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What Does Remastered Mean in Music?

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You’ve probably seen the term “remastered” used on music that you’ve bought or streamed before. But do you know what the term means? Does remastered necessarily mean “better?” And, what’s more: Is remastering something you should consider for your older releases?

Here, we’ll dive into the intricacies of music remastering, exploring its significance and why you may want to consider remastering your back catalog.

The original mastering process

To understand the essence of remastering, it’s crucial to contrast it with the original mastering process.

So, what is mastering in music? Mastering is the final stage in music production that puts the final touches on an original recording. Once the final mix is complete, it is given to a mastering engineer who, through the use of signal processing tools like EQ and compression, will fine-tune the overall sound of a recording to optimize it for playback in various formats.

For example, if a song is planned to be released on vinyl, CD, and as a digital download, it will be mastered three times so that each version is optimized for each medium. In other words, you can’t just take a song that’s been mastered for vinyl and expect it to sound great on CD. This is because vinyl records, CDs, and downloads each have different dynamic ranges and limitations, therefore requiring different mastering processes.

What does remastering music mean?

Remastering can mean different things depending on the situation, but essentially, the term means revitalizing an earlier recording. It’s not a remake of the original record; it enhances the original mix. Picture this: you’re listening to one of your favorite tracks from decades ago, but now it suddenly sounds crisper, fuller, and more immersive than ever before. That’s the magic of remastering.

The remastering process enhances the audio quality of a recording using modern technology and techniques. Unlike the initial production and mastering phase, where limitations of the era might have constrained the final output, remastering aims to transcend those limitations. It’s like taking an old masterpiece and giving it a fresh coat of paint, restoring its brilliance for contemporary ears to appreciate.

Comparing mastering and remastering

While mastering focuses on preparing a recording for its initial release, remastering takes a retrospective approach, aiming to enhance recordings for contemporary listeners. Unlike mastering, which typically works with the original mix, remastering often involves revisiting the source material to extract additional detail and clarity. The goal is not to alter the essence of the recording, but to present it in the best possible light for modern audiences.

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When should a song or album be remastered?

There are three instances when an artist or label may decide to remaster an album or song:

For use in a compilation

Suppose a song is going to be used in a compilation or soundtrack, along with other songs from other artists or songs that may have been recorded by the same artist just years apart. In that case, each song will have to be remastered so that the resulting compilation or soundtrack will sound cohesive.

For release in a new format

As we mentioned earlier, mastering optimizes music for each specific medium in which it’s released. When new formats come out, therefore, the songs or album need to be remastered for the new format. When CDs first came out, for example, older recordings were remastered to take advantage of the CD’s broader dynamic range. Similarly, with the rise of streaming, many older songs have been digitally remastered to fit this new medium better.

To freshen up the sound

This is far and away the most common reason why music is remastered. By leveraging advancements in audio technology, remastering engineers can unlock hidden nuances within older recordings, resulting in improved clarity, depth, and balance. Whether it’s reducing noise, expanding dynamic range, or enhancing stereo imaging, remastering aims to provide listeners with an immersive sonic experience that transcends the limitations of the original recordings.

Should you remaster your music?

Major labels remaster their back catalogs all the time. But is remastering something you should consider for your older releases? Here are some reasons why creating a remastered version of your music may be right for you:

Enhancing sound quality

Mastering technology is constantly getting better. As good as your album may have sounded ten years ago, there’s no doubt that a modern remastering engineer can make your album sound even better today.

Reaching new audiences

Today, music consumption spans across generations and platforms. A remastered song or album offers an opportunity to introduce your music to new audiences. By refreshing older recordings to meet contemporary standards, you can attract listeners who may have otherwise overlooked your work.

Revitalizing your catalog for collectors

For artists and record labels, remastering presents an opportunity to revitalize and monetize their back catalogs. By reissuing remastered editions of older albums, you can reignite interest in your past works while appealing to collectors and enthusiasts.

How much does remastering cost?

Major labels will spend thousands of dollars to remaster their music, but at Disc Makers, we understand how to master a song, as well as the importance of making remastering affordable for independent artists. That’s why we offer remastering services for just $49 per song.

Our professional audio mastering and remastering services are designed to enhance the sound quality of music recordings, ensuring that every detail shines through with clarity and brilliance. With a team of experienced mastering engineers and state-of-the-art equipment, we pride ourselves on delivering remastered versions that exceed expectations and resonate with listeners on a deeper level.

Promoting a remastered CD or album

Once your remastered album is ready for release, you’ll want to promote it to maximize its impact and reach.

Marketing strategies

From social media campaigns to nostalgia-driven advertisements, your marketing strategies for promoting your remastered albums should strike a balance between honoring the original material and highlighting the enhancements brought about by remastering. Offer behind-the-scenes footage, and if possible, try to get interviews with remastering engineers.

Distribution

Once you’ve remastered your album, it’s time to sell it through music promotion services. We’ve partnered with CD Baby so that you can distribute your music to the world’s biggest digital streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, TikTok, and more.

CD and vinyl manufacturing

As important as digital distribution is for artists, the single best way for you to make money is to sell CDs and vinyl records at your shows. After all, it takes tens of thousands of streams to equal the amount of money you can make from just one CD sale.

Disc Makers offers comprehensive CD and vinyl manufacturing services for artists looking to sell their remastered albums in physical formats. From album design to numerous packaging options, we provide end-to-end solutions that elevate the presentation of remastered albums and will be sure to drive sales. And when you need to copyright your music, look no further than Disc Makers for music licensing services.

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Remastering music is not just about tinkering with old recordings. It’s about preserving musical heritage, enhancing listening experiences, and reaching audiences in new and meaningful ways.

If you’re an artist looking to breathe new life into your catalog, the journey of remastering and distributing music is an endeavor that’s worth the undertaking. At Disc Makers, we stand ready to support your musical aspirations with our expertise, passion, and dedication to excellence. Let’s embark on this sonic adventure together and create unforgettable moments that resonate for generations to come.

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About Scott McCormick

Scott McCormick is a musician and the author the Audible bestselling Rivals! series and the hit fantasy novel The Dragon Squisher. Scott can be reached at storybookediting@gmail.com.

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