for 3000 and maybe another guy is also 10,000 out the door.
But he doesn't like mixing it all, and so his master is only 3000 Well, now you can get this guy to mix it. And that got a master it for $6000. You saved four grand. You have mawr big names that have worked on your product, which in the industry looks better on you. More people take you seriously the more you know, if I go on, I say, like, Oh, yeah, Cam'ron mitts did this one and and Joey Sturgis to that and, you know, and you know, like Rick Rubin, you know, produced my album and people are just going to listen to it based off the names, those air marketing points.
There are so many of those little tiny costs and there's good ways. You have to analyze everything you know. You wanna shop around when you go to the grocery store, you can look at multiple brands on the shelf right next to each other. That's not how it is in the business world. If you wanna look at separate brands, you gotta look in different places. Yeah, and I would say look at established engineers and take a look at people in other countries because this can all be done online these days.
And you might be able to take advantage of exchange rates. So, for example, if you find somebody where their native currency is really weak, they're most likely going to charge you in their native currency and for them something, you know, let's say if a mixed engineer in the states was gonna charge you $3000 it's gonna take him two weeks to do the work. And so he's making $3000 and that's gonna cover his living expenses for a month. You know, his mortgage, his bills, groceries, all that. If you reach out to somebody in, let's say, Australia and their living expenses, I know the Australian dollars a little weaker.
Let's just ballpark it. Say his living expenses air also $3000 a month. So he's going to charge you $3000. But that is on Lee, 2052 U. S. Dollars. You can take advantage of stuff like that. It's not always going to be a ratio like that, because other countries use currencies that are just so inflated where, like a loaf of bread costs, you know, 300 whatever you call it's rupees. Yeah, something like that. Now that's a good point, though. I actually there was a band up in Spokane where they just they put it a new music video of little, maybe a couple months ago.
But there he ended up finding a guy in Indonesia, and that guy found actors, found props, filmed, edited and sent him a finished product. For I think it was less than $300. It wasn't the world's greatest music video, but I've seen bands on major record labels put out far worse music videos as well. So there's a lot of truth to shopping around. Yeah, basically, a lot of the music industry comes down to being scrappy and working with what you have and having this attitude of just figure it out.
You know, part of Van Hive is we're here to help people figure things out, were easily and that's why we're talking about this stuff. And we'd love to have you ask questions and, you know, join the Facebook group, which if you go to band, I've got rocks slash group, you can find us there, but really it all comes down to being self sufficient, like that's one of the number one things that will help you as a band. One book I wanted to mention earlier when we were talking about contracts and working with people.
It's called The Go Giver by Bob Berg, and that is an amazing book about how helping other people and not asking for anything in return. Well, just make them more likely to end up helping you down the road. And that is something that I think every artist, every promoter, every manager, every record label owner or even employees should read. There's so much of this attitude in the music industry of May me, me, And that's not what the most successful artists really are about. There's some there exceptions, but many of the most successful artists have gotten where they are just by being good people and working hard.
Yes, that means you're gonna have to spend money to do a music released the right way. But if you wanna have a good product, you have to invest in it. And that is, I think, our main point for this. The true cost of recording and releasing an album consume astronomical. You know, there are people who $40,000 a year that's what they earn in a year. There are people who aren't half that or a quarter of that. That is a lot of money. I'm not denying that, even to me, that's a ton of money.
But that is an investment in your future and your career as an artist. Figure out how to be crafty with it. Figure out what you can do yourself, but don't be afraid to outsource it and have it done right the first time. So many artists make a simple mistake. It is far better to let professionals do professional work than it is for you to try and cut costs and do it yourself. I am not a video editor. I am not a cinematographer. I'm not a photographer. I don't know how to hold the camera for filming a music video the way that it should be.
So I'm not going to do my music videos, even though it might save me Ah, $1000 on recording costs. So what you need to do is let professionals be professionals. Don't be afraid to spend a little bit of money to get a quality product. We function in the capitalist economy, where if you pay somebody $1500 from music video, and you don't like the product that you get Well, then you can complain and may possibly get more work, possibly get a refund, or you can then take it and send it to somebody else, and they can refine it.
But if you do it yourself, you're limited to your own capabilities. And chances are you don't wanna be a cinematographer. You wanna be a musician, so stop trying to be a cinematographer. You can stimulate other parts of the business. Go help another starving artist. You know so many artists nowadays, they do graphic design while they're on the road. They do artist management. They do marketing. They do all sorts of things. Utilize these people. It doesn't matter what part of your career you're in. Most of them have experienced that you can learn from, and a lot of them will tell you pay money to other people to do it, because then that frees up your time to do what you're supposed to be doing, which is writing music. Exactly.
And if Aaron were here on this week's episode, he would say, D I Y is not do it yourself. It is decided yourself. I would go one step further. Change it to delegate it yourself. If you can't do it, delegate it if you are too busy to do it or if somebody else can do it better, even though you could do it, delegate it. I think a lot of people think that, you know, like, here's a basic idea. If somebody is going to charge you $10 an hour to make a music video for them, you know, we'll use that really low figure and you make $15 an hour.
You goto work and make 15 bucks an hour and pay him 10 bucks an hour because then you're making $5 an hour versus if you did it yourself, then you're not making any money and you're not going to get is good of a product. You have toe look at the decisions, kind of in terms of it's like, Oh, yeah, if I if that guy does it, it's gonna cost me this much money. But you're also gonna make this much money, you know? And so you like, look at your figures, see how you're going to come out.
Then you could make educated decisions from their 100% Before we go, I think one last thing that I should mention is there's an app called wine. ABB y N A B stands for you Need a budget and personally, I recommend that everyone uses this for their personal finance. It's like $84 a year you can Onley by eerily, but it's 100% worth it. There's a free 30 day trial, that kind of stuff, and as part of that and this is what I do, I have my personal budget and they allow you to create multiple budgets.
So I have one for my business is, Well, it doesn't cost me anything extra to put in the business budget, but it's there. I can look at it and essentially what they teaches Onley spend money that you currently have. Don't plan ahead, say I'm gonna get paid in two weeks and then I'm gonna buy this or, you know I'm gonna buy it now in my credit card, I get paid in two weeks and I'll pay it off. Onley spend money that you currently have, but more importantly, it really lets you see where your money is going.
So I think that it's incredibly important for personal finance, and I would suggest it alone on that. But also, and this again goes hand in hand with having a business account at the bank for your band. Have a budget for your band and look at it. Refer to it. Use it. And that way you can say, for example, you know what? We don't have the money for music video right now or recording an album. It's going to cost this much. And then in wine AB, you could go in and set a goal in that category, for example, music, video production or record production or whatever.
Put that category in and set a goal, saying I want to get $8000 by June 2020 and then we're gonna hit the studio. This app will, in a way, keep you accountable to do that. So go ahead, check that out, go to Bandhive dot rocks slash 10. That's the number 10 10 for the show notes and check it out from there. One last thing that we did not cover yet that also would fall under this $40,000 is physical pressings of albums, which are becoming less and less important, but they actually are outselling downloads.
Now, if you want to do all screaming, that hardly cost anything. You can get your music online for, like, 20 or $30. But if you want to do a physical release, be prepared to drop 1000 2000 to get it done right and get a decent run of CDs or vinyl made. If you spend less than that, your party unit cost is just gonna be insanely high. You know, you could get 100 CDs for like, $300 but then you're looking at $3 a CD. Basically, the important thing is to whenever you're contacting whoever is gonna press your music, you want to figure out where the discounts hit.
Yep, you know, it might be $300 for 100 cedis, but you might be able to get 500 CDs for $700 you know? And so you're getting, you know, five times the product for only 120% of the, you know, 120% increase. And so that's what you know, just basically asked where the discounts come. You know, like never be afraid to ask for a discount, you know, because chances are most of these businesses have heard of it before. They have that as a part of their model. And that's, you know, those are the areas, like when you want to cut costs, do it that way, don't cut costs by, you know, skipping out on your product or doing something yourself literally cut products by doing smart business.
And don't be the guy who needs 200 CDs and you don't want to spend $700. So you buy 100 CDs and then six months later by another 100 when for that same cost, you could have had the 500 cities upfront. If you really have a need to facilitate when it comes toe printing, you know T getting C. D s. If you have people that are gonna buy those 100 CDs, then printing 200 shouldn't be an issue at all, because you're almost instantaneously going to make your money back. And that's the thing again, it comes back to you.
This is an investment I know. Tacking this on at the end is kind of like an afterthought. I would say that in these days it almost is like I know a band called New Politics that they released new album about a month and a half ago, and it's only online. You can download it or you can stream it. There is no physical release, and this is an album that was produced by John Feldman. It's huge, you know, they are not a D I band, but they looked at the cost of their management, most likely looked at the cost and said, It's not worth it to make CDs, which I'm bumped because I would love to buy that C D. And I'm probably not going to buy the MP three download.
I'll just stream it. But at the same time, if somebody buys a CD, they're going to listen to that CD over and over and over again for the rest of their lives. If they like it, if they don't whatever, they might sell it or something. But you make money on it once. What is screaming? Yeah, the pay rate is abysmal from most streaming providers, but you will be making money off of that even if it's just fractions of a penny for the rest of that albums Life guess how much money post Malone made this year on Spotify alone.
I have no clue. Yes, above or below five mil above above 12 12 mil higher. Who 30? He made $27 million off of Spotify with I believe it was 300 million minutes streamed. Or some I mean 30 billion plays or something like that. That's massive. This is absolutely possible to do from an album release, but he's also next year probably gonna make at least still another like 3 to $5 million off of something he released last year. Normally, CD sales fall off really quickly, and so that's the demand to keep putting out new music.
But with Streaming, it's like You know me, I'm a nineties kid. I was love going back in gym and some old tunes, and Spotify allows those artists to continue monetizing off of their older music. So that is one very cool thing about it, and especially with, for example, nineties bands, their CDs air everywhere. You can find them used at pretty much any CD shop for like four or $5. Any. Like video games. Shop will probably have a rack of CDs, too. That's somewhere in the corner that just people brought in like, yeah, whatever.
Four or $5. The artist gets nothing from that. They made a fraction of $10. 20 years ago. The standard pay is, what, 9. 1 cents per song for the songwriter and then the artist Royalties negotiated. So that depends. Both say it's a 10 song album. The songwriter makes 91 cents on the sale of that city 20 years ago. They get nothing now. If somebody listened to that song 20 times a year for the last 20 years, we're talking about 400 plays. They probably would have made that same 9. 1 cents, if not more, over those 400 plays off 10 songs. Because that's 4000 streams 400 plays of the album.
I think it would. I think that would end up being like 10, 10 cents or maybe 11 cents, because it's 0. 473 right now or something like that. So just to wrap things up here, we've gone down some rabbit holes in this episode. But our overall overarching point is spend money where you need to spend it. And don't be afraid. It's an investment. And if you don't spend it now and you decide in two or three years for your next album to spend that money, that's two or three years that you could have been pushing your music hard, but either it got a bad reaction or you were afraid to push it because it wasn't up to proper standards or you just didn't have the money to push it.
Do you have any last thoughts to add to that map before we sign off as a quick bullet point? Recap. You know, spend money. It is possible to record an album for very cheap, and it is possible to record it for very expensive. So shop around. If you're going tohave, guest vocalists featured. Remember that that's going to cost money. If you're going to physically press CDs, that's going to cost money. If you physically press CDs, you need album art. You need to have all of your ducks in a row.
There's a lot of small little steps that you need to make sure that you have If you're doing things digitally, you need to have digital art. If you're releasing singles, you need to have single art, so there's always going to be small costs that you forget about. So the best idea is to just always budget for Mawr than you think it's going to cost. If you over budget, then you make money in the margins. If you under budget, then you lose money in the margins. That's a game of ketchup, and you'll always lose that game.
I moved cross country last year, and I purposely over budget. It costs me like $700 less than I thought it would, and I was amazed. So definitely it's the same for an album release over budget intentionally. That way you're much less likely to go over, and you will have a much more realistic expectation of what you can dio that wraps it up for. Episode 10 of the podcast Just wanted to say thanks again to Matt for joining us. It's an absolute pleasure to have him here, along with Aaron.
Make sure you tune into the next episode any time after 6 a.m. Next Tuesday, that one's gonna be really fun because we are talking about what data points you contract at your shows to get you better shows and make more money while you are on the road. So that will be next Tuesday, 6 a.m. Eastern time in your favorite podcasting app. Wherever you're listening to us right now. One last thing. Head on over to Bandhive dot rocks slash group to join our Facebook community For artists just like you.
As always. Thanks so much for listening. Have a great week and keep rocking.
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