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Releasing a Recording Commercially--Complete the Steps?

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Anonymous
July 13, 2005 5:57:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I'm working with a large cathedral in Hartford, CT right now, and we are
having a meeting to discuss the repetoire for the recording that we plan to
make this fall.

Assuming that the check discs I send out to various hi-fi reviewers is
well-received, the organist may wish to have the recording see the light of
day in a wider circle. (He is an internationally-acclaimed organist with a
long history in music.) We are likely to do a repertoire of Bach, Messiaen,
Dupré and others, as the music director tells me that this instrument would
be more suited to the early 20th century compositions than purely Baroque
works.

I am also going to discuss a very non-conventional orchestration of a
classical piece, but with the idea of adapting it to organ, as has never
been done before (not wanting to be 'just another organ recording' I want
this disc to have a wildcard or two up its sleeve, to make it collectible.)

Initially, my intent for this recording was more along the lines of breaking
new ground in miking and recording techniques, but the quality of the organ
and the talent that will be involved seem to be taking this project beyond
the scope of experimental. Thus, we may wish to have a commercial release.

We will be doing the recording and mastering initially to CD-R and DVD audio
with master files at 24/96. An initial small-scale distribution of 20 or
fewer copies will go to the cathedral staff and some will be circulated to
various audio magazine editors for review. We will be producing all of the
liner notes, taking the photos, writing the content.
In addition, this will probably be a video experience. A two or three-camera
shoot of the organist and the cathedral, with slow pans and zooms and
delicate dissolves to and from the manuals from the stained glass windows,
to provide a meditative visual experience to go with the music. The whole
recording will be 5.1 channel surround.

Where it gets interesting is how to take this onto the market and get it
into mainstream distribution.

I know that we'll need to invest $700 in obtaining a UPC code.
We'll need to get it mass produced and as such, a glass master produced.
The less obvious aspect is getting the distribution channels set up.

Would an existing label like Naxos or Telarc take an independant recording
project under their distribution channel, or would we need to start our own
record label? What alternative distribution methods (besides internet
downloads and eBay) would work for this kind of release?

Some insight on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-



--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
July 13, 2005 5:57:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Send me a working email address. I have a few suggestions.

Kal

On Wed, 13 Jul 2005 01:57:20 GMT, "Mark & Mary Ann Weiss"
<mweissX294@earthlink.net> wrote:

>I'm working with a large cathedral in Hartford, CT right now, and we are
>having a meeting to discuss the repetoire for the recording that we plan to
>make this fall.
>
>Assuming that the check discs I send out to various hi-fi reviewers is
>well-received, the organist may wish to have the recording see the light of
>day in a wider circle. (He is an internationally-acclaimed organist with a
>long history in music.) We are likely to do a repertoire of Bach, Messiaen,
>Dupré and others, as the music director tells me that this instrument would
>be more suited to the early 20th century compositions than purely Baroque
>works.
>
>I am also going to discuss a very non-conventional orchestration of a
>classical piece, but with the idea of adapting it to organ, as has never
>been done before (not wanting to be 'just another organ recording' I want
>this disc to have a wildcard or two up its sleeve, to make it collectible.)
>
>Initially, my intent for this recording was more along the lines of breaking
>new ground in miking and recording techniques, but the quality of the organ
>and the talent that will be involved seem to be taking this project beyond
>the scope of experimental. Thus, we may wish to have a commercial release.
>
>We will be doing the recording and mastering initially to CD-R and DVD audio
>with master files at 24/96. An initial small-scale distribution of 20 or
>fewer copies will go to the cathedral staff and some will be circulated to
>various audio magazine editors for review. We will be producing all of the
>liner notes, taking the photos, writing the content.
>In addition, this will probably be a video experience. A two or three-camera
>shoot of the organist and the cathedral, with slow pans and zooms and
>delicate dissolves to and from the manuals from the stained glass windows,
>to provide a meditative visual experience to go with the music. The whole
>recording will be 5.1 channel surround.
>
>Where it gets interesting is how to take this onto the market and get it
>into mainstream distribution.
>
>I know that we'll need to invest $700 in obtaining a UPC code.
>We'll need to get it mass produced and as such, a glass master produced.
>The less obvious aspect is getting the distribution channels set up.
>
>Would an existing label like Naxos or Telarc take an independant recording
>project under their distribution channel, or would we need to start our own
>record label? What alternative distribution methods (besides internet
>downloads and eBay) would work for this kind of release?
>
>Some insight on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
>
>--
>Best Regards,
>
>Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
>www.mwcomms.com
>-
Anonymous
July 13, 2005 5:57:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Mark Weiss" wrote...
> In addition, this will probably be a video experience. A two
> or three-camera shoot of the organist and the cathedral, with
> slow pans and zooms and delicate dissolves to and from the
> manuals from the stained glass windows, to provide a meditative
> visual experience to go with the music. The whole recording
> will be 5.1 channel surround.

With only a couple of cameras, I'd be tempted to concentrate on
the "live/sync" shots (especially the performer). The "beauty shots"
of the organ façade, church, stained glass, etc can be easily over-
layed in post as there is nothing synchronous to deal with.

It would be interesting if you could put a small camera (or two)
& lights inside the organ case, particularly if it is a mechanical
tracker instrument. I'd love to work on this project with you if I
didn't live in the other corner of the country.

> Where it gets interesting is how to take this onto the market
> and get it into mainstream distribution.

A friend of mine produces the CDs for the St.Olaf Choirs (along
with many other independents). I 'll ask him if he has any insights.

> I know that we'll need to invest $700 in obtaining a UPC code.

You might want to check with www.cdbaby.com They are the
largest seller of independent CDs on the web and they offer
great service and prices (from first-hand experience). They will
sell you a UPC number for $20 if you sign up with them (which
costs $35 per album). http://www.cdbaby.net/resources/barcode.htm

> We'll need to get it mass produced and as such, a glass master
> produced. The less obvious aspect is getting the distribution
> channels set up.

They also have a list of recommended manufacturers whom
their customers have had good experience with....
http://www.cdbaby.net/picks/1.html Of course, this is also a
FAQ here in this newsgroup (although not documented in the
published FAQ list).

I personally delivered the boxes of our CDs to CDbaby. They
have a very unpretentious (and unlisted) store-front office south
of PDX, but a humongous warehouse in the back with >100,000
album titles on the shelves. Looked like >1,000,000 discs in stock.
http://cdbaby.com/about
Related resources
Can't find your answer ? Ask !
Anonymous
July 13, 2005 6:58:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Kalman Rubinson" <kr4@nyu.edu> wrote in message
news:ncu8d19ejg250c4ve590i0tl77c2s3korl@4ax.com...
> Send me a working email address. I have a few suggestions.
>
> Kal


I sent you private e-mail just now. Let me know if it doesn't arrive for any
reason.


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
July 13, 2005 11:12:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Richard Crowley" <richard.7.crowley@intel.com> wrote in message
news:D b23b0$do$1@news01.intel.com...

> > I know that we'll need to invest $700 in obtaining a UPC code.
>
> You might want to check with www.cdbaby.com They are the
> largest seller of independent CDs on the web and they offer
> great service and prices (from first-hand experience). They will
> sell you a UPC number for $20 if you sign up with them (which
> costs $35 per album). http://www.cdbaby.net/resources/barcode.htm

As I recall, Oasis will get you a UPC number for about the same price. I can
testify that they do a nice job with pressing and printing as well.

Peace,
Paul
Anonymous
July 13, 2005 12:02:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> costs $35 per album). http://www.cdbaby.net/resources/barcode.htm
>
> As I recall, Oasis will get you a UPC number for about the same price. I
can
> testify that they do a nice job with pressing and printing as well.
>
> Peace,
> Paul


Thanks for some great info and resources! I had no idea there was a service
like this for clearing UPC codes under a cooperative! At that price, this
project begins to look promising.

I wonder about DVD videos and SACDs? We're thinking in terms of a DVD + SACD
release here.

I'm just finishing up a symphony orchestra project where we're doing a DVD
and a DVD-audio + CD audio disc set. Mainly for the orchestra members and
some of the folks who attended the concert. Primary objective was a resume
piece for the conductor, so we're doing a lot of behind the scenes
documentary stuff, in addition to the concert. What an awesome project it's
been!

And thanks for the gesture, Richard. I know that it would be great to have
some experienced and competent people helping on this project. If things
keep going this way, I might start to become in demand. Let's see how the
professional reviews look first. The conductor was already very pleased with
the brief bit of audio I showed him from the symphony.

I go later today to the cathedral to discuss the repetoire and receive a
demonstration of the organ by their music director. It sure looks like they
are as enthusiastic about recording as I am.


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
Anonymous
July 13, 2005 12:55:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark & Mary Ann Weiss <mweissX294@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
>I know that we'll need to invest $700 in obtaining a UPC code.

No, you don't. You can usually get a free UPC code from the pressing
house. This works fine. The only reason you would need a UPC with
your own vendor ID code is if you want to get sales statistics from
Soundscan.

>We'll need to get it mass produced and as such, a glass master produced.

This is easy. You send the tape to Europadisc, you send some photos
and some text, you pay them to do the cover art layout and the mastering.
It just takes money.

>The less obvious aspect is getting the distribution channels set up.
>
>Would an existing label like Naxos or Telarc take an independant recording
>project under their distribution channel, or would we need to start our own
>record label? What alternative distribution methods (besides internet
>downloads and eBay) would work for this kind of release?

Basically, you will not be able to sell it to a name label. They have too
much source already. You _might_ be able to get picked up by a medium
to small distributor like Koch or the like. But the real issue becomes
promotion, and you're going to have to be doing that entirely yourself.
--scott


--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
July 14, 2005 12:49:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

> >I know that we'll need to invest $700 in obtaining a UPC code.
>
> No, you don't. You can usually get a free UPC code from the pressing
> house. This works fine. The only reason you would need a UPC with
> your own vendor ID code is if you want to get sales statistics from
> Soundscan.

I found out that with the likes of CDBaby.com, I would not have to invest
that amount. Sales stats would be nice though.


> >We'll need to get it mass produced and as such, a glass master produced.
>
> This is easy. You send the tape to Europadisc, you send some photos
> and some text, you pay them to do the cover art layout and the mastering.
> It just takes money.

We'll be doing all the color prepress, production work, etc. We would only
need mass duplication/litho of the CD/liners.



> >The less obvious aspect is getting the distribution channels set up.
> >
> >Would an existing label like Naxos or Telarc take an independant
recording
> >project under their distribution channel, or would we need to start our
own
> >record label? What alternative distribution methods (besides internet
> >downloads and eBay) would work for this kind of release?
>
> Basically, you will not be able to sell it to a name label. They have too
> much source already. You _might_ be able to get picked up by a medium
> to small distributor like Koch or the like. But the real issue becomes
> promotion, and you're going to have to be doing that entirely yourself.
> --scott

Understood. We'll probably do something along the lines of using a clearing
house to provide some of those services.

I met with the organist and the assistant music director at the cathedral
today. They demo'd the organ, a 1962 Austin, with 137 ranks and over 8,000
pipes. The cathedral has an incredible acoustic! It's ceiling is 108' high,
and the place is like 168' wide and 286' long in the main sanctuary where
the galler organ is.
I was expecting a lot from this organ, expecially after the ass't music
director informed me that the 32' pedal "is so powerful that it overloads
our Neumann U-87s" which they have flown over the gallery as a permanent
installation. I guess the SPL can exceed 117dB (the upper limit of the U-87)
there.
However, when I heard the organ in all it's majesty, it seemed barely loud
enough to give me a thrill. I've listened to organ recordings at home on my
10kW custom sound system and have literally had the wind knocked out of me
by the 32' pedals in some of the Telarc recordings (thinking of the Rufatti
Organ at Davies Symphony Hall here). I guess I've overdone the bottom end
buildup on my house system and will have to rethink just how much low end is
actually needed to faithfully reproduce organ pedal tones.
Even so, the sound was pleasing, if a bit dark. Despite the hard surfaces
(thousands of square feet of stained glass and marble walls, the acoustics
are not "hard" at all, but very mellow and absorbant of the highs.
I do feel that the 32' stops could be a little stronger. When the demo
began, I was up in the loft where the console is, and that is about 30' from
the Great ranks, which is about as close and loud as one can get. And it was
only moderately loud with all stops pulled. The sound was also not as bright
as I had expected, but it was smooth and pleasing just the same. There was a
bit of compressor noise though. And this organ can play VERY soft. So
hearing the soft passages over the blower noise doesn't leave much s/n to
work with. The output of the organ in the softer Swell registrations was
about 35dB! At its loudest, the A-weighted SPL I would estimate to be in the
mid 80s, perhaps in the low 90s if C-weighted.
The cathedral has two organs, as there is also a chapel organ near the
altar. Both can be played from the console in the loft. This opens
interesting possibilities for a surround sound recording. I pointed that out
and the director agreed that we should exploit that feature in a recording.
The organist gave me a CD of the 40th anniversary dedication of the organ
that he performed. I'm listening to it now, and his complaint about it is
that it sounds 'muffled'. I must concur that it is the darkest organ
recording I've heard to date. But the organ, whose sound is fresh in my
memory, does sound pretty mellow. It also tends to muddle fast Tocattas.
That could be a fault of the mic placement, coupled with the exceptionally
long RT of the cathedral (jeeze--it's the size of a football field inside!)
The CD he gave me also has some hiss in it, in addition to seeming to lack
high end.
After the demo, I talked with the ass't music director and he offered up
some surprises: as it turns out, he wants me to come to see a symphony
orchestra and 300-person choir perform there in the fall. They have a full
orchestra fit on the platform in front of the altar. This is a dream come
true. If the organ recordings work out well, then it looks like there will
be orchestra + organ recording opportunities.
So our next step is to put together a repetoire that is not just a rehash of
what's already been done.
I'm listening to the recording that a Houston, TX outfit did for them and
thinking of ways to make this organ 'come alive'. Such ideas as placing a
pair of mics near the swell chambers, and strategically placing mic pairs
further out in the gallery come to mind.
One of the challenges will be to find the location where the 32' pedal tones
are reinforced and loudest, as this organ seems to lose a bit as the lower
end of the scale is played on the pedals with just the principal stops
pulled. But maybe that's just normal for all organs. The recording has a
nice low end here on my system, actually quite a bit more earthshaking than
the live listening experience I had this afternoon, so I'd rank it
competitively with the one in Methuen, MA and perhaps in some respect, even
close to the "beast", the 1984-vintage Rufatti Organ in San Francisco.
I am very enthused with both the opportunities and the way I was received by
the music staff. They seem to like the ideas I expressed. And the timing of
my Danbury Symphony DVD release is fortuitous, because, of course, they
requested a sample of my work. :-)
Egads, the organist is GOOD! I'm listening to his rendering of the Widor
Symphonie V and his international touring qualifications are apparent. This
piece is not an easy one to play, but he plays it with a passionate flair
that is beginning to grow on me. If we manage to put this recording session
together, I have a strong feeling that we are going to raise the bar in
organ recordings a good notch.


--
Best Regards,

Mark A. Weiss, P.E.
www.mwcomms.com
-
!