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I've thought about it numerous times and recently a guy I know has been trying to convince me that I should put out my own album's worth of music as I still have tons of songs that I've never finished and many more that I've never bothered to record/produce. Clearly, this guy has bad taste in music.

The thing is, I just don't see the point. Whether it's on bandcamp or you have a record label, what is the point? It seems like a lot of work and money to go through for something people aren't going to buy or listen to anyway. May as well just post the occasional track on soundcloud.

So for those of you who made an album of your own original stuff, how did it turn out? Was it worth it and why was it worth it?

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They're worth it if your songs are good, your album is executed well, and you have the market/fans who would buy/take them off of you.

It isn't worth it if your songs are poor, your album is underdeveloped, and you lack enough fans who are interested in having your work.

You certainly don't sound like your music would do well if you were to pay to produce physical copies, but you can still release digitally for free or I suppose next to nothing. The one thing I'm getting from your post however is that you don't really have an album idea in your mind, just a bunch of singles or random tracks you'd compile together. Not saying you can't produce something like that, but that isn't the kind of mind frame you want when preparing an album.

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I agree with most of what Skrypnyk said. I love making albums. I've done quite a few now and it was worth it every time. If you want to actually earn money from your music you need to start early and build up a body of work.

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They're worth it if your songs are good, your album is executed well, and you have the market/fans who would buy/take them off of you.

It isn't worth it if your songs are poor, your album is underdeveloped, and you lack enough fans who are interested in having your work.

You certainly don't sound like your music would do well if you were to pay to produce physical copies, but you can still release digitally for free or I suppose next to nothing. The one thing I'm getting from your post however is that you don't really have an album idea in your mind, just a bunch of singles or random tracks you'd compile together. Not saying you can't produce something like that, but that isn't the kind of mind frame you want when preparing an album.

I agree with the heart of this (not necessarily the straightforwardness of this).

Do what you feel is worth doing with your music. If you like your music enough that you want to see who likes it enough to buy it, then make a plan, compile a practical album (preferably with a real theme), and see what happens. Obviously, if you don't know what will happen or you're just starting, it's best to distribute the album on a site that doesn't ask for a fee or other upfront payment(s), and Bandcamp is a great place to begin.

While OverClocked Records is awesome, I'm sure, I do believe they still hold standards on what they put on there (?), what with djp and Larry working with zircon on it.

Edited by timaeus222
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A good way to test the water is just put out a few singles of your best work. If they sell well, make more or start on an album. If they don't, go back to the drawing board, develop your style and skills some more, and try again.

This is probably what I'll wind up doing.

The thing is, I can't decide on what kind of theme and genre I would do. Electronic dance stuff? Rock/metal? Film score orchestra stuff or Jazz? That probably also argues in favor of putting out singles or EPs instead.

Another problem. If you put out an album's worth of EDM and your next one is a metal type of album, your previous listeners are likely EDM fans and aren't going to care about the next album. You'd probably have to pick a style and stick with it (which would probably get boring) unless you want to use multiple names.

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Not necessarily. As long as your stuff is good, chances are, someone will like it. I do everything from classical to electronic, and I still get people who listen to my stuff. Many who liked the classical tracks also liked the electronic ones!

The thing is, if you want to diversify successfully, you should make sure you're good enough in all the styles you want to do. At least as good as the "main style" that people like you for. Sometimes I get annoyed that a particular singer always ALWAYS sings the same damn genre and the same damn style ALL the time. But maybe that's the only style they're good at. Maybe they tried other styles, but people thought they sucked, so they returned to their roots. Well, then they're doing the smart thing, sticking to their guns.

That being said, even if you do stick to one or a few styles, there are countless ways to approach things and keep things fresh, including but not limited to incorporating new techniques, instruments, or hybridizing other genres into your compositions. And by then, you're already starting to branch out to different genres of music altogether.

First things first though, create some tracks, put them out there, and determine the genre(s) that other people like you for, and that enjoy writing.

Another problem. If you put out an album's worth of EDM and your next one is a metal type of album, your previous listeners are likely EDM fans and aren't going to care about the next album. You'd probably have to pick a style and stick with it (which would probably get boring) unless you want to use multiple names.
Edited by Neifion
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I agree with everything everyone has said, but I also want to add that honestly there's just a magic to it.

I'm about to finish my second large album project and there's almost an excitement to it and when you're really determined and you love it, it is so much cooler than just posting random stuff on SoundCloud. The experience is way cooler and bigger and special. Honestly, you remember it if you really put your heart and mind into it.

But it really has to be something of some importance to you. You have to be committed to doing it. And I love it. I'll keep doing it. I keep getting more and more busy, so if I begin another album project, I may not have it done for another 3 to 4 years.

But nevertheless, it's really way more fun and a lot cooler to sell a full album on iTunes or CD Baby or bandcamp. And it's only cooler when you truly care about it and you really get into it, even if it takes you years, like all of my projects have been.

Edited by Garrett Williamson
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That being said, even if you do stick to one or a few styles, there are countless ways to approach things and keep things fresh, including but not limited to incorporating new techniques, instruments, or hybridizing other genres into your compositions. And by then, you're already starting to branch out to different genres of music altogether.

Additionally, you don't necessarily have to have a style that corresponds to particular genres. My style is complexity and glitch, and those can be applied to any genre if done in certain ways. If there's a feeling of "damn, there's a lot going on here, but it somehow works", then I might have made that. In that sense, I'm free to branch out into pretty much any genre, and a cohesive theme could simply be a medium (EX: Book soundtrack, film-score-style, etc.), location (EX: Mid East, Far East, etc.), etc.

Edited by timaeus222
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I released an album with Ben Briggs that only took a couple of weeks to write, and we made really solid cash out of it. It was a blast to write, people enjoyed it, and it netted me the $$$$$, so yes, it's worth it. There's no downside to it if you enjoy writing music.

But are you going to make a career out of selling your music on bandcamp? Almost without a doubt, no. More creativity and diversity with your revenue model is required to make music work as a career for the vast majority of people.

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Really wondering if the new tendency is to get a cash with kickstarters. Say someone is already fully equiped and can mix the album and get funded for 10k$. Prints a few physical copies, sell most of the albums via download and pay a few hundred bucks for mastering. It's a pretty neat cash in your pockets after..

But I hope it's still worth it with a normal release. Hard work leads to success they say. I tend to think labels are something to be avoided but for now it's just my intuition.

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Really wondering if the new tendency is to get a cash with kickstarters. Say someone is already fully equiped and can mix the album and get funded for 10k$. Prints a few physical copies, sell most of the albums via download and pay a few hundred bucks for mastering. It's a pretty neat cash in your pockets after..

Except the explicit rule of Kickstarter is to NOT use money on personal benefits... It's donation to do something for fans, not donation to make yourself richer.

I do find this one hilarious though. Apparently someone's done this before:

Projects cannot offer genetically modified organisms as a reward.
Edited by timaeus222
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I think albums are completely worth it from an artistic perspective, particularly if you try and fit some kind of concept into it. Releasing a collection of random songs doesn't seem that fulfilling to me but it still represents weeks/months/years of hard work so it's neat.

From a money perspective I'm not sure. I guess it depends on the style (kind of hard to make cash on a progressive fusion metal album I guess :razz: ).

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The net opinion here seems to lean towards "go for it!", and I'm not against that by any means, however, a word of caution...

If you're not really interested in money (aka you're only interested in the enjoyment of making an album), then I say there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't do an album.

However, if your main goal (or even your half-goal) is to make a profit, then you really need to test the waters first and see if there is a demand for your music.

You can make seriously amazing music with the highest production values and you won't sell a cent if nobody wants to listen. Just because something is valuable doesn't mean people are going to line up to buy it; there has to be a demand for it.

So yes, all of this can-do attitude is great, but I think it would be wise to temper it first by setting your goal: money or enjoyment (or both!), and second by testing individual tracks with the public before getting ready for the long haul.

From the other side, if you're not good enough to make a profit yet, the only way to get there is to write more music. So you might as well start on an album for the practice, and by the time you're done, perhaps your skills and popularity will be at the point where selling that album will net you some cash!

Kind of a Zen thing I guess. :P

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Leaving out the cash question, i suppose the main question is if you enjoy albums yourself.

I don't know your age, but this has changed a lot with the mainstream internet era. Albums used to be a given, the only way to publish a larger, deeper sampling of your music. That given is gone, so all you have to ask yourself is if you enjoy the format and can use it to express something.

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My first album was a trial by fire. It pushed my computer and self to breaking points, and in fact my computer broke during post-production, meaning Zircon had to save the whole production through mastering alone (still not sure how he did that). It got so bad I had an out of body experience that I also can't explain.

Response to the album, for all that effort was... mixed. Sold about $200 worth and few people were willing to review it. 8 months of effort for next to nothing.

...at first.

What I found out later was my first album, instead of being a milestone itself, it was more of a gateway, as I got some later gigs out of it and I was able to get one song on rotation for a local arts and crafts channel for 7 months. The production of the album also essentially taught me how to complete a music project, as I'd had very little experience in actually finishing music before then.

So even if albums aren't worth it in terms of sales and never become so successful that anytime you talk about them in topics like these, it's always thinly veiled bragging trying to pass itself off as "experience", they can be worth it elsewhere.

Just don't do what I did and try to RUSH one out for the sake of getting it complete. Spend time to do it well and do it RIGHT, and other good albums will soon follow.

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I'm currently asking myself this question right now having sold about 50$ worth of music on bandcamp in the last 6 months. It's obviously a pretty shitty time and work to money ratio, but considering it's a thing I do in my free time with little negative impact on any other aspect of my life, this - in my mind - is a pretty sweet achievement. I've almost completely decided on making an EP of 3 or 4 songs, and I'm just getting round to starting procrastinating for all the preparations I need. Because I'm a student, I consider this as an investment in my free time so that I can get better at music production and composition while having a little fun and possibly making enough money to pay for something nice.

Also obviously it's pretty cool to be able to say you've made something like that by yourself (or as a collaboration, or whatever) and practising this kind of thing will hopefully be a good idea to improve on your skills and creativity for future projects.

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probably not. for every person who makes ok money on albums, there are 10 who make nothing.

You have to take into account that most artists, despite their intelligence and talent with art, have next to no grasp on what to DO with their albums once they complete them. They just think they'll put it up on CDbaby and Bandcamp or try to get a record label to do all the marketing work for them and just let what happens happen.

I didn't want to believe that was true, but when I was hitting up people, published OCR artists mind you, on the SD3 project for marketing ideas and things to do, they were literally dumbstruck with thinking there was simply nothing you could do beyond Facebook and OCR itself. It was like watching a deer in headlights repeating over and over "What, you mean... there's something BESIDES Facebook and OCR?"

It was disturbing, truth be told.

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there's something BESIDES Facebook and OCR?

Engliht us because rally, I don't know how to build a momentum for my album release by the end of the year. I have 100 freinds on FB and 100 fans (25% are friends already in my personnal FB). lol it's pretty much hopeless but the product will definetly be beyond average IMO (no pretention/years of work). I made 10$ with some kind of kickstarter (gofundme) and I'm sure I'll make about the same amount when the LP will be out. At least, I do it for me 1st, which is an awesome yet painful experience haha.

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I was working on a large "alternate" guide for OCR on how to market your music yourself, got 42 pages into it, then Winter got bad and when I wanted to start it up again, a lot of what I wrote already became obsolete, so I'm not sure exactly what I want to do with it now.

All the same, I'm not sure why I need to enlighten you right here the many things beyond Facebook and OCR, a lot of it is very common sense oriented and can be found through proper research. People write "How to market your music" guides online all the time. It just requires actually making work out of doing it.

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Here, let me repeat what I said earlier and emphasize on something.

Unless you're a successful artist, this really can't be done as a living. It sucks, but yeah, that's how it is. If you can gain some success doing it, then I think it'd probably work. I can't guarantee that, but if the money coming in is pretty solid and will keep you alive, then I think there's a possibility there.

But everyone here is going by if it gets you any money or not. From a guy who isn't making and selling albums for a living, this is all I have to say:

It's fun. Way more fun than posting random stuff on SoundCloud. It's a crapload of fun. Maybe it isn't fun for everyone, but I freaking love it.

That is all.

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Truthfully, it's pretty dumb to try to make music your living these days, it's not much different than trying to make winning the lottery your day job. Even those who are mega successful today have a slim-to-nil chance of keeping it going for years to come, as we've all seen what eventually happens to most artists throughout history.

Anyone still listening to Matchbox 20?

Artists need to just fucking make peace with the fact that, sooner or later, they're going to have to compromise their "dreams" and get a real job, probably one they don't care for, but just because you work a 40 hour grind in an office every week doesn't mean you can't do music as a part time job, and that will free up a lot of things (except time) that will allow better chances for music albums to sell.

How ironic that the biggest thing full-time artists don't want to do is the one thing that genuinely helps their chances of making some money musically.

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Labels, even the small and free ones, are surprisingly hard to get onto, and their effectiveness is random at best. We used to get people on the forums here who used to ask "Hey, I just made an album, should I get on an indie label or a major one?" like you just walk into Sony Music Entertainment, sit down next to Rihanna, sign a couple things, and walk out with a contract.

Worth a shot, but don't put all your eggs in a basket for labels. Even the best ones won't do all the work for an artist, they'll be expected to shoulder some of the burden.

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