October 26, 2013 by DJ Elroy
Don’t waste my time. It’s that simple.
I’m sitting here punching the keyboard in frustration as I listen to yet another weak-sauce promo in a long afternoon of tortuously mediocre tracks.
Now that anyone can set up a production studio at home for little or no cost, it’s no surprise that there’s so much more jetsam polluting the waters of quality music today.
If you’re a new producer, don’t expect your first track (or two, or three, or four) to crack the digital sales charts. Sure, it may happen, but it’s rare. Don’t try to reach too far too fast. Set goals that are actually attainable.
And don’t bother trying to shop it around to the big labels. They like to see what other people are doing, but if they get shoddy work from you they may not give you a second thought later when you actually have something worth hearing.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Don’t blow it.
The same is true for A-List DJs. They get hundreds of promos each week, and most of the ones I’ve talked to tell me they’re lucky to find a handful worth playing.
Unless you know the DJ personally, don’t spam them with your crap.
That brings us to the bloggers. I do try to take a few hours each weekend to listen to new music and I try to leave feedback where I can. I appreciate people asking my opinion, but sometimes I get work that sounds “unfinished” (to put it kindly).
Instead, be ready to spend some time building a brand, finding a fanbase, and polishing your skills. Give your tracks away! You should be doing it for the music, not the money anyway. Use social media, Facebook, Soundcloud, Youtube, Twitter, and all the DJ and Producer forums for help with your projects and feedback.
Here’s the bottom line:
- Your first several tracks should be about learning, not selling.
- Don’t expect to sell anything if you can’t even give it away.
- If you can give it away, do it.
- Don’t expect immediate results. Building a following takes time, and polishing your production skills takes just as long.
- Ask for feedback.
- Don’t be put off by criticism, constructive or otherwise.
- Be open minded. Maybe the critics are right.
- Know when to trust yourself. If somebody suggests a change to your work, always consider it. But just because somebody else would do something differently doesn’t necessarily mean it would be better.
- If you can’t take criticism, you’re not ready for the big league.
- If you can’t learn from your mistakes, you won’t get far.
- Don’t spam DJs, labels, or bloggers with your work.
- Use your network of friends and forums for feedback. Alliterative!
- Don’t be in a hurry to get your work out there. Take the time to make it memorable. So much of the stuff I hear isn’t worth the time it takes to listen.
- Give your ears a rest. When you think you’re done with a song, wait a week and listen to it again. You may be surprised on how much different it sounds!
- Know when you’re done. You’ll always be able to tweak your project, but there comes a point when all the little changes starts becoming counterproductive.
- Never stop learning. Never think you know it all.