Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Recording and mixing your audio watermarked MP3 Preview files

This article provides an overview of the recording and mixing process to prepare and create your own audio-watermarked MP3 preview files. If you haven’t read the first article in this series about audio watermarking,  you can refer to it here: Audio Watermarking For Promotion And File Sharing Security for an introduction to the scope of this subject.

Three ways to create preview voiceover messages

Generally there are three ways to create the preview voiceover messages:
1. By doing it in-house, for example using your own voice or that of a friend, co-writer or band member. This is good if someone is available and you are confident that he or she has a reasonably clear sounding voice which won’t conflict with the style of your music recordings. Though this is often the cheapest way, the outcome may not be satisfactory, or it’s difficult to schedule people who are often too busy with other projects and priorities.

2. You can hire a professional voiceover actor or talent production service. If you’ve never used a service, a good place to start is at which lets you post a project within a specified budget range. We also recommend the services of Dennis Reed Productions who is now offering a great Admarks voiceover  service at a very reasonable price.  Check his rate info page for more details and pricing.

3. You can use a text-to-speech program which lets you enter the text, select from several different male or female voices,  press a button to preview the speech, record and then pay to download the MP3 or WAV files. The best I’ve found which is very affordable, has among the most natural sounding sampled voices, and offers recordings for commercial productions for marketing and advertising, is

Introducing the Ivona text-to-speech voices

The rest of this article will focus on how to create, edit and mix voiceovers for any of your music advertising and promotion needs, but with emphasis for using the Ivona online voiceover service for creating your own audio watermarked MP3 preview files. Keep in mind that their online recording service is available 24/7 at a cost of about 10 cents on the dollar compared most human voice recording services, which considering their amazing quality, is a highly attractive option if you’re in a hurry or need to watch your project budget.

After you set up your account with Ivona, you can start entering the texts of your song’s titles, artist or composer credits and domain name of your website where fans or licensing buyers can buy and download your master files.

Stream or download a demo presentation

For a recorded demo how this works and what it will sound like, play this short demo file: Ivona Voices_Recording & Mixing Demo.mp3

Importing the Ivona recording to your audio editor

After you download the MP3 (recommended) recordings, you can import them into your audio editor to prepare for mixing with your music tracks. For example, you may want to add a bit of reverb, finding the best panning width to be mixed with your tracks, and finally adjusting the volume usually by compressing and/or increasing the decibels. This final part is important so that the voiceover messages is about 4 – 6 dBs louder than the music.

Ad spot mixing and production tips

As a tip, it’s best to first reduce the volume of your existing Preview track to avoid audio “clipping” from mixing the Preview track with your audio watermark (i.e. ad spots) track. After they’re mixed together, check the stats to make sure nothing is clipped or distorted sounding. Optionally, you can also lower the volume about 4 dB during the ad spot messages to make sure the “spots” are heard clearly in the mix, similar to vocal tracks which often “float” on top of the music rather than burried under it.

After you’ve created the final mix for each track, give it a unique name which reminds you that it’s now your official audio-watermarked Preview file. For example: Songname_Preview+Ads.mp3 tells you that it’s the Preview version of your Master file, which now contains the series of short, voiceover advertising messages.

Rotation of ad spot messages

As suggested in the first article, the ad messages can be rotated about each 30 – 60 seconds, which will depend on your preference and may vary slightly from song to song depending on where the verse, chorus, bridge or other transistion points are in the song’s timeline.

The first ad spot can start during the first few seconds of the song, or later, for example, after the end of the first Chorus. Based on your market, you can optimize for sales promotions to fans, so people are more likely to share the songs they like, and has a bit of surprise element as to when (or where) the first ad message will appear.

Use your music to promote your music and related brand names

A good quality MP3 Preview file of your best songs will be your best “billboard” ad for sharing, spreading and promoting your music, especially from your own website, YouTube, social sites like Facebook, and any other ways to get people to liberally share your music virally across the internet.

Turn MP3 file sharing into an asset!

If some of your tracks sound like new “hits” and have good draw, don’t be surprised if some of your “ad spotted” Preview files end up going viral on various file sharing sites. Normally these are illegal and a liability to artists, but having audio-watermarked Preview files will turn file sharing into an assest. The reaons are because people that normally can’t afford to buy your music, wouldn’t have anyway, but those that can, will now have an incentive to buy your music legally so they can get the ad-free versions without the voiceover message spots.

Promote your music AND sponsorship revenues

Your Preview files are advertising your music, song titles, your artist or composer name, your website domain name and optionally, a sponsor’s brand name, such as a product or service which is sponsoring the promotion of your MP3 Preview songs. With a bit of planning this can turn into a nice revenue stream for your music marketing and promotion stratagy.

Preview examples using the Ivona voices

Here’s some examples of watermarked preview files using the Ivona text-to-speech voices:
Fields Of Gold – cover by Steven Cravis at
Slow It Down by Richard Keller Jr. at
What Is Love by Mistimarr Music at

These will give you some ideas for creating your own MP3 Preview files.

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  1. […] standard, 3 times it’s previous audio preview standard) as your streaming example (see the LicenseQuote article about audio […]