View Full Version : If You Had...

05-04-2006, 08:30 PM
...three albums worth of some of the greatest material of all time(IMO of course..lol), but had no money to record them, what would you do?

Are there producers who would produce for free?

Would you play some showcases?

Record a couple and do myspace or something?

Would you get a second and third job to pay for the album to be recorded?

If I was 26 instead of 36 I would get those jobs and/or beg/borrow/steal. But...

Can a 36 year old guy, even with great material, make it in the music industry? Is it even worth trying?


05-04-2006, 09:20 PM
It's very easy to record things yourself, using a computer. You don't even need a super fast one either.

I've made recordings with no special equipment at all, using nothing but the line in input of my sound card and a sequencer program for the other instruments. Of course, it doesn't sound too great the way I've done it, but you can make decent quality recordings using a modest investment.

It depends on the kind of music though, whether you could "make it." If you're a 36 year old undiscovered jazz virtuoso, I'm sure there would be a market for you. If you're singing love songs, it might be a bit harder to break into that since so many young people sing that stuff, and big record companies look for image more than the music in many cases.

It also depends on what you mean by "make it." If you have good music, I don't see any reason for you not to have success somewhere, but that might mean a small, independent label or the internet. Which has always been fine to me...I don't care what the label is on music I like. There are so many ways to get your stuff out there now to tons of people. Now it's not just a matter of going through the gruelling process of hawking your stuff on some record company.

Perform live in your local area, if you can. That's the biggest thing you can do to gain popularity. It's not always about impressing record companies with your music. If you can demonstrate that you have a following, they will be much more interested.

Just as an example of what you can do with no special equipment whatsoever, not even a microphone, here are some of my older recordings. I did them all by myself, and I know nothing about mastering and the like.

05-04-2006, 09:28 PM
Thanks for the advice.

I play rock, folk rolk type stuff.

By "make it" I just mean earn a living. Like Iron & Wine or something. Nice little following. Sell a few records.

I'm very hesitant to try recording on my own, because it seems like a massive learning curve, although your stuff did sound pretty good. Quasispace was very cool.

I think I'm gonna try playing out and hopefully hook up with someone who does have the home equipment and knows how to use it.

I just want to get my songs recorded. Even if only for me.

05-06-2006, 06:05 PM
Hi billythrilly7th,

Good news, bad news. We'll start with the bad news first....

As far as getting a legitimate record deal at 36, the window for that happening has closed, so please don't get a second or third job to pay someone to produce a solid "demo" for you to shop around. (You would need to spend at least $1,500~ $2,000 per song, and then the cd has to be sent off to be professionally mastered, which adds a couple thousand more dollars to the total cost.) And no professional producer will work for free. You get what you pay for.

That said, there are many successful musicians/songwriters MUCH older than you, who make a great living with their music. But you need to be able to record music yourself, at home, and learn how to do it fast. You can put a modest home studio together quite inexpensively. Challenge yourself to figure out how to use it and have fun with it!

My 21 year old son, Ryan, recorded all the songs for his album on gear in his bedroom. For an "indie" project, it sounds great. Certainly good enough to sell. That's what you should think about doing. (You can check out the sound quality by following the link below my signature.) In addition to putting up a website, he put up a My Space site and has had nearly 20,000 profile views - and it's only been up for five months. My Space is a great (inexpensive) way to create a buzz about your music and get a following, and if you get a gig somewhere, you can let everyone know where/when you are playing.

I wish you all the best!

05-06-2006, 10:02 PM
Hi billythrilly7th,

Good news, bad news. We'll start with the bad news first....

As far as getting a legitimate record deal at 36, the window for that happening has closed,

I think that's a little bit of a stretch to make such an arbitrary assumption. Not every record company is doing the MTV thing.

Age only really matters in the vapid MTV world, which doesn't speak for the entire industry. Not by a long shot. They may be the loudest and move the most dollars, but most real music is outside of that nonsense. Anything is possible.

05-07-2006, 01:56 AM
Hi RG570,
I can only speak from my own experience as a studio owner and someone who works with talented recording artists, day in and day out, year after year. At that age, you can have hope of placing songs with a major artist, but getting signed as THE featured artist on a major label yourself would be most difficult. But, maybe you know of someone over 35 (other than Tiny Tim - LOL!) who has been discovered and had a successful career. Anything is possible, as you said. But, the ones I know who are getting deals at that age, are those who were originally signed when they were much younger.

05-07-2006, 06:55 AM
I look very young for my age. Is that anything?

Thanks for the help.

05-07-2006, 07:21 AM
Ah! Well, why didn't you say that in the first place?! ha! ha!

Keep writing and playing! Musicians stay young-at-heart forever. *hug*

05-07-2006, 08:05 PM
Hi Billythrilly7th,

I woke up this morning thinking about your question, and I'm afraid I may have come across more negative and abrupt yesterday than I intended. I'm sorry about that!

As far as whether it’s possible to break into the music industry playing rock/folk rock at 36 and have a nice little following, and sell some cds … perhaps you were thinking of a music career on a local level, rather than getting signed with a major label. Yes, that’s very possible. An agent can probably book some out of town dates for you, too.

As far as “making it and earning a living”… that depends on your financial needs and whether you a minimalist or if you want to drive a nice car and own a nice home. I have one musician friend who lives out of a motel and his weekly rate includes local telephone calls, cable tv, and utilities. Another musician friend lives in a studio apartment over a Chinese restaurant. Both are always broke, but they’re happy as a clam. It’s all relative, I guess.

In my line of work, I see so many friends and clients get “lost” as they get older because they have never channeled their creative energies into anything other than playing gigs, recording demos, and chasing the BIG dream. They don’t have a “Plan B” and they didn’t grow with the times (many of them didn't grow-up either, for that matter – ha!) and worse, they didn't keep up with technology.

There are soooo many opportunities out there for songwriters who are smart and resourceful. It’s very exciting! So, instead of "hooking up with someone who has home equipment and knows how to use it," get your own setup and learn how to use it yourself. Start small and you’ll have a blast with it. Trust me, it’ll inspire you and take your songwriting to a whole new level!

05-10-2006, 10:22 PM
Thanks Labell.

I just wish I was ten years younger. I'd really like to sell about 10 million albums and I wish I knew I knew I could write songs before hitting my 30's.

My first guitar teacher ruined my life by teaching me scales instead of chords.

"I coulda been a Cobaina. I coulda been somebody."

05-13-2006, 10:49 AM
I'vebeen in music for a long time, almost made it big a few times.
You're in Boulder? I believe that is a skiing are. One way to make a good living is to start playing with other bands. Open for them do a few songs. Might have to do a few covers.
uh before I go on do you play guitar and sing?
if so then as you get more of a following you can start playing all the bars even small ones. bring CD's that you make. For a few hundred you can go to a local studio and do recordings. Yea like she said you can do it on the computer. There are a few decent programs that you can get cheap. Cakewalk has one for $40.00.

I believe you're in a big skiing area. You can do all the lodges too once you get going. This buisness really does help knowing people. Get to know the local bar owners the other bands that are similiar and start hanging out at the places you'd like to play. You'll get to meet other local bands and national bands. You'll never know when an oppertunity will arise.

Can you make it at your age. Well let me put it this way. I'm older and I haven't given up. well I do have a bunch of kids and a wife so I work 80 hrs a week or so now.
Still writing and playing.
Grandma moses was 99 or so when she got some fame for her paintings.
KFS- Turned down 100 plus times - no one wanted his reciepe
Mcdonalds no one wanted either.
If you want it bad enough it'll happen.
But like anything make sure you love it!!!
If you just do it for the money and fame you'll more than likely not make it!

Also there are a lot of really good music sites on the net.
Try \The muse.com
krmusic.com? Run google to be sure.
Also get the musicains atlas.

I'll tell you this much...being on stage is a rush unlike any other....
Keep The Faith!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

05-14-2006, 05:30 AM
Thanks a lot for the advice.

I'm gonna get the songs out there one way or another and if they're as good as I believe them to be then who knows?

If they aren't, well at least I gave it a shot.

Thanks again.