Like it or not, bands view audio engineers as subject-matter experts when it comes to “the music industry.” And while you probably don’t mind providing pointers and suggestions, it’s simply not feasible to convey all of the things a new artist needs to know in a short amount of time. And to be fair to us, our time is our livelihood. We can’t devote hours staying current on every emerging trend. So I was very pleased when I picked up a copy of The Indie Band Survival Guide. Dubbed as a complete manual for the do-it-yourself musician, the book covers everything from rehearsing, to recording, to marketing, to legal issues. It also provides a balanced look at recording yourself versus going to a studio. (Although I would prefer if the mastering section made mention that many independent mastering engineers are more affordable than people might believe. Yes, I am biased.)
More than a standalone text, the book is supported by the IndieGuide.com website, that provides discussions, updated how-to guides, and a blog. Unlike some authors who present outdated experiences and tactics, Chertkow and Feehan are plugged-in to the mercurial world that is music industry. Their straightforward approach to making your own rules in a world without them is exactly what new and experienced artists need.
With a street price of around $10, there is no reason every artist out there doesn’t have a copy. And I’m going to call the publisher to inquire about a quantity discount for studios. Seriously. We should hand these out to every new client who comes in the door. ($15.99 MSRP; www.indieguide.com)
–Garrett Haines, www.treelady.com
Sometimes not knowing what you're getting into is a good thing. I don't know what Rick Wilkinson was thinking when he decided to whip up a ribbon mic from scratch, but it's a good thing he's not...