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Everything posted by tunesmithth

  1. Tip #1 - The music industry is a business. That's important to understand because....if you deal with it as anything other than a business, you will almost certainly fail. If you've had very little business experience or lack a basic understanding of how they operate, you need to learn. Why? As I said above, you cannot succeed in something without first possessing a basic understanding of what it is. Talent, musical proficiency dedication to your goals & self-confidence are prerequisites, not your ticket to stardom. Think of them in as you would a college degree. The degree itself guarantees you nothing....other than the opportunity to compete for what you want. Intangibles such as "creative integrity" may have value to you & your peers, but NOT to a business. As a general rule, businesses care about 2 things - making money & saving money. When you present yourself to industry representatives, keep that in mind. If you can convince them of your ability to accomplish one or both of those goals, that should get their attention. If you're unclear about how someone might "save" a record label money, I'll leave you with 2 examples: Think about the huge growth of the pop, rap & hip-hop genres in recent years. The bulk of the music & arrangements for those genres is created via software & sampling. That means fewer session musicians, less studio time and lower overall cost of production. They're able to sell those CDs & downloads at a competitive price, but the profit margin is higher because of the lower production cost. Do you really believe that change in public buying habits was a lucky accident? If you happen to be an artist with a huge online fanbase/following (Justin Bieber), that's tangible selling point. A huge ready-made fanbase means lower promotional cost for the label....again, saving them money. Tip #2 - Beware of the "Scamortunity" As you might guess, the term is meant to describe a scam disguised as an opportunity. What does a scamortunity look like? Not an easy question to answer, since they come in many forms. As a general rule, the more unbelievable the opportunity looks..... the more skeptical you should be the more extensively it should be researched the more reluctant you should be to participate In other words, if it seems too good to be true, it almost always is! Most cons (scams) are designed to take advantage of existing vulnerabilities. In the case of songwriter/musicians, those vulnerabilities are well known & numerous. Don't allow belief in yourself, belief in the uniqueness of your creations & desire for recognition to become liabilities in your quest for success. Remember....the music industry is a business & should be dealt with as such. In business, opportunities rarely come looking for you. Don't expect them to seek you out in this industry either. With very few exceptions, they won't! Tip #3 - Nothing is owed to you. Many in this business develop the attitude that the world/industry owes them something. Simply put, that is not a productive mindset & will do nothing to further your career. Countless hours of dedication to your craft, skills, talent & creative ability are prerequisites....not entitlements! Virtually every one of your competitors (fellow musician/songwriters) has worked as hard as you have....sometimes harder. Those prerequisites earn you the right to compete, nothing more. View them as you would a high school diploma. That diploma doesn't earn you money, it does get you a job & it won't guarantee admission to the college of your choice. But without it, you don't even qualify to compete for those things, because the majority of your competitors have one. Forget about concepts like fairness. The world of business is based on many rules, but fairness is not one of them. Tangible results rule the day. Tip #4 - For God sake, spend a couple dollars & get your finished material properly copyrighted. We're only too happy to spend hundreds of dollars on a smartphone that'll be obsolete next year. ATM fees, wireless streaming fees, credit card interest, bank overdraft fees, apps....all things that we've come to accept as unavoidable expenses. BUT....when it comes to spending $35 to legally protect our own artistic creations, we'd rather not. Seriously....$35??? That's the current U.S. Library of Congress online filing rate for multiple works by a single author. To the best of my knowledge, a Library of Congress registration is the only universally recognized method for proving legal ownership of a work. There are viable legal reasons for choosing this method & I encourage you to verify that for yourselves. Here are a number of direct links you may find useful: United States Copyright Office http://copyright.gov/ Why Should I Register My Work? FAQ page http://copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#automatic Copyright FAQ - http://copyright.gov/help/faq/index.html Electronic Copyright Office tutorial - http://copyright.gov/eco/eco-tutorial.pdf Online Copyright Registration - http://copyright.gov/eco/ Tip #5 - Remember...it's all about the vocals ! It’s common for recording songwriters/bands to underestimate the importance of the primary vocal track. Bottom line….it’s "Priority #1" and should be treated as such. Why you ask? Simple! To the ordinary listener, it’s the single most important thing. Non-musician listeners focus the majority of their attention on the vocal (singer). Sure…everything else matters! Just not as much. Common Reasons for Substandard Vocals: · Internal Band Dynamics - every member of a band wants to feel like their part is essential to the success or failure of a project. Unfortunately, nothing outranks the melody & the singer's presentation of it. Yes…a strong vocal can benefit from a great musical arrangement. But, if the vocal’s substandard, the best arrangement/performance in the world won’t save it. · When recording demos or finished material, vocals are one of the last things to be dealt with. If you’re working in a pro studio, you’re probably paying an hourly rate. If that is the case, you should budget your session time carefully. You can’t afford to blow the majority of the budget on preliminary musical tracks. When that occurs, the natural tendency is to rush the vocal recordings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen friends make this mistake! Remember, if that vocal isn’t done reasonably well, everyone loses. Take whatever precautions are appropriate. When it’s all said & done, that vocal track will represent your song. Shoot for the highest quality you can reasonably achieve. Tom Hoffman Songstuff member profilehttp://www.tune-smith.comhttp://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH *This article is the result of a question posed on the Songstuff boards. John Moxey asked the question, these were my responses.
  2. Yep Ray, there are other methods for establishing copyright ownership & time frame. Perhaps I should have worded that statement a little different. What I meant was that it's the only universally recognized method of fully protecting your financial interests. Should you wish to legally pursue a breach of copyright claim in a U.S. court of law, it makes a big difference in eligibility for damages. The quote below is taken directly from the Library of Congress website.....https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf In other words, if you chose to register your work by any other means, a U.S. court will only allow you to recover actual damages & profits. You will not be eligible for statutory damages or attorney fees. So, in a U.S. court of law, legally establishing ownership & eligibility for claims are not the same thing...hence my use of the word "universally". If it doesn't give you same result everywhere, then it isn't universally recognized. Many alternative forms of registration have actual disclaimers on their websites, such as..... They tell you right up front that they are NOT equal to a Library of Congress registration. ...appreciate you pointing out the difference! Tom
  3. I made that statement because... This discussion is taking place in the contest of the "Lyric Critique" section of the site. People post their works here to obtain useful feedback, suggestions & critique of their works-in-progress. I see nothing to make me think that this poster was looking for an education on the fine points & historical evolution of songwriting terminology. Do you? We have essentially hi-jacked this man's thread & turned it into an off-topic discussion. He wanted feedback on his lyric & we are not allowing that to occur. There are specific sections of this website set aside for discussions of this type. That's where it should be taking place. The original posted specified that he is NOT a native speaker of English. Because of that, he indicated that the crafting of this lyric has been a challenging process. This is his 10th attempt at a final format. Even if he were interested in the topic of our discussion, he's probably having a difficult time following it. I'm sure he appreciated your attempted guidance about proper terminology, but once that advice was questioned we really should have taken this discussion to another part of the site. THAT's what I meant when I said another time, another place. It had nothing to do with you personally. *My sincerest apologies to the original poster for hi-jacking his thread. I promise...this is my last comment here. Tom
  4. Of course, you are correct. There is much variation in interpretation. But for purposes of this thread, I wasn't concerned with exactly what a refrain is. My only concern was establishing what it contains. You claimed that refrains do not contain lyrical materials (music-only). Not only does that run contrary to anything I've ever heard, I found no information online to support that contention. Everything I found said lyrics and music. Honestly, anything beyond what it contains is a discussion for another time & place. Tom
  5. They get paid by the hour ?
  6. Red Rubber Ball / The Cyrkle (pronounced "Circle") ...sadly enough, I'm old enough to remember this when it was a hit
  7. Head Games / Foreigner *One has to wonder which deviant decided that photo was appropriate for this video? ...just sayin'
  8. Hate to disagree Ray, but I must. Grant it, the concept of a refrain is vague, but the general music community defines it differently than you do. Below are a number of examples, along with their source links.... Source - http://study.com/academy/lesson/refrain-in-music-definition-examples.html Source - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrain Source - https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/23650/do-chorus-and-refrain-have-different-connotations Source - http://www.songstuff.com/song-writing/article/songwriting_terminology/ Source - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Song_structure Plenty more where that came from, but that should be enough to make my point which is...it is typically viewed as containing BOTH musical & lyrical elements. Tom
  9. Honestly, I know very little about the world of remix. But, as I'm always interested in learning, I pulled up the Library of Congress copyright FAQ page...it may offer some assistance. Here's the section I'm referring to.... I see several questions that may be of interest to you. Here's the actual page link - https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-index.html Tom
  10. Tricky subject! It's a remix, so I assume that most of the bits & pieces used for it came from copyrighted content...particularly the vocal, since it contains both lyrics & melody. Honestly, the best I can do is refer you to this article. - It should give you an idea of what kind of reaction to expect from YouTube. My advice, if you decide to put it online, be brutally honest about what it is & how it's constructed. Were it me, I would NOT attempt to monotize it. Worst thing you can do is try to present it as original content. Good luck
  11. Like David, I have a set of KRK's (Rokit 6's) & room acoustics that absorb high frequencies, while exaggerating the low-end. Unlike David, I mix almost exclusively through monitors. My KRK's have a room adjustment selector dial on the back. The adjustments help to compensate for what I described above, still they're still a bit heavy on the low-end. Since I'm aware of that, I do what I can to compensate manually. As for "why" I bought them, there's a simple answer. I did without powered monitors for many years...frankly too many! The reason - "cost". I just could talk myself spending $400-$500 apiece. Inconvenient as it was, I was getting by without. Then one Christmas season, Guitar Center ran these special edition KRK's at 60% off. SOLD! As for "why" I use them to mix, despite the shortcomings. Over the years, I've discovered that phones don't deliver a true sense of timing (sync). Since I've never been a MIDI user & don't sync tracks by artificial means (software), I rely exclusively on my ears. If I need to clean up the timing of a vocal track, it's vital that I hear it as it actually is. I discovered long ago by means of extensive trial & error that phones don't give you that. Not certain why, but they don't. Phones tend to exaggerate panning choices. It's hard to get a true sense of how much separation you've built into a mix. Mixes tend to sound fuller....more driving & powerful than they actually are through headphones. Again, they give a false impression of overall sound or a mix. For a truer depiction, I suggest listening to your mix through open air speakers or powered monitors played at a medium volume. Mixing at loud volumes will also give you an exaggerated sense of the power & fullness of a mix. For the sake of full disclosure, I have no formal training as a studio engineer. These are strictly observations based on personal experience. Tom
  12. yeah. what is it?

    For the moment...same age as Rudi, but not for much longer I'm guessing the difference is likely a matter of months.
  13. yeah. what is it?

    Since I'm even older than you are Rudi, that makes two of us ! Tom
  14. I was thinking about my early days as a songwriter. Reflecting back on the antiquated, tedious process I worked with for almost 6 years. Hard to believe what I went through every time I needed a drum track for a new song! That being said, when I listen to those old recordings, I’m amazed at how well some of them turned out. Hopefully the details of that process make for an interesting article. *Examples of those old recordings are available throughout the article. “Slow Down” - http://www.tune-smith.com/Slow_Down.mp3 My adventure as a songwriter & home studio aficionado began back in 1994. Digital home recording devices were starting to make their way onto the market, but analog was still the dominant force. It was also the more cost-effective of the two. That being the case, I opted for a 4-track analog cassette style recorder…a Tascam 424 PortaStudio. The PortaStudios were decent devices, but they had their limitations: No onboard effects or compression No phantom power Very few microphone inputs To overcome those limitations, I purchased a number of supplemental devices: An 8 channel Peavey analog mixer w. phantom power A Peavey DeltaFex effects processor A DBX analog compressor These were used in conjunction with the PortaStudio….providing me with reverb, compression, multiple microphone inputs & phantom power (overhead condenser mic.) Without getting overly technical, here’s an overview of that setup…. Drum set mics were fed into the Peavey mixer. Depending on the song, anywhere from 6-8 mics were used….Shure SM57’s with an EV condenser mic overhead. The Peavey EQ’d each channel individually, added a preset amount of reverb to each channel signal, combined all the incoming signals into one stereo signal, sent that 2-channel stereo signal out to its next destination. That next destination was the DBX compressor. It processed the signal, then sent it to the Tascam 424 recording deck. On its way to the Tascam, that 2-channel stereo signal was reverse-Y’d into a single mono feed, which was then recorded to high bias cassette tape. Unfortunately, with only 4 recording channels available, that final drum track had to be mono. Eventually, that mono track was bounced over (premixed) & combined with the bass guitar track. Fact is, the majority of my analog masters are set up that way. The final drum & bass guitar recordings share a single mono track. There were a multitude of issues associated with the process I’m describing: All drum mic adjustments had to be made pre-tape. That meant I had to balance each mic volume as best I could…accounting for bleed, make EQ adjustments per-channel at the mixer, set type & desired amount of reverb for each channel, adjust individual & master fader volumes to non-distorting levels. Needless to say, once these parameters were set, I made only minor adjustments from recording session to recording session. Essentially, I tried to improve whatever shortcomings existed in the previous recordings. Once a final drum track was recorded, it was set-in-stone. The BPM was locked in…mic volume, tone & effect were virtually fixed. If the ride cymbal was too loud or the snare sounded over-compressed, I had 2 options. The entire track could be re-recorded, or I live with the imperfections. Simple as that! The decision always hinged on 2 variables. How much imperfection was I willing to tolerate? How noticeable would those shortcomings be in the finished version of the song? Because of the need for premix bouncing, my bass guitar recordings were also fixed. I had to estimate what EQ settings might be best once the other tracks were recorded. Same was true for the volume of the bass in relation to the drum track. Once drums & bass were bounced over, the combined mono premix was fixed. Unlike digital systems, analog recorders didn’t offer virtual track storage. So….once a bounce was complete, both original tracks were erased. That opened up additional track space, allowing new instrumentation & vocals to be recorded. Since I worked alone, components that required monitoring were positioned close to the drum stool. In other words, I had to be able to see the meters while I was playing drums. Fortunately, once the initial parameters were set, the only thing I had to monitor was input signal to the mixer. That signal couldn’t venture too far into the red. The photo below shows where the Peavey was positioned. The recording deck meters were not in my line of sight, so I had to trust the accuracy of my preliminary settings. Playback was the only way to verify results. If something had gone wrong, the track was rerecorded. * “Love Will Find Me” - https://youtu.be/7Y8ycXZY4gI As if that wasn’t difficult enough, there were other issues. Once a new song had been written, arranged & roughed-out…it was time to begin the final recording (keeper version). If the song had drums, they were always recorded first. As is the case with live performance, better results are achieved when everyone plays to the same rhythmic center…in this case drums. But getting them down first wasn’t a simple task. With the old cassette style recording decks, click tracks weren’t possible. Track bleed was so bad, that ghosts of the original click would remain audible even after complete erasure. That being the case, the logical alternative was to play to an electronic metronome. That gave me a timing center, but virtually eliminated the possibility of over dubs. Since the click was completely independent of the recorded drum track, there was no way to match the 2 for auto-punch patchwork. Bottom line…the vast majority of drum tracks were the result of start-to-finish takes. In other words, the entire part was played straight through. Another standard practice for drum-first recording is the use of a guide track. Guide tracks give drummers a basic outline to follow. That way they’re hearing a roughed out version of the music while playing along with the metronome (click track). It helps in remembering the feel of the song, where various sections begin & end, etc. Bottom line….I couldn’t use a guide track! The reason once again was track bleed. Ghosts of that roughed out guide were audible on the finished drum recording. So I became very good at memorizing new tunes, start-to-finish. By the time I was ready to record, I knew a song so well that I could hear it playing in my head all the way though. So….none of those analog tracks were played to music. The only thing playing besides the song in my head was the constant click of the metronome. 2 measure count-ins were recorded at the beginning of every song. This was an absolutely must! Since drums were recorded first, there had to be a way to accurately tell where the song started. How else would I know when to begin playing or singing as additional tracks were added? Obviously, that section of the tape was later erased. Since beginning sections were trimmed off in final production, track bleed really didn’t matter. At the beginning of this article, I mentioned thinking back on this whole process. The reason for my nostalgia was simple. A few months ago, I set up a new YouTube channel called “The Story Behind The Song”. Several of the songs used for the channel were early recordings. Some of those made passing reference to the fact that I had changed from real drums…to an electronic method of creation. The videos weren’t the proper format for an in-depth explanation of why. But I thought a blog article might be. If nothing else, it can serve as reminder of how much simpler things are for home recording enthusiasts today! * Links to several additional Video Examples of these early drum recordings are listed below. https://youtu.be/s2Vr5wAPf1k https://youtu.be/6B9hzyxp1V0 Tom Hoffman Songstuff member profile http://www.tune-smith.com http://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH
  15. ...got just the thing! Basketball Jones / Cheech & Chong
  16. ...something I put together a few months back.

    Thought it might be cool to group some of my more presentable material by era.

    Involved a bit of research, but I enjoyed the process. Made for a nice walk down down memory lane. ;)

    It ended up as a 3-disc set...11 songs per disc.


    God knows if I'll ever use it for anything, but I'm glad I did it....if for no other reason, for posterity.

    I'm curious...has anyone else considered this type of project? 


    Discography - Tom Hoffman 001.jpg


    BTW - you know you're gettin' old when undertakings like this start sounding worthwhile. :001_rolleyes:

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Rudi


      curious that you went over to drum machine for 3rd disk

    3. tunesmithth


      If you're interested in an in-depth explanation of "why", you'll find it here.

      You're not the first to inquire & I doubt you'll be the last...hence the need for a dedicated blog article.;)

      BTW the replacement deck I bought this past Christmas is equipped with 8 XLR inputs, which would dramatically simplify the process. At some point in the not-too-distant future, I may play around with live drum recordings again.


      Appreciate the comment Rudi! 



    4. Rudi


      some of us dont have the choice Tom. I have a small collection of hand percussion instruments, but the drums are all programmed. :)

  17. Welcome Ricky...hopefully you find our forums useful in your quest for information. As long as I'm here, I'll ask the obvious question...what was the disagreement about? If you don't mind sharing, I am curious. Tom
  18. Sorry, but the poetry section is a new concept for us...something John added recently. We've always concerned ourselves with musically-related topics & content, hence the name - Songstuff. Perhaps in time, we'll develop a reputation as a hub for the poetry-related? Only time will tell. Tom
  19. My 2 cents... Watershed 128 Don't Feed the Trolls (May want to tweak the verse vocals a bit...perhaps eliminate that high harmony? You may find it sounds better without.) Rocket Ship (it might be good to clean up clean up that refrain vocal a bit...primarily the final line each time around) Indigo (I'd probably re-sing that first verse vocal, if that's an option. If not, try to clean it a bit before finalizing) I almost went with "Cone Inside". Very cool tune, but I question whether the refrain is strong enough. If possible...I'd take some time and clean/tighten up whatever you can on all 4 tunes before submitting. You'd be amazed what a bit of tweaking can do. For example...some of those vocal parts I suggested re-singing or cleaning up. You may find that copy/pasting in a better version of the same line from another portion of the song does the trick. Whatever you do, be sure to save copies of your current masters before making changes. Hope this helps...enjoyed the listens, but now I have to go cut my lawn Later! Tom
  20. Welcome and sorry ...I had to removed the video from your post. I'm sure it's good, but the description for this section clearly states... You're welcome to place it in a more appropriate section of the boards. Tom
  21. Slow afternoon at work today, so I killed a little time by Googling tunesmithth...just for grins. Most of the high ranking results were what you'd expect, then I ran across this... http://dlmusicas.net/search/tunesmithth.html Anyone else had a comparable experience? I wasn't able to check it out thoroughly, but at a glance, it looks like scraped (downloadable) versions of some of my YouTube vids. Confusing because it also shows the channel of origin? Without digging deeper into it, I can't tell if they're simply feed-thru links or downloadable versions?. If they are downloadable, they had to be illegally scraped, since all my channels are set not to allow downloads. The endless marvels of web-land, go figure! Tom *added 6/14 Here are a few more for the pile .... http://www.xemhbo.com/xem-basic-beat-variation-supplement-6-hi-hat_xzTcjGo513HU.html http://popbestmp3.info/lyric_basic_drum.html http://ridgevideo.org/vid/The-Story-Behind-The-Song-Fool-Me-Once-id=1FRRfLisz34 https://watchyt.com/c/drumstuffth?v=UCLG2_iPyLa8tM5emD29S8Eg - Actually, this one's pretty cool, appears to be strictly pass-thru http://resepemasak.club/video/category/hi-hat-musical-instrument.html http://laguasik.gq/mp3/drum-roll-please.html http://rdk-shop.ru/video/ell7APTKKKA - listed in the right-side scroll https://www.emp3s.co/mp3/basic-drum-rolls.html http://lienquanviet.viwap.com/lien-quan/Drum-Roll http://muzykamp3.xyz/songs/drum-roll-please.html http://naijaloyal.com/media/watch/ZVAHEi8w4hs.html ...and I found SO MANY MORE, but you get the idea It's a jungle out there! LOL
  22. Here are a few more for the pile .... http://www.xemhbo.com/xem-basic-beat-variation-supplement-6-hi-hat_xzTcjGo513HU.html http://popbestmp3.info/lyric_basic_drum.html http://ridgevideo.org/vid/The-Story-Behind-The-Song-Fool-Me-Once-id=1FRRfLisz34 https://watchyt.com/c/drumstuffth?v=UCLG2_iPyLa8tM5emD29S8Eg - Actually, this one's pretty cool, appears to be strictly pass-thru http://resepemasak.club/video/category/hi-hat-musical-instrument.html http://laguasik.gq/mp3/drum-roll-please.html http://rdk-shop.ru/video/ell7APTKKKA - listed in the right-side scroll https://www.emp3s.co/mp3/basic-drum-rolls.html http://lienquanviet.viwap.com/lien-quan/Drum-Roll http://muzykamp3.xyz/songs/drum-roll-please.html http://naijaloyal.com/media/watch/ZVAHEi8w4hs.html ...and I found SO MANY MORE, but you get the idea It's a jungle out there! LOL
  23. 157 Riverside Avenue / REO Speedwagon
  24. Yeah, it's easy to overlook that post date Ray...folks do it all the time. John purges the boards from time-to-time, but you can still find threads from back in the dark ages.
  25. Welcome to the site Michael. Any musically related interests or hobbies? Tom