Lots of potentially phenomenal songwriters often fantasize about writing music but can’t bring themselves to write a song. For some, the problem is rooted in a lack of confidence and the paralyzing fear of being made vulnerable through music. But for other musicians, a complete lack of knowing what to write about is the culprit.
Knowing what to write songs about can be a challenge even for experienced songwriters, so this is a problem that plagues most writers eventually. Here’s five tips designed to help get you thinking about what to write about in your music:
In addition to delivering big profits to labels and publishers, playlists are helping new and unknown artists succeed in some profound ways. From popular independent playlists curated in dorm rooms to Spotify’s insanely successful Discover Weekly feature, playlists are becoming a major way for listeners to learn about new music. The music industry has a lot to gain from this new trend, but is there a downside to our ever-increasing penchant for playlists?
For about as long as musicians have been writing music and performing, the world of music has been synonymous with things like terrible diets, late nights, and copious amounts of booze and drugs. But while unhealthy lifestyles make for good television, they can be hell on a musician’s body. If making and performing music is something you plan on doing for the rest of your life, the bad habits you form now could keep you from being your best, or stop you in your tracks completely. It’s not sexy, but learning how to take care of yourself will make you a better musician.
Seemingly without notice until recently, the music industry has been experiencing a seismic and possibly irreversible change throughout the last decade. Last year, the Washington Post published an article about the recent decline in international electric guitar sales. The numbers are pretty shocking. In just the past decade, electric guitar sales have dropped by a third, from 1.5 million to a new average of just over 1 million. As you can imagine, this trend has been hell on small music stores, but even large music retailers have been experiencing pain due to waning guitar sales.
If you own a music store, this is all pretty bleak news, but what does the electric guitar’s decline mean for the rest of the music industry?
Every DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) will come with a large slew of effects and built-in plug-ins. Depending on how long you have been producing, you have already started downloading additional plug-ins outside of the native ones that come with your DAW of choice. Whether you just bought the full Waves plug-in bundle or you’re still experimenting with your native effects, you’re going to end up with a few choices that will certainly land in your go-to folder. Typically, producers and mixers will have their favorite reverbs, compressors, EQs, and basic effects racks. While it is arguably better to master a few plugins than to poorly use hundreds of them, there are pros and cons to using the same effects over and over.
Music is an industry where nothing is guaranteed. Even if you’re talented, lucky, connected, and hardworking, the odds of achieving lasting financial success and notoriety are slim. But like in any profession, there are things bands inadvertently do that thwart their own prospects. Here’s a list of five things that keep bands from being successful:
Remember when you first started making music, how every show, every new fan, every kind word, or t-shirt bought made you feel like you were on top of the world? Somewhere along the way as you began to grasp the business side of the industry, you lost that sense of excitement and wonder at every opportunity or win that came your way—no matter how big or small. But learning to embrace and celebrate the small wins, leads to a slew of positive outcomes—including helping you accomplish your stretch goals even after.
So how do you begin to turn small wins into huge successes?
Ah, the dreaded bad review. Even the most talented and successful songwriters often question themselves after reading a negative write-up about their music, but negative reviews are especially potent when they’re aimed at new and up-and-coming bands. No matter who you are and what kind of music you make, bad reviews and harsh opinions about what you’re doing are an inevitability, and crafting your music a specific way to please critics will only make your music worse. So, what do you do when a bad review comes along?