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The Making of VX1: Art and Distribution

This is the final part of the process in The Making of VX1. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the Song Retrospectives!

My Working Album Art

working album art

Working Album Art

While I was going through the album-making process, I played with a few ideas. This is the art I started using when sending mixes to friends, and when I was exporting for my own listening throughout the process.

Official Album Art

My album art was done by Flash Fong, who I found through a friend of a friend.

Flash primarily works on murals and large painting projects, so album art was a first for him! For our initial communication, I basically sent him all the tracks, my working album art, a description of what I wanted, and a list of the different works of his that I liked. This was all to help get him an idea of the vibe I was looking for.

Working through album art was very similar to the feedback process of the album itself. Admittedly, for this part of the project, I did not reach out to many other friends to get their feedback; just enough to double-check that we weren't unintentionally making my album art a dick or something. The biggest difference between this and the album itself was that this was a bit more open-ended. Flash would send me more like a dozen variations on an idea, instead of one mix at a time.

album art variations

Album Art Variations

Mostly, my feedback was either around "shape", or "color". The other one that was close to being the album art was the one that looks like a mountain. Eventually, I decided against that one because everyone thought it was a mountain. And also, it started reminding me of other logos that are mountains. So we ended up looking at something a bit more ambiguous. Is it a fox? Is it a crystal? What is it? I have no idea.

album art

The Official Album Art

I also had Flash export the image as an svg, so that I could make it into a website. That website is currently down, as I moved my blog and website to a new service (but it should be back up soon). I wanted an svg, because later I'll be able to animate it and do cool website-like things. The first svg Flash sent me didn't quite work, because it was an svg built from pngs. Which I didn't even realize was possible. But that didn't work, because the file size ends up being huge (it's built of images, instead of svg text). Turns out it's just an export setting, so once we figured that out, I got the svg, and got the website running!

The website animation

The Animation that Never Happened

So this one is going to sound pretty obvious, but definitely research any artist you want to ask about, before setting a meeting with them. This ended up being embarrassing for me.

I initially wanted to have a more larger-scale multimedia project with animated music videos and an interactive website. I contacted a friend of a friend by their recommendation, in order to work on animation. For some reason, I didn't think to actually look at this artist's portfolio before meeting him on a call. I ended up wasting a his time. I was looking for a kind of layered 2d animation, but this artist works exclusively on 3d animated art, and it wasn't the kind of animation I was actually looking for. I 100% would have never setup a meeting with him if I had taken 2 minutes to look at his portfolio before shooting off an email. So, yeah... If you make a meeting for something, I recommend going into it prepared; that was a pretty embarrassing experience for me.

From that meeting, however, I did realize the scale of working on something like this. I decided against having work done on any kind of music video loop or anything, in order to focus on just getting the album released.

Distribution

This part was actually pretty easy. I used Distrokid for distribution, and I enjoyed using the service. Since this album was entirely original songs, my process is slightly simpler than acappella covers. I basically just needed to upload my songs and press go. If done again, I'd probably skip the "Discovery Pack"/"recognize in Shazam" functionality, because it's not like my music is playing anywhere anyways.

My process was a bit simpler than other people, since all my music is original. I don't have to deal with any licensing or anything. But anyways, it was pretty simple! And now the album is out and about, on all the platforms. It has been a journey, but I'm glad I did it. Thanks for reading! Check out the song retrospectives/walkthroughs back on the main page, and I'll catch ya next time!

- Ben

Spotify // Apple Music // Youtube Music // Soundcloud
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