When you are about to finish (or just have finished) your single, EP or album, there is a set of essential audio files that you will need to export and keep on hand at all times. These files could save you time, energy and money down the line.
I like to call them "deliverables". You will need them for any kind of remastering, potential label deal, duplication of vinyls, TV placement, and more.
Here is a common list of deliverables:
Full final stereo mix mastered in WAV file 24bit (if available) and 16bit for digital or physical distribution
All alternate final stereo mixes, mastered (instrumental, TV mix, a cappella, underscore) in WAV file 24 bit (if available) and 16bit for TV performance, karaoke, remixes
Full final stereo mix unmastered (without limiter) in WAV file 24bit for remastering and vinyl mastering
All alternate final stereo mixes – instrumental, TV mix, a cappella, underscore) – unmastered (without limiter) in WAV file 24bit for remastering
All group stems – drums, bass, guitar, keys, vocals, etc. – unmastered (without limiter) in WAV file 24bit for running tracks during live shows, remixes, or TV placement
Remember, computers keep evolving, software gets updated, and it could become increasingly difficult to open a three, five, ten-year-old project. On top of that, if there were other people involved with your project (producers, engineers), there is no guaranty that you will be able to get in touch them in the future.
Having all these files handy will empower you to take advantage of any career opportunities that may come your way.
And for those of you who have already closed out on a project, there is still a chance that your producer or engineer (if you worked with one) has archived your project and could retrieve your files (he or she may charge you for that though).
- Marko Fazio
This article was an excerpt from my free eBook “What About Your Backups?”. If you want to take your backup strategy to the next level and never lose a file again, consider downloading it for free HERE. I wrote this guide with the intention to help independent artists and musicians like you with a clear and easy plan of action.
Marko Fazio is a music producer and mixing engineer based in Los Angeles. With his company Elevate Music Productions, his mission is to bring to full potential indie singer/songwriters’ music and artistic vision by providing high-quality master recordings.