Getting It Out There As An Acoustic Artist

Posted on October 1, 2010


Recording the top-notch album takes a good bit of work, but for solo performing acoustic musicians, getting something for the fans to consume can be easier than you think, and you don’t need an old boom box to do it.

Local Boston artist Tommy Dempsey has a great history in recording and performing world-wide in the rock genre market. In the late 80’s and early 90’s he fronted the band Sunshine Jive with a release on a Japanese label. It scored national airplay and the band had a great history together. Later in the decade, Tommy stepped the volume down and began to perform songs solo, just the stage, the audience and an acoustic guitar. The songs were (and still are) fantastic and fans loved them; they wanted to own them and play them in their cars and homes, but Tommy didn’t have the immediate resources or time to record the full length CD, so here’s what he did.

Tommy was well rehearsed and could pull off a great live show with little noticeable error; some would say “A perfect performance.” He booked a couple of nights at a great sounding room in Boston called Club Passim and had the audio tech in the house record the live sessions. With just a little tweaking and some creative cover art, Tommy had a live performance that was ready to be offered to fans. He called it “Live Songs” and it still sells today!

By being well rehearsed and professional on stage, which comes with time and practice, he was able to offer a solid recording that would stand up next to anything James Taylor released the same way. No really! Great songs, well recorded; what more could any artist ask for?

So this is a thought. Tighten up your set and record it. Download a copy of audacity for free from the Internet and try a couple of its features to compress any unnecessary volume or room noises and splice the performance into a dozen tracks. Tommy did it with just seven songs and it was perfect! Download a cover template from a CD manufacturer like and set up your cover art. For what might cost you $150, you can bring 100 copies of your new disc to your next performance and leave with a bit of pocket cash and some happy fans.

True, it’s important for your career to get a CD made in the studio; it’s the musicians’ goal isn’t it? But with many of these online manufacturer websites, you can get a bar code, Soundscan rank and reprints when you need them for little out of pocket cash. The benefits are untold, as the numbers of fans you have will increase when current fans are able to play your music for new friends.

Be sure to include web links in your CD’s art, and offer a download of a couple songs on your website. You can even upload your tracks to CDBaby or another pay per song website and get your career into a better financial state. With these types of download and purchase options, you can be making a back in your sleep and your fan base can reach new proportions.

I’d suggest starting with finding a good room with top quality acoustics. The local VFW Hall might not be the place to record. Warm yourself up for a really good performance in a club you might even have to rent. It could be worth it to spend a couple dollars in order to guarantee a great sound.

Set the date for a month out and ask everyone you know to attend. Tell them you’re recording and post often. Give tickets away for people to attend so you can be sure to have a great audience. Promote and fill the room. It won’t hurt your relationship with the club’s booking agent either to see that you’ve got a following.

When all is said and done, your live recording could be the next step to the studio album of your dreams. You’ll know what songs fans respond to, and you might just make a good portion of the studio costs for the pro recording.

Keep at it and send me flyer, maybe I can be one of the fans cheering you on from the front row.

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