How Good Your Songs Come Out Is How Far You Can Go Till You Record Again


One of the less discussed ideas that is forming – now that the gatekeepers of the music industry are gone – is the idea that your recording is determining your bands potential more than ever. If you do not put you’re all into writing the best song possible, tweaking it to death and then getting an amazing recording for it – any work you do afterwards may be all for naught. As the playing field levels with the Internet’s dominance, the major labels epic fail and emerging crowdsourcing technology – what begins to matter more then ever is a great song. No amount of touring, promotion, and neat marketing tricks are going to get you as far as a band who records a great song and really executes it well and does the same amount of work. After the jump we will elaborate further on this idea.

The Tyranny Of Dead Ideas
The music industry has tried it a million times. They spend countless time and dollars on something that just isn’t that great and no one cares. They may get a little flash in the pan fame but in the end the artist is forgotten in no time and you end up meeting them five years later waiting tables in Venice. We can all think of a group whose posters we saw everywhere and yet they went nowhere, odds are this was because they were promoting something where the songs and recording weren’t quite up to par.

Bands love to think that if there is enough promotion and muscle behind them that anything that is put out will get popular. This myth is often derived from when we hear a band that is so bad that we can’t believe anyone likes it (I was guilty of this theory for years, untill I saw it disproved countless times). And while hard work can get a band some popularity it is never going to get them lasting fans and a career in music. Every time the major labels spend countless dollars on posters and radio for a band that flops so bad it is insane, the idea of money equals a career in the industry is disproved. Just because you and your friends don’t like it doesn’t mean people will buy anything, it just means you don’t understand the appeal of it. The second your realize this, you will no longer have an excuse for your own failures or a justification for yourself not trying hard enough, by thinking it is all a game of money. That theory is sooo 1999.

Perspiration Doesn’t Always Equal Domination
Some bands will be on tour for years, keep their social networks up to date and put out countless records. Yet you will heard their records and the recording is weak and their songs do not have the amount of thought put into them they should. This is because they never generated word of mouth, because people didn’t want to listen to their song thousands of times. You can be so awesome live and such a good looking band in your promo shots, but if no one can listen to your recording and feel good when they hear it you are dead in the water.

If people aren’t listening to your song and telling a friend, all of your touring and promotion may get you somewhere, but it is not going to get you as far you could go if you plan and execute your songwriting and recording better. If you write a great song people will talk, tweet and spread the word. This is an essential part of promoting anything, since word of mouth promotion is more trusted and important than any advertising. If you promote to death and your song isn’t on par sites like thesixtyone and the blogs of the world are going to push up another artist that actually has a song that is pleasing to listen to. Your poor execution is obsolete.

You Can Sell Anything To Some People But Not Everyone
There will be friends and some others with low standards enough to like
anything you put out. If you really want to go somewhere with your
music you have to turn those friends into evanglists who want to tell
the world about you. There is a certain amount of the music listening public that will get into anything shoved down their throat. George W. Bush still had a 20% approval rating most of his presidency AKA some people will buy anything handed to them. If you work really hard you can maybe find this whole 20% and market to all of them enough for a decent living off music, but it is much easier to take time into your songwriting and recording and expand your potential to reach the other 80% of this country. 

But if you really want to be successful and loved by the world of music listeners you are going to need to work hard and long on your songs and recording. Working long doesn’t always mean 3 months in the studio as much as planning and finding the right team and tweaking until the song has found the right direction.

(photo by Eric Schnare)

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.