Piano Forum logo

I want to record and sell an album (Read 6722 times)

Offline seandoherty

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 2
I want to record and sell an album
« on: January 02, 2013, 09:09:19 PM »

Recently I have become very interested in recording an album with solo piano music. Maybe my new years resolution will to have an album out by January 2014. I am not a well known pianist, but I think my recordings would still be different and good enough that they would add to the collection of recorded music. I know some pianostreet members have done recording, and I have a lot of questions.

1) First question is a legal question. I am interested in recording music by contemporary composers (Barber, Gershwin, Shostakovich, Nikolai Kapustin, Prokoviev, Stravinsky). I am sure I would need to contact Nikolai Kapustin if I wanted to record and sell his music, but what about the other composers? I live in the United States, so is the policy date of death plus 70 years for public domain music?  Barber died in 1981, yet I see a lot of pianists and orchestras have recorded his works. Did they all ask for his family's permission?

side question: Would I need permission to perform Kapustin in a competition? I see Barber performed in competitions like 2009 Van Cliburn. Did that pianist need to get permission?

2) Is it worth sending demos to a record label like Naxos? Or should I record independently and distribute independently and on Spotify and iTunes?

3) What kind of money can I expect to make? The top reason I want to record is to share the music, but money is nice.

4) Will I get the attention of magazines like Gramophone, that do reviews of classical music?

5) Am I too young to record? I am 18, just about to enter college. Should I leave the recording to established professionals? Am I going to piss of college professors, judges, teachers, and other pianists because I think I am hot enough to record? (I do think I can make better recordings than what is out there though)

6) Can I record without a sound engineer and studio? I'd just like to mic up my home piano. Does anyone have experience with sound engineers and studios? I have a very low budget so recording at home with my own mics is ideal.



Offline soitainly

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 121
Re: I want to record and sell an album
«Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 05:35:43 PM »
 Lots of question, and there are no real answers to most of them.

 1. If you record and sell works that are under copyright, you will be legally obligated to pay royalties. If you are serious about selling copyrighted material you should be come very familiar with the laws involved and how to go about obtaining the licenses. Since you said you don't have lot's of funds, this may not be the best material for you to record if you are planning on making any money at first.

 2. Maybe you have a unique gift for playing but I wouldn't really be expecting to be picked up by a major label. There is always a chance, but don't get your hopes up.

 3. Like question 2, you probably won't make any money. There's always some chance but it's a long shot.

 4. Major publications probably receive thousands of unsolicited albums and I doubt most would even be listened to without some prior fame or success of the artist.

 5. You are not too young to record. I cant't see why anyone would be upset at you taking the initiative to record an album.

 6. Going to a studio can be very expensive, and so called pro engineers aren't always that good. In this day and age, it should almost be a prerequisite that one learns the basics of recording. Thankfully you can get decent recording equipment these days for a very reasonable price. However there is quite a learning curve to recording, I suggest lots of research on the subject.

 It may sound like I am being negative, but I'm really just being realistic. I think you should learn to record yourself, but be prepared to have mixed results, both from getting a good sound and from having any marketing success. Like I said earlier, it is a good idea for any aspiring musician to learn how to make good recordings. Just like learning to play, it takes dedication and practice. But even if all you achieve is a recording that you can be proud and share with your friends it is rewarding enough.