The Two Hemispheres of Music Production and The Struggle to Keep Them Separate

BrainModern music production software is brilliant stuff. It gives us the capab­ility to do so much that was previ­ously only possible in expensive studios and with the help of several musicians. There is even the potential to sync to picture and even some (pre-)mastering capab­ility. In the words of Harold Macmillan, “[we have] never had it so good.”

Power brings respons­ib­ility though and one area where this capab­ility can introduce friction is in writing music. The problem is that there is just so much to tinker with, synth patches, eq, effects, bussing, display colours… It just never ends.

Most of this capab­ility has little to do with creating music. It falls firmly in the realms of editing. The problem for me is that writing can be a difficult process and the desire to procras­tinate huge. There may never have been a better procras­tin­ation tool for me than ProTools.

At the other extreme when I was at music college in the 1980s there was an ongoing debate among the compos­ition students as to whether one should even use a piano or other instrument while writing music. The idea was that the purity of the music was better served by creating it only in your head and jotting it down on paper immedi­ately. There is a certain purity to this idea, but it was only taken seriously by us students. The professors, being more exper­i­enced, stayed well clear of such matters and just stuck with whatever worked for them. Continue reading The Two Hemispheres of Music Production and The Struggle to Keep Them Separate

Why am I not a rock-star?

One man bandThe internet has created a landscape of huge potential for aspiring musicians. There are lots of sites purporting to exist to help you claim your spot in the pantheon of your heroes. So why aren’t you selling millions of albums a year and wondering if it’s blasé to put your 20th Grammy in the downstairs toilet?

The internet offers some great tools to independent musicians (i.e. those without major-label contracts), but they are only tools. It’s up to you to pick them up and get to work.

The (really) bad news is that success requires hard work. Talent helps too, but hard work is vital. Another piece of bad news is that if you are trying to make any money from your music you are in business.

The internet offers you many oppor­tun­ities to publicise your music and to learn about your fans (should you be fortunate enough to have any). The major change of all this technology is only that your reach is wider and that you can do much more of your job (never forget this is your business) from your own home in your pants if you so wish.

There are several folks out there giving some great advice on how you can do this magical music career alchemy. In my opinion the best starting point is Andrew Dubber’s New Music Strategies. This is a free 96 page e-book full of advice and perhaps more import­antly a framework for thinking about how you can use technology to further your career. There are lots of great posts on his blog too. It’s well worth reading through and subscribing to the feed.

I feel that the most valuable thing you can do at the start of your musical internet adventure is establish your brand (that’s brand not band). People need to know who you are and what you do before you have any hope of selling them anything. Be prepared to give lots of stuff away, your time, your attention and even your music as free downloads. Continue reading Why am I not a rock-star?