Glossary

Instrumentation
A song's character, defined by which instruments shape its sound.

Arrangement
How the instruments in a song fit together.

Production
The skill of choosing the instrumentation and arrangement that best suit a song.

DAW
Short for "Digital Audio Workstation," any device (though usually a PC or Mac) capable of digitally recording and editing audio.

Click track
An audio track intended to serve as a metronome, to syncronize performances recorded at different times, and to ensure a project maintains a consistent tempo. Usually not included in the final mix of a song.


What do I need to get started?
You'll need 2 things:

  • A well-recorded song demo. It doesn't need to be polished, but your demo should be clean enough that we can hear the music.
  • A recording platform capable of importing WAV or MP3 files. This could be a PC- or Mac-based DAW (i.e. Cubase, Logic, Reaper, etc.,) or a standalone unit like a 4-track or hard disk recorder.

What do I get?
We deliver the raw tracks to you as 24-bit WAV files. You can import these tracks into your own recording environment. We also provide a working mix of the song in WAV and MP3 formats. Plus, we host the MP3 on our web site for you to stream.

How do I send my demo to The Missing Track
When you place an order, you'll see a form through which you can send us up to 10 audio files. Send us as much as you think we'll need to record the perfect tracks for you.

Do I have to play to a click track or metronome?
In general, yes, though it depends on your requirements. If you need acoustic or electronic drums, your demo should definitely have a fixed tempo. But for keyboard and guitar parts, we can work with any track that has a consistent tempo (i.e. less than 5BPM variation throughout the song.) We charge a small fee for tempo correction in cases where a fixed-tempo demo is required. If we anticipate any timing issues after we've heard your demo, we'll let you know and discuss possible ways to meet your needs.

How long does it take?
Unless your song has special requirements, we usually complete recording and mixing in less than 3 weeks. And projects requiring fewer tracks are usually completed within two weeks. (Of course, if you have a deadline or special request, we'll find a way to accommodate you.)

How do I pay?
After we've reviewed your order, we'll send you an invoice based on the number of tracks you require. (See our costs page for more details.) You can pay this invoice using a credit card, or via Paypal.

Who owns the end result?
You do. We help you arrange and record the song, but it's your song.

What genres does The Missing Track work with?
Anything goes. Many of our clients are singer/songwriters who compose on guitar or piano, so we work mostly on rock, pop, country, and folk songs.

But if you've invented, say, folk-hop, or have some other wild idea about how your song would sound best, we can absolutely help make it happen. Our artists are professionals, as comfortable with Beethoven as with Bob Marley.

What if I don't like the final recording?
We send you a preview of any tracks we record, for your approval. If we've missed the mark, you can request the changes you need, and we'll make those changes for the final version you receive. (Once we've recorded the final tracks, we charge $25 each for any subsequent changes.)

We send you a detailed outline of your project so that we can agree on key elements like tempo and style. As we proceed with recording, we'll send you a preview of the tracks we've recorded, for your approval. If we've missed the mark, you can request the changes you need, and we'll make those changes for the final version you receive. We will work with you to ensure that you're happy with the recording, including one retake of two instrument tracks if needed; however, once the final tracks have been recorded, some changes may require an additional cost, such as altering tempo or changing the style of the song. Additional cost for tempo or style changes, after the final tracks have been recorded, is determined on a project-by-project basis.

Will you steal my song?
No. Your songs are protected by copyright. But more importantly, we're songwriters ourselves so we understand how significant your creations are to you. (And besides, we're busy writing and recording our own songs!)

Further, before we work on your tracks, we prepare a "Work For Hire" agreement (background on work-for-hire from Wikipedia.) This agreement certifies that once you've paid for our services, you are the sole owner of all copyrights in the tracks we record.

Here's sample of our work-for-hire agreement [PDF file].

Aren't you just session players?
We serve as session players, yes, but we do much more. We go beyond the "how" of music performance into the "why" of song structure and instrumentation. There's more to our service than simply playing our instruments. We choose the right instruments, get the right sounds, and compose our parts so everything fits together perfectly.