• Carl Does Music

How I made 100K using Cubase 5

How did I make 100K using Cubase 5… a program created in 2009? Stay tuned. This won’t be one of those vague, clickbait pieces that says things like “I did it by working hard and being determined”. I’ll be giving my specific path.

Alright so, this is honestly not all about Cubase, as much as I vouch for the program, but first, here’s why I use it over Pro Tools, Logic, and everything else. First off, Cubase was accessible. I got it for free in 2010. I just used what I had available.

Next, Cubase is easier than most DAWs. At this point, I know the software inside-out. If someone says “Cubase isn’t as good as Logic”, then they likely only know Logic or don’t fully know Cubase. Cubase is simple while being complete, as it relates to audio & music production. It works for every aspect of composing AND engineering. And most importantly, it has the right short keys. I preach a lot that short keys are critical for being efficient and proficient within any software. Cubase just happens to have capabilities that I don’t know of within some other popular programs. For example, a small thing like being able to jump to the front or end of an audio clip with the letter F or E... or move clips to a precise beat with the letter M. or instantly jump back and forth between VST and MIDI parameters with a comma… these little moves have all kept probably a year or so on my life.

Another factor for me earning by way of Cubase is that I know the craft of music. This is where this all stops being about Cubase. My personal music theory and history equips me for almost any musical situation. I’m a pro music producer and musician that has made a living through music for the past 10 years and counting. I got lucky and learned how to read music in junior high, and even though I only did it for a grade, some of the foundations helped me figure out concepts like chords and harmony, on my own. I get jealous of musicians that start at like -2 years old, but I also got lucky by getting serious about music right at the cusp of my personal “critical period”... that time where it gets wild tough to learn much else in life without a miracle or some serious help.

I’ve been paid to play about 10 different instruments in my lifetime, so I’m resourceful enough to get jobs in many different ways. I’ve even gotten hired to teach things I’ve never even played. Overall, I’ve taught, produced, performed, scored, recreated, troubleshot, consulted… And I’m so eclectic that I can take on gigs related to whatever style or genre. When I’m asked what genre do I do, I just answer “my clients”. I don’t really like that question. I also don’t like “what’s your favorite instrument to play?” It’s like “whatever you need, ma’am or sir”. I’m not here for me; I’m here for the vision.

When I first started out, my mind set was to make my skill set wider than most of my competitors, if not all. This doesn’t mean go learn everything and it doesn’t mean be the best at everything. I think I’m trash at every instrument compared to monsters like Cory Henry, Victor Wooten, Esperanza Spalding, Jacob Collier, or my main mentor, Stevie Wonder. Any credible studio most likely has a higher caliber engineer or stronger instrumentalist than me, but I’ll never let any of those people be as versatile as me (even someone like the incredible Mr. do-it-all, Jacob Collier). So-and-so plays 20 instruments? Me too, and I don’t see them playing trumpet. They know all the popular plug-ins? How’s their MIDI game though and can they blend soca with jazz and salsa?

Another thing, I’m quicker than about anybody. I don’t rush, I just move fast. It’s like production ADHD, ‘cause I get bored or distracted easily. And I think those traits led me to so many instruments and styles of music in the first place. I think I also have an inner alarm that makes me feel like a client is in a hurry. And I’d rather them say “go back and edit, take your time” than “why did it take so long to give me this garbage?”. Luckily I’m never really off from what a client wants. I take pride in capturing a vision and I take pride in being a master-of-none, while being able to “hang” with most.

Lastly, the biggest piece of the puzzle, is actually finding clients.. ‘Cause without them, you’re using all your production tools for yourself… and YOU can’t pay YOU. If you’re a natural social networker or word-of-mouth type, then I’m guessing you’re already good on this part. As for me, maybe 99% of my clients have honestly been from Craigslist, specifically the MUSICIANS, GIGS and SERVICES sections. I got a few jobs from Instagram DMs, YouTube beat requests, and freelancer sites like Upwork and Fiverr, but Craigslist is the most underrated/misunderstood platform I can think of. Like anything, there’s pro’s and con’s of course, but I just had to know how to talk, read, write, and negotiate. It’s all about posting, responding, and compromising… that’s as simple as I can put it.

So to answer your question, the title, you have to know your program, know your craft, and know your weaknesses. Like literally learn your weaknesses. If you have them, get better at them, or make the situation more ideal. I was a musician before I engineered music, and engineers were too slow or couldn’t get what I wanted… so I learned how to mix myself. Bands and session musicians were too much money and ego, so I learned more instruments. Producers were too stuck in a box, so I studied and experimented with more genres. If you stop studying and experimenting, you’ll likely hit a ceiling somewhere, particularly if you’re doing things on your own. A back up plan would be for you to form a team with someone else that can fill in your gaps, but this is about “you” or “I”... a singular approach. If you or someone you know needs personal assistance or guidance, contact me above and let’s add to that 100K :-)

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