How much music have you recorded/produced in the past 6 months? Have you released any new tracks? Are you in the middle of a project? This year is officially half way over, what have you got to show for it musically? Well, I have a little challenge for you. Hear me out on this one…
Via Bill Ward Flickr
Release Your Next Album 6 Months From Today
You read that right. There are 6 months left in the year, so why not release an EP of 6 songs in the next 6 months? No reason why not! You have to set some kind of deadline in order to get those creative juices flowing. I think giving yourself 6 months to do a project is a great deadline. It’s actually doable, but still just crazy enough to make you panic.
Now, I’m assuming many of you don’t record music full time. You have a day job that takes up a lot of time. Have no fear. This challenge is for people exactly like you. I’m challenging the regular, everyday, hardworking, person who has a home or project studio on the side, to write, record, mix, and release a 6 song EP in the next 6 months of your free time. Bam! So how exactly do you do this? I thought you would never ask!
Your 6 Month Road Map
One potential way to accomplish this task is to focus on one song at a time, start to finish, per month. You could follow my example on the One Song One Month Challenge videos I put together. If that fits your workflow, then give that a shot. But let me suggest a different road map that might help you compartmentalize things a bit more.
- Give yourself just 2 weeks to write and record each song. You don’t have time to over think the writing process. Take an idea and run wild with it. Whatever thoughts come to mind, do them. You aren’t mixing just yet, simply recording one for two weeks and then moving on to the next track. You will record as you go more than likely, and this is where having a simple and accessible setup will do wonders for your workflow! (Total Time – 12 weeks)
- Spend only 1 week mixing each song. Once your tracks are recorded, give yourself no more than 7 days to mix it. Don’t mix multiple songs at once, simply pick one and mix it all week. This can include any slight edits or tuning that you’d like to do, just as long as you stop tweaking after a week. Having multiple days to come back to it (even you spend just 30 minutes a day) will give you fresh ears and perspective. Try the 3 hour mix concept and see if that helps you. (Total Time – 6 weeks)
- Give yourself 1 week of mix tweaking. This is a crucial week of listening to your mixes in different environments and getting perspective on them after having spent 6 weeks mixing. You can make changes and adjustments to any and all 6 songs in this week. After the week is up, your mixing phase is complete. No more mucking around! (Total Time – 1 week)
- Spend 1 week mastering your tracks. This will be a total DIY mastering project. Take your final mixes from the previous week and import them into a mastering session. Do final EQ balance and limiting so they are ready to be played in the real world. This will be the week where you pick an EP name and song order. You’re almost there! (Total Time – 1 week)
- Do a 2 week digital release of your single. Pick your best song of the 6 and put it out for the world to hear. Blast it on Myspace, Facebook, Soundcloud, wherever! This is your time of promo. Get people pumped that you have a new EP coming out in a few short weeks. Allow people to download the song for free if you want. It will really get people excited for what else you have! (Total Time – 2 weeks)
- Put your new EP up for sale online. With less than a month left in our 6 month plan, you can now sign up with a site like TuneCore and have your EP available for sale digitally in places like iTunes and Amazon within days! It costs less than $50 a year, but it’s a small investment for your music. Plus you already have a small fan base from your free single the past few weeks. Just hit those people up and get them to buy the EP! (Total Time – 1 week)
That’s it! Go from nothing to digital release of a killer 6 song EP in a total of 23 weeks!
You Can Totally Do This
Am I crazy for suggesting this? Or am I actually on to something? What’s the worst that could happen if you tried it? You might actually record and make some killer music. And after all, isn’t that why you’re hanging out on this site in the first place?
Fight the doubter inside you, commit to making an EP in the next 6 months, put everything you have into it, and see if just wasn’t one of the best things you did in a long time. I hope to hear your EP when it’s done!