How To Start Making Music That Sounds Good
At this point, your job is simply to get better. You now know that using the software and actually getting your computer to record and/or playback music you created isn’t that hard. What is hard is writing songs that sound musical.
Turns out even those simple pop songs everyone makes fun of aren’t that simple. The first and foremost difference between your music and those that seem simple but still sound good is music theory.
Have Massive Output & Get Lots Of Feedback
How you get feedback is up to you. You have friends and family and can use message boards and forums online to get anonymous criticism. But the key here is to take all of the constructive feedback and actually try it out.
And to get a lot of feedback you need to have a lot of output, meaning you need to be pumping out songs like a madman. I talked already about why writing as many songs as possible from start to finish is better than trying to write one masterpiece. This is another reason why.
Is Your Band Focusing On The Right Things
While working with hundreds of artists as the GM and Head of Sales at Fearless Records for 13 years, and at Sony and Century Media it became clear to me. I observed first hand what successful artists like did differently. Many artists only go halfway, and wait for the industry to do the rest.
In this article Ill separate activities into three areas to give you focus. After you truly know the various parts of the music industry, you can put energy into developing the right things. Its quite simple if you break it down to the basic activity and focus.
- Writing Great Music
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Get Your Music Ready For Licensing
1) Choose three to five tracks from your catalog. Even if youre not 100% confident in your tracks, submit them anyway! Especially as a songwriter, being a perfectionist can really hold you back. I know many musicians who work and rework and never actually release their music. With music licensing, youll never know what will catch unless you try.
Above all, think of this as a learning experience. Create the best quality songs you can with the tools and skills you have, submit them for opportunities, and learn from your experiences.
Before you submit your songs for any licensing opportunity you want to make sure everything is cleared, copyright protected, and registered with a PRO.
2) Export MP3 and WAV files. Quality is key in music licensing, and the absolute last thing you want is to have the perfect song for a placement only to get turned down because the audio quality isnt up to industry standard. Always export high quality MP3s and WAV files .
Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to audio quality:
- 24 bit is better than 16 bit
- 320 kbps is better than 256 kbps, which is better than 128 kbps
- WAV and AIFF are better than MP3
- 48 kHz is preferable to 44 kHz for any music that will be used on video
3) Input metadataMetadata is the information that will allow libraries, publishers, and supervisors to find and contact you should they want to use your song.
At the very least have the following information in your metadata:
Bonus: Give Back And Mentor
The generation behind you needs your support and wisdom. Reach out, donate money to arts and education, teach, mentor!
There is nothing more gratifying to the soul than watching a young person flourish from what you have shown them.
If you are experiencing success, donate to a cause that provides opportunity to underprivileged kids so they can experience something larger than themselves the gift of music!
Well, there you have it. I hope you soaked some of this in and can use it on your musical journey. Good luck and keep on rocking!
Do you have any more music industry tips, or questions about how to make it in the music industry? Let us know in the comments below!
Post Author:Nick Gunn teaches audio engineering, songwriting, and music composition in Chicago, IL. Nick is a multi-platinum selling composer and producer. Learn more about Nick here!
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What Is A Music Curator
A music curator spends their day listening to music Sounds like a perfect job to me, getting paid to listen to music! However, it does get a little more complicated than that A curator will listen to and categorise music from labels and independent artists often receiving hundreds of song applications a day! They will categorise them by genre, feel, instrumentation, male or female vocals and anything else you can think of! The more specific the categorisation, the easier it makes the curators job.
Theyll then use this music for different purposes, depending on the type of music curator
Listening And Discussing Music Intelligently
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Understand What The Top Revenue Streams Are In The Music Business
Touring, Publishing, and Branding.
These top three revenue makers in the music industry encompass a wide range of sub-topics, but its important you understand how you can make money from these three main sources.
Touring: Touring and playing live is self explanatory. Festivals in particular are currently at an all time attendance high. Its about getting the fans to your shows and having the promoters wanting you on stage.
Publishing: Writing and recording original music can ensure you own both your master rights and your performance/mechanical rights, giving you the ability to publish and control your own works.
Branding: Branding requires that your image and likeness your logos, who you are and what you represent are clear and aligned with similar products that aggrandize your musical mission.
I highly recommend reading This Business of Music, which is currently in its tenth edition, as a reference guide to your business future.
What Talents And Personality Are Needed To Succeed As A Game Music Composer
You need to be curious. Curious about games. Curious about the latest tools and tech. Curious about music and orchestration and what else is out there.
And since a lot of game music work is freelance, you cant be an introvert. Networking is incredibly important. This is all presuming youve got great composition, orchestrating, mixing and production skills, of course.
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Meet Anyone And Everyone You Can In This Business
Before youre desperate for a job, before your loans are due, and before you need something from people, its critical to start meeting people who are actually working in the industry. You will be investing heavily in your future network, one that will pay very rich dividends down the line. So take a bus, ride your bike, take a Southwest flight, or just Zoom it if you must, but get in front of as many people that are willing to chat.
Start looking for people with interesting positions and companies, and start setting up informational interviews. Influential, heavy-hitter status helps, though up-and-coming is also great, because youll be rising with them and allies always help. Start by dropping an email, connecting over LinkedIn, or making a call. Meet over lunch, coffee, or just sit in someones office and ask questions. You want to develop a sense for who these people are, what theyre doing, and their take on the business.
Frankly, this has zero downside, and youll be amazed at how many people will open their door, especially if youve taken the time to research and meet them.
Once in front of the person, make sure to actively listen, respect their time, take some notes, and think about whether you like this persons life. And, hand them your resume, even though youre not looking . Then, keep the connection warm after the meeting by sharing articles, updates, playlists, whatever
Use The Right Tools To Break Into The Music Industry
There is no perfect guide to making a name for yourself in the industry you just have to do it and not look back.
One step you can take that gives you a clear advantage is by attending an Accredited Music College.
Whether you want to advance your skill set or technique on guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, or vocals, or you find yourself drawn to the Music Production side of the studio, Atlanta Institute of Music and Media can assist you on your journey.
From exclusive studios to industry-leading instructors, click the link below to discover how AIMM can help you break into the Music Industry and achieve your goals today!
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That’s How To Start Producing Music
That’s it. You take the methods above and repeat them again and again and never stop. That’s the path as a beginner and even as an expert. The studying and practice never stops if you want to keep improving and gaining fans.
A few things you will start doing is improving your home studio. You’ll need to know how to setup a home recording studio as well as pick up some more and better gear. Don’t just buy gear willy nilly, wait until you have an actual need and then research which is the best and why. The same goes for plugins and sound fonts, too.
Ultimately you can start collaborating with other artists. You’ll produce tracks for artists’ albums, you’ll work with other producers, and begin to pick up tricks of the trade from them. This will start your networking process and help you climb the ladder.
And if you don’t want to be the independent artist or behind-the-scenes producer, you can look into other career options, though what’s the fun in that as a musician? You don’t learn how to start producing music to take a salaried job, you do it to be a rock star!
Keyboard And Pad Controllers
MIDI keyboard and pad controllers allow you to create freely without the constriction of your laptop and its minimal keyboard. They also can come equipped with mixing tools to help balance out your soundscapes. These are great creative tools that will push your experimentation into exciting musical territories.
Akai is one of the more popular brands that makes MIDI controllers. If youre a beginner, we recommend starting with the MPK Mini it gives you just enough room to write catchy synth and bass lines, as well as come up with organic rhythms for your samples and MIDI beats.
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An Important Note About Your Musical Talent
Before we go any further, I wanted to touch on one thing. While this website will give you all the information you need to promote your music and handle the business side of things, none of it will matter if you don’t have a good base level of talent.
While the information on this page will help you get your music out there, if the music you are making isn’t at a good level, you could actually do more harm than good.
As they say, sh*t sticks. If you manage to get your music in-front of 1000 people but your music isn’t very good, you’re going to give these people a very bad first impression of yourself. They will now associate you with poor quality music, and if hear about you again, they are likely to avoid listening to you.
It’s because of this that I recommend you largely perfect your art before you try to showcase your musical talent. Ensure that you have your style down, and you are happy with the music you’re producing.
You should also get feedback about your talent before you start releasing songs and doing live shows. Make sure this is honest feedback, and not from someone that is afraid of hurting your feelings by telling you something needs to change.
Only when your music is at a good level should you start trying to promote it and push it for people to hear.
Sound Recording: Capture The World Around You
Recording audio tracks is another massive pillar of music production.
Some producers entire workflow is based on recording and manipulating audio tracks. This production style is common for bands, singer-songwriters and acoustic music.
But producers of all genres often have to deal with recording the traditional way with microphonesespecially if they have vocals in their tracks.
Getting a great sound by recording with mics is a big challenge, but its not impossible.
In fact there are a few ways to make sure that your recorded sound is the best you can possibly make it
Dive into our resources for how to record music and audio:
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Brians List: Best Video Game Audio Books
The Complete Guide to Game Audio: For Composers, Musicians, Sound Designers, Game DevelopersTurn your musical passion into a profitable career with this exhaustive, indispensable resource for game audio. read it
A Composers Guide to Game MusicA comprehensive, practical guide that leads an aspiring video game composer from acquiring the necessary creative skills to understanding the function of music in games to finding work in the field. read it
Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound DesignThis book introduces readers to the many complex aspects of game audio, from its development in early games to theoretical discussions of immersion and realism. read it
Writing Interactive Music for Video Games: A Composers GuideThis guide covers everything professional composers and music students need to know about composing interactive music for video games, and contains exclusive tools for interactive scoring. read it
You can reach Brian via his GamesSoundCon website. If this article was helpful, please spread the love by clicking a share button below.
How To Produce Music: A Beginner’s Guide
The role of the producer has been evolving for years and years. It used to be the person who booked the studio sessions, hired the musicians, and controlled the direction of the recordings. Today, that role remains for some, but we also look at producers as “the people who make the beats.”
Atlanta producer Metro Boomin is just one example of a rising star in the modern world of production. He’s produced several number-one records, and he gets full-blown media features just like the vocalists he makes beats for. We even have producers like Deadmau5 and Skrillex who are playing arenas.
So while the traditional producer role is still alive, it’s evolving, and musicians are getting more and more adept at learning how to produce their own music.
Now that the role of a producer is changing so quickly, many musicians have been taking production into their own hands. There are a few questions you should ask yourself before diving in, such as, “Do I want full creative control and responsibility? Do I have the time and dedication to master the art of producing?”
So, if you’ve decided this is really something you want to do, there are a few tools you’ll need. Obviously a laptop or computer is essential, but beyond that, there are countless programs and tools to get your music sounding sharp and modern.
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How To Attack Eq For Excitement
Try experimenting with areas around the 1-3kHz region for a bit more bite and forward presence. You can also try boosting some dBs up around the 5kHz+ to add some sizzle or air . That tends to really pull out something exciting in a sound.
Other tools you can use to add excitement are:
- harmonic exciters
- transient designers
- and more
Dont limit yourself, just go with how something makes you feel. If you use a tool and you find it adds something exciting to the track than thats probably a good thing.
How To Get Accepted Into A College Of Music
The college admissions process is emotionally taxing for the average teen and their family. Juggling the FAFSA/CSS Profile, essays, standardized tests, demonstrating interest, soliciting recommendations, AP exams, and extracurricular involvement, all while maintaining stellar grades in a rigorous academic program is not an easy task. Yet, for applicants wishing to study music at a university or conservatory, additional nerve-racking moments await, as these unfortunate souls must also navigate a harrowing multi-step audition gauntlet.
Those with dreams of one day joining the worlds most prestigious orchestras like the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, or the Philadelphia Orchestra must start by gaining admissions into one the hyper-competitive training grounds where musicians of that exceptional caliber typically hone their craft. Schools like Julliard or the Curtis Institute of Music sport acceptance rates that rival Harvard or Stanfords in terms of selectivity. Schools such as the New England Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music, the Boston Conservatory, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music accept a higher percentage of applicants than Julliard or Curtis, but are still uber-competitive in their own right.
In order to assist future music students as they move through a uniquely challenging admissions process, the College Transitions team will explain:
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