Beyond the Music: Adobe Creative Tools for DIY Musicians
I spent a day at the NAMM show last Friday checking out all the latest music gear and software. NAMM is an amazing showcase of the incredibly broad array of products available for making music. And despite all the changes in the music industry over the past decade, the passion for making and sharing music is just as vibrant as ever.
Of course with the music recording industry business model changing, it means a lot more musicians have to go it alone. This has had positive benefits in terms of creative freedom for recording artists who no longer need label backing to record music thanks to the revolution in personal recording gear and software. For example, singer/songwriter Roger McGuinn uses Audition for his entire recording process in his home studio. He has a Windows PC, an audio interface for connecting his mics and instruments and a copy of Audition 3 to do everything including mastering and burning a CD for duplication. Compare that to the cost of production for one of my favorite albums “Grace” by Jeff Buckley that came out in 1994 and cost several hundred thousand dollars to make at that time.
On the flip side, going it on your own as a musician means you have to wear a lot of hats. I recall an interview a number of years ago with singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman who talked about how she was essentially running her own small business as an artist. So as a DIY musician you have to be more than just a creative artist. You have to be responsible for all your marketing and promotion which includes your website, social networks, artwork, images/video, e-mail marketing, press and of course booking your own gigs and touring. If you’re in a band this can be a shared responsibility or as an individual musician you might have friends and family help or even contract some of this out depending on your budget. However, in order to manage your costs doing a lot this yourself is unavoidable. You may even want to setup your own digital label, which was discussed in some detail in the December issue of Future Music (UK). Unfortunately, all this takes time away from developing your craft, but that is the price you pay for creative freedom as an independent musician.
While this blog is dedicated to discussing Adobe’s audio tools, there’s a wide array of other tools in the Creative Suite product family that are critical to making your DIY music business a success whether you’re an individual musician, in a band or running an independent label. The tools you should be looking at to help market and promote your music include…
Photoshop – editing photos
Lightroom – cataloging and managing photos
Illustrator – Logo and graphic design
InDesign – CD and poster layout and design
Fireworks – website prototype and design
Dreamweaver – website and on-line newsletter creation
Contribute – blogging and website updates
Flash Professional – web and mobile interactive experiences
Premiere Pro – editing and producing music videos
After Effects – motion graphics for music videos
What Adobe tools do you use for packaging and promoting your music? We’d like to hear what tools you find most valuable and why.