Standing out is the goal that almost every music producer is looking to achieve, but the way we try to stand out is often by copying what is already a trend. Here are a couple of thoughts on why you’re not standing out… yet:
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Stop thinking too far outside the box. First of all, if you’re thinking outside the box, congrats, because that’s what will take your music to the next level. But, when you think too far outside the box, you might end up going too far from what your ‘market’ wants, and end up with a ‘product’ that has no real desire for it. The best solution for this is to try to do something that is different, but not so different that others won’t relate. Instead, consider adding elements to your song that could differentiate your tracks from others while still keeping the same vibe and genre. Aim to be at the edge of the box, but not so far off from it. So, for your next songs, consider trying something new in the way you use your percussions, your leads, or anything that would give a different touch to your song while still keeping the characteristics of your genre. Merging genres, for example, could be a problem since you might be a bit too far for genre A or genre B, but maybe picking some elements from that other genre and adding to your sound could be a way.
2. Stop trying to fit into a label or a genre. When you try to make a song ‘just like that latest big hit’ from one artist, label or genre, it will be hard to stand out because you’re starting your track already with a goal to sound like what’s already been released, so you could end up not really bringing anything new to the market and end up sounding generic. Especially when thinking about what labels want, if you just submit what they are used to releasing, why would they sign another producer just like what they already have? The best way to solve this is to produce without having labels or goals in your mind, as I’ve written in this post about not producing with a label in your mind. Make sure you’re not going too far out from a genre, as mentioned before, but when you produce without trying to fit your sound to what a label or genre want is when you’ll actually have the freedom to try things you probably wouldn’t try because it could be ‘too risky for that target label’. For example, in my last song, Toronto, signed to Colorize (Enhanced), I added some percussions to the Drop 2 that I felt were a bit too much for the genre, but that’s what Colorize liked the most about it. Therefore, avoid trying to fit in, and you’ll likely stand out.
3. Imitate other producers, but stop copying their sound. Derek Sivers, CDBaby’s founder, says we are imperfect mirrors, and when we try to copy other artists, we often put our spin on it and that becomes our own creation. However, some producers, including myself, end up copying too much from another artist’s songs or vibes and we end up sounding the same as them. It could be an achievement when you’re beginning and you’re just experimenting or trying to learn by copying someone, but it could become a curse if you develop a style too similar to that in the future. Instead, when referencing your tracks, start imitating one part from one artist while still adding your touch to it, another part from another artist, and so on, because then you’ll be ‘stealing’ pieces that you liked from multiple tracks, and that’s how the PROs do it. If you want to be bolder, don’t use reference tracks at all when composing or sound designing your tracks to avoid copying them from someone, and this way you’ll create from your heart, which then will really show your true self as a producer. As a last recommendation, if someone says your song sounds too much like artist Y, consider changing it to avoid being compared. Your fans need to listen to you and think you’re like others, but not the same as them!
4. Stop being too afraid to fail and experiment. As mentioned in the latest post about why you’re not developing as a producer, when you’re too afraid or pressured to make something big, you’ll end up looking for what other big songs are like and end up copying them, missing points #2 and #3 entirely. First of all, to make something amazing, you will need to feel OK that it might not work and you could need to try again. Second, when you lower the odds of failing, you lower the pressure of making something amazing. For example, it’s a lot easier to make ONE good song when you have 20 ideas than when you only have 2 ideas, right? Third, remember that it’s just one song, and if it fails, you can try as many times as you want. Lastly, when you have all these three points in mind, you will feel less pressure to deliver, and this will make you try more, which will actually make you try to stand out. Can it fail? Of course, and probably will, but when you consistently keep on trying new things and experimenting, you’re increasing the odds of standing out… and you only need ONE song to stand out. Therefore, lower your risks and start experimenting!
5. You need to make exceptional music. If your music is still not Wowing your producer friends or you know you’re music is still developing, then you need to focus on developing yourself as a producer. However, these 4 points above will help trail an easier path to make your music stand out in the future
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
Can you stand out and fit in at the same time? Here are a couple of things you could try when experimenting with your songs:
1. Try a crazy sound design for your genre: That’s what got FROST’s song Overtones signed on Anjunabeats
2. Try to use an element in a different way than it is supposed to: What if you used a vocal as a lead? That’s what Major Lazer tried on Lean On
3. Try the opposite of what a trend is doing: If everyone is listening to hard melodic techno Anyma, try making it softer while still keeping some moments like them.