Look At Hard Numbers Not Just Percentages
One general word of wisdom when analyzing data over time is to consider hard numbers and percentage change equally, as just relying on one over the other wont tell you the whole story. This advice might sound really basic, but its always struck me how little music-industry communication follows it, especially when talking about modern prospects for independent artists.
A quick note on methodology: To arrive at its conclusions, the UK IPO partnered with the Official Charts Company to gather data on all streams in a sample month corresponding more or less to October in each of the years from 2014 to 2020, across all services that operate legally in the UK. Based on OCC data, the reports authors took the entire dataset of artists whose songs have generated at least 1 stream in each year from 2014 to 2020 and broke down that dataset into the following seven streaming thresholds:
Looking at the above table, 351 artists generated over a million streams in a sample month in 2015, or 0.1% of the total artist set that year . In comparison, as established earlier, 1,723 artists generated over a million streams in October 2020, or 0.4% of the total artist set that year .
Using this data, the following sentences might technically be true:
- Over the past five years, the number of artists who are able to make a sustainable living off of music has increased 5x .
- Over the past five years, the of artists able to make a sustainable living off of their music has increased 4x .
What Is Your Motivation For Composing
Since launching my original free composing course on youtube back in 2011, Ive asked many of the 25,000 people whove taken it what their goals are for composing.
If any of these describe you, keep reading.
Your goals may be slightly different, but in the end, we all want some of the same things. To express ourselves, to bring joy to others through music, and to just create.
You Lack The Correct Skill Set
A lack of skills, or a lack of the right type of skills, is one of the greatest barriers of entry into the music industry.
You arenât going to get hired at a commercial recording studio if you donât know the first thing about recording music. Whether you decide to go to school, or teach yourself the skills you need, itâs imperative that you develop the appropriate music-related skill set for the job youâre in pursuit of.
Perhaps you havenât discovered the music industry job that will suit you quite yet there are plenty of cool jobs out there. This is the perfect time to develop a skill set based on your interests. When a job opportunity roles around that is appealing to you, youâll have the skills to fill the position.
Maybe you like playing video games and creating weird sounds using Serum and guitar pedals. If thatâs the case, learn how to make video games using Unity and how to integrate custom sounds using Wwise. If an opportunity to work on an indie video game as a sound designer presents itself to you, youâll be prepared.
A colleague of mine, Kris Zarcone, was commissioned to work on an indie VR horror game called Reikoâs Fragments because his friend, who was the head of audio for the game, found out that he had music production and sound design experience. Chance opportunities like this occur every so often, and if you can step up to the plate, the job is yours.
Also Check: How To Put Songs On Repeat On Apple Music
The Unique Challenges And Goals Of Learning To Compose
Composing has some unique challenges, and its important to understand what youre up against. Many of these will probably be familiar to you:
- There is too much to learn, not enough time to learn it, and its hard to understand on its own.
- Endless possibilities make starting pieces easy, but finishing them difficult.
- Its difficult to compose without inspiration, which doesnt always strike.
- You cant accurately transcribe what you hear in your head, which means your music sounds different than you imagine.
- Your music theory knowledge is weak and youre not sure how to apply it.
- You waste a lot of time trying to put together a coherent path to understanding composition.
- Finally, its really difficult to see how it all this can come together.
You Need To Go To School Or College To Learn Music Production
You dont need to go to music production school or college to become a producer however, it may help if your focus during those educational years was on music production-related subjects such as acoustics, audio engineering, recording techniques, etc.
Luckily today, we have so much access to online websites, courses, videos, and coaching, that it has never been easier to learn to create music from home.
I spent three years at college learning music production, music engineering, and marketing. Although it gave me a good base to work from, I can honestly say that I have learned much more by taking steps on my own at home and working within the music industry.
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How Hard Is It To Learn Piano We Tell You The Truth
Today we’re going to look at how hard it is to learn piano.
The first instrument many people learn is piano but this is not necessarily because its easy.
Playing piano proficiently takes many years of practice, and hours of lessons.
It takes a lot to go from playing a few notes at a time, to playing chords in one hand and melody in another, to playing opposing melodies in both hands, and then to be able to improvise well, thats something else entirely.
That said, even for adults, I believe piano is a great first instrument.
In this guide, Im going to take you through the things that make playing piano a great first instrument, the challenges youll face, and factors that contribute to how easily youll be able to pick up the instrument.
But first, if it’s your aim to do music professionally, you’ll want to check out our free ebook while it’s still available:
Free eBook: Discover how real independent musicians like you are making $4,077 – $22,573+ monthly via Youtube, let me know where to send the details:
Three Strategies For New Producers
Deep work. Quantity over quality. Deliberate practice.
Ive already introduced some of these, but Ill explain them in more detail here.
1. Deep Workwhat is it, and why is it necessary?
Deep Work is a term coined by computer science professor and author Cal Newport.
Its defined as
the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Its a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.
Electronic music production is cognitively demanding. It requires full attention.
Unfortunately, very few producers give their craft the full attention it deserves.
They have their DAW open with their smartphone next to them, buzzing with a new notification every few minutes.
The worst example Ive seen: someone had Ableton open on one screen with Facebook open on the other.
You cant expect to get any real work done if you work this way.
An environment ridden with distractions is going to kill the creative process.
Newport lays out various strategies and approaches to Deep Work in his book, which I highly recommend reading. But for now, heres how you can implement it
Block out Deep Work time in your calendar
If its in your calendar, its more likely to happen.
Newport claims that most people cant do more than 4 hours deep work in one day. In fact, most people have to train themselves to get to a point where they can actually do 4 hours of deep work .
Eliminate as many distractions as possible
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Approach #: The Deliberate Approach
This is the approach I recommend.
It doesnt matter if you have a coach or mentor. It doesnt matter if youre enrolling in formal education.
This approach functions as an umbrella for all of that.
It features three strategies:
Design a plan/path for learning
First, dont think too long term.
It is helpful to have a long-term vision for yourself as an artist. But if youre new, it adds pressure and can cripple you.
Instead, focus on the next 90 days of your music production journey.
List all the possible skills you could learn.
Sound design, songwriting, melody writing, vocal processing, etc.
Next, choose 1-3 of those skills based on whats important to you.
For instance, if you want to make pop music, then learning sound design is not a high priority, but songwriting is.
If youre also a vocalist, and want to use your own voice in your songs, then vocal processing is important to learn.
Once youve picked 1-3 skills, move on to the next step.
Design a plan/path for learning
Take one of the skills you want to develop and then create a system for it.
Creating a system will encourage action and consistency. Youll make less excuses for avoiding work, and youll focus on whats important.
What does it look like in practice?
Lets say your goal is to hone your melody writing skills .
You could create a system like so:
What do I mean by that?
Music Creation Is Now In The Hands Of The Uninspired And/or Doing It For The Likes
Ooh. Im sorry this is going to touch a nerve. But it has to be said. And I might get torched for this. Fine. This touches on one of our previous points but in the golden era of music creation – music was a religion.
You were drawn to it like a magnet. There was magic, mystery, danger and sexuality to it.
If you were a musician / artist / songwriter back then – its because you were inspired beyond belief and obsessed.
And lets be real a lot of music creators got in it for attention and for the girls or for the guys . If you were great and could make it, you had everything in the world you wanted. Remember – there was no social media.
Today if you want to be famous and make money from your originality are you going to shed your craft for 10 years perfecting an instrument or songcraft or are you just going to start doing some dumb stuff on Instagram or TikTok and start getting those instant dopamine hits and maybe build a career on how well you can use an app and influence people …
Today, Im finding we have less people who are truly inspired, innately talented and obsessed with their music craft.
In other words, I guarantee that your latest chorus is not as good as a Prince song sitting somewhere unheard in a vault in Minneapolis.
And today – Im finding more and more there are looking to be famous just to be famous.
Kim Kardashian for GQ
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Key Discipline : Finish Fast And Finish Often
As Ira Glass so famously put it, the best way to refine your craft is to create a huge volume of work. Not to create the most perfect piece you can, but to create many pieces of work. Herbert Lui, Why Quantity Should be Your Priority
One trap that a lot of producers fall into in stage 2 is the perfection or masterpiece trap. They think that they must create amazing workthat they must focus on creating masterpieces.
Having a perfectionist attitude in stage 2 is not only an inhibition to learning and progression, it also destroys your self-esteem. Why? Because even if you were to set the perfect standard for your work and achieve it , youre progressing at such rapid speed that youll be disappointed in your masterpiece a few weeks later.
What you should focus on instead is finishing. Not just finishing, but finishing tracks as often as you can.
When I was in stage 2, Id finish tracks in one day. They didnt sound that great, but I learned something new with each project.
You have to focus on quantity during this stage, because if you do, quality will inevitably go up and youll learn much faster than you would otherwise.
How Do You Make The Music Production Learning Process Easier
When youre looking to learn something new, its always good to start with the basics, and music production is no different.
There are many music production tutorials, courses, and blogs out there, so finding one that resonates with you shouldnt be too difficult.
Also, its important not to end up down a YouTube wormhole and spend hours watching different tutorials.
Whilst this is a great way to see how to do stuff, its even more vital to put these methods into practice and try them out for yourself.
Finally, immerse yourself in the genre you plan to create. Im sure you are probably already doing this, but really pay attention to how songs are structured, other producers sounds, how they transition between different sections, etc.
This will really pay dividends when it comes to writing your own music, as it would have helped train your ears as to what sounds good and what works or what doesnt.
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Learn From Others Find A Mentor
If you can, find out how currently successful artists got their start. You can copy or use some of their methods at the very least. At best, you can find out from them how they achieved the success they enjoy today and ask them to mentor you. In other words, you want to know how to do something, ask the man/woman whos doing it right now. It is almost impossible to learn the ropes of the music industry without someone teaching you how to tie a knot. For example, just imagine Justin Bieber without Chris Brown or Kayne West without Jay-Z. Each of these artists only became ultra successful after they obtained a mentor who already knew the industry.
Reasons Why Music Sucks So Hard Right Now
Hi, my name is Benjamin Groff, and if this is the first post youre even reading from me let me introduce myself.
Ive been in the music business for over 25 years, mostly as a music publisher at BMG and EMI and Kobalt Music for 10 years, where I opened the 1st U.S. office, signing and working with over 100 + hit songwriters and artists such as: The Lumineers, Ryan Tedder & One Republic, Grimes, Big Freedia, Kelly Clarkson, Tiesto, SOPHIE, Cut Copy, TOKiMONSTA to Grammy hit writers like Greg Kurstin, Savan Kotecha, Ariel Rechtshaid, etc. Ive also been a musician since I was 13, went to Berklee College of Music as a dual major in songwriting and performance, wrote some songs on the charts yada yada.
Simply put, Ive dedicated my life to the pursuit of amazing music. So with that intro and context in mind, the question of the day – which you might be wondering as well is
Why does music suck so hard right now?
And look – am I upset that music sucks so bad right now? Yeah. I am.
As a music publisher and label owner – Im literally obsessed with finding new talent – and let me tell you – the new icons of today, in my opinion, are slim and far and in between and maybe non existent.
Ferris Buellers Day Off
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If You Only Promote Your Music Online Youre Losing Out
Lastly, dont only promote your music online! I know the internet has made it easy to sit and promote your music from the comfort of your own home. That said, if you only market your music offline, youre missing out on a load of other worthwhile opportunities!
Gigging is one of the biggest reasons you shouldnt stick to online music marketing methods. By gigging, you get to connect face to face with your audience, make instant money by selling merch and physical CDs , and make money from royalties.
Another thing youll want to do offline is chase up opportunities. Email can be a slow process, but when dealing with companies, often a phone call or going to see them in person can speed things up considerably. Not only that, but you have the chance to potentially connect with them in ways others who go through email simply wont.
Of course, these arent the only ways to promote your music offline. Dont focus strictly on online music marketing, as working within your comfort zone will most likely slow things down for you in terms of progress. So give offline music marketing a go too.
These things are important to know before you start implementing specific music marketing strategies, as even the most powerful promotion methods will become less effective if you dont know when and how to use them.