Even if you’re not trying to make a career out of your music, there are a couple of things that can easily make you fail in your journey to produce better music and here’s how to avoid it:
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Be ready for the journey, not for the sprint. Music is a journey, regardless if it is a hobby or a career for you. Music takes a long time to learn and you have to be willing to commit yourself to it long-term because that’s when you’ll start to see the results, which will come over time from you constantly practicing, learning, and making new tracks. Along the way, it’s not uncommon to question yourself if it’s all worth it, as I’ve questioned myself 3 times already, so you need to have strong reasons why you want to pursue music because it can be sometimes demotivating and lonely. However, I’ve found a few things that are key to making it last: (1) Have fun with the process. Music has to become your video game and the place you go to have fun. As with many games, sometimes you want to throw it out the window, but overall it needs to be a pleasant experience for you, and you can read about how to make music production fun over here; (2) Develop the ability to get inspired and motivated with music. It’s hard to persist in music when difficult times hit you and suck up the fun of making music, sometimes even lowering your energy to push back from it. Therefore, understand how you can inspire and motivate yourself to avoid not being able to brush the bad times off. (3) Learn how to spot the mistakes you’re making in your music or it can drive you mad, especially when you don’t know how to improve. As with any long-term plan, learn not only how to enjoy the good moments, but also how to have the energy to brush off the bad moments and correct what’s pushing you away from your goals
2. Start taking risks with your music to have fun experimenting and to stand out. When you try to make your music fit in with anything, it will be harder to make your music stand out. A lot of producers think that the best way to attract the attention of a label and fans is by producing something that they are familiar with, but that can actually backfire when it’s too similar to someone else’s work. In addition, if you check why some producers like Fred Again are so big in the market, you’ll see that is mostly because they are so different from everyone else and they are not copying what other producers are doing. Therefore, here are a few tips for you: (1) Produce without a reference track when composing your song to avoid copying what others are doing. I love referencing for basically everything else, but this is a comment that I heard from AVIRA that really resonated with me; (2) Always try something that you haven’t heard in any other track in your next song. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or not, experimenting is key to keeping music production fun and it can be used as a way to test things that might make you stand out; (3) Produce many genres. In addition to also helping you expand your knowledge, producing many genres can expand the chances of making things work for you; (4) Deliberately break the rules of your genres. As Rick Ruben says in his book ‘The Creative Way’, rules direct you to average behavior, and slightly breaking these rules can be a way to take controlled risks. However, all that doesn’t matter if you’re too afraid of failing, as fear of failure can halt you from taking risks. So, in addition to seeking ways to take risks in music, you have to be ok with sounding bad when experimenting, which is something that you can read more about over here.
3. Stop focusing only on your music. Even though the music industry is technically about music, practically it’s about more than just that. When you only focus on making music and not interacting with the community, you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities that would make your music bigger. It may seem contradictory to think that focusing ‘a bit less’ on your music can actually give it a bigger boost than solely focusing on it, but, as with anything in the entertainment industry, it’s not only about the art. Therefore, (1) Start networking with other producers as this could be a great way to find a community of people that can motivate you and help you develop yourself, and if you don’t know where, you can look for discord servers like ours and meet other producers over there; (2) Attend events like ADE, Miami Music Week and/or local clubs as they could be a way to meet not only new producers, but also people in the industry that could later help you get signed; (3) Whenever you get signed, try to connect with the label on a deeper level as they could eventually help you by boosting your music or introducing you to other people; (4) Collaborate with other producers as you can expand your reach and skills while also making a song that is sometimes greater than the sum of parts. Even though creating music is a big chunk of your career, you will rely on other people to make your career move forward, and the sooner you start meeting people in the industry, the easier it will be when you start developing songs that people are dying to sign!
4. Be prepared to work hard on your music, but remember to work smart on it as well. A lot of producers feel that talent plays a role in music, and it does to some extent, but it is much smaller than what most producers believe. The biggest factor why most producers fail is that they are not willing to put in the work required to make it last, regardless of what your goals are with music. In addition, it’s not just about working harder, but most of the time it’s about working smarter and in the right direction. Therefore: (1) Never stop being a learner. When you stop learning is when things come to a halt (you can check 7 ways in which you can always keep on learning in an efficient and fast way); (2) Learn how to do the basics of all aspects of music that are required. For example, if you want to release songs commercially, you’ll need to learn about how to market your song properly, and how to deal with labels, which you can see in several topics already covered in our newsletter; (3) If you’re stuck for too long in an issue, seek help. Sometimes, trying to solve something that you’ve been stuck on for a long time can be tiring, and end up sucking all the fun out of music. That’s the time when you should look for a mentor as even feedback might not be helping you get rid of your issue. (4) Focus on constantly improving and correcting mistakes. With every new song you make, you need to make sure that you’re improving on something by either ‘correcting an issue’ or ‘trying something new’ as this is what will push you forward; (5) Don’t shy away from learning the basic skills of music Production: Composition, Arrangement, Sound Design, Mixing and Mastering. Without truly mastering these skills, your songs can end up always lacking something. In other words, it’s more important to know how to work efficiently than to simply put in loads of work.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
What are some other things that you need to do to be successful?
1. Stay consistent with your releases: If you’re not constantly releasing music, people can easily start forgetting about your music. In addition, it can become harder to promote your next song. Therefore, make sure to plan your music and release it accordingly so that you always have something new for your audience.
2. Learn how to play the music game with labels, managers, and promoters: In essence, if you’re not benefiting them in any way, they likely won’t help you as well. Learn what appeals to these people that you will need to talk to and you’ll increase your odds of hearing ‘yes’ from them
3. Give back to the community more than what you take from it: Regardless if you’re in the music industry or not, the more you help people grow, the more you’ll be helped as well.
4. Stop making excuses: Take ownership of everything you do, and if your song is not getting signed or if you’re not getting good feedback on your music, don’t bad-mouth that person. Learn to accept even the toughest rejections and turn them into learning experiences for future growth.