Recording Live Music For Your Band Website


When marketing your band’s website, aside from the usual social media updates and images you share, you should also post some live recordings – whether audio or video – to give your fans and potential followers a taste of what you have to offer.

While recording live music can be a very encompassing topic, for the sake of this article, we’ll stick to the most simple ways to record.

Recording Audio

The simplest way to record a live performance is via your own phone. Smartphones have built-in recorders, but even the most basic phones have rudimentary audio recorders as well. This is the simplest and most portable way to record your music, however, the quality of the output can be a wash as well.

Most phones have simple mics built-in, though there are some equipped with stereo mics that can produce acceptable audio recordings. Off the top of my head, based on my previous research, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 has capable audio recording capabilities and is equipped with stereo mics.

But if you want to achieve higher quality recordings, you can invest in a proper audio recorder with built-in condenser mics. Zoom has several models which can produce decent audio files. While higher models such as the Zoom H4N can record in multiple tracks, unless you plan to record tracks separately in the future, the mush simpler and smaller Zoom H2 will suffice.

No matter what recorder you use, it’s important to position it is such a way where all your band’s instruments can be heard properly. The most obvious choice is infront of you, and is best if all the amps are facing it. However, if you are playing at a small venue with limited space, you can also place the recorder in the middle of the band.

For solo performances, recording audio is easier. Just place it within earshot of your instrument and voice, and you’re set.

Recording Video

As with recording audio, many phones have cameras built-in nowadays that makes it easier to record video on-the-fly. But being jacks-of-all-trade, video recording in phones won’t guarantee decent results.

If you have a DSLR, it can record quality video, however, you might have to invest in a decent mic to attach to it since DSLRs are not know to have the best sounding mics.

If you are willing to invest, there are many great video recorders with decent mics at affordable prices. The Zoom Q2HD is one that has a capable camera and a built-in condenser mic. It’s small, pocketable, and can double as a webcam if so desired. If you want better audio/video, Zoom also has higher tier models from the Q4 up to the Q8.

Sony also has a decent video camera with built-in condenser mics, the Sony HDR-MV1, which I personally have gotten for myself. While similar to Zoom’s offerings, the Sony has the advantage (or disadvantage, depending on what you need) of possessing a wider field-of-view (FOV).

Because of its wide angle FOV, the Sony HDR-MV1 can be placed closer to the band or artist to ensure clearer audio. It can also be used in cramped spaces such as recording studios or cafes, and won’t cut off any of the band members. I can’t speak for it’s competitors, but what I like about the Sony is that it can be controlled via smartphone and tablet (play and stop recording with a preview of what can be seen), and has built-in wifi for easy file transfers to mobile devices. This quick file exchange can have you sharing your videos to social media as soon as you’re done recording.

Other accessories

Though what we are after here are quick and convenient recording solutions, you might need a few accessories to help give you higher quality recordings.

For steady video, a tripod is needed. You don’t have to purchase huge, bulky tripods. A table tripod that fits in your pocket can suffice.

For better audio, you might also want to purchase a wind screen or sock to block out any extraneous noises such as, well, the wind.

Other accessories you might need: a portable charger, extra batteries (especially if you plan on recording a long show), and a high capacity memory card (or at least, several smaller capacity ones).

While the above are quick and dirty recording solutions – you won’t be producing any studio- or MTV-quality recordings here – these are great for social media and website sharing. Your fans won’t mind the sub-par recording, but you at least ensure that the music can be heard.

Recording live music is essential to any serious musician. Whether you want to share your performances online or if you just want to have some reference material to hear how you play, a way to record music is a must.

To learn more how to further your music business, get the free Music Business video training series from James Taylor here.