Writing music is hard. Writing lots of music is much harder. But between how insatiable audiences are for new music and the fact that the more often we write the better chance we have at creating great songs, it pays to be prolific as a songwriter. Making music takes hard and often thankless work, but it takes even more sacrifice, planning, and energy to commit to writing as often as possible. Here are three helpful tips for being prolific and productive as a songwriter:
Landing a big sync placement can give you much needed financial support and exposure for your music as an artist, but it’s not easy. These opportunities are usually hard to come by because of the overwhelming amount of music that’s out there coupled with how many artists there are with the same goals as you. But this doesn’t mean all hope is lost when it comes to finding opportunities to get your music licensed.
Rejection and disappointment are inevitable for those who seriously pursue music, so why not put these experiences to work and get some good out of them? You can think of life like a song recording. We can try, and fail, to ignore or edit out unwanted noise and mistakes, or we can seamlessly weave them into the production and let them add character and nuance into the music. Setbacks and pain are going to meet you at many points in your musical pursuits, and a lot of what you’ll experience will be out of your control. However, the way you respond to challenges is something that’s completely in your hands.
As much as you might want them to, loads of new listeners are probably not going to spontaneously flock to your next release and listen to it, especially if you’re a developing artist. Sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement of sharing new music that we forget that connecting with audiences is far from a predictable, sure thing. Music is not an “if you build it, they will come,” endeavor because when it comes to making and sharing music, the reality is that no one owes you anything whether it’s coming to your shows or streaming your songs.
Even in today’s digitally-driven music industry, touring is still a powerful way to build your audience and sustain their attention. But executed the wrong way, DIY touring could be a costly waste of time and can sometimes be disastrous enough to damage your career in a huge way. If you’re a small or unestablished artist, DIY touring is almost sure to end up costing you money whether things run smoothly or not. Bad tours can be devastating for morale, especially in band settings. And in an age where musicians are succeeding by creating and sharing as much great music as they can, every day you spend on the road is one you’ll spend away from your songwriting process at home. Touring can build your career by expanding your audience, but only if it’s done correctly and at the right time. These four tips will help you make the most out of your tours if you’re a small or unestablished band:
Knowing you’re not totally ready for a show is maybe the worst feeling a musician can have. Whether it’s a sold-out room or just you and the venue staff during your set, musicians are still expected to take their performances seriously if they want to be taken seriously in return. Luckily, it’s completely within your power to decide whether or not to be prepared for your concerts. This is what showing up unprepared for your shows looks and sounds like:
It’s impossible to say exactly how many promising songwriters have called it quits because of doubt, but it’s safe to assume the number is high and it’s not difficult to see why. If you’ve chosen songwriting to be your profession or even just as a hobby you take seriously, there are massive barriers standing between you and success. More people now are making music than ever before, and there’s simply more great music being made than people have the time and attention span to listen to. And, even if your music does get heard, low streaming payouts and a playlist-centric music listening culture make it difficult to earn a living and make a connection with audiences. Doubt is inevitable in music, just like with any creative pursuit. How you grapple with it can make the difference between whether you continue creating for another year or for the rest of your life.