The music industry is one of the most unique and creatively furling industries to work in and if you make music putting out an album is a goal that brings you closer to larger success. Like any creative endeavor growing an audience is key if you want to make a career out of it. Albums are complex things and from start to finish are an involved process.
One of the biggest challenges of breaking into the music industry is finding the funds to release your album and market it to a larger audience. Some musical lottery winners went on to use their newfound finical windfall to fund their music projects and get past that difficult first step. However, you don’t need to be independently wealthy to put out an album you just need an honest overview of the expenses, what you can afford, and a plan to make the best use of your available funds.
The Costs of Making an Album
Making an album has several different expenses related to production, equipment, physical media, streaming costs, and marketing. Knowing how much each of these costs and which areas to focus on gives your album a greater chance of success. Modern technology has made making an album far flexible than in the past and there are several different ways to approach its creation.
The Studio: the cost of a studio can vary greatly depending on how you approach it. A professional studio with top of the line equipment and an hourly rental cost can add up to several thousand dollars in expenses but does give you access to top of the line equipment. By comparison, a home studio can be run on something as simple as a moderately powered computer ruining the right software which adds up to much lower overhead.
Engineering: a sound engineer records the track as you play your music. The engineer not only runs the recording hardware and software but also tends to set up the microphones, amplifiers, and other physical recording equipment.
Mixing and Mastering: mixing refers to taking the raw recording made by the sound engineer and adjusting it to make sure it sounds good and correcting various sound levels on the track. Mastering is a bit different than mixing as track mastering seeks to improve sound levels making sure a tack sounds good at all volume levels. Both skills have a range of prices but it is something you can learn yourself.
Distribution: the modern music market greatly favors streaming services and for artists, on a limited budget this is defiantly an advantage. Digital distribution while not without its fees is most coast efficient than traditional physical copies such as CDs. That being said many artists do still do physical distribution and certain genres of music enjoy popularity among listeners who buy physical media such as records and limited release cassette tape recordings.
Marketing: the public relations aspect of an album release can be tricky. A focused social media campaign and flyers can go a long way without too much overhead. That being said if you’ve invested a lot in the development and production of an album a professional marketing company may be a better idea.
There are other expenses as it comes to making music some of these which you may already have made an investment in. If you’re looking to release an album odd are good you already have equipment and practice space. Some musicians choose to upgrade to better equipment and rent a professional place for practicing feeling it will improve the quality of their work. If this is a worthwhile use of your funds depends entirely on your current situation.
As the above shows, there are a lot of ways to make an album and only some of the expenses are truly essential. Aspects of recording such as mixing, mastering, and engineering can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on who you use and how much of the work you do yourself it can even be zero. An album can be made for a cost as low as roughly $1,500 or exceeding six figures depending on how much you’re willing to spend.
No matter what your resources you have available you want to make sure they are used correctly as it’s very easy to spend more on marketing than you make back on sales. So, when looking to put your hard work into wider release always focus on what you truly need.