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Having the right tools for the job not only saves you a headache but it will save you time and money.
Here are my recommendations…
Just a quick note: there are a few affiliate links below and your support by shopping through these links helps to keep this site running. So a big thanks in advance, I appreciate you!
If you're looking to get started quickly and on a budget, then a usb microphone might be right for you! You can find great bundle packs on amazon like the ones listed below and it's literally as easy as plug & play to start recording.
Bonus: These compact mics won't take up much space on your desk and are great for travel. I personally use the Blue Snowball and I love how easy it is to use!
If you want to step up your game you're going to need at least one good microphone but quality comes with a price. If you can afford it, here are a few mics that are very popular for general recording or podcasting. If you're looking for good sound on a budget, I personally use the Shure SM58 (a variation of the SM57, with a built in pop filter).
If you're planning to use one of those studio quality microphones we just showed you or record multiple inputs simultaneously (ie. guitar and vocals) then you'll need to invest in a audio interface. There are tons of options depending on your budget or brand preference but here are the 3 most popular options.
I know a lot of you love the Focusrite Scarlett but I personally love and use the Presonus AudioBox (but I've always had a sweet spot for the Presonus line of products)
If you're only using a midi keyboard and don't any extra inputs OR If you're looking for an audio interface that fits in your pocket, then these converter kits are great options!
Whichever piece of gear you decide to go with, the great thing about Amazon is their return policy.
They make it super simply to return your item so you can get your money back, then try something else.
Why not give it a shot? Go for it, go nuts!
You can't mix on those basic Apple ear buds forever! Step up your game to a decent pair of headphones and I guarantee you'll be hearing tones you never knew were in your mix. Here's a few of the top selling headphones recommended by You, the readers.
When you're recording audio, especially with those high end mics, you'll need to reduce the excess noise that comes from the vibration of the mic on the stand or the air from your mouth while you sing. Using a shock mount and pop filter are 2 great ways to step up your recording game if you can afford it.
From podcasting to recording your next hit song, you're gonna need a way to mount that fancy new mic you bought. Or you can just hang it from your ceiling fan... c'mon we've all done that before.
The Garageband Guide [blog]
My friend Patrick over there knows his stuff, especially if you have questions regarding Garageband for iOS. He's got a great "Quick Start Guide" that you can download for Free, as well as "The Ultimate Guide to Mixing" which I recommended you purchase immediately If you want to improve your recording quality!
As a bonus gift from Patrick just for my readers... enter the discount code DIYGBROCKS (in all caps) you'll receive a 25% discount! How cool is that?! Thanks Patrick! :)
Believe it or not, besides Patrick, I was only able to find two other resources to help me learn how to use GarageBand X. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't used them from time to time, so check 'em out, highly recommend. - only available on Amazon.
Motivation & Learning
There are tons of other resources on the internet to reference for starting your career in music. We all need a little help in different areas at different points in our journey. So here are a few that I highly recommend you check out.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield - creativity is struggle even for the most prolific artists of any generation. So why is it that we constantly sabotage our own efforts? This book does a great job of explaining why we behave the way we do when it comes to creative blocks and gives great tips on how to beat it. Must read!
The Music Business (Explained In Plain English) by David Nagger - always a good read for any young musician/songwriter. Ever since i picked up an instrument I've always picked up some sort of literature on the music business. The more educated you are on the industry the better you will be able to navigate your career.
Domains & Web Hosting
Namecheap - This is where we purchase 100% of our domains. It's quick, affordable & easy to use especially if you're redirecting to other platforms like your blog or social media pages. You can even buy some domains for as low as $3.98 / year! Crazy right? So what are you waiting for? Your band needs it's own url, claim it today!
Squarespace - Once you've got your URL, you're going to need a website. Why? Does anyone remember Myspace?!? You favorite social media site may not be around forever so it's a good idea to direct new fans to your website first so they can sign up for your mailing list (see next section). From there, they can branch out to all the different social media sites they prefer to consume your content on.
Squarespace is a great platform to build your website on especially if you're not tech savvy. Not only is their drag & drop interface easy to use, it's cheaper than hiring a web designer & you'll have full creative control over how your site looks. For less than $10/month you can have a professional looking website up in minutes.
Mailchimp - You need to keep a mailing list. I repeat. You Need To Keep A Mailing List! Your connection to your audience is very important so maintaining a direct line of communication with them is crucial. This should be step one for any band or artist starting out.
With all the different social media sites you may be using it's tough to reach out to your fans about a new show or music release. With email, you have direct interaction with your fans without having to worry that you're using an out of fashion social app. Email is personal and email isn't going anywhere. One of the easiest ways to start collecting emails today is with Mailchimp. You can create a fan list and start a newsletter in minutes. So don't delay, do it now!
Social Media Management
Buffer- establishing your brand on social media is very important for fan engagement & promotion, but you don't always have time to tweet. Buffer allows you to schedule a series of posts at the times and days you choose, freeing you up to focus on your music.
JustUnfollow- as you grow your Twitter followers you'll undoubtedly come across spam, fake or abandoned account. With this app, you can find these accounts at a glance and unfollow them.
Photos & Images
Canva - Even if you're not a graphic designer at heart, this online editing service is great for creating images for your blog posts, social media profiles or even album artwork. Plus, it's Free! Doesn't get any better than that.
Flicker Creative Commons - when you're writing your blog or creating your social media posts, you'll want to enhance them with compelling images. These creative commons photos usually are free to use so long as your credit the owner on your site.