Do you spend money on creating a track?


#1

I know this is a bit of a personal question but does anyone else here spend money on the production of their music, either on session musicians or mixing & mastering fees to help get the best out of their final track, or do most of you do everything yourself?

I’m currently working on a track which I hope to add to AudioJungle when I’m finished but I don’t know a lot about the mixing & mastering and how to get it right so my work sounds crisp and professional, but I’ve already spent some money on the Orchestra and Session Piper.

Here’s a link to an early demo mix of the track for anyone who’s interested
JayPMusic - Idol (early demo)

Just curious to know how other people work on their projects here? In my opinion if the track does well it’ll be money well invested…


#2

I mean, if we’re talking equipment invested, then yeah, I spent…a lot of money on my tracks.

But as far as the actual process goes, not really. Between the instruments I can actually play and Kontakt instruments covering the rest, I haven’t found a need to shell out any money on recording yet.

Tracking with an orchestra sounds fun, though. How’d you find them? Did you record them in person, or have them send you the files?


#3

In the long run I think the best thing to do is spend the time (and some money maybe) on educating yourself to be a composer, producer, mixer, and mastering engineer if you’re making music for markets like AJ. Most tracks just won’t make enough money to justify spending a couple of hundred dollars.

15 years ago you couldn’t do it all yourself but today you can, and with skill and patience you can get amazing results.


#4

I invest money in equipment, yes. I don’t hire musicians for stock music. Although, i play piano/keyboards and bass guitar, sometimes i record those live. It’s just not worth it, spending money and that much time on stock music that will sell maybe once or twice, sure maybe it will get 100 sales, but that’s just too much of a risk.
I 'll hire musicians (guitar, violin, brass, etc) only for music that i make exclusively for specific projects outside stock audio market, where i take a fixed fee.


#5

We’re new to Audiojungle so we haven’t uploaded too much music yet, but we’ve always used session players, mixing engineers and also sound recordists on 50% of our stuff. Recommend it on the highest since it brings a whole new vibe to the music and sometimes also introduces things we haven’t thought of ourself. A nice way to find session musicians is to either google for it. Typical: session musician guitar rates. You can also go to websites such as http://studiopros.com and now even on fiverr.


#6

Hey man, your track sounds pretty good, as in, it sounds like a pretty well done live recording, so I wouldn’t worry too much about mixing/mastering. Some light compression is about all you can do, and too much will obviously start to destroy the integrity of the recording. I was not aware of this $99 orchestra, but I don’t think I’d pay money for live music on a royalty free track. Maybe for a portfolio track or just too hear some of my stuff performed by real musicians, but I don’t think the cost-to-benefit ratio is there for RF, and Audio Jungle seems to sort of favor an “artificial” sound anyway, especially with orchestral stuff - more dry and close miced than a traditional orchestral recording, if that makes sense. That being said I’ve already probably sunk tens of thousands of dollars into equipment and sample libraries, so really, I don’t know if most people ever get back what you put into producing music, regardless of what you pay for.


#7

Hi thanks… Yeah the Orchestra was a project I came across on Kickstarter called the $99 Orchestra where you book in your slot, either send them a demo and they score it for a fee or send them already scored parts and then on a certain session date they record it… You get to watch it live on Ustream and then a few weeks later they send you all the files for mixing and a video from inside the studio. I paid around $250 for mines as I had to have it scored by their arranger.

I mainly chose to do it to give it a try and see how it went, I had a 7 minute slot in which they played it 3 times, 1st take was all over the place but the others seemed good enough to me… The only problem is mixing, as it’s all recorded in one go and in the same room, the multitracks pick up the other instruments so no one instrument is totally isolated making it harder to mix.


#8

I was thinking about learning the mixing and mastering side, I don’t play any instruments professionally or anything but using Logic Pro X can get really good results. It combined with GarageBand on the iPad are a great combination for getting ideas and melodies out of my head and into track form.


#9

Thanks! :grinning: yeah I was wondering if maybe a track like this would do better on a site like or but I think you have to get “signed” up to those like a label rather than just submitting it. … In any case this is the first one I’ve spent any money on, probably around $350 in total for the live stuff as the Penny Whistle was a separate session player… I think having at least one good recording like this could be good for my portfolio off AJ too though… Thanks for the comments folks! I appreciate it!

<*I have edited this post as authors should not link to other stock music sites Thanks, Flossie>


#10

I don’t think you really need to spend money for royalty free music. My mastering / mixing skills are almost non existent. Most of my AJ tunes I’ve basically finished with just with two plugins. You Wa Shock from KVR audio for compression and some reverb from Quantum Leap. If your sound libraries are of good enough quality, you don’t really need to do much mixing to get good enough sound. But of course it depends on the tune and genre as well. But to get the tune approved and some sales, you really don’t have to spend a dime. For bestsellers? Might be another question.


#11

I see another “why was this hard rejected” thread.
Sounds great to me though


#13

My guess is that 90% of all bestsellers are written, recorded and finished in a bedroom somewhere in the world, which is a pretty cool thing I would say! I’m sure there are some who record in a “real” studio (why is it more real than a bedroom nowadays?) but it’s definitely not a requirement these days.

All of this of course comes down to using good samples as you say, because as soon as you want to record real drums or a grand piano things get a bit more complicated…


#14

True, what I meant was that I guess some of the bestsellers, while being produced in home studios like other tunes, do have some more intricate mixing / mastering done in addition to the basic “just put plugin in and don’t think about it”. Tweaking EQs, thinking about stereo layers, how different instruments give space to others etc. I might be wrong though :slight_smile:


#15

Well, naturally that should be true for ALL tracks. :smile:


#16

My point being that it is not part of my tracks and I still manage to get them accepted and sold :slight_smile: I literally only plug a few plugins and do nothing else. I do not have any idea how to do that kind of mixing / mastering. So that’s why I said that bestselling tracks might have to do that :slight_smile:


#17

I think the only thing you should really spend money on is a nice pair of headphones, a decent audio interface and sample libraries, and even then those are investments for your entire music career, not just royalty-free music.

Learning the basics of mixing and mastering is pretty much a requirement for the modern musician, even more so for the bedroom producer.


#18

Hey, I’ve sent 3-4 tracks for professional mastering. It is helpful to get a pro opinion on how it should sound. You can learn from it. And I have learned from that. Right now I am paying for mixing advise. I sent a track to a pro master engineer who is also a composer, he has great studio and acoustically treated environment, and he tells me, your kick need some bass at 50Hz, snare needs at 2-4 Khz etc, its really helpful to get experience. :stuck_out_tongue:

Personally I believe a pro mastering is good, but does not make that great difference in a well mixed song, for ex. if I do the mastering or the pro engineer does.

In your song, I love it but I would like some more instruments or effects-atmospheres-soundscapes, in the begginnig.
Definitely awesome track and well done!!!


#19

I am doing everything by myself. Mixing and mastering is a tricky art… so every time just try to do it better and read… watch… and learn. This will save you money in a long run


#20

This reminds me of a thread I started in the “old” forum - would you spend money having another AJ author mix, master or more importantly MARKET your tracks? It seems like most people here have the opinion that doing it all yourself is the ultimate solution, still the biggest issue for the aspiring bedroom producer is just that - everything else BUT writing and producing. What happened to specialisation economics? I mean, we have 10.000 AJ authors here out of at least 80% would agree that if they could spend ALL of their time just writing and producing, AND make more money, they would. Still there seems to be an incredible high threshold to go from theory to practice. I’m not saying I’m any different myself, but let’s really question this behaviour together now - it’s the Internet for heaven’s sake, why are we so stubborn to become jacks of all trades when we clearly follow this career out of passion for music and not out of passion for mix, master and marketing? :wink:

Take the skill set of a typical “new” AJ author, scale 1-10:

Song idea: 5
Songwriting: 7
Producing: 7

Mixing: 4
Mastering: 3
Marketing: 0

The first thing people will notice here is that competition is fierce and there are no free lunches. So then they go back to the drawing board and figure “well if I only write corporate/motivational (or cinematic trailers), and if I learn more about all the skills provided, I will have a better chance at making money”. True, but sad - because as it’s been pointed out, it’s NOT EASY to master all of these skills, not for any one of us. Tireless reiteration of this process will after a few years produce a skill set more like this:

Song idea: 7
Songwriting: 7
Producing: 8

Mixing: 6
Mastering: 5
Marketing: 2

Better? Yes. Good? No. Consider the “theoretical” alternative: Focus ALL your efforts on the top 3 skills, BUY the other skills from other people that already achieved those, and with the same commitment you get items (and in a perfect world also sales) that are based on these numbers:

In-house:
Song idea: 10
Songwriting: 10
Producing: 10

Outsourced:
Mixing: 10
Mastering: 10
Marketing: 10

Why is this so hard to put into practice long-term? I mean, we already DON’T do a lot that we already pay for. We don’t build our own computers, we don’t code our DAW’s or plugins, we don’t build our instruments and we sure as hell don’t put a market-leading stock audio platform together and care for web hosting, legal stuff, search engines etc. Why does specifically mixing and marketing become an issue in the first place? It’s all in our minds - we want to believe it’s easier to spend our time learning than to spend our money buying. We “invest” in broadening the skill base of ourselves - but it’s a questionable investment strategy in a specialised, highly competitive environment.

Now, to counter my own arguments, there actually have been some efforts by some to offer for example mixing services for flat fees or a portion of future sales. The first “problem” (or rather enlightenment) that occurs is that there simply is no real money or “future sales” to distribute. At any given point, there’s no more than around 50 AJ authors making more than 200 sales a month, and many of these sell mostly SFX. Most of these top selling authors were lucky to catch a good spot in the search, they were featured, or they’re extremely productive. Take a good look at their portfolios and recent items and you can see there are no guarantees every track will sell. It’s a saturated market. So basically, if your time is worth less than your money, you WILL be inclined to go “the long road” and become a DIY multi-practitioner.

There’s also the argument that “the top authors obviously know what they need to know”, so that’s already a “proven concept” that everybody wanting to go elite needs to learn everything about everything. Well, yes they may at most have proved that they went the extra mile, but no one is talking in retrospect about the actual COST of doing so.

And, to confuse everything even more, we note that there are tons of tracks here on AJ that have sold 100’s or 1000’s even with really, really poor mixes.

There’s really a part of basic economic theory - supply and demand - that is offset into obliteration here. Why are people here “monitoring sales” and complaining about lack of exposure? Because they want more money. How do you get money? You provide goods or services that are demanded. What is demanded? Everything else BUT sitting by an instrument and playing music. What are the people here (that still want more money) supplying? Exactly NOT that- UNLESS they just supply it to themselves, in which case NOONE gets any money. :sunglasses:

I’m going to stop now because I don’t have an answer to all of this. I just find it quite puzzling that in our modern times and infinite possibilities of specialising and outsourcing, we now choose to do the opposite.

I do get the part when AJ authors say “I want to make music”. And I totally understand the “I want to make money making music” part, too. But when the same authors start to go “I want to make money mixing and marketing music”, isn’t some great dream being totally lost? If you really want to make serious money doing great mixes, then why in the world do you not drop the songwriting altogether and BECOME A MIXING ENGINEER?

Sorry about the caps lock, I added it for comical effect :wink:

CHEERS!


#21

@Stockwaves I must say I DO read ALL of your posts and realized that most of them are so descriptive! I totally agree with you that nobody can do all the things by himself and do it right. I sometimes pay some money to a friend mixing my tracks just because he does it better than me, and also thinking of paying a friend to do all the promotion for my tracks because that is so boring for me and so fun for him! Maybe with that co-operate way I earn more money from my music (that is fun for me) some day…