2 am in the studio, just wrapping up a 6 hour session and your ears are fried.
The tune sounds AWESOME NOW ( but of course anything sounds good after a 6 hour loop)
You take a small break and check out your social media pages.
Facebook Fan Page : 78 Likes
“ Fuck, haven’t gotten any new likes this week”
Twitter Followers : 43
“Uggg, I lost two followers”
Youtube Views : 372
“ I spent a month making that song and all my savings to record the video, no one cares...sigh”
Beatport sales : 3
Sale 1 : You ( thought it must be broken, had to check)
Sale 2: Your Mom ( to make you feel better)
Sale 3: You again ( something must be wrong with Beatport ! double check)
This is what happens every single night across our beautiful blue planet. People check their stats and get upset that things aren’t moving along.
This isn’t a small fraction, this isn’t just the unlucky ones, this is the MAJORITY.
The majority of people will never get much past the above stats, the one thing standing in their way?
You my friend, are your own undoing.
With all the wonder and joy the internet brings, it has one huge flaw.
You can now compare yourself with EVERYONE.
Every single day you can see people that are doing better then you. ( this isn't meant to sound mean,but for the sake of argument "doing better" means higher fans/likes/followers/sales etc)
You see people that have 100k Facebook Fans
You see people with a million Twitter Followers
You see people posting about being on the Beatport top 10.
Every day you flip on your screen, you see this over and over again. At first, its motivating, pushing you along. But after a few years this motivation can turn to anger, jealously and even the lovely haters.
You may not do this, but I sure as hell did. I would constantly compare myself to these people. I’d always feel like a failure and that I had no chance to do anything in this industry.
If I got 10 likes in a day I’d go :
“well deadmau5 got 10,000, I suck”
If I got 100 plays, same deal.
It was never a huge issue as it was more subconscious than anything else and I wasn’t overtly complaining about it to others, but over the years it wore me down.
A old gen producer recently told me
This really hit me.
I feel a lot of people see this giant mountain they have to climb, they see the HUGE stats of the big names, the millions of fans and think...
That's the only way I'll ever be happy
or they think there is no way they can do that and give up before starting.
Listen, I’m not here to directly try to make you happy or blow smoke up your ass with ra ra go team go motivation( although, I’d much rather you be happy then depressed of course) I’m here to help your music on every single level, which includes emotions.
Remember the last time you wanted to “stop producing”
Was it because your song didn’t pop (even though you got 5k views and 100 downloads)
was it because you are comparing yourself to someone that has a million followers on twitter while you have 100.
I feel more often then not, it's not a producers skill or talent that makes them stop, it's them comparing themselves to the big names.
THIS COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS WILL KILL YOU.
I was recently hanging out with a friend, who shall remain nameless, he has over 150k Facebook fans, has 2-4 gigs a week and makes a decent living. ( and by decent I mean, pretty fucking awesome for most people)
From the outside, everyone would DIE to do what he does, it looks fucking awesome.
On the inside, he wants to give up on music as much as the guy with 100 fans and no gigs. The reason is simple, my friend compares himself to tiesto/calvin/zedd etc, guys making a million a month and feels he is a failure.
Even though he is making a killer living, doing what he loves, he still isn't happy due to his status.
People assume once you start to "make it" you will instantly be happier, you might for a bit, but if your always judging your value compared to others that won't last long.
You might be saying " what an idiot, I'd be so happy with my life ! " and of course you might be, but the fact is, he isn't enjoying his success the way he could, in fact he doesn't even enjoy playing gigs that much anymore.
Again, he is comparing himself to these people and since he doesn’t compare, he doesn’t enjoy the process.
If you have 100 fans or 100k fans it doesn’t matter, if you continue to compare yourself to the top guys its going to be a long, miserable road.
Now you may be saying, Nyonyxx, this is WAY left field, whats up.
I get a ton of emails from producers that want to give up. They have a great skill set, great tunes, but usually no following, they don't understand why they aren't superstars already.
From the bottom of my heart, you most likely aren’t going to be a superstar in a year.
You most likely aren’t going to be making a 100k in 5 years.
but there is one thing I promise you will be doing...
If you continue to beat yourself up due to your online status, in 5 years you will hate music production and won’t even listen to the radio in your car.
This isn’t just a guess, this is simply by seeing SO MANY friends fall off the hustle over the years.
I feel the reason this happens is really rather simple, you have NO IDEA how long it takes to make it in this industry. You have no idea how much marketing/ building/ exposure it takes you to build your name up.
You simply see your stats and theirs, looking at it that way you think you suck.
Another huge issue is the fact that when you are new you think everything is going to pop.
I can’t count the number of emails I get, producers saying THIS IS THE ONE, this will def be a top 10 or top 100 on Beatport. If you just post it on your page.
Seriously, I get this daily.
I’m not making fun of these people, hell I WAS this guy for a long time. ( I was worse, I thought my horrible music, should be on the radio. I truly thought this for a few years)
but sadly, this simply isn’t how it works. Unless you have support from
a big ish label
a big ish channel
your own decent following
a viral video (usually requiring one of the above honestly)
Nothing is going to magically pop up. People don’t like to hear this but its the truth.
So if people don’t like to hear this then why am I telling you?
Same as comparing yourself with others, if you think this WILL happen and is normal then when it doesn’t happen your going to be pissed/upset.
The industry is a harsh place with many misconceptions, here are some tips to keep you sane on your production journey. Not only are these tips to keep you sane, they are to make you happy.
It makes me sad when I see SO MANY talented producers/ artists jaded and mad at “the industry”. Usually because they have a false vision of how it really works.
7 Tips on Staying Happy as a Music Producer
1. ENJOY THE RIDE
I wasn’t going to even post this one due to its semi lameness, but I feel it holds true on so many levels.
If you realize today that this process of learning, growing and building your name is going to take many years and most likely isn’t going to magically pop over night then you can keep a level head when the challenges pop up.
No label wants your track?
“haha, man this industry is nuts, I’ll try em on the next one !”
No fans listen to your brand new tune?
“haha FML, this shit sucks….nah kidding, I just need to learn how to gain fans ! Leggo”
No time to work on music?
“ I have no time to work on music, I understand this, so I am going to make sure ALL my free time is spent productively and I’m not just hoping for the best. Let me research how other people made it and copy their process down"
Once you re frame ALL of these processes, its a much much more enjoyable experience.
(side note, you may be saying, well I LOVE PRODUCTION why would I not enjoy it. This is true for many for 3-5 years, but trust me, after 5 years of “not getting anywhere” no matter how much you love producing you will start to question yourself, at least IMO)
Re frame is king though, this alone will not only make your day/ work MUCH BETTER. You will enjoy learning ( I mean let’s face it, reading about compression is boring as hell).
You don't want to be my friend with 4 gigs a week and 150k fans that hates his career do you?
The next time you hit a wall, re frame it, simple and enjoy the ride.
2. ONLY COMPETE AGAINST YOUR SELF
As I said in the intro, compare yourself to others and your in for a long lonely road.
When I started writing for this blog, I had NO IDEA wtf to write about. I was worried everyone would hate me, and that my writing was horrible ( yes it’s still sketchy as hell )
I would read other great bloggers/ writers and think “ I can never ever write this well” I am fucked.
I was trying to compete against them. I was trying to get on their level. In fact, in some ways I tired to copy what other bloggers did.
The day I stopped caring about other peoples writing and just worried about producing the best articles I could everything changed, words flowed out of my mouth like magic. ( not saying its good writing, just saying I was no longer terrified to write )
The same thing happened with music many years ago, I stopped comparing my “social power” to everyone and just did my own thing. This kept me sane and happy over the years and didn’t hurt my growth at all. ( grew more to be honest)
Every day, try to produce 1% better then the day before
Every day , try to learn 1% more knowledge
Every day , try to promote yourself 1% more.
If you can one up yourself daily, one day you will end up on the top of your dreams looking back and saying...well, that was easy, just took awhile
3. IT’S COOL THAT YOU GET UPSET AT XYZ, BUT LET IT GO
There are a million reasons to get pissed off in this industry
lack of gigs
lack of sales
lack of family/ friends support
soundcloud pulling your shit
FL studio crashing
massive having a database error
The list goes on and on, most of these are small daily things, but something like not getting on a label can eat at you for awhile (which is wasting time)
Listen, if you GET MAD that's a good thing.
That means you care about the thing your working on. If you didn’t care you wouldn’t get mad. However, for the sake of time and your sanity you need to let that go asap. Move on to the next project and kill it. Time is a resource, treat it as such.
4. STOP COMPLAINING, FIX YOUR PROBLEMS
This is something I struggled with for years, I’d complain about EVERYTHING I didn’t know or didn’t have. Not only was it bad for my music, it was bad for the people around me.
-If your current problem is your track isn’t loud, learn to fix it, find a teacher, or pay someone to master it.
-If your sounds aren’t designed right, there are 1,000’s of how to videos on Youtube.
-If you can’t get on a label, learn to market yourself so the label WANTS YOU
-If you can’t get feedback for your tracks, learn to offer value and email people properly.
-If you can’t get gigs locally, build your name up online to a high level and tour.
-If you don’t have any fans, you can learn how to get them.
The power of the internet is almost ALL your problems are solvable and the solutions are just a mouse click away.
That’s the easy part, find the info, take action and be happy.
Trust me, your going to have a happier production life if you learn all you can other then sitting and hoping something happens.
5. Be Happy in your current POSITION, while moving forward
I’ve said it a million times, its a long long road my friends.
Do you want to be like my friend, who makes a living producing music and touring, but is also pissed of/ unhappy all the time because he’s not at a “Tiesto level”
Or, do you want to be happy as fuck playing for 5 drunk people one night while you get free drinks.
It’s a rather odd concept, be happy with your life currently, while also seeing the big picture.
If your currently happy + aggressively moving forward great things will happen.
Don't filter your entire life through
"someday I will make it, then I will be happy"
Someday may never come, enjoy each and every day of your production journey, the good days, the bad days, and the day you signed to your dream label.
6. Instant gratification will end you
I think the majority of producers that give up and curse the industry simply do so because they have high instant gratification needs.
I know I do, I have to push past that every single day of my life.
What I mean is, you want everything NOW NOW NOW.
“I want 50k likes NOW
I want 100k followers NOW
I want 100k Plays NOW
I can’t wait 5 years, hell I can’t even wait 3 months.
This shit is too much work, I give up”
This attitude will end your career before it even started. Once you realize that this isn't going to happen today, then you are free to relax and chill (mentally) while working hard for whatever you desire. The funny thing is, once you are mentally free to do your work, you'll most likely get a ton more done ( and enjoy the process more)
7. Use your own voice, no matter what you do
Whatever you produce online, music, articles, artwork, even a simple tweet, use your own voice.
It’s fairly known I do a lot of ghost productions, what’s not known is I turn down even more ghost productions. If I feel I can not convey my voice ( also the artist's voice, but that’s another story) I won’t even do it.
This doesn’t mean you have to stick to one genre, I’ve recently mixed/ help produce country and rap. Both outside my normal stuff but I got to ENJOY IT. I still used my voice and expressed my current mood.
If you want to make future house because you love it, DO IT. Don’t make it just because it’s cool or what’s popular.
It’s ironic but true, often times when you try to chase trends you will be too late. When you try to go mainstream you will fail.
Look at some of the biggest “main stream” acts, before they poped they where NOT main stream, they were weird, different, unique, they used their own voice. This is true across many genres outside of dance as well.
Use your own voice. Not only will you be happier for not having to wear a mask, you have a better chance of “making it” after all.
There you go, 7 simple tips to make your production life just a little bit better.
Of course the majority of these tips can be applied to anything in life, but seem to often be over looked in the production complex.
In the end, simply
Enjoy wherever your at now and be happy with how far you’ve come
Know where you want to go, and take aggressive action to get there
Use the pro’s for inspriation, but don’t beat yourself up due to your current status.
Make sure your online status/ brand grows, but don’t fret on it daily
If your thinking of giving up on production, throwing in the towel, and never climbing the mountains to your dreams remember,
It’s a long, lonely climb, there is no way around that. However, it doesn’t have to be a sad one. Climb Happy my friends, I shall see you on the trail.