Mixing and Mastering Your First Album: Everything You Need to Know

Everyone remembers their first, and an album is no different. Before learning how to upload music to Spotify, you’ll need to give it a professional polish. Knowing how to mix tracks and master an album will give you an edge when trying to take on these challenges yourself. With the right tips, you’ll be getting your art into everyone’s ears in no time!


A lot goes into an album before mixing and mastering take place. If you want to get the most value from your hard work, it pays to follow a basic outline for creating one. Breaking things into easy-to-follow steps transforms a challenging undertaking into an artistic process you can rely on for future projects. For an album, these steps include:

  1. Song Choice: Discover the pieces that resonate with your fans most and build a theme around your art.
  2. Production Plan: Finalize the little details such as track order and titles as well as the sound and style of each piece.
  3. Recording: Decide whether you want to lay down each instrument track individually, or record song-by-song.
  4. Editing: Correct any timing, technical, and pitch issues, apply fades and look for other technical errors.
  5. Mixing: Adding additional effects and equalizing the track until it sounds the way you’d like.
  6. Mastering: Preparing the album to ensure it flows from track to track, both musically and tonally.

While mixing and mastering an album are the final steps, it’s important to understand how professionals handle the creative process. Once the tracks are finalized, you’ll need to know how to upload music to Spotify, Apple, Amazon, and any other distribution service you’ve chosen. Making your album easily available is just as crucial as ensuring it represents your brand!

Mixing vs Mastering

While both are fundamental to putting out a great-sounding album, many people don’t understand the difference between mixing songs and mastering a compilation. Many burgeoning artists are familiar with mixing their favorite tracks, and may even be able to create an excellent demo. However, a better understanding of the whole process helps to ensure you have a cohesive album fit for production.

Into the Mix

For those who already know how to upload music to Spotify, mixing a high-quality song is old hat. Simply experimenting with some tunes on the iOS app Garage Band qualifies as mixing! Essentially, this part of creating an album involves tinkering with the sound, format, and effects heard in the track. Once you’ve crafted the song of your dreams, it’s ready to be added to the album!

Mastering Mastering

While adjusting pitch and volume on an individual track may not be a huge challenge, it’s very different to get all of the songs on an album to flow and share the same sound. Many fledgling musicians prefer to have professionals regulate the track audio since a pro will have a much easier time developing overall cohesion. If you’re interested in having more control over your albums, mastering is a great skill to have in your industry toolbox.

Essential Equipment

If you’re interested in mixing your own tracks and mastering the final album yourself, there’s certain equipment that you’ll need to have on hand. Because having professional-level gear to record an album is so expensive in the music industry, many artists turn to studios that have all of the proper hardware on hand. A new musician would want their home studio to have most of the following equipment:

  • Computer
  • Microphones
  • Audio Interface
  • Digital Audio Workstation Software
  • Headphones
  • Studion Monitors (professional speakers)
  • MIDI Keyboard

Most importantly, musicians need an appropriate space to record. The area should have some form of sound-dampening so uploaded music to Spotify won’t have any annoying echoes or background noise.

Terms of Endearment

Whether you want to hire a professional or tackle the task yourself, there are a number of terms to familiarize yourself with to help make mixing and mastering go more smoothly. Some of the applications used to process music files will use a variety of industry expressions, and when working with a pro you’ll be able to communicate your intentions more effectively. While there are a wealth of terms used in the music editing process, some of the more obscure include:

  • Shubbiness: Excessive levels in sub-low frequencies, usually affecting subwoofers
  • Harmonics: Multiples of a frequency
  • Null Test: Overlaying two identical signals, flipping the polarity of one to cancel out both
  • Sibilance: High-frequency loudness spikes in vocal tracks
  • Width: How distant two signals sound from each other

Going through some of the more confusing verbiages, you’ll be able to talk the talk as well as walk the walk when it comes to mixing and mastering.

Ready to Upload Music to Spotify

Once you’ve finalized your tracks and equalized the album’s audio, it’s time to publish your work. Putting an album onto a distribution platform will help you build a solid fanbase. In addition, your art will start working for you, generating income and building your brand. Let releasing your album be the start of your musical journey, and a stepping stone to a successful entertainment career!