Mastering Best Practices

[ +200,000 exp for reading this]

  1. Do not book your Release party before you have your physical items in your hands (CDs, Vinyl, cassettes, download cards, anything). There is no reaction time should errors occur and no media buzz when you book a date without the product completely finished.

  2. We can not start mastering without payment or a purchase order. Mastering reference files are final masters. This is industry standard. We did not invent this rule. New clients must pre-pay. We do not watermark audio.

  3. We will not submit your audio to the plant on your behalf. We shall not be held responsible for any errors, issues, or failures in transmission.

  4. The Producer must approve the final masters. If the artist is self-produced, the artist must approve the masters before you distribute them. We can not stress this enough. Find any issues, errors, clicks, ticks, fades, spelling, or anything before the masters are sent out. Do not rush this step. Treelady Studios will not be liable for any release costs, re-runs, or re-manufacturing.

  5. Make back up copies of your master files. We can not store you data indefinitely. This is your intellectual property; protect it!

  6. Do not submit mixes for mastering if you are not satisfied with them. We can not polish things that you don’t like in the first place.

  7. Work quickly, but do not rush. Moving too fast is how mistakes happen. Just because you started this recording along time ago does not mean now is the time to rush things. This is the last chance we all have to catch any errors or mistakes before the audio is released.

  8. One point person or Producer is responsible for communicating any edits or requests for mastering. Only one person can be in the driver’s seat or this car is not going anywhere.

  9. Mastering chain, notes, and “EQ” remain intellectual property of Treelady Studios. This is our proprietary process and method. We share you audio with you but not our trade craft.

  10. We can provide suggestions about delivery methods, loudness, and formats, but ultimately you must decide on these items. We can explain that the loudness war is over and audio is normalized so there is NO POINT in making your audio the LOUDEST THING EVER. But if you don’t want to listen WE CAN MAKE IT LOUD JUST LIKE TYPING IN ALL CAPS.

  11. Evaluate the full-sized WAV files we send you. Please do not try to stream them from the server. Furthermore, although we can provide listening MP3s for you to reference, please do not use MP3s as a main reference. MP3s throw out information in exchange for smaller sized files.

  12. You are Responsible for Metadata. We can try to add things to CD Text, but there is no guarantee the manufacturer will carry it through to the finals. Also many characters are not permitted in the CD REDBOOK Specifications. For streaming and download sites, that information is completely separate from the CD and has nothing to do with the CD. That information is provided to your digital aggregator.