From The Song To The Sale (May 2014)

Tips on the recording business…

So you have written some songs and ready to record, are you? Over this series of articles we will give some insights into the production process from start to finish. Let’s start with the basics…

1. “Why record?”
A memento? A demo to get gigs? Commercial sale?  Really understanding the purpose of recording helps you put the rest of the process in context. While a memento for family might involve a quick lay down with just you and guitar, a full commercial production with session players, good equipment, etc is obviously more complex. Let’s presume it will be a commercial release. Before anything else, more questions.

2. “Are the songs going to sell?”
Who has told you they’re good? Family and friends like to be nice, not always critically constructive (just look at some who audition for X-Factor or Idol). Do the songs ‘fit your genre’?  Have you run them past experienced people in the business that will give you straight answers? Have you played them at many gigs and seen really positive reaction? It’s the reaction of the audience rather than what’s said that gives the true indication.

If the answer is ‘no’ to the last two questions then you are probably not ready. There may be possible changes or even reworking from scratch required. If yes, next question.

3. Are there enough possible sales to make money?
Are you gigging heaps with the opportunity to sell CDs? 98% of artists still sell 98% of product as a result of gigs. If you are not gigging often, I would strongly suggest not doing a commercial recording yet. No one wants 400 CDs of the initial run still under their bed in 5 years.

Do you have enough people coming to your gigs? Do you have enough ‘real’ following engaging with you, not just ’likes’, on social media? Count family, friends, and associates, those you know. Count only those who will definitely buy (after giveaways). Work out people that come to gigs specifically to see you and interact on media. Of those estimate how many engage in the music, ask about a CD, etc – Be real… then halve that! If that result isn’t at least 150-200 then you probably need to wait, do some singles or be prepared not to break even on your investment for 2-3 years.

If all that is covered, you’re ready to consider the possibility of doing a commercial recording.

With 37 years experience in the industry, Ian Pav is a producer, mentor and owner of PavMusic (studios and production). Recently moved to Rosebud and building his new production studio there, Ian is now looking to work with clients around the Peninsula as well as his ongoing clientele around Australia and overseas. You can see more or contact Ian via