Secrets to a Great Single Part Two: The Stand Alone Single

By NationWide Source
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If you ask almost anyone if modern technology has decreased our attention span, they will probably give you a brief “yes” before returning their eyes to their smart phone and constantly-updated Twitter feed.

This shortened attention span- along with iTunes single-handedly changing the way we purchase music- means that, now more than ever, fans love singles. And while die-hard album lovers and musicians mourn the loss of the 12 song LP, most fans clamor for new music to be delivered to them more often than once every year or two.

This new trend leaves artists in a bit of a bind. Full length albums are often more creatively fulfilling than a single or 3-song EP, but in order for up-and-coming musicians to stay in front of their fans and keep costs down, these shorter album forms may be necessary.

In Part One of this series we talked about choosing the right song for your single.

Today we are going to highlight what you need to do if you are recording a standalone single. This single is not a song you pulled off your album, but a song that gets recorded and released separate from an album.

You should approach recording your single the same way you would approach recording an album–with a few small differences.

Determine a Purpose

What is releasing a single going to do for you? Figuring out why you’re recording a single will help you determine the production aspects you may need.

  • Are you sending it to booking agents and promoters? If you are recording a single to help you get live shows, you probably want to record something that is comparable to how you actually sound live.
  • Are you putting it directly into the hands of your fans? A totally stripped down recording may make your fans feel close to you, which can lead to better fan engagement. On the other hand, your fans might be ready for a fully produced, full band sound. It’s all about knowing your audience.
  • Do you want to debut it on a music blog? If you want optimize your single for press, you need to make sure the quality is at the same standard that major artists achieve. Modern technology has made this quality standard very accessible, so you shouldn’t skip things like professional mixing and mastering.

Decide Where/How You Want to Record

Are you going to be creating this single in your home, in a studio, or a hybrid of both? Do you want to bring on a producer/sound engineer?

You also need to decide how much you are willing to pay to get the single recorded.

Recording cost can vary greatly, and only you know how much you are comfortable spending to get your music recorded.

There are great home studio options to record your music yourself, or you could go to a professional studio. If you are not sure which option will work best for you (or if you should try a hybrid of the two) you can read this article for more information on choosing the best recording process for you.

If you are using the single for press and promotional purposes, hiring a producer who is experienced in your genre can be a great investment. Singles can also be a good place to “audition” a producer or sound engineer. You can determine how well you work together on one song before you commit to recording an entire album with them.

This is also a good time to start looking at mixing and mastering engineers. Do some research on engineers in your area, or look at who mixed and mastered your favorite artists, and see if they fit into your recording budget!

Are You Recording More Than One Single?

I know, this might seem a little counter-intuitive. A single is just one song.

But if you feel like you have another song that deserves to be recorded, you might want to consider going ahead and recording 2 or 3 singles at once. This will give you some extra material to release over the next few months.

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