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Do you have music you’re hesitant to release? Is perfectionism getting the best of you? Don’t sit on your music – make it work for you now!
Let’s talk about how you can make that happen in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.
- 00:30 – My guitar solo sucked
- 01:08 – The perfectionism trap
- 02:11 – Digging for gems
- 02:55 – New music = new opportunity
- 03:58 – Critical mindset shifts
- 04:55 – Reduce social media consumption
- 05:54 – Don’t get caught looking in the rearview mirror
- 07:06 – Put your money where your mouth is
- 07:45 – Episode summary
Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.
As an artist, it’s easy to become precious about your work, isn’t it?
Many years ago, I remember having arguments with my drummer about a solo I had written specifically for a song of ours. He was basically trying to gently break it to me that the solo just didn’t fit the song and wasn’t all that good. Meanwhile, I was trying to defend it because I didn’t like that feeling of having something I created criticized.
This debate should not have escalated into a fight, but that’s exactly what ended up happening. In the end, I started to see things from his viewpoint and came up with some other riffs for the song, which ended up working out perfectly.
Perfection Should Not be the Goal
All that to say, as artists, we tend to stress over, strive for, and try to create what we think is “perfect”. Anything less, and we’d be letting ourselves, our collaborators, our heroes, our fans, or our peers down. That list of people could go on for miles.
I interviewed one-half of Pomplamoose and CEO of Patreon Jack Conte about three years ago, and he shared with me that he had to get comfortable with the idea of publishing before he felt his music was perfect.
And what I’ve found time and again is that many musicians have music sitting on their hard drive, just waiting to be published.
I’m not talking about sketches, half-finished ideas, demos, experiments, and so forth, although there can always be gems in there too.
King’s X guitarist Ty Tabor often remarked that he had tons of material in his archives no one would ever hear. And you’re certainly entitled to keep that to yourself.
But I’m talking about songs that just need a guitar solo, or a bit of mixing work, or some backing vocals. Maybe it’s even finished, and you’re scared to release it.
Revisit Old Material and Don’t Sit on Your Music
I think it’s important to go back into your catalog and review your material from time to time. Because even if you thought some of it wasn’t all that inspired or good, I think you’re going to find that, when you return to it, some songs are perfect exactly as they are.
In 2016, I released a series of singles. And the first and third singles I released, “Fragments” and “Don’t Wait Too Long”, both came from half-finished ideas just waiting to be exploited. And I’m glad I did because the results basically speak for themselves. I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish.
But the truth of the matter is that, while I’ve hesitated at times, I’ve rarely if ever been afraid to release half-finished or less than perfect music. You can even check out my Fire Your God album or Nowhere Even Near EP.
Every Song Represents a New Opportunity
I think what’s important to remember is that every song represents a new opportunity.
An opportunity to be heard by a new fan. To be playlisted. And to be noticed by an influencer. To be covered in an article. To be approached with a licensing deal, or otherwise.
A lot of musicians are trying to figure out how to make it big on Spotify without so much as a release strategy that revolves around coming out with something new every one to three months. I mean, that’s like 80% of the game, right there!
If you want to pique algorithms, you’ve got to publish regularly. If you want to engage your fans, you’ve got to publish regularly.If you want to pique algorithms, you’ve got to publish regularly. If you want to engage your fans, you’ve got to publish regularly. Click To Tweet
And, by the way, I don’t think Spotify is even close to the best opportunity for the average musician right now. Licensing and placements are!
Lately, on Music Entrepreneur HQ, I’ve been publishing a blog post or podcast episode every single day. You heard me right – something goes up every day, even on the weekends.
Every new post represents a new opportunity to engage my audience, get discovered in search, be seen by other people in the music business, and more.
Don’t Sit on Your Music Mindset Tweaks
I don’t think I’m saying a lot of things you haven’t already heard or realized for yourself. But I also think we all need to be reminded of the path we’re on and the opportunities that are available.
And, when we’re struggling to publish or waiting for something to be perfect, we’re usually struggling with mindset more than anything else. So, let’s talk about making some mindset tweaks.When we’re struggling to publish or waiting for something to be perfect, we’re usually struggling with mindset more than anything else. Click To Tweet
First, please understand that we’ve basically been conditioned and programmed to be selfish and insecure. The media has succeeded beyond belief in this regard.
There are other parts of the world where this conditioning never took hold. I grew up in Japan, where people were community minded and cared about their neighborhood. I never felt alone or like I didn’t have any friends. There was always something to do, always people to do it with.
I’m not holding up Japan as perfect. They had – and still have – their own cultural challenges.
The point is, if you’re in North America, this is not how things are across the world.
Tip #1 – Cut Down on Social Media
So, my first point is to cut down on social media.
Everywhere you look, people are trying to present only the best versions of themselves, their perfectly manicured and polished profiles, and pictures. If you think fulfillment is going to be found there, you are sorely mistaken.
And if you thought even for a moment that influencers had a hot clue what they’re supposed to be influencing, most probably couldn’t even tell you.
Your music doesn’t need to be perfectly polished and manicured on anyone’s behalf.Your music doesn’t need to be perfectly polished and manicured on anyone’s behalf. Click To Tweet
Because ultimately, people aren’t thinking about you so much as 95% as you think they are. And what you think isn’t all that great might be amazing to another.
So, stop letting your programming, your own biases, and even your desperate need for validation rule you.
As with Jack Conte, get comfortable doing the uncomfortable. This will come with repetition.
Remember how playing the C major scale was so hard at first? You just kept playing it until you got it under your fingers, right?
It’s the same thing here.
Tip #2 – Stop Trying to Fix the Past
Maybe you aren’t entirely proud of your first or second album. Maybe you aren’t proud of your entire catalog!
What many musicians do is go back into their past and try to fix it, present company included. Look, I’m as guilty as sin!
Remember what I said earlier – every song represents a new opportunity. There are so many advantages to having a larger catalog.
Want to make more money on Spotify? Then keep growing your list of releases, because the more there is for fans to dig into, the longer you can ultimately keep them listening.
When you get stuck in the past worrying about things that are incomplete, you never move forward with the enthusiasm and presence required to relish in the present.When you get stuck in the past worrying about things that are incomplete, you never move forward with the enthusiasm and presence required to relish in the present. Click To Tweet
In our own ways, we each need to create completion. You don’t find it. You CREATE it! You cause it.
I have my own list of unfinished projects that I know are holding me back from moving forward in some ways, and I’m actively looking for ways to create and cause completion without adding a huge set of tasks to my to-do list.
You can’t fix what’s already done, and it’s probably not as bad as you think it is. And it probably doesn’t even come close to what you’re capable of today.
Chances are you won’t regret what you’ve done as much as what you never get around to!Chances are you won’t regret what you’ve done as much as what you never get around to! Click To Tweet
Tip #3 – Make a Commitment to Yourself
My third tip is this:
Go sign up with Ditto Music to distribute your music today. Go to MusicEntrepreneurHQ.com/Ditto (d-i-t-t-o) to get your account set up. You can release as much music as you want for the low price of $19 per year.
Make the commitment now. Don’t wait until you’ve got a huge catalog of music to release. Commit first, then deliver.
People get this backwards all the time. They say they’ve got to see something to believe it. The truth is you’ve got to believe something to see it.
So, don’t worry about the journey. Just get engaged in the process. Making more music is all about getting engrossed in the process.Making more music is all about getting engrossed in the process. Click To Tweet
Don’t Sit on Your Music, Episode Summary
So, we jumped around a little bit from stories to mindset tips, but let me summarize those mindset tweaks for you:
- Cut down on social media. Better yet, reduce your consumption of anything mainstream, and get connected with your heart and soul. Stop trying to be perfect and emphasize authentic expression instead.
- Stop trying to fix the past. There’s nothing there to fix. It was perfect as it was. Now it’s a memory. Today, you’re alive. Create fulfillment and joy in the moment.
- Make a commitment to yourself. Go and sign up with Ditto Music and commit to releasing music regularly. Focus on process more than anything else. Don’t sit on your music anymore.
Tired of sitting on your music? Make it work for you NOW.
Pick up a copy of my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Code, at MusicEntrepreneurHQ.com/Code and learn exactly how to get more done in less time.
This has been episode 209 of The New Music Industry Podcast. I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.
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