Handy hints for artists

I’ve been aware for a while of the following list of hints for bands and artists, making life easier for media people when they are confronted with the act’s recorded music .  It is written by Mike Harding who is an English musician, comedian and radio announcer himself, over the course of many years.  I agree with the vast majority of it (though I’m not too fussed about count-ins, personally) so I thought I would link it here, to spread its wisdom more widely.

Solo act or in a band, and wanting to send your work to the media?  Please have a good look through  http://www.mikehardingfolkshow.com/hints/ !

But before you even get to that point, I’d like to add some advice of my own.  You may have heard of the loudness war.  It seems to affect all types of music – still – and is utterly to the detriment of the music itself.  To those still doing so, please allow me to be blunt.

Stop making the production on songs so unnecessarily compressed and loud, even on acoustic songs that might get just a bit louder as they progress. Let the damn thing breathe! This way doesn’t make it more “loud and powerful”, it makes it sound compressed, lacking in range and generally shit. The loudness wars are so unnecessary now, seriously.  (Did I say “now”?  It was always unnecessary.)

Here’s an example of what I mean. One waveform is from a recent recording by an Adelaide artist (name withheld to protect the guilty) – the song is largely acoustic but builds as it goes along. The other is the metal version of Sounds Of Silence by Disturbed, as will be played on the show this week. It also starts quietly and then builds. Guess which is which.

Answer – the excessively loud one on the left is the local act. The one with clarity and dynamic range is the metal track. Lesson – when a producer tells you to make it as loud as possible, ignore them, refuse, or educate them.  Or if you think it’s a good idea yourself, it’s really not. Show some concern for the actual music, as opposed to trendiness that makes your music sound shit, when it’s probably not. Thanks in advance.


One thought on “Handy hints for artists

  1. Good advice!! I’d say the same ‘loudness wars’ exist with live performance, too. Artists should be mindful that not every space is the same. Why on earth would you use the same settings / play at the same volume in a 200 cap room and a 60 cap room? I’ve seen it happen. It’s not pretty. Nice post, MH!

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