Brighton Music Conference Report

 

On the 28th of April 2017 my class attended a conference in Brighton about an hour away from London by train. The conference was a conglomeration of press conferences and new technology showcases from various companies.

I attended all of the press conferences on that day, not all in their entirety, but most of all of them. I also came through a Maschine showcase and played around with some of the synths on show in the theatre room.

The first talk was a music business themed talk with ACM Music Business tutor and Artist Manager, Dave Cronen. the talk focussed on campaigns for electronic artists and how they can build up to the release date with methods including but not limited to: sales, marketing, promotion, live dates setup and third party relationships.

I personally don’t remember much from this talk, our group was split upon departure and the half I was in ended up arriving later than everyone else so I missed a huge chunk of that conference. I remember in the last ten minutes however there was a Q & A and a lot of people were asking about specific methods of marketing and networking. I remember the most important thing I took away from that conference was to be as personal as possible. Mr. Cronen insisted on always talking and making business in person if possible, because personal encounters are more memorable and valuable than emails, especially in today’s market.

The second talk was about ho to make a living as an artist or someone working in the sector and included many guest speakers such as:
ANDY ELLIS – MODERATOR (EDUCATION AND OUTREACH MANAGER, PRS FOR MUSIC)
JARROD BIRD (PUBLISHING MANAGER, INVOLVED PUBLISHING / ANJUNBEATS)
THROWING SHADE (DJ / PRODUCER / NINJA TUNE / NTS RADIO)
BHAVESH PATEL (PROGRAMME MANAGER, PRS FOR MUSIC FOUNDATION)

This talk was about being realistic with revenue streams and the tasks involved with earning money as someone in the creative sector. I don’t remember much from this talk either even though I took notes, however I do remember some things that Throwing Shade said. Two things stuck out to me, one was that women may not be taken seriously as producers because of their gender which surprised me but also made sense and two was never to work with someone unless you sign some sort of contract. Throwing Shade explained that work should never be done for free for someone you don’t personally know, and projects concerning money and copyright should ALWAYS be documented for accountability purposes. I personally think this will stick with me for my career as this seems more than extremely sensible to have everything traced back to something written if legal problems arise.

The third talk was a discussion on streaming and how it’s affected the music industry. I was half asleep for this so I really don’t remember much at all. Not because it was boring, but because I decided to stay up late the night before making beats. The gist of the talk was that streaming is a game changer but has changed since its introduction but is still viable if used correctly. Adapting to the industry it seemed. Here’s the blurb from the BMC website:

“As distributors, Horus Music is in frequent contact with streaming companies, and those that use them to consume music. Streaming has had a hard time over recent years and it’s about time some of the big questions were answered. Regardless of where you are in your music career, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of streaming and to know how to use it to advance your career.”
NIKKI HALLIWELL– (HORUS MUSIC, DIGITAL MARKETING EXECUTIVE) MODERATOR
TREMAINE RICHARD – (NOEL MUSIC MANAGEMENT)
STEVE MAC – (RHYTHM MASTER / DJ / PRODUCER)
ALEX MORLEY (ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT MUSIC, EVENTS MANAGER)
JACK BRIDGES (BEATPORT – DIRECTOR OF ARTISTS, LABELS & SOUNDS)

The fourth talk was a  Q & A with Hospital Records. A lot of things were touched upon which I missed because I actually fell asleep during this. It was a good nap. I gathered after the talk that the heads of Hospital records spoke about the inception of the company and they got running on their feet as a label. The people involved were:

CARL LOBEN (DJ MAG – EDITOR) – MODERATOR
CHRIS GOSS (MD)
AMY JAYNE (HEAD OF PROMOTIONS)
NIKKI ELLIS (PROMOTIONS COORDINATOR)
MEGAN BEAN (SYNC/HEAD OF LEGAL AND BUSINESS)
SAM BIRKWOOD (SYNC/PUBLISHING)

Chris (I believe) spoke about the humble origins of the company and how they hustled to become known and respected in the EDM scene especially since they grounded themselves during a time when drum and bass hadn’t yet been a thing. Persistence is key.

The fifth talk was a producer Q & A:

“Career advice, production tips and more from four of electronic music’s most respected producers” 
DECLAN MCGLYNN (SAMPLE MAGIC) – MODERATOR
PROK AND FITCH (TOOLROOM / RELIEF RECORDS)
PAUL HARTNOLL (ORBITAL)
JUST HER (CROSSTOWN REBELS / CONSTANT CIRCLES)
RIDNEY (DISFUNKTIONAL / TOOLROOM)

I was only able to attend the second half because I left and then came back when the room was full, and I had to wait to get in.  I didn’t catch much of the talk, but there were lots of questions from the audience. One question was concerned with mastering, and whether or not one should learn to do it themselves. Just Her commented that she has a mastering engineer that she works with and admits that it can be a skill learned by the producer but it is indeed advantageous to have a “fresh” pair of ears approach the track as it is being finalized. As well as this a mastering engineer will have a specific studio set up and plug-in pack specialized for the job and so unless one can afford these things and time to learn the craft it is advisable to be on good terms with an engineer in possession of these things.

I did not attend the entirety of the next talk and I don’t remember much from the last one (a drum and bass talk) but the in between talk was a novation showcase that greatly intrigued me.

Novation was revealing their latest line of synthesizer (Peak) and another device called the circuit mono station. The talk was incredibly entertaining and the two hosts were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the devices and their capabilities. The first host demonstrated the abilities of the mono station and did so in an entertaining yet insightful manner as he fluidly showcased the possible combinations of awesome the device had to offer. After he was finished the second host went into the synthesizer and in detail explained all of its functionalities and forms of use. The talk intrigued me greatly and I went to get hands on with the devices afterwards as well as taking pictures to remember for later as I wanted to see how much they went for. If I had the money I would definitely buy these devices, solely based on the excellent showcase I had witnessed of their application.

The roster:

http://www.brightonmusicconference.co.uk/academy/

Unit 8: Final Major Project

View story at Medium.com

For my unit 8 collaborative project I am designing, planning, writing and producing a mixtape.  The focus of this project is the mixtape format and vocal production.

Name Mitchell Neumann
Pathway Music Production Level 3 Year 1
Project Title 1392997
Section 1: Rationale 
 

This will be the first musical project I will release and will be the first project I define myself by in the music industry. I want this project to be in spirit and nature of a modern hip-hop mixtape. I will use my research to inform and direct my project. I plan on making a body of work in accordance with the characteristics and format of a modern hip-hop mixtape. I don’t want to charge for this project because its sole purpose is to showcase my skills and variety in musical choices as well as lyrical content while keeping in accordance to and spirit of the format. I want to bring this project as close to a product (mixtape) as possible, and then as an evaluative aspect present it to an audience and have them decide whether or not they would pay for it based on the quality of the overall project. For this project, I will require good time management and the studio tools I have access to in my college, as well as the cooperation of the collaborators I intend to have in the project.

 

Section 2: Project concept 
 

I want to create a mixtape. The name of the mixtape will be 1392997. This is my student ID. I plan to have 8 tracks, two of which will be instrumentals. I want this project to have a good aesthetic and presentation. The collaboration extends musically and I plan to collaborate with vocalists and producers to create this compilation. I wish to have my own mixes overseen by my teachers and perhaps other professionals if possible. I want this to be a collaborative effort and my first musical project with which I present myself to the music industry.

 

Section 3: Evaluation 
 

The evaluation of my project will come in three phases: a response from my teachers, peers and myself. I will propose the project to my peers, teachers, and collaborators and then will present the final project to them once it is completed. I will collect their opinions, praises, and criticisms on the whole project and its creation process and record them. I will do the same for my peers. My personal evaluation will come in the form of an objective afterthought to things I did well and things I didn’t do well and my personal satisfaction grade.

 

Proposed research sources 
 

Lynda.com – Vocal Production

College – Teachers, interviews

Internet Sources

 

Artwork

 

 

Tracklist

 

The Stars Shine For You Tonight (Orchestral)

Dryspell (prod. Jacob Lethal Beats)

Cross My Heart (prod. Gum$)

Missed Calls feat. Monique (prod. Penacho)

1392997 (prod. JPSoundz)

Paperchase feat. Toby Chris (prod. Penacho)

Live Life To The Fullest feat. Reezy x IamSUUBi (prod. IamSUUBi)

Silvergreen Island (Instrumental)

 

Weekly Planner

 

Project action plan and timetable

Week

Date Week

Beginning

Activity / what you are intending to do – including independent study

Resources / what you will need to do – including access to resources

 

Week 1 & 2

 

 20/2/17 Pre-planning   This is when we were informed about the unit and project. I would like to get a head start. I will need a storage medium to keep my idea and build on them. Notes app on my phone will be sufficient for this.
 

Week 3 & 4

 

 6/3/17  Design  I will take these weeks to design and plan out every aspect of my project and how I will achieve these things. I will also gather information about the materials and skills I require.
 

Week 5 & 6

 

 20/3/17 Songwriting/ Inform collaborators   In this stage I will begin to write songs and/or collect ideas for songs. I will approach those people I want to collaborate with and gauge whether or not they will be a good addition to the project.
 

Week 7 & 8

 

 3/4/17  Songwriting I will be on vacation during this time. I will use this time to find inspiration for my songs and write them while having time to consider other aspects of my project and add final touches to my plan. I can also visit my friend here and discuss our collaboration (Toby Chris).
 

Week 9 & 10

 

17/4/17   Produce Tracks/ Research During this time I will begin simultaneously researching and producing my tracks. The research will either be for the context of my project, or for the production skills I require to finish my project to a good standard. I will require access to a studio and good recording equipment and a DAW. College is perfect for this.
 

Week 11 & 12

 

 1/5/17  Produce Tracks/ Research Continuation of Research and production. By this point, I should be well into production and be using production techniques from class and my own research. My research on the project context should be heavily influencing my project.
 

Week 13 & 14

 

 15/5/17

 Produce Tracks/ Research 

Same as above. I should be approaching final mix on my songs by this point.
 

Week 15 & 16

 

 29/5/17 Finish production/ Research/ First Submission  Here I want to submit my project for the first time and see how I am doing. It should be mostly finished and research should be mostly finished.
 

Week 17 – 21

 

 5/6/17 Finish Project   I will apply the last iotas of adjustment and add polish to my project here. Maybe even finish early and promote it.

 

Research

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Mixtape (mix-tape or mix tape): a compilation (can be homemade or produced in a professional environment if the artist is willing to pay) of music recorded onto a medium for listening. Traditionally recorded onto cassette tapes but later replaced by CD and song file formats (e.g. MP3). The format is formally known for it’s underground and youth-cult nature and it is unlikely to be found in a commercial environment, however as a format for musical presentation it proves quite popular and does have commercial value, but perhaps not mainstream success. Mixtapes may be priced or free. Mix tapes are mostly recognized from hip hop but are theoretically a format applicable to all other genres by definition. Considering the locus of its inception, however, the general consensus is that mixtapes are hip hop or lyrical in nature and that other compilations in other genres are usually known by another format and name.

The songs can be sequential but are not bound by any specific order and are up to the compiler. However mix tapes may demonstrate features such as beat matching, overlap creation and fading between the end of one song and the beginning of the next to create an impression of an uninterrupted track or mix. The compilation may simply be a selection of favorite songs or they could be linked by theme or mood. These aspects could also be tailored to the intended recipient or audience of the mixtape. The recipient could be a target audience or an individual or a group of individuals, the latter being dubbed a “private mix tape”, the former a “public mix tape”. A mixtape may be distributed physically, played by a DJ, presented on a digital online platform such as Soundcloud and more.

In hip-hop, the mixtape is used to describe a (typically) self-produced and independently released compilation (possibly album) that is issued or distributed free of charge to gain publicity and/or circumvent possible copyright infringement.

In 1963 the compact audio cassette from Philips appeared at the 1963 Berlin Radio Show. At this time the quality of cassettes was not good enough to be seriously considered for music recording.

Traditionally, the making of a music compilation required specialized equipment (e.g. an 8 track recorder) which made this process inaccessible to the casual music fan. This changed with the advent of mainstream cassette tapes and recorders around the 1970s which made it possible to make compilations only using cassettes, a cassette recorder and a source of pre-recorded music (e.g. radio). At first, the cassette was only in mono but improvements in fidelity made the cassette a more acceptable choice. The 8-track tape cartridge was mainly the music recording device of choice until the cassette recorder was of sufficient competition. The 8 track nearly dissipated by the 1980s. The ready availability of devices such as cassettes and cassette recorders made it much more feasible to collect and store music in a mix on these tapes, hence the “mix tape”. Improved quality and popularity of cassette players encouraged the growth of the mixtape phenomenon, which was further pushed by integration of these devices into cars, homes, social functions and further innovations such as the Sony Walkman. The increased portability and efficiency of the creation and playback of mix tapes furthered their presence and popularity.

In the 1970s deejays (e.g. Grandmaster Flash, Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc etc.) would often distribute recordings of club performances on audio cassettes and customized recordings for individual tape purchasers. Tapes from deejays were usually of a higher standard because of incorporated deejay techniques such as beat matching and scratching. Tapes like these would showcase the deejays ability and style, and could have been sold for profit.

In the digital age, recorded deejay sets are usually posted or uploaded onto digital platforms or other online hosts. Deejay can use this platform to communicate to an online audience. Radio is also an option, with there being radio shows worldwide that specialize in mix series such as The Breezeblock (BBC), The Solid Steel Show (formerly on KISS-FM) and Eddy Temple-Morris/The Remix (Xfm)

Tapes were originally dubbed by jockeys to serve as standbys for times when they did not have disco turntables to hand.

  • Billboard Magazine – 12 October 1974  

 

Homemade mix tapes became common in the 1980s. This became a highly visible element of youth culture. The point where audio cassettes no longer had dominance in format was when CD players and burners along with MP3 players replaced audio cassettes as a medium for homemade mixes.

“The high point of traditional mixtape culture was arguably the publication of Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity in 1995.”

 

In the advent of mix CDs and shared MP3 playlists (and the advantages of the more durability and storage and quicker preparation), audio cassettes as a medium became mostly obsolete.

Traditional mix tape enthusiasts are disappointed with the obsolescence of the cassette tape, while others see the advantages that new formats bring by opening up the possibilities and accessibilities. New cultures have arisen around these new formats such as the online digital mix tape. One example of this can be seen from a friend of mine and a compilation of his (a mix tape rather, a collection of singles from that year):

An example of a physical medium would be the CD format, which still has a place in today’s music culture albeit not as booming as the new digital platforms. Around Camden Town in London, there will be the occasional artist attempting to sell their music, usually a mixtape or an EP. I have collected a sample which can be seen here:

The CD format has the advantages of being more durable, having a higher capacity and user friendliness. All one needs is a computer with a DVD drive with disc burning capabilities (which is very common), a suitable program to burn with and a CD. They are also very cheap and theoretically cost-effective to mass-produce. Typical CDs can hold about 80 minutes of uncompressed audio or about 700 mebibytes (a multiple of the megabyte; 1000kb = 1MB, 1024kb = MiB) of data. This makes them ideal for storage of WAVs, a lossless file, or several high-quality MP3s (VBR or 320kbps). This makes them ideal also for deejay use with CDJ turntables. One would need a device capable of CD playback to listen to the contents, but it is no financial obstacle by any means. Rather, a question of convenience in today’s world of devices capable of MP3 playback and streaming.

The format of the MP3 player (or any device capable of MP3 playback for that matter) is more convenient still than the CD since it combines the medium and the means of adding to the medium all at once. On the more advanced variety of these players (considering a range between a simple mp3 player to the latest cutting edge smartphone) one can access the store on which music files can be purchased and downloaded directly to the device. On a more simple player, this may not be possible, but it is still as simple as connecting the device to a computer and adding songs via file transfer or a dedicated program (e.g. iTunes). This can be achieved with a computer running an operating system that supports a file transfer system or the dedicated program. Considering the extremely low system requirements of such a process, this can be done on virtually any modern computer.

A system requirements list from the official Apple website for running iTunes 11 can be seen here:

Hardware

  • PC with a 1GHz Intel or AMD processor and 512MB of RAM
  • To play Standard Definition video from the iTunes Store, an Intel Pentium D or faster processor, 512MB of RAM, and a DirectX 9.0-compatible video card is required.
  • To play 720p HD video, an iTunes LP, or iTunes Extras, a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor, 1GB of RAM, and an Intel GMA X3000, ATI Radeon X1300, or NVIDIA GeForce 6150 or better is required.
  • To play 1080p HD video, a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor, 2GB of RAM, and an Intel GMA X4500HD; ATI Radeon HD 2400; Nvidia GeForce 8300 GS or better is required.
  • Screen resolution of 1024×768 or greater; 1280×800 or greater is required to play an iTunes LP or iTunes Extras
  • 16-bit sound card and speakers
  • Broadband Internet connection to use the iTunes Store
  • iTunes-compatible CD or DVD recorder to create audio CDs, MP3 CDs, or back-up CDs or DVDs

Software

  • Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, 32-bit editions of Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8

  • 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 require the iTunes 64-bit installer

  • 400MB of available disk space

Evidently, system requirements are not a hurdle and the price of a machine of that caliber with a compatible portable device capable of MP3 playback is easily affordable and acquirable. All this makes the MP3 player format even more accessible and is certainly evidence of its ubiquity among modern music listeners.

One platform or collection of services rather is shifting focus away from locally stored music on devices to cloud-based streaming of music. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, Soundcloud, Spotify, Bandcamp, and Napster.

Soundcloud is a cloud host for uploading music onto a platform accessible by others that have access to the internet, and direct interaction between users is possible for those in possession of an account with this service. This has shifted the storage and playback of music on to a cloud basis where the medium is the website. The restrictions here apply to the individual user and how much the website offers them. In my example above, my friend owns a free account, in which an upload limit is imposed. For the purpose of the mixtape he published, this was not an obstacle because the upload limit of a free account is 180 minutes. Here is an excerpt from the official Soundcloud website on their upload restrictions:

Each SoundCloud plan has its own upload allowance. For a Free user, you can upload a total of 180 minutes (3 hours). A Pro user can upload a total of 360 minutes (6 hours) and a Pro Unlimited user has no upload limit at all.

This platform charges on an account and usage basis, similarly to other cloud-based platforms, as opposed to buying a storage medium with physical memory and a device with which to store the music onto said medium. In this case, the resource in question is the platform, and by choice, for anyone and everyone to hear, with the added benefit of not being able to be lost physically. The opportunities here for sharing far outshine the physical medias as anyone can access the music through a link by using a web browser able to access Soundcloud.

Another platform should be mentioned for its unparalleled sharing capabilities, however, it is not feasible for the homemade mixtape compiler because the service only offers licensed music. Streaming services like Spotify, MOG, Rdio, Rhapsody and Napster offer a catalog of licensed music for the listener to choose from. Services such as these gain revenue from advertisements just like other sites, but also directly from the users paying to have access to ad-free accounts with other benefits. Each individual service may differ slightly but they each have a common business model of offering unlimited streaming for a fixed monthly price, further reducing the cost of listening to music per song. Assuming one’s mixtape is licensed, this is a great method for connecting to an audience or exposure.

The creation of a traditional mixtape by hand is a long process compared to the quick device synchronizations we have nowadays. To record onto a cassette tape one needs to consider the types of tapes available and the equipment required to record onto blank tapes. This is detailed here:

Type I (shown): Standard ferric oxide magnetic tapes, called Type I, normal bias, or ferric tapes, etc.
Type II (shown): made of chromium dioxide formula, called Type II, high bias, or chrome tapes. These record better highs, and sound generally better than Type I tapes.
Type III: FeCr formulation. These tapes combined the formulas for Type I and Type II as an experiment to make the ultimate tape, combining the bass response of the I and the highs of the II, these were unpopular and are generally rare.
Type IV: Known as metal tapes, they used a direct metal formulation instead of oxide particles. By far the best sound quality, but are generally more expensive than Type I or II.

For the specific method I chose to illustrate, the instructions given here detail the required paraphernalia to record onto a tape:

Tools required for this method:
1. A tape deck

2. A receiver (for playback) with speakers

3. A device to record from

4. RCA audio cables

5. Power, a strip cord is recommend

The creation of single physical mixtapes (e.g. audio cassettes, compact discs) is not complicated technically speaking, but mass production presents some challenges to the creator. A full description of this process can be found in the link above.

Tape players lack the ability to skip songs, so it also needs to be looked at in its entirety. Juxtaposition and linked themes might are also to be considered with the selection and order of the songs to make a unified listening experience perhaps. Here is an excerpt from High Fidelity where Mr. Hornby explains the intricacies of planning and making a traditional mixtape:

  • Nick Hornby – High Fidelity

In the era and practice of traditional mixtape creation, enthusiasts heavily considered the packaging of the audio cassette mix tape. This would result in the creation of cover art for the tapes and custom liner notes. This became a convention of mixtape presentation, whether the intention was for a wide audience or an individual. This could add an element of individuality to the mixtape. The selection of music for compilations became an art in and of itself. It could be argued that the selection of songs became a new body of work, a commentary of sorts from the author given physical form through audio cassettes and the musical work of others. However, this moves away from the notion of simply creating an enjoyable compilation for listening.

In the dawning era of hip-hop, live was the only way you could hear it. Deejays or ‘selectors’ would choose the music and beat-juggle while the MCs or announcers would orate over the top in front of a live audience. Over time these performances could be recorded via various methods onto tape and were distributed. In the 1970s hip-hop mixtapes first started to appear in New York City featuring progenitors of hip-hop culture such as Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa. Tapes were then collected and traded by fans.

The term mixtape in hip-hop describes a full-length album-scope project released for free. This is not always the case and there are exceptions such as If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, a mixtape by the artist Drake sold for profit. The main differences between a hip-hop album are the characteristics and intention of the project as well as perhaps the audience. A lot of the times the projects themselves are defined completely by the artist. An Album is usually a commercial project licensed and prepared in part with a label. All samples are aimed to be cleared for fair financial use and all other material is created by the artist and project collaborators. Albums are usually unitary as projects and follow a musical arc where all the songs are linked thematically or otherwise. The audience may be similar to the mixtape since they share the genre, but the album is specifically marketed to consumers willing and able to buy the product, whereas the mixtape following the intention of exposure will simply target any fan of the genre or the artist. Mixtapes may contain unlicensed samples or instrumentals, or remixes (bootleg or otherwise) which have not been overseen by a legal team or contractor. This modern form of the mixtape was made popular following 50 Cent and his group G-Unit in the early 2000s (50 Cent Is the Future, arguably is the project that did this).

My Mixtape

Seeing this research and context, I want my mixtape to simply be a collection of singles with myself and fellow collaborators rapping or singing over instrumentals. My body of work fits with this definition and is of a decent quality. My mixtape starts with an orchestral piece which I have put together as a musical intro of sorts and is then followed by six lyrical songs each as standalone singles compiled together. At the end is an instrumental which I produced to showcase my instrumental creation skills. Linking them together is the production and vocal technique both recording and production that I have assimilated with my research and experimentation. The mixtape has a simple cover of my design, which fits with the package aesthetic mentioned earlier. The format of my mixtape is digital because it is the most relevant and easiest to share with other people. The mixtape will be completely free for listening on my Soundcloud account. The genre of the mixtape is mostly hip-hop, with some experimental elements. The order is in such a way that I thought fit best, although I cannot say why exactly because the placement is mostly intuitive.

Evidence of Research and Collaboration

Below is photographical evidence of my notes on vocal production from the website Lynda.com

Hip Hop Vocal Production:

Collaboration in the Studio: Jesse and Reece (above) Raf (below)

The image below shows my colleagues Jesse and Reece partaking in a collaborative session with me. They are both vocalists and versed in production:

The image below shows my colleague Raf helping me with the mix on a song:

This image below details evidence of me planning a script for some spoken word on Cross My Heart:

 

Collaboration

The collaborative aspect was quite interesting to say the least. At first it was exciting, the prospect of working with everyone I possibly could. I soon realized the more people I depended on the more difficult it was to pull everything together because half of the time everyone I depended on was unreliable. However, the people that did pull through gave me a really nice result and looking at my entire project as a whole I was surprised with how well the tracks with other vocalists turned out. The instrumentals I consider a collaborative aspect as well, and as soon as I release my project on Soundcloud to the public I will let the producers know I used their instrumentals and ask what they think of it.

There were a couple of songs I scrapped from the project completely because the people who I had intended to include either expressed they had no interest, or worse, expressed interest but didn’t show up to studio sessions to record their parts. To solve this problem I simply archived the song or the song idea and focussed on the other aspects of my project.

The easiest collaboration was with the producers. I did not communicate with them directly, instead they posted free instrumentals (free unlicensed usage for non-profit purposes) on their Youtube accounts and I simply downloaded the ones I liked. Collaborating with the vocalists who showed up was really fun. We exchanged ideas with each other and both decided on the production of the song together (Live Life To The Fullest). One of the vocalists even made the instrumental for the song, which was really cool.

Opinions

In the image below I screened a pre-mix version of Cross My Heart to some peers in my department and here they wrote their opinions:

Performance

I had performed Cross My Heart in front of a live audience at an establishment called The Bedford. I performed a version that was not final, and I forgot both my choruses and mulled my way through them, which was not ideal. However the verses were perfectly delivered. The reaction from the audience was lukewarm, but more on the warmer side. The song I performed had undergone a change since then and the opinion sheet details feedback on the latest version.

 

Reflection

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Mixtape Planning

Conceivably the easiest part of the project but in turnout practically the most tedious. I wanted the project to sit together nicely to make artistic sense, however I knew it would not be a seamless whole because it was essentially a collection of singles. I had planned a number of tracks beforehand at the beginning and had made placements for certain tracks in a certain order. Through that process songs were made and deleted if I realized they didn’t fit with the mixtape or if someone I wanted to collaborate with was taking too long or backing out. Some songs I simply didn’t like after a while and as such I simply repudiated from the project. I had started out with a plan of 17 tracks, mostly for the case of cutting down later, although I do admit I did actually attempt to go for that ambitious number and perhaps I would have managed it with more time and better preparation, but the time, equipment and skills I had at the time were not at the standard I had expected for putting together the project at the level I had intended.

Planning the mixtape was a multi-consideration effort, at least in the beginning. I considered various things before executing the final project. I wanted to have it mixed and mastered professionally and have lots of collaborators in all aspects including but limited to the artwork. I had even gotten in touch with a radio promoter who approached me offering a radio promotion for my project after he heard a single I had put out in April. I’m not sure if his offer was one hundred percent legitimate, however he did provide ample evidence to prove the contrary. I wanted to purchase all of the instrumentals as well so that I could get in touch with the producers and let them know about my work. I wanted to hold a bigger performance as well and so on. I had planned and wanted to do so much, however the time, skills and resources I had during this project were not enough to complete it to the standard I had expected. I had practically, attempted to complete a years’ worth of work in 5 months. I had also completely focussed on the music aspect instead of doing the research first, however I did do bits here and there to inform myself, most notably the vocal production techniques. This did help a lot and vastly improved the quality of my vocal production.

Next time I will give myself less to do and attempt to do it to an exceptional standard with the correct guidance and amount of resource beforehand.

 

Time Management and Budget

One very important thing I learned was that I had planned everything according to a timeframe that only accounted for the fact of me having already written and practiced the songs, which was not the case. I had one or maybe two songs actually written when I started working on the project in late February. At this point I should have already had all the songs written and ready to record, even with a lesser grand total. The time I had allotted myself to complete the whole project (at least to an exceptional standard and with that many tracks) was not enough.

I also planned my mix tape to a budget that I had not yet acquired, so a primary concern of mine was to quickly find a job that would allow me to acquire that budget quickly to make the project happen. I had allotted a theoretical budget to allow for mastering, distribution, a performance shirt, posters and beat licenses. I would have considered professional mixing if I had more money than the budget as well. Another thing I want to  do differently for next time is have my budget before I start my project so as to be able to plan without the need for the acquisition of the resources required during the time of the creation of the project.

 

Project action plan and timetable

Week

Date week beginning

Review progress and achievement

Analysis and reflection – skills, knowledge and understanding

 

Week 1 & 2

 

 20/2/17 Pre-planning I planned quite a lot here, it went well and I have direction for my project. I reflected on the tasks necessary to pull off the project to my initial plan. I hope everything goes well, I’m being very ambitious.
 

Week 3 & 4

 

 6/3/17  Design Here I’m starting to realize the scale of my project, so I’m spitting more ideas than I have time for purely for the purpose of cutting out. I need to be careful with my time management and working with people who may pose an obstacle rather than an oppose
 

Week 5 & 6

 

 20/3/17 Songwriting/ Inform collaborators I’ve started informing potential collaborators about the project. Some seem less enthusiastic than others, but I’m optimistic. I’ll take my holiday to Berlin as a chance to write most if not all of the songs.
 

Week 7 & 8

 

 3/4/17 Songwriting  I didn’t write as many songs as I thought I would. I definitely need to cut down on the amount of songs I’m doing. I got a job, which means I can maybe finance more things than I thought possible.
 

Week 9 & 10

 

17/4/17  Produce Tracks/ Research  Songwriting still not done, but I’ll start producing the finished ones. I should think about doing some research soon
 

Week 11 & 12

 

1/5/17   Produce Tracks/ Research I researched some vocal production techniques which was really useful because I could apply them immediately. I’m feeling the time pressure now and I realize that there’s not enough time to get everything done. A lot people I’ve asked to collar with either haven’t gotten back or have just been unreliable.
 

Week 13 – 16

 

 15/5/17  Finish Producing Tracks/ Research/ First Submission  I managed to get some collaborative work done, but I’m really behind on research and I’m still producing my songs. I’m really cutting down now, I can’t do more than eight songs.
 

Week 17 – 21

 

 5/6/17  Finish Project  

My time management is really bad. I managed to do six decent-sounding songs and I’m getting banned from the studio because there’s no sign of my written work. I’ve learned a lot from this however, and I feel I can more accurately gauge project scales now. The music is decent and my written is looking good. Time to finish up.

 

 

Bibliography

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References

{Multiple Contributors} (2017). Mixtapes. [online] Community.spotify.com. Available at: https://community.spotify.com/t5/Content-Questions/Mixtapes/td-p/39561 [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Dockrill, P. (2017). It’s Official: The MP3 Is Dead, After Even Its Creators Abandon It. [online] ScienceAlert. Available at: https://www.sciencealert.com/the-mp3-is-officially-dead-after-its-creators-abandoned-it [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Compact disc. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_disc [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

En.wikipedia.org. (n.d.). Mixtape. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixtape [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Ghoshal, A. (2017). The MP3 format is officially dead. [online] The Next Web. Available at: https://thenextweb.com/insider/2017/05/15/the-mp3-format-is-officially-dead/#.tnw_IpFTlbvm [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Hall, J. (2012). MP3 Players Are Dead. [online] Business Insider. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/mp3-players-are-dead-2012-12?IR=T [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Jones, R. (2017). The MP3 Is Officially Dead. [online] Kotaku.com.au. Available at: https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/05/the-mp3-is-officially-dead/ [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Ludwig, S. (2011). Top 5 on-demand streaming music services feat. Spotify, MOG and Rdio. [online] VentureBeat. Available at: https://venturebeat.com/2011/09/17/top-5-streaming-music-services-spotify-mog-rdio/ [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Maude, S. (2017). Replacing MP3: Is A New Format Likely For DJs + Listeners? – DJ TechTools. [online] DJ TechTools. Available at: http://djtechtools.com/2017/05/26/replacing-mp3-new-format-djs-listeners/ [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Reeve, J. (2015). 5 SoundCloud Alternatives. [online] Huhmagazine.co.uk. Available at: http://www.huhmagazine.co.uk/7499/5-soundcloud-alternatives [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Represent, M. (2013). 20 Reasons Why WAV Is Better Than MP3. [online] Audio Animals. Available at: http://www.audioanimals.co.uk/news/why-wav-is-better-than-mp3 [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

SoundCloud Help Center. (n.d.). Uploading requirements. [online] Available at: https://help.soundcloud.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003452847-Uploading-requirements [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

Support.apple.com. (n.d.). iTunes 11 for Windows – Technical Specifications. [online] Available at: https://support.apple.com/kb/SP664?locale=en_US [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Record-Cassette-Tapes/ (n.d.) Instructables.com. Web. [Accessed 20 Jun. 2017].

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

 

Future Music Sample Article

Sampling is a fun and effective way to create music by taking the mood or harmony of something and re-inventing it. Perhaps the most recognizable culture of sampling would be hip-hop, but this craft can be present anywhere else if the composer so wishes.

I made a beat reminiscent of a cross between hip-hop and dubstep. It has a very dreamy, lo-fi nature and has vocals drenched in delay and reverb.

The track is made up of a kick layered twice, a snare-clap with three layers, a bassline, 2 hi hat sounds, 3 sample layers (I’ll refer to them as “Vox”) and 2 FX layers.

The track is entirely composed of sampled material from two tracks:

Eliane Elias – Save Your Love For Me

AK and Direct – Sleepless Nights

I scanned SYLFM for all the sounds first and experimented with all of the different kick sounds I could make from all of the “bumpy” noises I could hear and kick drums I could make out. There were some granted, but all of them were really soft, and even with compression and distortion and layering I wasn’t getting the clean kick sound I was looking to hear. After taking the kick from the other track in hindsight I realized there was also the option to take a bass note and shorten it and add other effects as well. I will attempt this technique in future to test its legitimacy. I ended up taking a kick from Sleepless Nights and EQ-ing it as well as adding other effects and mixing it in. I layered the kick twice for added ‘oomph’

For the snare-clap I scanned the track for a snare drum hit, and I found something that might have been that. I chopped it up, made it shorter, and added a fade in and out to sonically smooth out the clip. I then duplicated the track three times and EQ-ed each one. One was lo-passed, another band-passed and the last was hi-passed. I hi-passed the last one softly and rolled off already at around 3 kHz to make it sound lo-fi to the best of my ability still. Each snare-clap is going through an effects chain that consists of two filters (Audiomatic Retro Transformer) and a chorus effect from Kilohearts. I routed all three to a line mixer and balanced the three levels. The output of the line mixer then went through another audiomatic, a reverb unit, a compressor and then another audiomatic.

The bassline is a sample of a short segment of an extended bass guitar being played in moment of relative isolation from the rest of the instruments. I took this short segment, faded it in and out to smooth out the clip but also to diminish any movement left in the playing of the instrument to make the short clip seem monotonous but consistent. The process holding the clip then went through two equalizers with half of the upper frequencies and harmonics shaved off and then an audiomatic for some warmth and low end on the ‘bottom’ preset with some tweaking.

The second bassline is the same clip loaded into the NN-XT sampler and then run through the same effects processes. I added some automation on the pitch to give it some bounce.

The hats are shortened, tightened clips of the cymbal ringing out in the track. Faded in and out to smooth the clip, but not so much that the impact of the hat is weakened. Naturally they’re hi-passed for “thin-and-crispyness”, but also being put through a gain and reverb unit for presence and flavour. Also another equalizer with a bit of high-shelf emphasis was also added. They are relatively loud in the mix to stand out, and I panned them left and right slightly so that they had room to do their thing.

The vocals are taken from various parts in SYLFM and chopped, arranged and time stretched differently. Regardless of form of excision, the clips run through an audio track that is routed through an audiomatic, gain, delay, chorus, reverb unit, another audiomatic and an equalizer. There are -13.1 decibels of gain at 3.487 kHz with a Q-point of 5.7 to take away the harshness of Mrs. Elias’s sibilance. The delay is set to a step of 4/16 (repetition of a whole note, or one beat every bar). This gives the main sample the magic. Drenched in reverb, and carried on with a delay, it sounds spaced out and magical. It has two layers, one is slightly more high-passed than the other, but they’re not layered on top of each other.

The FX are two layers of air and cymbal after-ring also run through a similar effects chain as the vocals. Still relatively quiet, so they’re loud in the mix. High-passed.

To sell this track legally, I must clear all the samples that originate from the tracks I sampled. It would be easier to get away with not clearing the sample from Sleepless Nights since it is only one instant processed slightly beyond recognition.

However, the rest of the track is sampled entirely from SYLFM. The entity representing Mrs. Elias in the court of law could sue me for unfair use of copyrighted material, and I could be forced to pay all of my earning for the track back to that entity because none of the sounds I used were originally mine. To sell this track completely legally, I would need to clear both samples and presumably allocate some royalties (perhaps all) to the respective artists.

It is important to acknowledge and understand the effort and skill that went into creating the original tracks, and thus it is only fair to pay the artists respect, in the true sense of the word, by allocating the correct royalties.

https://www.mediafire.com/?ctu73lo3qvgt00d — “Wish I knew” – Casj Lee

https://www.mediafire.com/?e5z5o46auo1dt79 — Logic folder

Synth Project

For our synth project we had to make an entire song from scratch by making all of our sounds with synthesizers. All the instrumentation had to be made using the sounds that were able to create with the subtractive snythesizers. We had to apply our knowledge of acoustics and synthesis to create patches which would be the basis for our sounds. We had to save all of the patches and fill in the details of said patches in a spreadsheet.

The bounce of the track and spreadsheet are in “Snyth College” within the folder of the same name.

https://www.mediafire.com/folder/3mo41g2s1uhoo/SnythCollege

 

Unit 3: Introduction to Professional Practice – Recording Artist

There are many paths one can choose to embark on in the music industry, all the way from songwriting to live sound engineering with everything in between including PR, copyright or even being a manager for an artist or a legal representative. Perhaps the holy grail for any aspiring musician would be the dubious yet exciting field of the recording artist. The culmination of many skills and attributes both technical and musical in nature, many see this as the optimal creative goal. The skill range here is perhaps more on a spectrum and one could make do with more of one skill or talent and less of the other if a workaround exists to bridge that gap. When it works, it’s brilliant and it can change lives not only for the artist but also for their family or hometown. The imperative “if” however keeps many at bay, and for good reason – there are many aspects one needs to consider not working in their favor. This will be explored as a counterpart to the argument for this career choice, but ultimately, even the most extreme of downfalls will not prevent the very few courageous (or stubborn) to pursue this dream in hopes of “making it” one day. The extent of one’s success is ultimately self-determined, however it’s a more than common wish for many to simply write songs, make music, be somebody or maybe even change the world.

To set some base requirements, a recording artist has to make a living through recording and sharing (or ‘making’ and sharing) original music (could be synonymized with the title music artist). This can range from simply delivering the vocals on a solo record to designing, producing, mixing, mastering and marketing an entire album series. Depending on the area and depth of involvement in the project the skills necessary to complete those aspects to a good standard will differ.

Although a very varied and mixed genre of occupation my interest is specifically rooted in the type of artist that is well versed in production already, and has some musical knowledge to boot which will aid him (me) in producing and releasing music. I also want to be able to write my own songs.

The aspects I have covered so far already encompass a wide variety of skills, but to be clear I am excluding the marketing side of things – let’s assume that’s being handled by someone else.

A producer is an overseer of the logistics of putting a project together and may have experience in/with songwriting, musical theory, instruments, mixing, mastering and/or more. Music producers have a lot of creative control with whatever project they’re working  on in terms of the whole particular quality. It may for example be the decision of the producer to use only analogue effects and instruments and only use the DAW for recording instead of digital ones. They also have the responsibility of bringing the whole project together physically. The producers book the studios, the musicians the instruments sometimes and the rest of the engineering crew. Depending on the skills of the producer them self they can be the every-person or just a ‘director’ of sorts. Sometimes the producer is the mixing engineer or the mastering engineer and so on. It is also the job of the producer to oversee the costs of everything to make sure the budget covers everything. The producer stays with the project from start to finish and looks at everything to make sure it all fits within the musical vision.

The other side of being a producer is the modern sense or probably the more accurately coined ‘computer musician’. The person who sits with the DAW and makes music. This is further split into territories of sound design, songwriting and DAW production skill. A person in this field has to be well versed in a DAW or preferably in multiple DAW’s and their/it’s function to a professional standard. The sound design is also a very important aspect. Sound design is the process of specifying, acquiring, manipulating or generating audio elements and can take years to understand let alone master. Understanding acoustic theory, instruments, synthesis (all the different types too) and multiple effects are paramount to one’s sound design skills. Songwriting is a skill in and of itself and entire Bachelors are dedicated to just that. One’s dexterity and style in a DAW is something that comes with experience, but anyone who wants to call themselves a producer is at least competent in one DAW or understands its function at the very least.

The level of competency I am after as an individual artist also extends to the roles of the recording and mixing engineer (and potentially mastering engineer)

A recording engineer is a technician who operates the soundboard and other equipment during a recording session, under the supervision of the producer. They also set up studio and recording equipment. An engineer’s main job is to use their technical skills to bring the producer’s and artist’s vision to fruition. She also is often responsible for mixing recorded tracks and making sure the final recording is free of any unwanted sounds or noises.

http://work.chron.com/differences-between-music-producers-engineers-25047.html

A mixing engineer (or simply mix engineer) is a person responsible for combining (“mixing”) the different sonic elements of a piece of recorded music (vocals, instruments, effects etc.) into a final version of a song (also known as “final mix” or “mixdown”). He or she mixes the elements of a recorded piece together to achieve a good balance of volume, while at the same time deciding other properties such as pan positioning, effects, and so on.

The best mixing professionals typically have many years of experience and training with audio equipment, which has enabled them to master their craft. A mixing engineer occupies a space between artist and scientist, using their skill at assessing the harmonic structure of sound to enable them to fashion highly appealing timbres. Their work is found in all modern music, but many artists now mix and produce their own music with a digital audio workstation and a computer.

A more technical definition: an audio engineer in sound recording, audio editing and sound systems who balances the relative volume and frequency content of a number of sound sources. Typically, these sound sources are the different musical instruments in a band or vocalists, the sections of an orchestra and so on.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixing_engineer

The mastering engineer is the last in a long chain of professionals who can creatively change and improve the quality of your music. They look at the overall ‘picture’ of the music, and they use lots of different mastering tools to process and fine-tune what they hear to try to improve what they’re listening to.

 

The sound of the finished product rests solely with them, so they have to be very careful and very accurate with everything they do in the mastering studio – the finished version will be the one going to the manufacturing plant for mass reproduction.

No two pieces of music will ever the be the same, so each mastering project has to be approached on its own merit. Building up the experience it takes to become a mastering engineer can take years – one of the reasons why successful engineers can be so in-demand.

http://www.practical-music-production.com/mastering-engineer.html

The excerpts above hint at the knowledge and skills required to be fully competent and more in each field respectively. These aspects are very technologically dependent and are more concerned with working the tools needed to put everything on a computer. But what about actually creating the music?

This goes into the realm of actually learning music to compose and play or sing well. One could decide to become a musician, someone who is able to play one or more instruments and/or who is mucially talented. This would mean learning to play an instrument(s) to a competent or professional level, this also includes the voice as an instrument (good vocalists are sought after). This would mean learning how to play an instrument or sing, which can be done on one’s own methods but is still recommended to take classes or coaching on to learn properly with good technique. A good way to gauge one’s musical ability is to go through the ABRSM music grades. Not only are they credentials and can be put on a CV but are good indicators of where one’s skill level is at musically. If not this then private teaching or coaching can be undertaken and the skill level of the pupil can be more accurately determined by the teacher.

Aside from this, there are many government approved learning courses such as the Music GCSE and A Levels and are taught at select schools globally (there will be other systems offering musical curricula operating under a different title e.g. IB music). Musical education becomes very broad in terms of post secondary or vocational education, and I myself am partaking in a music technology course at my own college. At my college for example, there is a performance cohort that focusses on songwriting, instrument playing and performing. After some googling, I scratched the surface on what the post-secondary education scene has to offer for music lovers: Entire BAs focussed on songwriting, performing, music theory (of which one can specialize even further, music analysis for example), instrument mastery and more.

A songwriter is an individual who writes the lyrics, melodies and chord progressions for songs, typically for a popular music genre such as rock or country music. A songwriter can also be called a composer, although the latter term tends to be used mainly for individuals from the classical music genre. The pressure from the music industry to produce popular hits means that songwriting is often an activity for which the tasks are distributed between a number of people.For example, a songwriter who excels at writing lyrics might be paired with a songwriter with a gift for creating original melodies. Pop songs may be written by group members from the band or by staff writers – songwriters directly employed by music publishers.Some songwriters serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songwriter

A composer (Latin compōnō; literally “one who puts together”) is a person who creates or writes music, which can be vocal music (for a singer or choir), instrumental music (e.g., for solo piano, string quartet, wind quintet or orchestra) or music which combines both instruments and voices (e.g., opera or art song, which is a singer accompanied by a pianist). The core meaning of the term refers to individuals who have contributed to the tradition of Western classical music through creation of works expressed in written musical notation (e.g., sheet music scores).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composer

As is evident, the amount of skills one could learn as an artist not concerned with the marketing and business side of things are huge enough. Coupled with this an artist reuires the following also:

  • A strong sense of self and direction. They have to know what they want and where they want to be going (going in wanting it that is). A strong artist has a strong self of who they are, and this will make them stand out among the crowd and be recognizable. Not to the point of gimmick, but to where anyone could say: “Yes! That is something so-and-so would do!”.
  • Style. It’s what makes everyone unique and what distinguishes artists between themselves. If one sounds like the next laymay artist chances are they wont be memorable or successful.
  • Discipline and determination. If one is disciplined enough to work for their dream everyday and determined enough to pull it through then the success is just waiting to be grabbed. One has to be determined enough to get back up after setbacks and defeat to keep going. The harder one works, the more experienced one will become.
  • Making luck. This one may be tricky to grasp, but it’s just about maximizing chances and not putting all eggs into one basket. If one learns more things one has more skills to rely on that someone may need one day, if one attends more seminars and open mics they have more chances of being spotted by an agency, if one works with more artists they have more potential connections and so on.
  • Creativity. May go without saying, but this applies to all aspects of the career. It’s about creative problem-solving as much as it is about music making. Goes hand-in-hand with resourcefulness.

A short excerpt from Wikipedia will round off this information and lead into my next point nicely:

A music artist is a person who composes, records, and releases music, often through a record label or independently. Working as a music artist requires long training, either in music school or through gaining experience and physical conditioning and practicing to maintain and improve musical skills.

Music artists often face intermittent periods of unemployment, long nights in the studio, and frequent travel to performance venues. They also typically must deal with income uncertainty due to competition for places in bands or performance venues. Though a risky profession, it is one of the most over-saturated occupations. While many musicians are only known within their city or region, some music artists, depending on public reception and appreciation of their work, go on to achieve celebrity status. Music artists sometimes live erratic, nomadic lifestyles.

As is evident here, it’s clear that this dream comes with a risk. This risk is unemployment and is a big consideration factor in considering this line of work. For some this won’t be a deterrence (perhaps out of ignorance), but it’s a very real outcome for many. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, and if it doesn’t it’s good to have a back-up plan to catch you if you fall. This could be a second skill or profession one does either on the side or as their plan A and is a safety net of sorts. I myself am learning music production and mixing and live sound engineering at the moment, so I know I can always get a job off of that if I need to. Another outcome could be that success only comes after a long time, or once and never again, and if that happens it’s imperative the would-be artist knows what they’re doing in the meantime. Sometimes, the artist needs to sacrifice a lot to keep the dream alive. I reminisce on spending my entire winter allowance on a pair of monitor speakers just to realize a month after purchase that my speakers were entry level “desktop monitors”. This shattered my heart momentarily but I simply came to realize that I had a long way to go. Time is perhaps the biggest sacrifice, and the one thing that needs to be sacrificed the most above everything to ascertain any kind of security or success.

A good recording artist always has regard for health and safety in accordance with the Health and Safety Act of 1974. They observe the environment for unsafe situations and aid clients and colleagues in such a way that there is in no way a danger to their health. It is their responsibility to check all the equipment that they use to ascertain that it is functioning properly before use, and to use it in such a way that no problems could arise during operation. An example of using equipment safely and responsibly would be the awareness of leaving liquids away from exposed circuitry so as to not have it malfunction during operation or short-circuit when in use possibly starting a fire which would be a detriment to health and safety.

To round off it can be said that the signed recording artist can be varied and skilled in whatever they choose, but are good enough and unique enough to make them stand out amongst the competition. The recording artist is skilled in a field and may have extensive training in that regard to be competent, but always has experience and enthusiasm to carry them forward. The successful recording artist is determined, disciplined, creative, makes their own luck and is in connection with a good team that can help them on the business side of things.

 

Links:

http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Recording-Artist

http://study.com/articles/Become_a_Recording_Artist_Education_and_Career_Roadmap.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_artist_(occupation)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Record_producer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musician

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songwriter

http://edmprod.com/ultimate-cheat-sheet-becoming-great-producer/

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/may/07/zedd-edm-dance-electronic-music

http://learn.org/articles/Music_Producer_Job_Duties_Career_Outlook_and_Education_Prerequisites.html

http://work.chron.com/duties-music-producer-14558.html

http://work.chron.com/differences-between-music-producers-engineers-25047.html

http://study.com/articles/Music_Producers_Job_Description_and_Info_for_Students_Considering_a_Career_in_Music_Producing.html

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=duties+of+a+mixing+engineer&oq=duties+of+a+mixing+engineer&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.6218j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

http://study.com/articles/Mixing_Engineer_Job_Description_Duties_and_Requirements.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixing_engineer

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=job+description+of+a+mastering+engineer&oq=duties+of+a+mastering+engineer&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0.9211j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastering_engineer

http://getinmedia.com/careers/mastering-engineer

http://www.practical-music-production.com/mastering-engineer.html

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=sound+designer&oq=sound+designer&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.3863j1j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

http://www.hse.gov.uk/legislation/hswa.htm

http://www.legislation.gov.uk

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37/contents

Unit 7: Skill Set Definition

Since beginning the Music production course at STC, I have learnt many things in a short space of time both in and outside of the course. My acquisition of this knowledge and these skills have led me to develop my ability to produce, record and edit to a standard higher than ever before. Once I have practiced and elevated these skills to a professional level and beyond, I can assume responsibility of real world tasks and trust my expertise enough to produce at an exceptional standard given enough time and focus.

Skills and knowledge acquired as part of this course:

Unit 1: Principles of Performance

The first unit was all about sound engineering and the practical aspects of it as well as a little bit of theory on how everything fits together. The skills I acquired were on the practical side of things. I learned how to set up and engineer a live performance. This included transporting equipment safely, setting up equipment efficiently and for safe use, testing said equipment to an acceptable standard, maintaining said setup to function safely and effectively during the performance, engineering on the fly (or ‘riding the mix’ as it’s called) and packing everything down and transporting it back safely.

Admittedly I’ve only done this whole procedure once but I’ve helped out at other times when live equipment was concerned and have done so successfully. Every time I see a live setup now, even if just a simple DJ setup, My mind goes through the process of what it would be like to setup and use. I feel confident that through this practical experience and research I can at least have some clue about what’s going on if I were to see any type of setup that includes a mixing console, a couple of instruments and auxiliary channels.

My knowledge acquired through this experience has actually significantly improved my workflow as far as my productions are concerned. Talking with professionals and seeing instructional videos on the internet is now much more straightforward than it used to be because I understand much more of the lingo which I picked up at the college and by speaking to and learning from enthusiasts and professionals. Because most DAWs are modeled after analog sequencers and because the mixing process is so similar I find producing as a whole much more straightforward than before because I’m beginning to understand the systems they were modeled after.

This knowledge and experience will help me in the future by preparing me mentally for the way electronic music functions in the tangible world, which will in turn help me to understand how it functions in the digital world.

Unit 2: Engaging with an Audience

This second unit was about researching a demographic and engaging with said demographic by compiling research and synthesizing that knowledge into a product suited for that demographic. This is a useful skill to master not only in the music industry but in the commercial world as a whole as it can prepare me for the real world where the commercial market focuses on meeting the demands of demographics and supplying to them.

Considering the relative brevity of this unit there was not a considerable amount of time to explore this idea in full, and our focus was of course for the music and media industries. The task was to research a demographic or market and tailor-make something that would fit in perfectly with it or be viable as a product in that environment. I had not considered the wide variety of markets and demographics one could offer music to before, and it was an interesting experience to make my project with this in mind.

Unit 3: Introduction to Professional Practice

This unit was about researching and finding out about our individual career paths which in retrospect was quite useful to do as a thought experiment to more carefully consider what it is we’re actually doing. While not going as in depth as I could have I had most definitely researched a fair bit about the nature and multi faceted nature of the recording artist as far as surface level information goes. I learned about the skills required of certain aspects of the recording artist, with a focus on producers and their skills and qualifications.

This information is most definitely useful to make me see clearly what it is that I need to do in order to be become successful and prioritize the skills and knowledge I need to get to where I want to be as quickly as possible.

Unit 4: Critical Context and Awareness

In this unit the exercise was to create a piece with production techniques we had learned  around a context of our choosing with corresponding research. First we had to find a context to work with in musical history. This gave me an opportunity to delve into the real world history of important musical events that may or may not have helped shaped socio-political situations. This was an exercise in research and interpretation of research to create a piece in form with the context researched.

I chose to do a remix of Bruce Springsteen’s Chimes Of Freedom. The skills I learnt were synthesis of contextual information into a project and various little tips and tricks my tutors passed on to me while I was creating the project.

Unit 5: Production Skills and Context

In this project we were given a slew of new information from our tutors about electronic synthesizers and how they function. We were taught about the history of synthesizers and we were expected to complete this knowledge with our own research on our blogs. We were introduced to the different types of synthesis and synthesisers and how they differed. Upon acquiring this knowledge we were taught how to implement wave theory into a practical music production scenario. We had to learn about sine waves, square waves, sawtooth waves, fundamental frequencies and more. The modular synthesiser was dissected for us into parts such as the filter, oscillator, envelope shaper and more. After acquiring all of this technical knowledge were tasked to create a song consisting only of sounds created from scratch with a synthesizer.

In this unit we learned a lot of technical production skills and were taught how to approach synthesizers and use them effectively. I had underestimated how deep the world of synthesis was and at first overwhelmed by how complex it seemed and how difficult it would be to wrap my head around creating all of the sounds and using all of the synthesizers effectively. I need to investigate further into this world because it will impact my music production directly, although I can confidently say I left the unit feeling more knowledgable and ready to deal with synthesisers than before.

Unit 6: Performance Skills and Context

This was a big unit for me. In this unit we researched DJ culture and attempted to give a DJ performance in front of a live audience which we did. The research aspect was huge for me, I spent a lot of time into the research and handed in a pretty lengthy and in-depth (but all inclusive or definitive) body of work about turntablism and deejay equipment. Another aspect was actually putting together a set and performing it live for an audience, which I think I pulled off pretty successfully. I spent a lot of hours practicing in the deejay room and compiled a pretty nice set which I performed in the canteen at my college.

In this unit it felt perceptually that I learned the most, since I produced quite an amount of work related to this unit and actually managed to successfully deejay a small set in front of an audience. This will be very useful to me in the near future as deejaying is a commercial skill to have and presents itself with many opportunities if one is versed enough.

Below are some videos of me demonstrating what I’ve learned throughout the course, as well as my Soundcloud on which I have posted some newer works which incorporate new techniques and skills I have acquired:

 

2-Pac Contract

 

This is an image of the contract 2-Pac Shakur signed with Interscope Pearl Music and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corporation. This contract outlines the details of the material being created by 2-Pac and to whom a portion of the revenue and copyright will be allocated to. This seems to be a joint deal between Interscope and Warner-Tamerlane since the material is owned by Interscope but can only be distributed by Warner-Tamerlane. 2-Pac owns 50% of  right, title, interest and musical composition according to this agreement and Warner-Tamerlane and Interscope share the other 50%.