Record, mix and get it out there
There’s no excuse not to release, irrespective of quality. It’s impossible for musicians to make perfection. It’s wiser to be authentic.
Reading Unlock Your Sound’s useful advice on waterfall releases got me thinking about similar examples from the pre-digital era of music.
Until their 1966 album and psychedelic game-changer Revolver, The Beatles would have spent little time in a recording studio. They wrote songs on the road, then recorded them in short bursts between hectic touring schedules. It’s astonishing how prolific The Beatles recorded output was. Between 1963 and 1965 they released two studio albums a year and numerous double A-sided singles. And the singles, often Number Ones, weren’t featured on albums. The Beatles provided fans with immense value and worked fast to turnaround their products. They’d never spend more than a week or two making an album. Songs were recorded in batches, the Beatles weren’t doing album sessions. They worked in short, flow-states of creativity.
I recall buying pop music albums in the 1980s that were, by now, front loaded with singles that I’d already purchased. For example, every track on Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released as a single. In retrospective, this was poor value for the music fan. However the earlier Beatles approach to recording and releasing unique products is very well suited to today’s competitive market.
As DIY musicians we are in full control of distribution. This provides the perfect opportunity to experiment. For example, SoundCloud is useful for road testing new songs, as long as you fully engage in the spirit of social listening or praising. I found it improved my confidence in music I was unsure about.
It is difficult to be prolific with original material. Consider remixing your best tracks. Give fans value, provide alternative album versions or re-recorded songs with different instruments. Be less precious about your music. Though it’s very easy to procrastinate because digital workstations are designed for perfection. It’s natural that musicians become indecisive or overly fussy about recording.
It’s impossible for artists to maintain a high standard. You run out of steam, you start repeating yourself. That’s the time to find new ways of working. Musicians are also pressured by taste makers to fit a genre. It’s better to ignore trends and create music with abandon, worry less about what critics may think. This will increase the chance of making something really special and unique. Listeners seek a compelling story or a heartfelt statement about the human condition, whatever the genre.
Read ‘What is a waterfall release and how is it done?’ by Unlock Your Sound.
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