How to Take Music Production Seriously
The music industry is kind of a funny hobby to get into.. because, for most of us, that’s all it is; a hobby.
Most of us have such a major passion for this industry, and as we progress, it becomes such a desire for wanting success.
What started as an innocent clicking around some music program laughing to yourself, “I can’t believe this is how music on the radio is made”, to an aggressive, if not desperate, drive for financial gain out of this industry.
And what I find funniest of all is we music producers are probably the cheapest people on the face of this planet ?.
Since our industry allows us the ability to torrent these developer’s beautiful creations, most of us think what’s the point of paying for it?
But poor decisions of torrenting have a spiraling effect, but that’s another story. (Please don’t steal.. 🙁 )
So I’m not sure where you’re at as a music producer.
You could either be at:
“I want to be a music producer, where do I start?”
“A seasoned music producer but unsure of where to go..”
This article is leaning more towards the seasoned producer.. so either way, it should get you thinking.
So, you’ve gotten to this point in your music production career.
What avenues do you have?
What should your mindset be?
Do you need any credentials.. will music production school take you to the next level?
Well.. let me cover a few topics which I’ve learned over my years:
The mindset of being a music producer is like a lot of other creative industries.
You start to see enjoyment as a craft, which means your conversations with friends/family start to change when talking about music. (At least in the beginning stages, but as you get more seasoned, music creation becomes apart of who you are.)
I never used to have Facebook. All throughout high school people would always ask me why I didn’t have it. (I’ve never been interested in sharing that part of my life I guess..)
But once I started to feel more confident with my music, I was like, “I’M GETTING FACEBOOK!”
I remember it actually started to cause some commotion with friends/acquaintances – I was getting so many friend requests just because no one has ever seen me on it before!
I was your typical new producer noob, spamming other people’s Facebook walls, and since I was new to using Facebook, I honestly didn’t even know what I was doing.
Eventually I created a Facebook business page, and through a couple silly mistakes, I started to realize what my mindset and persona should be to my peers.
Hey, it’s a learning curve! – I’m sure you’ve experienced this to a similar degree.
So what do I mean by this Mindset heading?
As a music producer it’s very important to find out who you are as a producer.
The current trends in production are trap and EDM, but if you follow the genre graph of music, how it’s changed over the years, that’s all I feel EDM and trap are, a trend.
Is this who you want to be as a music producer?
I stress very hard on my blog about being yourself, because if people like you for you, you’ve found a gap in this music industry which people love and admire. And that alone will be the start of your success.
Mindset: Produce what you love, not what the radio / industry is telling you is hot (and will change eventually.)
You can only be so creative with little knowledge.
You hear about all these stories of how someone tried something random and came out with a cool result. And many times this is the case, but hear me out.
If you understand the basics of what you’re doing, you can then be more knowledgeable on how to be creative.
Since you understand what’s going on, this opens crazy amounts of doors to try new things – like for example if you were just introduced to automation from my FL Studio Beginner’s series, this is an example of what I’m talking about.
(With automation, the sky is the limit in terms of creativity and trial and error!)
So your next question might be.. well, what do I recommend you read?
Well.. I do have a page on audio books I’ve read and recommend, but here’s what I’ve learned so far in audio production:
Audio is complex.
I’m the type of person where things take me a little extra long to get, but once I understand, I get it very well, and am able to explain and teach it in very simple terms. (I like to think I’m explaining something to my mom. Something along the lines of.. “Hey Mom! – The reason we dither is because… ??)
With that said:
Don’t try to learn it all at once.
You will burn yourself out!
If you’re trying to learn your music program, understand how synthesis works, trying to mix/master, and figure out what the difference between VST and AAX is… there’s a lot of wasted time in there which is valuable in terms of confidence, but useless in terms of production.
My simple answer to you is simply to read stuff when you have questions.
For example, if you’ve been using a compressor for 1-2 years now and you’re starting to understand the attack and release knobs, you may get a little bit curious on what the knee on a compressor does, and why there’s a hard and soft knee setting on some compressors.
Well, a simple Google will set you on your way 😉
The point I’m trying to make is don’t stop reading, but know when to keep yourself rested.
This knowledge gets compounded.
Things get easier.
Read: Knowledge is the new product in this digital age. Selling your music is just one source of income. If you can deliver your knowledge in a unique, engaging way, it may be more lucrative than your music itself 😉
Audio products are pretty similar to growing up in school as a kid.
Some kids were dressed in expensive brand-named clothes, and others in low-cost clothing.
And what I find really funny about that is kids which would say, “I’d never wear that low-cost clothing”, have now grown up, realize bills are expensive, and now see that “Cute sweater at Walmart” ??.
What am I trying to get at?
Brand-name is important, but at times I feel it’s a crutch.
People think they need the best gear/software to create the best product.
And this is where it comes down to knowledge.
Knowledge will allow you to use that tool to the best of its ability, and if you were given the premium product, yes, it may turn out a percentage better.
But our generation is full of lust, wants, and desires for things out of their financial reach.. which leads into the sad spirals of torrenting 🙁
When you see tutorialists having TONS of plugins, ask yourself.. “Do they actually own those products?”, or do they just have them to look cool and pristine in their videos?
I’ve been producing for over 7 years now, and my plugin collection isn’t overly huge. Nor my sound kits.
What’s the point I’m trying to make?
Products: Yes you need quality, and yes you need variety. But this doesn’t mean you need to buy the best and every product out there. Do some research, check reviews, and be wise with your hard earned money!
If you want an idea.. here’s what I personally recommend:
Relationships are the biggest part of our lives.
They can be what take you to the next level by meeting that right connection, or be your cornerstone which encourages and nurtures you.
Here’s what I can tell you in regards to relationships and being a music producer:
What you share with others, either musically or what your goals are with music, is open to another’s opinion.
Be careful what you share and who you share it with.
The most important thing is to find out who you are as a producer, and if people love you for that, this is the best position you can possibly be in.
A bit of a ramble, but hopefully some insight to taking music production seriously as a producer.
Use your money wisely, protect your goals and desires and only share them with those who matter, and take the time out to learn the basics of your industry. (The basics will never change, and are the basis for all things advanced!)