I Spent $20,000 Making an Album I Can’t Even Give Away

“What was I thinking!?”

It was the logical next step for my band Living Illusion. We had played tons of local shows, did some minor touring and gained a little buzz, so we decided it was time to get serious. Our first album was an experiment more than anything and considering it was self recorded & produced it sounded pretty good. For our next album, we wanted more. It was time to throw our best material out there and build a future for the band. Go big or go home.

To be honest we could have went “bigger”, but seeing as I, solely was the financial backer on the project we kept going until I literally ran out of money. Initially when we decided to record our second album “Suffering” it was only supposed to cost around $10k, but once production started it became a never ending slew of unforeseen expenses. Going through 3 different mixers had to be the most expensive addition.

Ultimately, I learned a lot from the process but it’s scary to look back at how naive I was. Full of piss and vinegar, I wanted to get the best product out there to the world, assuming that this would lead us to success. Knowing the production quality of our first album was so lackluster comparatively only further exasperated the ideals of “getting the best production”. It also didn’t help when you get so far in over your head that you think, “What’s another $3k I already spent $10k”.

If there were one thing I would’ve done differently it would’ve been to save some money for marketing and promotions. The life lessons I want to share with other aspiring musicians and bands out there is surrounding budgets and marketing. Knowing when and where to spend, or not spend your money. I recommend saving your money on production and make albums yourself or at small studios until you have a big enough following to justify spending the money.

We’ve hit a cross roads where more quality music is being produced than ever before and a persons interests & tastes can be more hyper specified then ever. Giving access to your music has become easier for indie bands, but that’s not where the problem lies. It’s about getting it in front of the right people that like your style, then making them a fan and hopefully a customer. You have to seek out your fans now. No one will be googling your band unless you give them a reason to.

Maybe I’m alone on this or maybe people just don’t like my band and our style of music, and that’s okay too. I just hope that I can provide insight to other bands out there based from my experience. When it comes down to it, I just want the people out there who enjoy hard rock to hear our songs and decide for themselves.

That being said here is a copy of the last Living Illusion album Suffering for all you awesome folks that read my blog to download and enjoy for free:

Download Link

(Just click the link and the download will start / it may take a second / no need to right click)

And here’s the first Album because people were asking for it:

Download Link


The continued support from you guys is what keeps us going.

Much love,

– Shane Lamotte

UPDATE: Huge thanks to the Reddit community for all the awesome feedback, comments and suggestions in r/WeAreTheMusicMakers! I’m literally at a loss for words at how great the response has been with all the advice and suggestions. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

2 thoughts on “I Spent $20,000 Making an Album I Can’t Even Give Away

  1. I’m listening to your album right now, so you’ve at least succeeded in giving it away. Sounds like the problem with the music business is that it’s a business. But I have a lot of respect for you for giving it a shot, weather you end up considering your endeavor to be a success or failure. Hang in there. Cheers.


  2. Hey there – ran across your blog through reddit. My band Mankind Is Obsolete (www.mkio.com) spent $20k on recording our 3rd album in Weed CA @ Radiostar Studios with Sylvia Massy. It came out great, but still, in hindsight, it was a lot of money to lay down. As well, for an indie, there’s not much of an ROI for that kind of cash. What we did get out of it, however, was the experience of getting to record in a full featured, multi facility recording studio. We also got a chance to work with some amazing producers and engineers in the process. To boot, they put us up for a month in their band house. After we made the album, we dropped everything, moved out of our apartments, toured for a year. If anything, that was probably the best thing we could have done.. So it was more or less a $20k lesson in what and what not to do. After a year straight of touring, we created a super solid fan base that has never let us down. Even after being on hiatus for a couple of years, they will still show up to our shows and buy our music. We now have the expertise to produce a similar quality recording on our own – especially now, with $20k a band could afford all the gear they need to record everything themselves. Anyhow, thanks for sharing!


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