How To Finish An Album:
A Simple And Effective Process
What to expect:
Being a beatmaker can be pretty challenging. You are sketching out ideas every day, learn constantly new stuff about mixing and music theory and so on. By having some creative output every day it can be pretty hard to finish a planned project.
After creating 2 Ep’s and an Album, I think I found a pretty decent process to finish my art and to make sure that it sounds the best way possible. If you are struggling with getting your projects done, reading this article could definitely will help you to improve the process of making an album, or an EP.
Creating an album in general
First I want to cover the difference between an album, an EP and a LP. The main difference between these three artforms is the length of them. While an EP is from around 3 – 9 and an LP round 10 – 15 Tracks. The minimum of an album is 15 tracks. So the goal by creating it is to make at least 3 different, high quality tracks.
Like said before, when you are coming up with new ideas constantly, it can be pretty challenging to finish a project. In this article I want to give you a general overview about my album creation process and how you can manage to finish your art more efficiently.
Table of contents:
1. How to finish a song
Before we will dive into how you can finish your album, we should first breakdown the key elements of a song that make it unique and enjoyable to listen to. When you are making beats in a DAW like Fl Studio or Ableton Live, the process of finishing a song includes 4 phases:
- Sketching Phase:
The most fun part! You generally lay out a 4-8 Bar loop and come up with a great idea, that you can structure your song around.
- Arrangement Phase:
In this state of your creation process you are building the musical structure of your song. Make sure to add some variations to it, so your music doesn’t appeal boring to the ear of the listener. A good rule of thumb is to add a variation at every 8 bars.
- Mixing Phase:
In this part you want to make sure that you can hear every instrument in the whole song and they got its own unique place in the mix.
- Mastering Phase:
The final stage of the song creation process! Here everything is really about loudness and how your songs transfer to different streaming services or sound systems. After you have finished mastering your song, it’s ready to send it out into the world.
Conclusion: Finishing a song will take you trough 4 different stages in order to sound decent to the listener. If you are not good at mixing or mastering at all, you willl find some find some good offers on the fiverr music platform.
2. Putting Together An Album
After we have identified the 4 stages a song has to face in order to get finished, we can now build a strategy of how to organize your album creation process, in order to make it sound as good as it deserves it! When you have mastered the art of the song creation process. Nothing stops you anymore to create some high end musical art!
At this point of the article I want to introduce you to a very helpful browser application called trello. This is used in lots of offices in order to navigate different projects and to document the progress each involved individual has made during the process. Good News: It’s pretty helpful for creating music albums as well and it is available for free!
These are the individual steps of how I organize the process of making an album:
Collecting some sketches
I think we all know the struggle when we are making a beat and the experience when we listen to it the next day is often times – it doesn’t sound good to you anymore. This is natural, because you should experiment with lots of different styles in order to develop your own unique musical appearance. If you want to make a good, outstanding album, you really want to make sure that every single song you put into there is great on it’s own.
You simply do that by creating some sketches every day and make a little listening session after you have done that for like 1-3 months. I am pretty sure, you will find at least 5 beats, that will have the potential to become some highly recognizable songs! The best part? You are reducing the risk to put some trashy songs out into the world.
Step1: Create your first board and add 4 lists including: Tracks, Arrangement, Mixing and Mastering. This will help you to identify which part of the process you should have to focus on more.
Step2: Start making beats and having fun. Collect some sketches and make some hot stuff for your next album/ep/lp!
Create Some Lables
Labels are really about getting the tiny details together. Want to know how to finish songs faster? This is the way to make it! I usually order them into 3 categories:
- Orange: To Do
- Yellow: In Progress
- Green: Done
When I’m working on a new song I usually put the category in Progress to it, so I am reminded of what I work on. It really helps to focus on particular tasks and will help you building some serious focus. The best part about it: You will get a clear overview of your whole project. You will see which songs are already finished and what you already have to work on. If you can’t finish a song, or if you are struggling with any problems that distract you from finishing your project. This is a great free tool that will support you in a lot of ways!
Focus On The Process
In this part of the process You really want to get this “ I want to finish my song!” Mantra. Because finishing the songs of your upcoming album will take you a little bit of time. After every song of your project is finished in the mastering stage. Your album is finished!
After you have successfully created your finished audio files you should really think about how to structure an album.I would recommend to take an afternoon sitting behind your favorite soundsystem and pay every song on it’s own.
When you have identified, which songs fit together the best, you simply create an order and send it to an distributor with a proper artwork – Your album is ready to get out into the world.
3. How to finish an EP / LP or Album
After you set up your process, you really should make your next goals. In general you do this by defining of how many songs you want to include in your next project. Like said before, there are certain rules, about how long each type should be:
- Single: 1 – 2 Tracks
- EP: 3 – 9 Tracks
- LP: 10 – 14 Tracks
- Album: 15 – infinite Tracks
Finish your songs with the process metioned above and you will create a decent piece of art that your audience will love to listen to!
If you have wondered how to finish a beat or how to create an effective process to produce your next single, album, ep or lp this was your article to read.
The key learnings are:
- You finish a song by > making a sketch > arrange your song > mix your song > master it > done!
- You can use the free browser application trello.com to get a great overview of your project
- Focus on your project for the next 2-5 months and get your stuff ready for the release
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