We might consider this a business plan of sorts.
I’ve been recording from home now for several years. Every once in a while I create an official ‘release’ and offer it either for sale or as a free download through my website, iTunes and the various other outlets for digital music. I also record a song every month and place it up for grabs at my monthly blog.
I’m no fancy musician, just a guy with a guitar who likes to write songs, record them, and share them with anyone who wants to listen. Surprisingly, a – small, admittedly – number of people seem to enjoy the tunes and I’ve been able to actually sell a copy here and there, as well as have some music used in a few multimedia type projects. Lovely.
Many people have asked me how it’s all done: from recording at home, to getting the music on iTunes and elsewhere, to promoting it across the web. Knowing many of these people personally, and knowing what a wealth of latent talent there is just among the folks I know, I felt it would be an interesting experiment to document my next release (the Truman’s Hat EP) from nearly start to finish (and beyond) in order to give at least a small sense of direction and hopefully inspiration to anyone who might be interested in pursuing this sort of thing for themselves.
Here’s what I plan to do with this blog (though any of these may change):
1) Beginning. I’ll probably issue small, Twitter-like updates initially just to report on the progress of planning and recording.
2) Recording. I’d like to create a screencast showing how I recorded one of the songs. Of course, I’ve never used any screencasting software before so I don’t know how that’ll turn out, but it seems the best way to go. I’ll be using Apple’s Garageband for recording since I use a Mac and it’s basically a free and powerful application. I actually use Logic when recording my songs, but in hopes of making this easy for a larger number of people to follow along with, I’ll use Garageband for the demonstration and probably to record the entire EP (that’s subject to change if I find I’m spending too much time trying to figure out things I know how to do by memory in Logic).
As a side to this, I’ll also try to point out a few pieces of gear that I feel are useful in making music at home. I’m no techy by any means, so they’ll just be things I’ve used or know people who have used them. Since – as I’ll mention in a moment – part of what this blog will aim to teach is how to market your music on the internet and maybe make a little money, I’ll probably set up an Amazon affiliate store with links to the gear I’m suggesting. Just in the interest of full disclosure….
3) Packaging & Distribution. As it stands now, I’m planning on releasing the songs from the Truman’s Hat EP as downloads through the usual venues and as a limited edition CD that I’ll sale exclusively from my website. I’m going for a real DIY feel for this one, so even though I’ll mention places where you can have CDs duplicated, I’m going to focus on spending as little money as possible to hopefully create a worthy and attractive artifact, something different from the usual plastic jewel case, but not elaborate by any means. Simple, homemade…but nice.
4) Promotion. I’ll show the steps I’m taking to try to let people know about the release. This will mostly include suggestions like setting up a blog, looking into affiliate marketing, etc. etc. Hopefully this will be an area that readers may wish to comment on with their suggestions, and I’ll probably include links to outside articles as well.
5) Beyond. As well as being a blog that aims to help inspire you to get your own music out there, I’d like this to also be the main page for the EP itself, a place where songs can be sampled, lyrics read, CDs ordered, and so forth. In other words, it won’t just be a blog about a thing…it’ll be the thing itself, in a sense. We’ll see how that goes.
There you have it – a map for us. My first step is posting this entry and tweaking about on the WordPress page. Then I’m going to work on recording the title song for the rest of the evening….