Music Production Process: How does it take to produce a song?

The most complicated thing to do in the tracking (the most delicate process) are recording drums and vocals; drums needs a lot of microphones so the engineer or the recording producer would have to be sure that they are recording it right.

The drums are the foundation of the beats, where the guitars, bass and other instruments (even the vocals) will rely strongly; so it will be recorded first. This can take time, especially if the drummer is often out of beat and timing, so re-recording is commonly done. After recording drums, you can easily record guitars, then bass and finally the vocals.

The objective of the tracking stage is to produce beautiful, clean and crystal recordings as possible. There is no excuse for any performers’ mistake; it should be re-recorded.

Step 6: Once everything is recorded, the mixing session starts. The recording producer coordinates with the project mixing engineer. The engineer would simply implement the sound vision given by the producer. If the producer, artist and the label are happy with the mixes, it is considered approved and final. It will then be ready for audio mastering stage.

The overall goal of the mixing is to balance all the recording levels as possible, no mud; all instruments sound should not appear competing with each other. And then here comes the most important, the vocals should be strong and clear as well as the mix should have its own unique character. Clarity of the mix is of utmost importance.

Getting mixed professionally done is tough, it is why only certified and professional mixing engineers are paid to get this done. But home studios can however big producers hire hot shot mixers with solid track record.

Step7: The mastering session prepares all tracks for commercial production and replication. In this stage the recording producer hires a mastering engineer.

The sound recording master should prepare the album tracks for public and broadcast performance such as airplay, etc. There are tracks for MP3/digital distribution as well as tracks for CD album release if applicable.

The song artist, producer and recording label should also approve the master. The following are examples of project deliverable handled by the producer:

a.) Highest resolution audio master copy of the album (e.g. 24-bit/96KHz copy) -this will be kept by the label and will be used for future distributions, compilations and release.

b.) CD master (16-bit/44.1KHz) copy of the album – this will be used as the master CD for replication in case of album release.

c.) Highest MP3 master quality (e.g. 320kbps) -will be used in releasing a digital album online.

d.) Raw recording, mixes, etc – those individual sound recording performance used in the album.

The recording producer work is now complete and he/she will provide all deliverables to the recording label.

Step8: The recording label will finalize the album art design, marketing plan and replication.

Step9: Singles or hit songs from the album (selected tracks) will be provided to the radio stations for massive airplay as part of album marketing. Music videos are also released to music video channels.

And the artist will start visiting radio stations, TV stations or even perform concerts as part of the promotion.

Step10: Listeners can now start listening to the songs aired on the radio. The music production process has been completed.

Content last updated on July 13, 2012