As a music producer, you will go through many struggles, and most of them have the power to literally destroy your motivation to produce. Therefore, here is some advice that I wish I knew when I started and how you can overcome the biggest struggles you’ll like face as a music producer.
5 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Practice and finish a lot of songs to get your music to a PRO level. There’s no other way to master a skill than to work hard and practice a lot, and that means working and finishing multiple songs for a music producer. At the same time, working hard doesn’t mean working smart, so always make sure that you’re making progress when practicing. (1) For every youtube tutorial that you watch, write down at least one thing that you learned from it and would like to apply to your songs. (2) Always make sure to try something new in your current songs, possibly from a feedback you received or from something you saw in a video. That’s how I fixed my issues with mixing and mastering, for example. (3) When/If you feel that you’re not making progress anymore, or you’re stuck, or, when you finished your song, look back and try to understand what makes your current project better than the last one. If your answer is ‘nothing’ and you don’t know what else to do, consider looking for a mentor that will help you push your skills further since going from 0 to 80% is easier than 80-100%. Lastly, your goal should always be to make progress on your music because this is the best way to keep yourself motivated. In addition, the easiest way to lose motivation is when you get stuck and can’t get out of a problem, so, if you’re struggling now, put the ego aside and ask for help. But how to find someone? I know, for example, multiple tutors that can help you, including myself, and for any price range, so feel free to contact us.
2. Understand the game you’re playing with Labels when releasing music. Why do labels sign music? It’s not only because your music is good, but because they see an opportunity to make money out of it, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, some producers don’t understand why an average song from a famous artist gets signed and a good song from them is not, and that is because the famous artist’s reach, even with an average song, is likely bigger than most of us, so it will generate more $$ for the label. When you understand the game you’re playing, it makes the frustration a bit more comprehensible, but leaves us with a question… How will I ever get my songs signed if I have no releases / have a small or don’t have an audience? It all starts with an amazing song! If you have an amazing song, that increases the odds of labels signing you. Maybe the big labels still won’t sign you because of your audience, but you can sign to ‘smaller’ labels that will value your music more than your brand. Then, after you build more rapport and consistency with your releases, you will start to have the audience, and the quality, to break into a bigger label. Therefore, that’s why our first point is so important, and nothing really matters without that. So, (1) make sure that you understand how and why labels sign artists and songs and (2) make sure that you develop your skills as much as you can since that’s what will get you signed.
3. Understand the game you’re playing with Spotify and Playlists curators when releasing your music. Does it only make sense to release when you signed the song to a label? Well, no, but that’s especially important when you’re starting out, as I’ve mentioned in my latest post about why labels still matter in 2023. Labels can help you a lot with promotion and streaming, which is something that can cost a lot of money when you’re self-releasing. First, Spotify values artists that drive traffic to their platform, so when promoting a song, make sure to ask for ‘follows’, and direct your listeners to listen on Spotify. When you bring a lot of listeners to Spotify, it will increase the chances of Spotify picking you up for an editorial playlist, or even for algorithmic playlists (Radio and ‘songs like xxx’ represent 30% of my current listeners for example). Second, another way to build your stats on Spotify is through curator’s playlists, but these cost a bit. That is because these curators treat and invest in their playlists as a business, so if you want ‘participate’ in their playlist, you will have to pay. Think about it… If you had a playlist that could generate 5, 10, 20, 50k plays to a song, wouldn’t you charge for that? Again, by understanding the game you play, you’ll get less frustrated especially when you have to pay to be promoted. In the end, it’s all part of the game, but, as said above, the better your music, the better odds you have.
4. Learn how to dust off bad feedback and deal with rejection. A big part of your career in music will be dealing with rejection. Label rejection, bad feedback, and even people trashing you online, sometimes for no reason. The best way to do this is to first understand that this is not personal and it’s not because ONE song is rejected that you’re not a good producer. Sometimes songs just don’t click with A&Rs, and that will happen along your career whether you’re a skilled producer or just starting out. Second, It’s important to find constructive and reliable people that help you the way that you like the most. A good example of that is someone who’s willing to say that your song is trash, but also explain, give examples, and also be specific about how you can solve your issues. Third, you must pick this feedback you’ll receive and learn how to apply it, and also not take it personally. Again, what matters is that this fuels you to develop your skills and keep on making progress. Fourth, take feedback as a way to ‘detect what are you doing wrong and what can you fix’. At the same time, if you have no feedback, that means that, for that person, your song is perfect, which is nice to hear because it feeds the ego, which is important from time to time. Therefore, embrace feedback, especially the bad ones, as it helps you develop as a producer.
5. Learn how to make the music production journey lighter to avoid burning out. Music production should be fun and enjoyable, and when you put too much pressure into it, it can become a chore. When you want your songs to be perfect, you can get frustrated by never being able to finish songs. When you put too much pressure on a song to perform well, this can make you frustrated if the song doesn’t. If you focus too much on signing to a label, you’ll become frustrated if you get rejected. In any case, the best way is to take it lightly and enjoy the process. Take any ‘failure’ as ‘something to improve’, and not as a way to call yourself a fraud (more on this topic later). If a song is rejected by a label, it’s JUST ONE SONG, and you can always try again. Even the biggest artists in the world make art that people don’t like, but you have to be able to move on from the ‘failures’ you’ll have in your career. In the end, the best way to avoid burning out is by not putting pressure on your success, and even over your commitment to music. It’s important to be committed, to have goals, and to aim to succeed, but when this becomes an obsession, failing to do so can be soul-crushing and sometimes irreversible. Therefore, start by taking the pressure out of your career, and it will already help you a lot in keeping music a fun thing to do.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What are some additional struggles you’ll face as a music producer?
1. For many, networking can be a huge struggle, but that is, as music production, a skill you need to practice to succeed. You can succeed without it, but networking will make things a lot easier along your journey.
2. Finding the funds to invest in your music, as mentioned in point #3. If you can save 30-50 USD, which is less than most plugins a lot of us buy without any real need for it, you can already submit your songs to a lot of curators via Submithub.
3. Finding time to produce and work on your music: Sometimes, things will get busy, and you won’t be able to produce. But, in general, make sure to schedule your production time. For example, after producing a shameful 5h in total production time in May, I started to book my calendar for music production sessions and already produced over 30h this month. Sometimes, it’s more about prioritizing it.