Remember those days when CDs first came out and the manufacturers told us they were indestructible? We seem to recall them being stamped on, run over by a car and having an egg fried on them! Well, surprise, surprise, treating your CDs in this way will result in it not working. As a performer you want your music to the be best quality that it can be as without the music, you can’t perform your act! So, we were chatting to Derek, technical genius from The Rock Show Live (www.therockshow.co.uk) about some CD dos and don’t – and we’ve thrown in a few of our own…
When performing an act, it’s preferable to all involved if you are using more than one track, that the tracks are edited together. You can do this really easily with programmes such as Audacity and Free Audio Editor (very easy to use and as the name states, free to download)
Names Of Tracks
Producers will need to know the titles of any tracks you use (they may want to check on other performer is using the same music and may need the info also for PRS). Always make sure you know the name of your track/artist performing it.
Firstly, never ever use a CD that has ‘done the rounds’ and has been knocking around in your bag for a few shows. You need to have the best quality music you can so ensure you burn a new CD for each show (we wouldn’t advise using a CD for more than 3 shows…) and test it out to see if it works on a few devices before leaving the house. Always keep a back up with the track on (on iPod or CD, although some theatres aren’t very happy about continually swapping ipods and finding performers tracks…) If you do use your CD for more than one show, ensure it is clean and free of scratches.
It helps to burn one CD per act so that Sound techs/stage managers can easily access your music. Label it clearly with your performer name and act title so they can match with show information.
Always use the best quality CDRs for burning that you can. Getting cheap CDRs (especially the ones that are see-through, as Derek tells us, these generally will not play on most sound equipment) can result in your track skipping, or much worse – the foil peeling off and the CD not playing at all. Worse still, if this happens it can leave bits of foil inside sound equipment causing other performers’ music to skip when residue comes into contact with the laser lens.
Store all your CDs away from direct sunlight (this also goes for un-burned CDRs); always use a carry case (pref a hard case one) to transport your CDs around.
Derek tells us the average lifespan for a CDR is just 6 months if you want to keep them in prime condition.
Wherever possible have a technical run through. Remember, no matter how boring you find a tech run, it’s not only just for your benefit, it’s mostly for the benefit of the theatre tech team to make sure they get your act right. We always ensure our artists have a technical run through before the show; a tech run is beneficial to the performer to ensure the staging of their act relating to the space and to check they can clearly hear music/ any sound cues (and to notify stage managers of any props cues), again, it is essential for venue tech crew. The venue tech crew will need to know the length of the track, any cues in lighting relating to an act and to check when to cue the music (if it starts when a performer is on stage or if they walk on once it’s started).
Don’t forget to mark your CD…
Surprising how many performers arrive with an untitled CD – no name or anything written on it. Or a CD with the name of the song and their own non-burlesque moniker which means nothing but confusion to a sound man who will have the performer’s name and act title. For goodness sake mark your CDs with the act title and your performer name!
Lastly, treat your music with respect. Treat your CDs with respect. and bring back ups where possible as without the music you have no act…