Audiences have long relied on music to get them through some of life’s most painful and exciting moments. People turn to music to celebrate births, weather devastating breakups, and to navigate the day-to-day emotional rollercoaster that is adolescence. With emotion playing such a huge role in the relationships’ audiences form with music, some musicians draw the conclusion that great music can be made only while being in a highly emotional state, but this creative approach can be bad for you and your work.
As music producers who continually work on song after song, we can easily fall into habits. We may find a certain sample that we always use in our productions, use the same synth for our basslines, or create songs in the same key. These habits can end up hurting your music in the long run if you do not evolve as a producer. To help you break out of your comfort zone as a producer, I have listed five ways for you to add creativity to your music below.
One of the biggest transformations music has undergone over the past two decades is the ability to see songs rack up views, streams, and downloads in real time. Local and national charts still gauge an artist’s radio performance and album sales, but detailed metrics offered by music platforms now let listeners see how much a song is being listened to practically in real time. But public song stats are a small fraction of the detailed analytical information most artists now have access to when it comes to who is listening to their music.
From a music business perspective, having loads of perpetually updating fan analytics at your fingertips is helpful, but I think there’s also a downside to consider. Numbers can’t tell the whole story of worth behind an artist’s music. Since most music is now digitized in some form, it means that the majority of music consumption can be measured. It’s human nature to want to assign value and meaning to the songs that generate the most stats, but there’s a whole bunch of problems to consider if you think that your music is only good if it’s popular.
The thought of making a mistake so bad that it ruins an entire show is something that keeps a lot of us up at night. When my old band was unexpectedly asked to open two big sold out shows in my hometown a few years ago, I literally wasn’t able to sleep the nights before out of fear that I’d blow it. Luckily, my bandmates and I played well both nights, and none of the disasters I lost sleep over materialized. Unfortunately, show meltdowns do happen to musicians, whether it’s rooted in the preventable performance mistakes or something purely psychological. Here’s some advice on how to avoid them:
The folder on our hard drive that contains all the unfinished musical projects that we just can’t seem to finish. While not every song that we start is going to be finished and released, our goal should be to minimize the number of tracks that end up in this folder. Finishing your music is no simple task, but with a few changes to your workflow, improved time management, and getting rid of distractions, you can start to reduce the number of tracks that end up staying in the unfinished track folder.
Below I have compiled a list of the 5 tips to help you finish your tracks.
There’s a stigma amongst musicians about performing on stage with a backing track for the simple fact that most artists are largely expected to be the ones responsible for generating all the sounds coming from the stage. But with things like bedroom producers gaining popularity and more solo artists looking for ways to save money on the road, the use of backing tracks is becoming a more frequent occurrence on stage. Even traditional bands are beginning to broaden the creative potency of their live sound by way of backing tracks. But stigmas aside, playing to a backing track can be complicated, frustrating, and possibly detrimental for an artist’s live performance.
Like any other property, music copyrights and the individual exclusive rights thereof, can be transferred, sold, licensed, and divided among several owners. In general, to use recorded copyrighted music, you will need permission from both the musical work owner (typically a publisher) and the sound recording owner (typically a record company). Note, however, if you re-record a song (instead of using a pre-recorded version), permission generally is only required from the musical work owner (since you are not using someone else’s sound recording).
Music has changed in some remarkable ways over the past couple of years. Playlists are giving massive amounts of exposure to previously unknown artists of every age and experience level and analytic information provided by streaming platforms can now tell musicians detailed information about just who is listening to their music and how they discovered it.
But the biggest change in music we’re seeing is the breakdown of the album format. In 2016, researchers found that listeners were beginning to listen to music more on playlists than they were through traditional albums. This represents an Earth-shattering change for the music industry, and we’re nowhere near the point of being able to comprehend what it all means. But something that’s easy to see in the short term is that press and radio outlets appear to be slow to adjust to music’s new reality.