TIPS FOR HAVING PARTS ADDED TO YOUR SONGS OVER THE NET
This article seeks to give suggestions and guidelines on how to use musicians over the internet to add parts to your project. The digital recording process allows anyone across the street or around the world to record for you. The part(s) can be sent back to you over the internet and you or your engineer can mix that track into your song.
You might be worried since you can't be there while the part for your song is being created.* But there are things you can do to greatly increase the chance that you'll get what you're hoping for.
1. Hire the right musician for your song
Listen to samples from their website and seek recommendations from other artists, writers or musicians. No one person can do everything well. A scorching rock guitar player may or may not be the right choice for a tender ballad. So be certain that you like what you're heard of their work.
2. Communication is the key
At the beginning of the process, say what you're looking for. An email can be very helpful since the musician can refer back to that while recording. Be as descriptive as possible about what you're seeking. If you have something very specific in mind, then say so. No musician wants to redo a part after hearing, "Oh, I meant to tell you." But keep in mind, that the player you're hiring may exceed your expectations if you give them some rope.
3. Find out what the policy is on redos
Generally, you want to be able to get some tweaks or adjustments, but realize there are an infintite number of ways to approach a song and it's unreasonable to expect a player to try each one unless they're being paid hourly.
4. Give the musician the best mix you can
Your music will be the point of inspiration. For instance, if the vocal is of poor quality or out of tune, it might be better to put the vocal on a separate track from the stereo mix.
5. Find out the payment policy
Paypal is definitely used a great deal. Many musicians get 1/2 up front. They might send you a low resolution mp3 for your approval and get the rest of their fee before you receive the high quality wav file.
6. When will the part be completed?
If you're on a deadline, say so.
7. Keep track of the technical stuff
Know what sample and bit rate you want your part recorded at. Ask your engineer/studio if you don't know. Have the part sent directly to your engineer or studio if you're not up to speed on what to do. Can you or your studio receive wav files over the net or do you need a data disc sent vial mail? Be sure to be clear on what processing (reverb, etc) you don't want on the track, since processing cannot be undone.
If you're a very hands on person (control freak, anyone?), this is probably not a process that will be comfortable for you. But if you do your homework, communicate well and have some trust in your choice of musician, chances are very good you'll get some great additions to your songs.
*There actually are programs that do this, but the vast majority of overdub musicians do not employ them.