You’re doing it. You’re making a record. You’ve written the songs, you’ve refined and rehearsed them, you’ve performed them live. And now it’s time to make a real record.
That’s awesome, and it’s an exciting time in an artist’s life cycle to be gearing up to record.
There’s usually only one problem. Money.
So let’s say you’ve got a few thousand dollars and 8-12 songs you want to record. What should you do?
Well, on the one hand, you could start with the cash you have in hand and start calling around to studios and producers and seeing who will say “sure, I can do that.” Believe me, someone will, because they will want your money.
On the other hand, you could find a producer or production company you like, whose results and music you enjoy, and talk to them about the kind of record you want to make, and what it might cost. Doing it this way, you’re likely to hear that a few thousand bucks for a full-length album is unlikely to yield the result you’re looking for.
And short of a fundraising campaign (which we can help you with if you’re interested), you’re faced with a choice. Quality (of production) or quantity (of songs). If you have to make that choice, we nearly always advocate for quality over quantity. Here’s why:
- For one thing, if you’re trying to utilize a professional record to make inroads in the music industry, here’s something I can guarantee you. The people and companies you’re trying to connect with might listen to 60 seconds of the first song you put in front of them before they decide whether or not they’re interested in learning more about you. They’re certainly not going to listen to song #8 before they decide, because they don’t have that kind of time. So hitting them with something REALLY powerful straight off the bat makes a lot more sense than sending them 10 songs produced at a mediocre level due to budget constraints.
- For another, most new music discovery these days happens in playlists, on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, Pandora, etc. That means you might get one song into playlists with a lot of listenership, and it’d better be great. If people are listening to a playlist that has some of the most successful artists in your genre and then your song comes on right after theirs, if it doesn’t stand up in terms of quality level, listeners aren’t going to favorite or follow you or look you up to learn more about you. You’ll have lost your best opportunity to fan build. And without a song produced at a high level, you probably won’t have even been able to make it onto a high-level playlist in the first place.
- There are benefits in the digital era to releasing fewer songs at once but releasing them more frequently. Everything about digital is “feeding the beast,” keeping yourself top of mind with fans and potential fans. In the old school of releasing music, putting a record out and then spending the next 2-3 years touring the world in support of that record was a highly sustainable model. These days, it’s less obvious that that’s the right thing to do. Especially for artists that are budget-limited, recording a smaller group of songs at a high level and then getting great content in front of your audiences can be a much more viable path to financial success.
Don’t get us wrong. We still love albums, and if you have the means (or can raise the funds) to pull it off at a high level, it’s still the most tried and true way of doing things. But if you have to make a choice between quality of production or quantity of songs, we’re big believers in quality at EMG.