Frequently Asked Questions
A&R, Artist Development and Consulting
First you need to make sure of two things:
Is your talent ready? Has God made it clear, both by what your friends, family, and peers say and on the advice of several professionals, that your talent needs to be heard?
Secondly, do you feel God’s call to enter into ministry through your music? Has His voice been unmistakable and have you sought counsel on this?
If those determining factors are strong, then starting a music ministry is easy. First you need to begin sharing your talent. You can do this through the music team at your church, singing or playing at local churches and functions, and beginning to work very seriously on your craft.
Then when you’re beginning to get requested back at churches and known as a music ministry, you can begin to think about expanding by recording a CD to help support and bring legitimacy to your ministry.
I feel alone in this, can you help?
Yes we can. Either as your producer where we work with you in the studio, or as a music ministry coach, we can walk with you through each step of your music ministry journey. We care about your ministry and want to see you succeed. Our production rates are generally $500 per day, and we can also work with you as a consultant by the day or on a month to month basis. For more on production click here. For more on our consulting, click here.
Will you listen to my demo?
We do accept demos, but truly have a very limited time to listen. We’d much rather get an email with a link to a site where demos are posted. If you’d like a professional demo critique, we offer consulting services that will help you decide where your songs are from a developmental standpoint. Click here to find out more about our demo consulting services.
What can I do to get more bookings?
First, begin asking pastors, friends, and family what churches they know of and begin to get a list of referrals to begin calling. This alleviates having to call “cold”. You can call the church or pastor and tell them you were referred by someone they know. This makes that first call easier. For more ideas on booking, check out our blog posts “The Hard Reality of Booking”, and “Is Live Music Ministry the Only Answer?”
I want to do this as my career, how can I do it?
The key is determination, the ability to sell product and demand concert fees, bookings, and smart marketing.
Determination: Having the will to see things through. Staying with your music when the going gets tough. Thinking of yourself as a creative, ministering person for life. That in 20 years, you will still be doing this work.
Product Sales: This will mostly be CDs in a music ministry, but could also include DVDs, T-shirts, Hats, 8x10s, etc. While there will be some expense to produce your CD and other items, the profit from these is usually very good and perpetuates making more product.
Concert Fees: As a working musician, this is your bread and butter. These can rise from nothing to a Love Offering to a rate based on church or function size.
Bookings: This will be your main job. You’ll need to be out ministering if you expect this to support you. Successful booking comes from referrals, calling, and word of mouth. You can long for radio exposure, distribution to stores, and publicity. But all those cost money, and on an independent scale usually about break even. But consistent bookings almost always result in income for your ministry, product sales, and the most important thing: ministering to the world with your gifts.
Smart Marketing: Make inexpensive buttons, flyers, cards, and pictures to give away to guide people to your web site even if they didn’t buy anything at the concert. Make free singles with only a few songs, for people to give to friends. Anything you can do to get people interested and checking your ministry out.
Also see this two-part blog post: “How to Live a Creative Life (If That’s Really What You Want)”
Can you help someone get signed?
The business of music is changing. Are you sure you even want to be signed to a large label deal?
Many artists are leaving the major label fold because they have just found they can make a better living and have more creative freedom.
Getting a record company to sign you means that you have something they think can sell, that they can be successful with, and will put you to work for them. They look for incredible talent, communication skills with an audience, A Christian heart, very strong current fan base, and how many CDs you’ve already sold and are selling regularly. If any of these things are lacking, most labels will not be interested.
There’s kind of a joke right now that the kind of artists the labels are most looking for, are the artists who don’t need a label.
Our goal with any artist we consult with, work for, or bring into our organization, is to build a strong music ministry, with quality products, that can minister to a hurting world. The end result being a ministry that can walk down any road that God puts in front of them. Major label, indie label, or just getting out there to do God’s work.
We have had artists negotiate and get signed to label deals after working with us and improving their music, ministry, and quality. Many more though have had national and worldwide radio airplay, distribution, and touring success as a result of the work we have done together.
Someone has offered me a record contract, should I sign it?
A few questions to think about if a company offers you a record deal…
Q) Have they met you in person? Or have they met and offered this to you online or on the phone?
A) No reputable record company is going to give anyone they haven’t met in person any kind of real deal. Run, this is a scam.
Q) Have they offered tens of thousands of dollars ‘investment’ in return for a few thousand of yours?
A) Do you REALLY think that it works this way? Run, this is a scam.
Q) Are they located in the Nashville area?
A) Most Christian labels that offer anything close to a national recording deal are located in the Nashville, TN area.
If you work with Creative Soul, it will only be after we have sat down here in in person here in Nashville, at a reputable studio, and spoken at length about your music, your ministry, and we’ve both had time to continue to communicate and pray after this meeting.
A blog post about the whole signing thing: “Why You Probably Won’t Be Famous”
We provide very high-end artist development, production, and promotion services for Christian artists. We offer the Creative Soul Records services umbrella to the artists we develop and produce. Our label brand is well-known and respected inside the Christian music industry through a multitude of national radio singles, national press releases, and hundreds of thousands of CDs sold worldwide. Click here to contact us about how we get started with all new artists…
Do you offer consulting on music production, songwriting, or just what my best course is in music?
We have many clients that say, “Wow, if I had only met you years ago, I wouldn’t have spun my wheels and I would have spent my money more wisely.”
What we now offer is consulting based on what you need. We can have you visit us here in Nashville, consult online, or on the phone. For a price that works for the both of us. This is done on a case by case basis. Click here to find out more about this now.
If you are a songwriter and need great demos of your songs, we have been creating high-quality masters and arrangements for 20 years for folks just like you.Check out our publishing company From the Moment Music here.
How do I sell my songs?
You never sell your songs. If you wrote them, no one should ever ask about “buying” your songs.
You own the publishing rights. Now, you may co-publish with someone if they want to publish your song. You still should get 50% in signing the song to the publisher.
We recommend the Songwriter’s Market to any writer with questions about this. You can find it in most larger book stores.
How do I copyright my songs?
Go to The Library of Congress and the US Copyright Office. Here you will find all the forms in downloadable form to send your songs to be officially copyrighted.
Please make sure you copyright your songs with the US Copyright office before sending them to us.
You can also copyright “collections” of song to save money.
How do I know I’m good enough?
This is perhaps the hardest question of them all.
Do people say you have an extraordinary gift?
Do you love to make music and play it for others?
Do you have talent in one area of music, and know that if the right “other half” would come along, you’d have something really special?
All these are reasons to pursue music as a hobby, vocation, or dream. But only you can decide if this is where you need to be or where God wants you.
If you are not committed to putting time, effort, money, and practice in, then maybe it’s not for you.
But if you have a burning desire to make music, and make it part of you, then do it. Make it your life. Make your goal to improve, to learn, to grow, and to dream.
No one is ever there…music is a journey. And it is important in this work to be able to enjoy that journey. Making a living in music is an up and down roller coaster ride. But in some ways, you don’t choose music as a life, music chooses you.
What’s the best way to contact people in the music business?
Email is a good way, but read this article from CDBaby before you do. It can make the difference how people perceive your music (or if they even read it at all!)
Having a product allows you to leave a part of your ministry at every function or service you appear at. It also serves as a ministry tool on its own long after you have ministered in person.
The biggest reason for making a project is to have a product to sell and to generate income for your ministry. While money should not be your motivating factor in this, it is important to have some income to put back into the ministry.
Will you produce me and/or my music?
Understand that Creative Soul is a “for hire” music production company. Also understand, we are looking for Christians who are serious and truly want to use their talent for the Lord in the way He has for them.
We work to help you create a commercially viable music product that will sell and support your music and ministry.
We work strictly on a “for hire” basis. We do not work for free or in hopes of you becoming “famous” or getting a recording contract with a large label.
Is it possible you might “make it big” after working with us? Well, that’s ultimately up to God, you and your songs.
But we definitely can help you get the next level, whether that means from “home-produced” to pro studio, or from dream to reality.
How much does it cost?
Creative Soul is specifically the artist development and production arm of Creative Soul Records. Everything we do for artists is designed for national and international marketplace success (including radio, stores, publicity, television, etc), this is not a bargain basement studio approach. Remember:
- Our process is a full service package include consulting, writing, arranging, complete studio, music, and vocal production, plus photos, design, and guiding the process from songs to CDs coming to your door.
- We are working with the very best that the Christian music industry here in Nashville as to offer.
- And our results are quantifiable.
This kind of quality can easily cost $1000-2000 per song.
When we work at a studio for writing, recording, or mixing, or use other musicians and engineers, you pay the cost of studio time, engineers, and musicians as needed.
The good news is you pay as you go, and you can pay in increments instead of having to come up with a huge sum all at once.
Who will play the instruments for my production?
We have access to the finest musicians in Nashville. No matter what your budget is, you can be assured that we will find the best players and singers in Christian Music. And these are musicians who may be in the studio for a major label artist one day, and in your session the next. Just working with these folks will help you grow to be a better artist (and you’ll laugh alot too).
Where will we record?
Throughout Nashville and all the outlying areas, like Franklin, there are literally hundreds of studios to choose from. Depending on what needs to be done, what your budget is, and what’s available, we could be working in a beautiful multi-million dollar facility, a custom-built set of studios on a horse farm, or a professional room in a home recording space. Wherever we choose, you’ll be treated to years of experience as well as the best equipment and engineers.
Why is recording in Nashville different than recording in my home area?
Well, if you’ve been reading, you probably know the answer to this. Just by working in the studios with the producers, engineers, and musicians, you get to learn a lot more than you would in your local studio. But more than that, being in Nashville, you’ll feel the synergy of being with people that can help you grow as an artist. Recording here makes it easy to meet with distributors, publicists, songwriters, label folks, non-label folks, and much more.
We can write quality songs for you in your style, based on your personal thoughts and ministry. Clients find this to be a VERY effective service. It gives you fresh, original songs tailored just for your voice and style. We can also work with your songs, helping to add a more commercial feel, or help you get it to the next level. For examples, take a listen to our music samples…
What if I have songs but need arrangement help?
We can develop an arrangement that fits you individually, and with the additions of the best Christian musicians in the world, it will sound even better! This has been our major business for 15 years. For examples, take a listen to our music samples…
Can you write melodies to my lyrics?
We call this co-writing. Since we charge for our time, we will be happy to co-write with you, but there will be a charge for our time. Do not mistake this charge for a common bit of bad practice in the music business. You should never pay anyone to put music to your lyrics. But usually co-writing and arranging go hand in hand sometimes too, so it all kind of melds together in the project. For more information about this kind of service, check out our songwriters services at our publishing site.
I’m a musician, but want to get better, can you help?
By being brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and come to Nashville, you WILL get better. You may go home feeling like you are not as good as other musicians here, but hopefully, you will learn and grow from the experience. You can’t help it. “Tribulation brings about perseverance; and (through) perseverance, proven character.” Romans 5:3-4. It’s OK to feel like you need to work to be better.
We use offices and studios located in Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville, Tennessee. As you’ll see, most of the Christian music industry resides in Franklin. Most all of our consulting, development, and production work will be done here, although we often work in Nashville, on Music Row and elsewhere.
We have many studios at our disposal, from pre-production studios to major recording facilities, all to ensure you get a quality project no matter what budget you may be working with.
Who are you? What Do You Believe?
Good question. Read about who we are, read our mission statement, and read what we believe in our About Us section.
I have a CD recorded. Can you help me promote/distribute it?
We do offer a full artists promotion service through our label services company Creative Soul Records, but our quality standards are extremely high. Check out our label side at Creative Soul Records.