Musescore is an awesome program. Not only is it great for composing music, you can also publish scores online and embed them like I have done here.
The internet is full of stuff…. all kinds of stuff. There’s factual information, news, fake news,, smart people, crazy people, forums, shopping, movies, social media… and music. There’s too much actually. Way too much for anyone to ever see all of it. Way too much to even see 1% of it! Way too much to even see .001% of it! Seriously! That’s an insane amount of stuff!
So why are you driving yourself crazy and spending all of your time trying to get .000000000000001% of them to maybe listen to your music and then .0000000000000000000001 of those people to possibly follow up and buy, stream or listen to more? Are you spending all your time on instagram, facebook, twitter, youtube, tiktok, tumblr, like some desperate child in need of attention grasping at straws in some pathetic attempt to get a ‘name your price’ bandcamp sale?
Stop.. Just stop it. It doesn’t matter. No really, it doesn’t. I’m not saying don’t put your music out there, by all means do. Make it accessible, get it on all the streaming services, and places people can find it, but then stop screwing around trying to ‘make’ people listen to it. They won’t or they will. Tricks, gimmicks, hashtags and other nonsense aren’t going to help you at this stage. I don’t care what anyone says. What will help you is making the best possible music your are capable of.
Instead of wasting your time on 9 billion social media platforms, pick one or two and post completed work there consistently. That’s all. Once you post, forget about it, and move on to making the next thing. Make it better than the last thing, finish that then post it, forget it and repeat.
If you make a great product that resonates with people, they will find it. If you spend all your time on social media ‘marketing’, you’re not a musician, you’re a social media marketer. Is this what you want to be? If nobody finds your music, so what? Do you like it? Good.. keep doing it. Do it good. Put it out there and people will find it or they won’t. You can’t force them.
That’s me a couple days ago when I was thinking about all the struggles of being a freelance experimental musician (I know, boo hoo, right?) haha. Anyway, this post isn’t for you to feel sorry for me, but rather to reach out to those of you that are in a similar boat as me.
I’ve been making music since I was 10 years old, and started producing my own music when I was 20 when I got my first cassette 4 track recorder back in the 90s. Since then I’ve created my own record label called Anthill Recordings and self-produced over 20 albums. As far as sales, some have done okay, some have had literally no attention at all, but absolutely none of them have done extremely well. At this point it doesn’t bother me that much, but there was a time when it did.
When you pour your heart and soul into something you think is unique, passionate, and extremely well done, and others do not respond to it at all, it can be a disheartening experience. At the same time when you observe others seemingly churning out the same old thoughtless dribble and getting praised for it, can be even more maddening. The problem is with our society is it rewards conformity and punishes uniqueness. This is something we all learned well in grade school. All of the most popular kids were doing whatever was cool. Football, cheerleaders, jocks, whatever music is on TV or the radio they liked, they wore all the same name brand clothes. They’re all good little sheep.
So it really should come as no surprise to me when I craft something as unique as my album Turn of The Scroct that has a measly 4 bandcamp supporters, while vaporwave artists are simply re-releasing slowed down previously released pop music and are getting thousands of downloads. Here we are again, people just following what other people are doing. There’s literally hundreds of thousands of releases like this, none of which have any originality whatsoever. Contrary to what I just wrote, I don’t hate vaporwave, and have dabbled in it myself, but took it as inspiration. I didn’t merely copy what everyone else was already doing and slap some statues in front of a Windows 95 screenshot and call it a day.
I spent time making my music, thought about it, tried to make it different, tried to make it unique. I took time to perfect my playing, as a drummer, and with all the other instruments I put on my recordings. Am I rewarded with sales? No. No I’m not. To me it’s not desirable to fit neatly into a specific genre of music. This is a huge problem with today’s music and marketing. If it doesn’t neatly adhere to a specific hashtag, nobody cares about it. Because hashtags seem to define people’s identities these days.
However, I am rewarded with my own love of creation. When I listen back to what I made, I think about how good it felt to finally be able to play the drum part I struggled with, how I was able to achieve such a strong sounding mix, how I was able to press a vinyl record after playing every single instrument on it, recording it, mixing it, mastering the vinyl, all by myself. And the few that have reached out to me thanking me for my efforts have done so in a very heartfelt manor. One listener even called me on the phone after I released my album “In The Park” and wanted to personally thank me for making it. This was really nice.
But again, this isn’t why I do it. I do it because I love the process of creation. Making something that I am proud of, that my own thoughts, ideas, focus and energy went into. Knowing it came out exactly the way I wanted it, and maybe one day people will find it and enjoy it as much as I do. But even if they don’t I don’t care. In a way, I’m glad I’ve freed myself from needing other’s approval of my music. Now I create for me. But what I do wish I was getting more of is….. money.
Yes that’s right, I said money. I work hard and I would like to be rewarded financially for my work. I don’t care if people are calling me a genius, or if my music becomes the next trendy thing, I want money, lots of it. So over time I’ve found little ways to make a bit… not lots, but I keep trying to learn new ways to make more. Some of which are making gear reviews on YouTube with my music, creating exclusive content for music licensing, as well as offering my mixing and mastering services to others. Do I make as much money as the amount of work I do? No, not at this point, but I’m going to keep trying. To me this is the ultimate struggle, but I will never give up.
One of the questions I get pretty often from people is, “what kind of computer should I get to start producing music?” My answer is, what kind of computer do you have? Use that. Or, look for one in the trash, or basically any computer you have lying around can be used to produce music.
I have several computers, but one computer I still have is a 2004 Apple iBook G4. I still use this computer often, and it is quite capable for making music. People seem to forget that making music on computers has actually been around for quite some time. Back in 2003 I was using a Pentium III windows XP computer running Cubase SE and had no issues producing music on this system. It was quite common to use PCs with only 512mb ram, or even 256mb!
For my iBook, I’m running Lubuntu on it at the moment. This allows me to run a recent version of Ardour, Seq24, Ecasound, and others. It’s a lot of fun to use and this computer was extremely well built.
So basically what I am trying to say is there’s no reason to go out and buy a new computer (if you already have one). Use what you have! The most important thing is to educate yourself on the art of electronic production!
If you’re a fan of music trackers like Protracker, Milkytracker, Fasttracker II, you will love Bassoontracker! Check it out here https://www.stef.be/bassoontracker/
it’s a web-based open source music tracker that is better than most you can download. It comes with tons of samples and integrates with dropbox, local storage, and even the Mod Archive!