Common to any field or line of work are the mind games. There is a constant internal struggle as we decide between what we want to do, what we should do, and doubting whether we can do it. In the music industry, which is now an extremely public domain, what is personal becomes public, and with the internet nothing is sacred or private any longer. Something may sound great in our minds eye, or ear, but ends up sounding like trash, and of course there is always the potential to be overly critical.
One Voice amid the Noise
There is a lot of noise out there and music producers face the added dilemma of trying to make selections among the plethora of genres and artists available, which gets pitted against what they believe will be successful either commercially or artistically. Not that any career choice is easy, but there is a lot of competition. In terms of music, viable options and considerations that affect what might become successful include; simplicity, originality, overly repetitive, too commercial, common or boring, too many words or not enough, cheesy, and unappealing to the audience. Moreover, specific challenges faced by artists is having to constantly come up with something new or different, a lack of time and money, insufficient computer skills or knowledge, and the inevitable creative blocks inherent to the field.
Listen and Learn
Believe it or not, knowing how to play an instrument is important to producing music, and so is taking the time to observe what people are listening to currently, and then ask questions, do some research, then turn it off and let inspiration flow. Mix and remix what is already out there, since sounds, genre, and beats tend to recycle over the years and across generations. Yet it is always okay to do something unique since it may turn into a brilliant product. Have a sense of humor and be ready to roll with the punches. Sometimes it does take a little luck or being in the right place at the right time, but opportunity is also dependent on flexibility, patience, and the ability to mould a niche for your own destiny whilst relying less on others to do it for you.
Hone in on the Entrepreneur
Producing music today is complicated but it is a business, your business, and requires an incredible amount of focus, devotion, and believing that whatever you have to offer is better than someone else’s. Whether music or widgets, attracting attention to one brand over any other is entrepreneurial. The internet has not made it easy, there are just too many choices, and finding a way to separate the bad from the good is challenging. Today, what could truly be a signature sound and a remarkable artist, is potentially swallowed up by abundance.
Producing music is a brash and daring full time occupation in order to build a brand, but it is also about relationships, networking, feedback, study, learning, denial, refusal, rejection, tolerance, and acceptance. Furthermore, music is not an isolated industry, and marketing a product currently involves a multitude of others. Productions and relationships cross international borders, genres, fields such as film, computer technology, phones, tablets, video games, and even fashion or fantasy.
Therefore, to get attention and step out of the pack, reach out to other new producers, share your music and ideas, seek out opinions, and remember that if they do not like what you are doing, there is a good chance that others will not. Put a face on your music with a kickass logo. Know your target audience to prevent marketing to the wrong fan base. Do contests, concerts, and promotional events together either by theme, title, or genre. Benefit from the savvy, respected, and experienced by sending tracks and mixes to the Artists and Repertoire (A&R) supervisors and managers at MTV, VH1, sport networks like ESPN, and Video game producers. Attend music conferences, seminars, learn the ins and outs of publishing, and create a website or a blog.
Reach Inside to find Direction
Rick Rubin, the American record producer of countless award winning and platinum-selling albums, former co-president of Columbia Records, co-founder of Def Jam Records, and key to the rise of hip-hop shares his thoughts on why he is so successful:
• First, he believes in the power of meditation as an avenue for intuition to grow and through equilibrium, create.
• Second, he talks to every artist so that he can support his or her strengths and downplay weaknesses.
• Third, he recognizes the impact of ego on achievements, and without judgment provides feedback that does not cause defensiveness.
• Fourth, Rubin finds that altering the context of work environments, for example, by switching from studio to house or garage recordings, artists change their automated habits and embrace something new.
• Finally, he leads by example.