The Paisley Field’s new EP Oh These Urban Fences... is out today! Making this album has been one of the most rewarding musical experiences of my career. You can download a copy at the link below.
This isn’t my first rodeo for putting out a record independently. Many people don’t realize what a big undertaking it is to put out an album, unless they’ve done it themselves.
As always, I’m here to help.
Here is a basic checklist of to-dos, as well as questions you should be able to answer when you decide to record an album independently.
Of course, there are many different ways to go about recording an album. I know several bands that have successfully recorded and put out an album on a whim. They were just having fun recording some stuff in their living room and boom, it becomes a hit. But that is pretty rare.
What is your budget, and how will you finance it?
Pretty straightforward, but setting a budget is key. You don’t want to run out of money before you lay the vocals down. Even if you’re recording at home, there will probably be other costs that factor in. Make a list. You’ll need engineers, musicians, gear, post-production, etc. You can make an album very cheaply, but it’s smart to know exactly where your money is coming from and where it’s going. If you can’t fund it yourself, or you don’t have label backing, think about using PledgeMusic or Kickstarter.
When and where will you record?
Figure out early whether you’re going to record at home or a recording studio to minimize surprises. Studios often times book far in advance.
Who is going to produce it?
Good production is key. Many bands and artists self-produce, which is great. Plan ahead if you’re self-producing as an individual, as a band, or are bringing in an outside set of ears. You don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, so I find it best to appoint someone to lead the pack.
Who will be recording with you?
Scheduling tends to be a real nightmare for our group. Even if it’s just you recording, you will probably be playing more than one instrument and one part. Know exactly what you will be doing and who will be playing what. Things always happen and change in the studio, but the better you’re prepared, the easier it is to adapt.
How will you release it?
There are many options available to you. ONErpm is a great place to start for digital distribution, if you plan to self-release. If you’re shopping it to a label, keep in mind they generally won’t put out something that has already been released.
How will you promote it?
You could hire a publicist, but if it’s your first record, it’s probably a better idea to promote it yourself with the help of friends. Publicists can be very expensive. Coming up with a solid marketing plan before you step into the studio is a good idea. Start implementing the plan before the record comes out. You might be surprised at the results you get, if you have a solid plan and stick to it.
-Make sure you and your band are well-rehearsed before stepping into the studio.
-Register the songs with your PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) and the copyright office. You can do this all online.
-Decide on the release format- vinyl, CD, cassette, or digital - and where you will manufacture them.
-Take photos and videos along the way to keep your fans engaged.
If you take a few hours to hash these things out, you will feel much more prepared when it’s time to record. Do your research ahead of time, so you can focus on what’s important- the music!
Is there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments!
Remember to pick up a copy of our new record at thepaisleyfields.com/store or listen on spotify!