Part of being an emerging band is learning as you go. When you look at it this way, making mistakes along the way is perfectly natural. But imagine if you could save yourself the trouble of certain obstacles—wouldn’t that be kind of great?
Having been in the industry for nearly a decade as both a writer and a publicist, not to mention my almost 30 years on this earth as a music fan, I tend to see artists make the same mistakes. The good news is, because the mistakes tend to be the same, they’re a bit easier to mass diagnose, meaning once you know what they are, you can work to avoid them. So what are some of the biggest mistakes I see emerging bands make?
With a constant stream of analytic information measured in song plays, likes, views, and other stats, it can be tempting to play the comparison game in music. Because this constantly updated information is an important indicator of an artist’s success, it could lead some musicians to constantly compare their numbers to other artists. But while some helpful insights could be gleaned by seeing how well your contemporaries are faring in today’s tumultuous music climate, it’s a bad habit to be constantly sizing yourself up against other artists. Here’s why.
For some reason, the idea that music should be completely separated from money is one that just won’t die within our culture. Some musicians and fans alike hold the belief that music somehow loses its purity once it begins earning someone money. But while that idea is obviously wrong, it’s one that manages to persist and thwart the careers of lots of talented artists. Here’s why all musicians should be invested in making money off of their hard work:
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.