In this article, I discuss the impact that music mastering can have for a label, and how a good sound engineer can help.
What is label mastering and how you can benefit from it
The term “label mastering” might sound new to you, but it’s something that can make one crew stand out from the others. When I refer to a label’s sound identity, I’m referring to the impression you want your label to leave with fans. For them, a label is:
- A sign of quality.
- A sure bet that the sound will sound as great as fans expect.
- Whenever you look back, that sound still remains.
Label mastering means “making sure the sound is adjusted so each release sounds close to the others, and having a signature that makes your label unique.”
Think of your own favourite label – one that has been running for years. Now think of the label’s early releases and compare them to the label’s more recent work. There’s a correlation, right? The sound is great, regardless of the release date.
Shaping the sound
A sensitive sound engineer will pay special attention to the label owner’s aesthetics and take a moment to listen to the artists to understand their musical direction. The partnership between an audio engineer and the label is as critical as the graphic designer is to forging the label’s visual identity. I see a label as the product of a strong collaboration between the three.
- The label owner/manager decides the content of the catalogue.
- The sound engineer analyzes the releases and directs what will suit them, sound-wise.
- The graphic designer will aim to visually represent the way the sound feels.
Label mastering means that you will work hand-in-hand with your sound engineer to develop the direction of your label in the long run. If people can use your label as a reference, you’ll know you did well.
Now, a tip for musicians that are sending demos abroad. So often, I see musicians sending me music for my label that sounds like nothing comparable to what we do. It always amazes me to think artists have no idea that a label aims to maintain a certain sound aesthetic. Of course, some labels are more open to different genres and ideas, but in general, the sound quality is what really will make the huge difference in deciding whether your tracks will be accepted or not.
You might also want to consider having a trusted engineer do a proper mixdown for your song, which I can help with.