Why 90% of Musicians Outsource Their Mixing and Mastering
I wanted to go into depth with this one because it’s apparent that in today’s industry everyone wants to be a master at everything. I won’t go as far as saying that it isn’t possible, but like a good friend of mine said before, “People overestimate what they can get done in a day, but they underestimate what they can get done in a year.”
It’s so common today that everyone is a, “Singer/Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist, Producer, DJ, Mixing and Mastering Engineer, Record Label Owner, A&R, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Author, Humanitarian, Mother/Father of 3, and leading innovator under 30.”
There’s a small percentage of people where that most certainty applies, but for a lot of people that’s not the case. The rest of us are just trying to make our way through the world just like everybody else. So let me explain:
If I wanted to to have a killer flute or violin solo on my song, the last thing that would come to mind is, “I need to learn to play the flute.” I can play the guitar and I’m a solid keyboard player, but I know the limits to my ability. I’m aware I probably could learn to play the flute, but it would take me a lot of time to be able to play well enough to finish the project. There are a lot of people that understand this simple yet fundamental flaw in humanity that we simply can not know everything.
Master Mind Group
Henry Ford was known to have a row of buttons on his desk that by pushing the right one he can summon someone that had all the knowledge he could need about the business he devoted most of his time to. He called those people his Master Mind Group, and is cited as saying,
“Why should I clutter up my mind with general knowledge for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”
Outsourcing is a major time savor on many projects. Whatever your release schedule is, outsourcing your mixing and mastering will let you work on the release and marketing plan and focus on the important business aspects of the job. Many professional engineers don’t own a recording studio. Why, you ask? Well what good does it do someone to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions on going into business as a recording studio, when they can rent it from someone else that already has it? An engineer can move to any city and go right to work because someone has already done the work on starting up the studio. The engineer will make the studio some money and help keep them in business and the studio will continue to thrive. It’s a win/win. The same is true with with a musician that’s outsourcing their mixing and mastering. It’s more practical to rent someones knowledge and experience for a small fee, than fuss with it for hours, days, or in some cases even years!
Bruce Lee is famous for saying:
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
Lets be honest, the most important and valuable assets we have in life is our time and our mind. Every successful person in the world understands the value of time. It’s important to focus your mind on the things that you value most in life.
There’s a huge difference between a musician/singer/producer and an engineer. They are two completely different professions. It’s important to understand that there can be a lot of parallels between them but it’s most certainty not the same. Let me explain.
A real estate agent is not a real estate investor. An agent buys and sells homes for a fee, whereas an investor buys properties to turn a profit. Can they be the same person? Probably, but does an investor want to deal with clients and showings and phone calls? Probably not. Does an agent have tenants living in the houses he/she sells? Sometimes, but they probably aren’t paying him rent.
As a musician, singer, songwriter, or producer is it your job to mix and master your music? Not necessarily. Sometimes you might choose to do so because you have the time to do it. Instead of trying to juggle everyone’s job as your own (especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing), focus on your post release marketing strategy. That’s one of the most ignored parts of the process. Many musicians work on the release and throw it on CD Baby and forget about it. It’s expected that by some supernatural phenomenon the song will get discovered and “blow up”.
All in all, it isn’t a bad thing to work on your own music. Take the time to focus on your craft by working on the practical and important business aspects on how to get your art off the ground by building a Master Mind Group. Have a team of people that will help you on your journey and will make the process easier for you. Always be on the lookout for great talent and be mindful of the people in your circle. Consider adding us to your circle: for a limited time, try our online mixing and mastering service absolutely free. Learn More
If you are sending your song to us online for mixing and mastering, it’s very important to make sure your files are sent correctly. Thankfully, Ableton makes it quick and easy for you to export your stems!
A stem is a single element of the song exported as a single file. Multiple tracks that you’re rendering at one time can be put together to recreate the song. Ableton has a very simple and straight forward way of doing this, so let’s go through it now!
Step 1 – Label Your Tracks
Before exporting anything, you need to make sure everything is labeled. Whenever you send your files to someone else, it’s important to make sure the person it’s going to knows what every file contains. Ableton exports multiple audio tracks, so if you have a vocal and a snare on one single track, it will make things a little bit crazy. It also labels the audio tracks based on what the track names are, andnot the clip names. Select each track name and label them to represent what that tracks are doing.
Step 2 – Arrangement Is Everything!
Ableton’s session view allows you to play various Scenes and Clips in any particular order. You can render audio from the Session view just specify the amount of time with your current selection that you would like to have rendered.
In the Arrangement View, you can either drag-select the area that you would like to export…
Or, you can use the loop selection range to choose what area of the song you’d like to export…
In this mode, just make sure that you have something in the arrangement!
Step 3 – Export
Once you’re ready to export your stems to audio and you’ve highlighted your arrangement (or set up your loop range), press: Command-Shift-R
This box will appear:
Ensure the bottom section of the box indicates the right time range.
Indicate if you want to render in stereo, or mono. For stems, or separated tracks, choose “mono”. If you have stereo loops in your arrangement, you will need to go back and render those in “stereo” separately.
Finally, select the all the tracks you want to export. If yo want all the tracks, select the “All Tracks” option.
Important: When Ableton Live asks you where you want to save the ‘audio file’, create a new folder and name it by the name of the song. Export all of those files in the same folder.
Once complete, follow this link to our upload form and follow the instructions.