Pages Navigation Menu

Recording Your Songs

Recording Your Songs

Updated 3/20/17

Recording your songs falls into a couple of buckets:  worktapes and professional demos.

Once you start writing, you’ll want to share what you’ve done with others. You may not be ready for a full length CD, but you can always share your songs on Facebook, SoundCloud, and other social networking sites.

Please be sure to copyright your songs using the government eCopyright online system before posting.

You can bundle up your songs and submit up to 35 (written by the same person/people) for $55.  Don’t pay $55 per song!

Check out Ari Herstandt’s copywriting tips and easy steps to complete your first copywrite on his blog Ari’s Take.

Because a song is something you should get feedback on before cutting the final version, I’m a big fan of a stepped approach to recording your songs. While it may seem like you’re spending more, it will give you a better overall experience, and in most cases, end up costing you less.

 

1  STEP 1: Get down a working version!

If you don’t play an instrument, do a simple cut of your song singing a capella.

If you play guitar, piano, mandolin, ukulele or anything else, do a simple version of the song using the recording app on your phone (iOS or Android) or an app like iTalk or MicPro (Free).

You can also use a simple hand-held digital voice recorder with USB connectivity like the TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder. (Total investment: $98)

To create something with a little more professional sound, you can always use Garage Band and a microphone. (Recommendations)

 

2  STEP 2: Get feedback!

I’ve mentioned song critique services in a previous post, but want to highlight one I use consistently – Kim Copeland’s easy online form.

Kim’s great at giving you insight into your song with a very fast turn-around time. There’s nothing worse than laboring over a song for 6 weeks only to have the critique service take just as long to get back to you.

Kim’s great about giving feedback like alternative lines, possible structure changes musically and lyrically. Of all the services I’ve used, hers is the best. (Total investment: $35 per song)

Another source for coaching is Brent Baxter’s Songwriting Pro program. You can find information for it on his web site Man Vs Row.  Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts across a number of artists. He offers personalized coaching, books on the topic of songwriting as well as program.

There are other coaching opportunities listed in the SongChops Membership Library.  They all have direct links to get some free information offered by songwriters like Jeffrey Steele, and give you an opportunity to check out what they offer.

 

3  STEP 3: Join a group to inspire you & provide services beyond writing.

There is probably an NSAI group/workshop in your area. Go to a few meetings, take a song, and get some input. If you find it useful, join and become a regular. A group will also reinforce the writing discipline, so it’s well worth the money.

Most groups will let you show up a few times without being a member. With an NSAI membership you’ll get access to online tutorials, song critiques, video library and a pitching service, so it’s worth the money if you’re serious about getting serious. I’m an NSAI coordinator in Houston.

There are several online communities, but I have to admit, most are about posting songs, following no one, no feedback and no community interaction among the members. But, there is at least one:

  • Songtown.com – is run by two Nashville hit songwriters and offers pitch to publisher services, collaboration platform, pro blog access, monthly pitch sheet of artists looking for songs.

 

1  STEP 4: Record your song as a demo.

This is when you’ll have to make a decision about spending some pretty significant dollars on your song. You should consider this an investment, so making the right choice based on your long-term goals is critical. Below are a few services in Nashville and their subsequent costs/song.

 

  • Beaird Music Group: their Premier Demo Package includes one lead vocal, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, piano, steel and one CD copy (3 hrs of studio time). You can send in work tapes with music or a capella and they’ll put together some arrangement and production ideas for you. You can sing it yourself or pay a vocalist, be on site or watch the day of recording via streaming. Their demo singers cover a wide range and you can hear them on their web site. Larry also offers a publishers night for those who select the Premier package.  [Sample song from the studio]

 

  • Kim Copeland Productions: Kim’s services are slightly different from most straight recording studios. Kim’s actually a producer, so her production services are included in the demo costs. I’ve used Kim for song demos before as part of a group session. The quality is very good and you’ll have Nashville musicians who tour with country’s top acts playing on your demo.  [Sample song from the studio]

 

While there may be others out there, I’m familiar with those listed above. If you’ve got a recording studio you think is perfect for a songwriter who may or may not be a singer, please drop their info into the comment area.

Other Tools:

  • Need to convert to MP3? Download the free Switch Audio Converter software from NCH. There’s also File Converter for iPhone so you can record on something like MicPro, email a .aiff to yourself and quickly convert to an mp3 all on one device in about 10 minutes. (Total investment: FREE)
  • Get an iPhone app to record from your phone or iPad. iTalk works great and you can always connect an additional microphone if you need it.
  • For a more sophisticated microphone if you have Garage Band and want a better quality sound, try the Apogee ONE ($349). I use it with my iPad mini for worktapes. It has a guitar input as well as USB and mic cable connector, so very versatile & handy for co-writes.
  • I’ve recently switched to Blue’s products for stand-alones in the house. I use the Blue Microphones’ NESSIE ($63) with my Mac Book Pro for moving from room to room and the Blue Yeti – Silver ($100) is a fixed mic in a room of the house attached to a Mac tower.

 





2 Comments

  1. Spectacular article: thank you so much !

    • No problem – thanks for reading and sending the props! Good to know the articles are helpful.

Leave a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest