Mastering is the crucial, final step in the music production process. It can fix imbalances in your mixes, raise the overall volume of your tracks and should leave your songs sounding polished and professional. But mastering isn’t just about finalizing the sound of your music. When mastering a full album, one establishes the running order of their songs and the spaces between them. Perhaps this is old-fashioned, but considering the timing of your album can make a big difference to it’s flow and add impact to each track when listened to in order.
A proper master that you would use to replicate CDs contains more than just your songs in a specific order. It is created using special software that can encode additional information on it like the names of your tracks and ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) numbers that can identify your music anywhere in the world. South African artists should get their unique ISRC from RISA and bring it to their mastering session. Plan ahead as it can take time to receive your unique code. Before burning the final master, double check all song names and ISRCs to avoid major hassles later.
That’s it…almost. Before manufacturing CDs, you will need to design a cover that includes a bar code and publishing information. You’ll probably want your website and social media info on there too. Finally, when you have your freshly minted CDs in hand, you are ready to run with your music. Be prepared to give away a bunch of promo copies to industry players and take every opportunity to perform live and sell CDs. Get busy on social media too. See you on the charts!
Watch the video above to learn how to export a hi-res (preferably 24-bit), stereo .wav or .aiff mix of your song for mastering or email me for more information.
P.S. I know CDs are kinda outdated, but I wanted you to understand what goes into creating a physical master disk anyway. Even if you don’t go the CD route, you should still assign ISRC numbers to all of your songs.