Let’s make a record

I’m excited to be starting work on my first record with Edmonton-based musician and producer Everett LaRoi.  We will be setting up the production schedule soon and should have a record ready to release sometime next year.

I’m going to take my time and enjoy the process, so we haven’t set ourselves any hard deadlines.  Right now we’re planning on recording a 6-song EP.  We’ve got a shortlist of songs and will get started on pre-production in October with Spicy Tomato Music.

Everett is a really interesting guy with lots of song writing and performance experience stretching back to the mid-1980s with his former band Idyl Tea.  His recent production credits include work with ManRayGunGoldtop, and Alice Kos.  It’s a real honour to have him be a part of the Selkirk Range project.

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Tracking your digital song files with the ISRC

I’ve embarked on a learning journey as I begin preparations for making a record.  Among the things I’m learning is the ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the system for royalty collection with digital song files.  The ISRC is a 12-character identifier associated with each unique song, that allows it to be traced back to the owner for royalty payments.

The code consists of a 2-digit country code, registrant code, year of reference, and designation code.  For Selkirk Range the code for the first song on the record will probably look like this:  CAX0V1600001, where “X0V” is my registrant code and identifies me as the independent artist that owns the rights to the song.  “CA” is Canada, and “16” is the year I expect to release the song (2016).  The designation code 00001 might be the first song on the record.

The owner assigns the codes to the songs and includes them with the metadata of the files as well as the master CD.  The owner also provides them to agencies that need them for tracking and paying royalties (e.g., iTunes, CD Baby, etc.).

There is no cost for obtaining an ISRC Registrant Code and it’s quick and painless. As an independent artist you will likely have to do this yourself.  Each country has its own domestic organization that administers the ISCR, and in Canada it is Connect Music Licensing.  You can learn more about Canadian ISRC administration here.

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Is it time to make a record?

Slowly but surely I’m starting to take steps toward making a record.  As an independent artist it is a significant investment of time and energy but my aim is to think about it as a creative act while approaching it with a business-like frame of mind.  A platinum selling record isn’t the goal obviously, but a decent return on the investment through modest but steady record sales supported by a smart might be within reach.

Most important, however, is to approach this as a learning opportunity that brings together the creative and business sides of the music industry as it is today (i.e., complicated!), and to use this initiative as a way to connect to other people and make it a rich social experience that contains its own rewards.

Taking that lead, I’ve started doing my homework to figure out the “unknown unknowns” as it were.  Cameron Mizell’s four-part series “Introduction to the Self-released Album” on Musicianwages.com has been a great starting point to gain some awareness of the various things involved in this process.  It’s recommended reading for anyone taking this route as an independent.