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Songwriting Tips

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Preparing your music for release.

Friday, November 8th, 2013

So you have written a good song and have had it professionally produced. Now what? This is a question that I think most songwriters struggle with. What are the next steps that we need to take to get our music in the right hands or how do we digitally distribute our music online?

The ease of releasing your material as an independent artist these days is amazing. With the advancements in technology and the internet, anyone can release their material themselves as an independent artist. Sure, it takes hard work and a little bit of know-how, but I’ll try to make easy for you.

These are some important key steps that you need to take to get your music released professionally to get your songs heard!

masteringStep 1: Get your recordings mastered by a pro.

Once your songs have been professionally produced by a team of session musicians and you have had the songs professionally mixed, it’s important to get your songs mastered by an industry expert in engineering. Mastering is the final step of production which takes your final mix and brings it up to Broadcast Quality for digital release and radio airplay. Without the last step of mastering, your recording will not sound professional or have the final polish it deserves prior to release.

Step 2: Prepare your album artwork.

Taylor-Swift-RedHaving professional head-shots or artistic images to help develop your image as an artist will go hand in hand with your release. The imagry that you create artistically will help you with music marketing and will present yourself more professionally as an artist.  In this case, people will “judge the book by it’s cover” despite what lessons we’ve been taught about that. Having eye catching album design will only help you promote your music both digitally and physically for album release and digital release.

Recognizable images to post along with your release to social networking websites will help catch prospective listeners attention and will also help develop artist branding. After all, music and art go hand in hand. Make sure your artwork is related somehow with your songs message and theme so that it is a clear representation of you as an artist. If you are a country singer-songwriter, you don’t want your artwork to be industrial looking. Catch my drift?

Step 3: Get the UPC code for your recordings.

code-2A UPC code is a specific code that is assigned to your recording so you can keep track of physical record sales when you release your recordings for sale through online stores such as Amazon. Most CD duplication companies will offer the UPC code as an add on to their services for a small fee.

Step 4: Set up social networking sites and start developing a fan base.

Prepare yourself for digitally releasing your material by creating a Youtube channel, Facebook page, Twitter account and commit to release at least one new song every month. Also through these free social networking sites, you can use this a tool to constantly update your status and begin to engage an audience and develop a fan base. If you are a performing singer/songwriter, also create a mailing list so you can keep your audience informed about new releases, upcoming performances and even fundraising campaigns for future recordings.

Step 5: Pick a digital music distribution company to release your material.

Some digital music distribution companies that reach out to independent artists for digital release of recordings and help you sell your music online include:

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cdbaby-music-store-logo

 

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Tunecore: http://www.tunecore.com

Some of Tunecore’s key services they offer include releasing your recordings to digital stores including iTunes, Spotify, Google play and Amazon mp3. You can also link your music to online radio stations including iHeartRADIO and Rhapsody.  I can say that I’ve personally used Tunecore myself for my personal release and I am a happy client. They make it easy to manage your sales and releases through your own online account and can easily transfer royalties and sales to your paypal account. You can also keep track of monthly record sales or individual single sales.

cdbaby: http://www.cdbaby.com

With cdbaby, you can digitally distribute your material to iTunes, Spotify, Google play and Amazon mp3. This site is also a great resource to showcase your release and send people a direct link to checkout your tunes through your cdbaby page that they create for you to showcase your material online.

DiscMakers: http://www.discmakers.com

DiscMakers main services have always included CD Duplication and Replication for physical cds to have in hand to sell at shows. They have expanded their services to include digital distribution to online stores including iTunes, Spotify, Google play, cdbaby and Amazon mp3. If you need help with your cd album design, they also offer creative services that can help you get your album artwork in order for your release. Discmakers covers copyright services as well as additional promotional services once your material is released. A great one stop shop for post production!

Songwriter’s Challenge: Write a Standard Form Song

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Beginners Guide To Song Form Part 2

After receiving such great feedback from you guys, we’ve decided to continue the songwriting form series. Last time we touched on the AABA format using Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” as an example, and today I want to focus on the most popular song structure-ABABCB.

Understanding Song Structure Basics: ABABCB Song Form

The ABABCB Song Form:

The most common song form is the ABABCB form, which is a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus song. The “A” section is the verse, where the story is told. The “B” section is the chorus, which is the hook and the highlight of the song. A standard verse chorus can often become tiresome, so adding a “C” section, also known as the bridge, adds variation. The bridge is a musical departure from the expected-often summing up the song-thus supplying new momentum to the final chorus. Some popular examples for ABABCB songs are “What’s Love Got To Do With it” by Tina Turner, “Girl” by The Beatles, and “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry. (more…)

New At Studio Pros: Ringtones!

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

300px-Ringtone_symbolWe’re happy to announce a new way to enjoy your songs! For as little as $25, we’ll create a ringtone version of your song good for iPhones and Android cellphone devices.

Our ring tones are 40 seconds long and are available in mp3 format for Android mobile devices, or m4r for iPhone devices! Customize your own ringtone today and personalize your ring!

This service is available when ordering our mixing or production services by clicking on ‘alternate mix version’ within your account.

Record an EP

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

What is an EP?

An EP by definition, is short for extended play (EP), which consists of more music than a single recording but is too short to qualify as a full studio album. EP’s originally became popular with indie bands and punk bands in the UK, but have now gained popularity in the music scene with the changes of the music industry today.

These days, the idea of a full length album and the old fashioned sense of buying an album has chanced. Listening from start to finish in one drive or sitting has become almost obsolete (with the exception of those few music geeks like myself).

With the advancements of the digital world, people are simply buying and downloading their favorite songs as singles off of albums instead of purchasing the full album from iTunes or other digital distribution companies. Generally speaking, EP’s are around 25 minutes of music and include 3-6 songs as part of the project.

As an independent artist, the EP is the way to go for a debut release as it’s more affordable and you can focus on your best songs and see the response you are getting from listeners before investing in a full length album.

LP vs. EP

LP, by definition is short for Long Play (LP). This stemmed from vinyl records and the old school phonograph records in days gone by. LP’s would also be considered full length albums in today’s terminology and typically consist of at least 9-12 songs on a single album project. This is what the traditional album would be called.

Release an EP with Studio Pros

As the popularity for EP’s continues to grow, we urge independent artists to focus on their best “cream of the crop” songs and start investing in getting those produced. We have a lot of experience in helping artists develop their sound, style, vision and help in translating those ideas into fully produced recordings.

Check out a recent EP that has been released by Charlie Barclay and produced by Studio Pros:
https://studiopros.com/featured-artist-charlie-barclay

Our music production packages consist of live full band instrumentation, including live drums, bass, 3-6 guitars, 2-4 keyboards and mixing/mastering by a Grammy nominated engineer.

Send us your demo to our Free Project Consultation Page to get started today: http://studiopros.com/free-consultation-form.php

Stop putting your music on the back burner. If you are interested in getting your songs professionally produced with our production team, contact one of our available producers at: 1-310-928-7776 or email us at: info@studiopros.com. Record an EP this April 2013, and get $100 towards each song! Contact us for more info.

Songwriter’s Challenge: Write a Verse Refrain Song

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Beginners Guide to Song Form

This week, I thought it would be a great chance to share some insight I’ve learned in my songwriting education from the Berklee College of Music and challenge you to write a song yourself!

One of the first decisions that needs to be made when writing a song, is the song form. There are several popular songwriting forms, but this week we’re going to focus on the AABA Song Form.

Understanding Song Structure Basics: AABA Song Form

The AABA Song Form:

This is my personal favorite song style, though it’s often overlooked. This AABA form is also commonly referred to as Verse Refrain form. A refrain is one or two lines that are repeated at the end or the beginning of the verse, tying the song together. Some popular examples of AABA songs are “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by Carole King, and “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon.

I want to dive a little deeper into the song “Still Crazy After All These Years” listen below:

One of the reasons this song is so timeless is because of the amazing lyric writing and the verse development. The spotlight is always on the line “still crazy after all these years”, but Simon did an amazing job of keeping interest in the story up to those lines. Each verse in the song has a different focus.

The first verse focus is on meeting an old lover, the second verse focus is on aging, and the third verse puts you in the present moment-yet these three different moments all end with “still crazy after all these years”. With each verse you are growing with the artist-you are at the bar while he is talking to his old girlfriend and he realizes that they never grew up- they are still crazy after all these years. You leave the bar with him where he dwells on nostalgia and recognizes he’s still crazy after all these years. Finally, you go home with him, where he thinks about his future and how he’s still crazy after all these years.

Rhyme scheme is another factor that makes this verse refrain so successful. Notice there are no rhymes until the second to last line, making the rhyme scheme XXXAA. (I’ve noted this in the lyrics so you can see it) Since there are no rhymes, when the rhyme does come at the fourth and fifth line, your ears are so happy to hear it, that it puts the emphasis on the refrain.

I want to challenge you all this week. I want you to write three verses ending with a refrain, where each verse refrain pushes the story forward.

Here are some tips for Verse Refrain AABA Songwriting:

1. Start with the title- starting with the refrain line will give you a chance to brainstorm about different verse ideas.

2. Move the story forward through the verses. There are many ways to go about this, but some easy ones are telling a story through time (chronological order) or telling the story through different people’s perspectives.

3. Have the rhyme scheme support the song, try using the same XXXAA rhyme scheme that Paul Simon did.

4. Borrow from the best. Pick your favorite verse refrain song, and study what that artist did. Then try and replicate it in your own way.

Check out Paul Simon’s original lyrics for a reference of the songwriting form:

“Still Crazy After All These Years”

A: Verse 1:

I met my old lover on the street last night (X)
She seemed so glad to see me, I just smiled (X)
And we talked about some old times (X)
And we drank ourselves some beers (A)
Still crazy after all these years (A)

A: Verse 2:

I’m not the kind of man, who tends to socialize (X)
I seem to lean on old familiar ways (X)
And I ain’t no fool for love songs (X)
That whisper in my ears (A)
Still crazy after all these years (A)

B:

Four in the morning
Crapped out
Yawning
Longing my life away
I’ll never worry
Why should I?
It’s all gonna fade

A: Verse 3:

Now I sit by my window and I watch the cars (X)
I fear I’ll do some damage one fine day (X)
But I would not be convicted (X)
By a jury of my peers (A)
Still crazy after all these years (A)

I challenge you to put together some lyrics in this Verse:Refrain AABA structure, and also play with the XXXAA rhythm scheme. Happy Songwriting!

-Natalie Smith

Weekly Special: New Male Vocalist MG for $125

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

We are happy to continue to expand our team of vocalists. Meet MG!

MG is a great choice for a contemporary vocal ranging from pop, electronic, adult contemporary, rock, folk and jazz. (Most comfortable range: A2-E4 Baritone/Tenor)

Try MG’s vocals out on your song for just $125 with coupon code: newvox125

Click here to listen to MG’s demo reel and to order online!

You can place the order now to take advantage of the rate and upload files later. This special expires March 1, 2013.

Valentines Gift From Studio Pros

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Show yourself some love this Valentines Day! I wanted to offer YOU a special gift because we love our clients here at Studio Pros.

Order a Budget Production Package and get a $150 gift towards that project from our team. Get started on a new project that you’ve been thinking about and apply the $150 coupon towards vocal tuning, backing vocals, or an additional instrument of your choice.

To get the gift, simply place a production order here and add on an additional service:
http://studiopros.com/music-production.php

Use this coupon code to receive the $150 gift towards your production: valentine13

This offer expires February 15th.  If you need help placing an order, give us a call at: 1-310-928-7776 from 7am-5pm PST.

Studio Pros Welcomes Natalie Smith

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Studio Pros is expanding!  Along with that comes additional customer service on weekends. Meet Natalie Smith.

Natalie is a Berklee College of Music graduate with a degree in songwriting and music production.  She is also performing around the Los Angeles area and has released a few albums of her own. She has a lot of knowledge when it comes to music production and what it takes to write a great song.

I know many of you are working on your music projects on the weekends, so we’re happy to extend our available office hours to include Saturday and Sunday from 9am-3pm PST.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

I wanted to share a song with you that we just produced in the holiday spirit.

Listen to Bjorn Lynn’s version of Jingle Bells
(Produced by Studio Pros with Shelby on vocals)

Wishing you a safe and warm holiday season filled with lots of laughs, good cheer and the company of the people you love.

-The Studio Pros Team

Winner of the $1000 Production Giveaway from the Taxi Road Rally announced!

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Elad Fish (CEO) and Keeley Bumford (Associate Producer) at the Taxi Road Rally in Los Angeles

Congratulations to Rachael Dahl, who’s name was drawn as the lucky winner for $1000 worth of professional production services from our website. Thank you to everyone who submitted their names in the drawing, it was wonderful to meet all of you who stopped by our booth at the Taxi convention last week in Los Angeles.

We look forward to helping Rachael produce her songs and sharing them with you!


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