Do You Really Need To Master Your Music?
Tips, Tricks, and the Latest News
We’re Rachel Hurley and Frank Keith IV, co-owners of the Sweetheart Pub. We’re music industry veterans with over 30 years of combined experience in the music business, having worked in licensing, talent buying/booking, label management, tour management, and more. Once a week (hopefully), we’ll publish a new edition of this newsletter, where we’ll share some philosophy and actionable advice on all facets of the music industry.
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We’ve been putting together a weekly playlist of seven songs (just enough to keep your attention) every week — check out The Sweet Spot to hear what we’ve been listening to.
Do I really need to master my album?
Music mastering is the final step in the recording process. During mastering, additional audio treatments are applied to your mix to correct problem frequencies and enhance the musicality of your track. These can include EQ adjustments, compression, limiting, reverb, and more. By carefully tailoring these treatments to your specific track, a trained engineer can help you take your music to the next level. With proper mastering, your music will sound fuller, punchier, and more professional.
So what’s the difference between mixing and mastering?
Mixing is the process of taking all of the tracks in a project and blending them together into a cohesive whole. The mixer's goal is to create a balanced mix that sounds good on its own and provides a suitable foundation for the mastering engineer to work with. While both mastering and mixing are important parts of the music production process, they are very different disciplines with different goals.
Mastering involves improving the sound quality, making sure the levels are balanced, and adding any final touches that will make the song more appealing to listeners. While some people argue that this takes away from the artistic integrity of the song, it is essential if you want to make money from your work. Without mastering, a song is unlikely to be successful commercially. As a result, many musicians see it as an essential part of the release process.
The goal of mastering is to bring out the best in your music, and to make it sound as polished as possible. In order to ensure that your music sounds its best, it is important to work with a qualified mastering engineer who can help you achieve the desired results. With their experience and expertise, a mastering engineer will be able to identify any potential problems with your track and apply the necessary audio treatments to improve the sound quality. If you're serious about your releases, invest in mastering and take your music to the next level.
Mastering can make the difference between a good release and a great release.
And no, mastering doesn’t just “make it louder” if done correctly. Speaking of loudness, check out the Loudness Penalty Analyzer to see if your tracks are being compressed by any of the popular DSPs out there.
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As we often receive requests to work with artists who don’t have the budget to afford a full campaign, we’re launching an “Office Hours”-style consulting service where you can book us for blocks of one-on-one time.
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