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CABARET HOTLINE ONLINE TIPS THE MAKINGS OF A GOOD CABARET CD
done your cabaret show five or six times, and now suddenly someone
suggests that you make a CD! After all, every cabaret performer you
know has a CD, so why not you? In fact, there have been a few performers
lately who have produced their first CD without having even done a
listening to the hundreds of CDs I've received in the past few years,
and having researched the business of producing a CD for a previous
employer, here are some words of advice.
BE IN SO MUCH OF A HURRY
CD is an investment, and like any important (and expensive) investment,
you must proceed with caution and not haste. This is especially true
if this is to be your very first recording. You want the first CD
(and all that follow) to represent your very best. For the most part,
you will be asking people to purchase something that you will want
them to treasure. You don't want to sell them something that they
will be disappointed in. CDs are often called "The Cabaret Performer's
Calling Card." Folks who have never seen you in live performance will
be hearing you for the first time. That first impression will be a
lasting impression. Attendance at any of your future shows, and sales
of any of your future CDs might just hinge on the quality of your
THE BEST TEAM YOU CAN
the very best talent you can find to help you in producing your CD.
The extra costs up front could mean the difference between selling
two or three "pressings" of your recording, or ending up with 850
of the original run gathering dust in your hall closet. Ask around
and talk to others who have recorded CDs. Look at the labels of the
favorite CDs in your own personal collection, and jot down the names
of the people and companies involved in their production and manufacture.
best estimates for the total costs of producing the CD, and then set
aside about 25% more than the estimates before you begin. I hear many
horror stories about folks who ran out of funds with their CD incomplete,
delaying any return on investment for an additional 6 months or more.
As with all estimates, folks tend to give you the lowest figure possible
in order to gain you as a customer. They don't always mention the
"hidden costs" like overtime, remixing time, etc. These unanticipated
costs just might tempt you to cut corners, delivering an inferior
product. Be prepared.
WORK DOESN'T END IN THE STUDIO
By the time
you lay down that last track, figure that your work is only half done.
You will want to be there during the mixing and remixing process as
well. You will want to be sure that you are satisfied every step of
the way. This is a process that cannot be done in a hurry. I heard
one tale of a mixing engineer who pushed a client to sign off on a
mix that the performer was really not satisfied with. But the engineer
was in a hurry to get paid, and to get on with his next job, and finally
talked the performer into giving an OK. As a result, the offending
track was mentioned in just about every review written about the CD,
and it took the performer a long time, professionally, to recover
from that error.
ABOUT DISTRIBUTION BEFORE YOU RECORD A NOTE
essential part of producing a CD is getting it into the hands of the
purchaser. You certainly don't want 500 or 1000 CDs on your living
room floor with no place to go. Again, talk to others who have been
through the process. Ask what they did to get listed on amazon.com,
or CDNOW. Some folks simply sell their product when they perform,
with a small table at the back of the cabaret room or hall where CDs
can be purchased. Others seek out local and distributors, which means
less profit but far greater distribution and sales. Other performers
have a website for the sole purpose of promoting and selling their
As the funds
from the sale of the first CD start coming in, and as the real profits
materialize with the second and third pressings, start putting that
money aside for, yes, the next CD! Of course, first pay back the loans
and credit card balances that were used up for the first CD, but realize
that you are in a limited market. But if your first CD is a good one,
folks will be looking to purchase the next one. And the second time
around, everything will be just a bit easier. You might have developed
a mailing list of customers who purchased the first CD from your website
or after your show. If you have used local and national distributors,
they will be an easy sell the second time if your first CD was a success.
And you will have learned from all the little and big mistakes you
made with that initial recording.
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