2022 is coming to an end and so we want to take a look at the music production landscape and how it's going to evolve in 2023 and beyond.
The question is: How can you make your songs stand out and resonate with an audience?
Book a free feedback call with Benedikt, the host of the show!
Recording and releasing music is more accessible than ever. More than 60,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify every day 🤯. The tools and knowledge are out there and if you are just a little talented and tech savvy there's zero excuse for having a bad sounding record out.
Your music matters and it deserves to sound great, so your message can be heard.
So, in this week's podcast episode we're discussing the following things you can do to make that happen:
- Take an honest look at where the bar currently is and compare that to your releases or demos.
- Get clear about your goals
- Be you, be bold and make authentic music, while keeping your finger on the pulse. This means:
- Be aware of trends and current aesthetics, but avoid sounding dated in the future.
- Listen to a variety of music, let your life and experiences inspire your art and trust your gut feeling when you're coming up with song ideas.
- Then look at tried and true songwriting, arrangement and production techniques and see if they can help you fine-tune it.
- Find your unique sound and identity (artistically and sonically). This can change over time and should be evaluated frequently.
- Remember: There are no rules and being unique is good, but being different just for the sake of being different is not always a good idea either. Some things just work and it's worth knowing about them.
- Become a better musician and songwriter. Ironically, if you like little "mistakes" and you're into natural, organic productions with minimal editing, this is even more important.
- Be smart about gear purchases and get what really matters. (There's a gear hierarchy)
- Have a process that allows you to have consistent output and lets you focus on the fun, creative part.
- Focus on what you're good at and what you enjoy doing, or you won't stick to it.
- Find partners and collab opportunities, so you can combine superpowers.
- Don't overthink it and finish songs regularly. You don't have to release them, but you have to build the muscle and find your unique style and voice.
- Get feedback and keep the feedback loop short
- Be ok with the fact that it takes time to build an audience and learn your craft. Every "overnight success" has been years in the making before we hear about it.
- Invest in yourself and get mentorship from people who can help you get there 10x faster without the frustration and headaches. This should be top priority if your music is important to you. No gear purchase could ever be more important or a better investment.
- To add to that last point, inflation has been out of control, lately, which we've seen translating to more DIY-productions, using more programmed drums, more amp sims and other new and affordable tools and techniques. We think the people who educate themselves, embrace those tools and learn those skills are going to be in the best position.
Let's dive in!
Mentioned On The Episode:
#55: The Complete, Step-By-Step System To Make A Killer Record As A Self-Recording Band
TSRB 148 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed
Malcom: No matter what, it doesn't matter. If you spend 10 years getting that first one ready and then you release it, it's perfect. Another 10 years from now, you're gonna be like, man, I, could have done that better.
Like, so don't wait for better because it's always moving. It's, it's just there's, nothing to wait for.
Benedikt: Hello and welcome to the Self Recording Band podcast. I'm your host, Benedictine. If you're new to the show, welcome. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for listening. if you are already a listener, welcome back. Glad you're joining us again, and if you've got any value out of these past episodes, then please go to Apple Podcast or your podcast app of choice and leave us a review there. Five stars would be appreciated in like a couple of nice sentences about the show. This helps us reach more people like you and help more people like you. And, uh, we really, really appreciate that help. Now, if you are stuck. Trying to record your next record, or if you, hit a roadblock, you, you have some basic knowledge, but you maybe don't know, maybe you're overwhelmed by all of the content that's available online, or maybe you've done, some, some recordings in the past and you're not quite happy with it, but you don't, you can't put your finger on what's wrong. Then go to the self recording bent.com/call and book a free first one-on-one call with me so I can take a listen, give you a step-by-step action plan, show you what you, what I would improve about the recordings, maybe where the bottlenecks are, and then you can go and implement that roadmap on your own or together with me. But either way, you walk away with a plan, with more clarity, with feedback, I would be happy to talk about your music and to meet you in person. So go to the self recording band.com/call and let's have that first free one-on-one call. And, uh, as always, I'm here today with my friend and co-host Malcolm Owen Flood. Hello buddy. How are you?
Malcom: Hey man. I'm great. How are you?
Benedikt: I'm great. Two and a great weekend. yeah. All
Malcom: I, uh, went for a night mountain run last night. Um, like so Benny and I both trail run as most of you probably know by now cause we won't shut up about it. But I went for one with my buddy, uh, and band mate, um, the bass player Sean from Bander Rascals. we went for, uh, a trail run and had headlamps and it was so awesome and cool.
I would never do it alone. It would've been terrifying.
Benedikt: Yeah, I was about to say, like, I, I'm glad I, I'm glad you said you had, you were with a buddy out there.
Malcom: Yeah, we were told the in Lake Cougar country too, so , it was like, I don't know if this is even smart, but we're having a good time.
Benedikt: Oh, that's, that sounds, that sounds great. why, like, why the night run? What,
Malcom: Just, uh, he has, uh, a young child and that was when his daughter would be asleep. So , that's when we could get out.
Malcom: your friends start having, uh, children, you start planning your lives around that schedule. , as I'm sure you know,
Benedikt: 100%. I'm just, I don't know why that is. I mean, I know why it is, probably because I've watched too many crappy horror, horror movies when I was too young. I'm totally terrified alone in the woods at night. That's, that's like really? I dunno, some people can't do that. I'm, I can't. And I, I've, I've stopped watching movies like that quite a few, Nick, a few years ago actually, because like, I can't handle it. And still I'm having problems with that. Like it's it to the point where right now, my wife and I, we are watching Wednesday, the, the series on Netflix. You know the Adams family? Yeah, exactly. And it's not really scary. Like this is not a horror movie, but still this is enough to make me terrified again when I'm out in the woods. So
Malcom: Yeah. Giant eyed monster. That's gonna rip you apart. Spoiler alert, by the way.
Benedikt: yeah. Exactly. So, I don't know, man, I admire people who can just do that. I mean to, if you're with a buddy, it's okay, but on my own, no way.
Malcom: I, I had, uh, another exciting thing, actually, I can't go into too much detail, but if, if you're watching the podcast version, I'm wearing a hat that says Fleet Divers, I think on it,
Benedikt: I was about to ask about that.
Malcom: it's a, it's a cool hat, right? I love it. I got it for free. it, it was a documentary working with, uh, a pa uh, unit from the Navy, and they're essentially the bomb squad. if you've seen the movie Hurt Locker or anything like that, but they also do it underwater, so they'll like dive and diffuse bombs and set stuff off. And it, there's total bad asses. It was crazy. super exciting gig. I'm not really allowed to talk about anything beyond that unfortunately, because there was all sorts of stuff. They were like, don't record that. I'm like, okay,
Malcom: but it was so fun, so much fun. I'm, I'm just totally jacked up. It was like, what a cool gig. Got on the water with them. So fun.
Benedikt: really cool. this is a scary thing too. Anything on the water is kind of scary, I think. Or can be
Malcom: Yeah. And add in bombs. Double terrifying.
abs. Absolutely. Yeah. That, that sounds like an amazing thing, to do. So, oh, that, that was the picture that I saw. I think you posted where you were on, it looked like a boat or something.
Malcom: Yep. Yep.
Malcom: Yeah. That, that was, that was from that gig. Yep. Exactly. . Yeah. Head to my Instagram to check that out folks.
Benedikt: Yeah. I was really, when I saw that picture, I was thinking like, how is your back doing after a year or two or three or whatev however young you were doing that for now? Like,
Malcom: with that giant bag on it,
Benedikt: with that giant bag and I was immediately thinking like, you have to do something about that? Or is it, is it okay? Like, does it hurt already? Do you have to train a lot or, I don't know.
Malcom: I think it's, my back feels better than ever doing that compared to sitting in a chair most of the time, like doing studio work. yeah, surprisingly great. The, the harness I have is really nice and does take a lot of the weight. so it's not as bad as it looks, but, you know, definitely got a stretch and maintain some fitness for sure.
Benedikt: Yeah, it looked like it. Well, amazing. Uh, I, I wish I could, I could be more outside while working. So that's,
Malcom: Yeah. Mixing outside. I haven't figured out how to do that yet, but, we'll, we'll, we'll get there. That's coming. . Um, I have no idea how we're gonna segue those two topics into this episode, but
Benedikt: don't know. And my original plan was, but like we already talked about it before the episode, and I, it's so fascinating to me that I, uh, there's a danger of going down another rabbit hole, rabbit hole. But my original plan was to talk about the AI stuff that I'm so fascinated by at the moment. And then segue from that too, like the future of music production, because the whole AI thing is what kept me awake these past couple of nights because it's so, it's so fascinating. And
Malcom: That's a way better segue than mountain running and bombs. So
Benedikt: I, I, I, yeah, we don't, we shouldn't talk about it. It's just wild. It's, it's crazy. And I spent some time experimenting with the chatbot G P T thing and, uh, some AI art that a lot of people are, are posting now online. And I, I just dabbled with it too. And, um, yeah, tried a couple of more advanced things and it's like fascinating and my mind won't, won't stop thinking about it. And it's kind of crazy. Anyway, this is, yeah, we'll see. Maybe, maybe there's gonna be in some sort of episode in the future once I've figured out a few more things that you can do with it. but for now, we're definitely talking about the future as well, and we are talking about. the future or like the, near future of music production. So we talk about the fact that 2022 is coming to an end. And so we wanted to take a look at the music production landscape and how it's going to evolve in 2023 and beyond, in our opinion. I mean, nobody has a crystal ball or anything like that, but we can make assumptions and, uh, we can share our observations and what we think is gonna happen. Because the reason why I wanted to do this episode is that recording and releasing music, as we all know, is more accessible than ever already. And more, more than 60 like that. That's, that, it's like also fascinating. More than 60,000 songs are uploaded to, to Spotify every single day, 60,000 every day. So it, which is completely crazy and very cool because apparently there's, you know, there's no gatekeepers anymore and everybody can do it, which is great, of course. so the tools and the knowledge are out there and. If you're just a little talented and tech savvy, there's like zero excuse, I'd say for having a bad sounding record out these days. You know, and of course some talent is required. You gotta know how to operate some basic tech and stuff. So that, that is required. But other than that, like e everything's at your fingertips, right? And, and a lot of people are using it. That's why 60,000 songs are being completed and uploaded to Spotify every day. yeah. And I think that if you have something to say as an artist, and if you are a creative person and you make music, then your, your music absolutely matters and it deserves to sound great so your message can be heard, right? So, and I, I don't, as I said, I don't think there's any excuse for having a bad sounding recording or something that doesn't connect. Like there's, the tools are there. And now, I wanted to talk about what you can do to stand out from this. Massive amount of songs that are being released. I wanted to talk about why it is that still so many recordings don't sound great despite the tools being there. Why, it, it seems that only a few people have really figured it out and what we think you can do to like, increase the chances of, of like, Yeah, maybe not, not, not necessarily getting heard, but if people hear you that it, like they, that they will remember it and that, that it will connect with them. Right. We can't really do anything about you being discovered. This is a whole different sort of topic. I think it's more about marketing and, and a lot of other things too. But when it comes to, what your music does to someone who discovers it and listens to it, I think that's what we have control over. And that's what I wanted to talk about. What you can do to stand out and make sure that people will remember your music how that might have changed, this past year or these past years and what's gonna happen in 2023 and beyond. yeah, this is the idea for the episode. Now let's start by taking an honest look at where the bar currently is and I don't know what, what would, what would you say, Malcolm? Like, what's the quality? What is expected right now from any sort of recording, regardless of di iy or professional? Or is there even a difference, know,
Malcom: not necessarily. No. There, there isn't necessarily a difference anymore. it's just, there is certainly a quality in, I think that quality will probably vary from genre to genre. maybe not quality, but aesthetic. And, if you look at kind of who's leading that genre, you'll be able to kind of figure out, okay, this level of quality and this type of sound. Is what's expected of me if I'm competing in the same genre, right? so I think like a really good first step for defining like where the bar is, uh, like our working title for this episode is Where's the Bar for 2023 and Beyond? or aka how Good Is Good Enough to go and find a recently released song in your genre that you love and that the rest of the people like that genre seem to love as well. So a popular song I would argue, successful one that's, you know, people are catching on with, and. Analyze it and, and think, okay, does my stuff compete on this level? you know, you, it's easy. I think most people, when I just said that, were probably thinking okay, how it sounds, but also on a songwriting level and creative level as well. It's not just the how it sounds that we're talking about necessarily. it's like, uh, where is the songwriting of our genre at? Where is the arrangement at and how, what is the recording style and quality at as well? All of those things are going to essentially equate to the bar for how good is good enough in 2023.
Benedikt: Yes, I agree. and I, I wanna say that it, it might sound weird to some people that we're talking about, uh, we'd be using terms like compete or like when, when, when we're talking about art, it's, we know that it's not a competition and it's not about being better than other artists or, you know, how would you even measure that? But the, but the one thing that is true is you are, you're not competing against the artist in terms of who's better, but you are all competing for the attention of an audience. And so, There it's no competition. Like, as I said, like you can't even measure that. But the audience has only limited time to, you know, to dedicate to music. And they will only listen to a certain amount of, of music and a certain amount of artists. And, , you're definitely competing for their attention. So everybody, I think, wants their music to be heard. And that's what we mean. I think when, when we say like, compare your music to what's out there and how it competes, because they can only listen to one song at a time and they can only listen to so much, so much music a day or a week or a year. And if you wanna be on their playlist, if you wanna be in their car and in their, on their IBAs and stuff, then there's almost no way, I think, , around comparing yourself to other stuff that's out there in a way, just to figure out why some stuff works and other stuff doesn't work, maybe, or just to, to get a feel for, is this. gonna be something that will grab people's attention, knowing what else is out there and how good that stuff is?
Malcom: Yeah. I like to imagine the scenario of the song that you've chosen at, like to kind of compare against coming on on the radio and then your song comes on right after it. What do people think when they have to hear it in sequence like that? That's kind of why we use the, the words compete and compare. It's because they pr, if you're hoping to be in that spot, they're gonna be heard together. Um, so it kind of has to work.
Benedikt: And when you say hoping to be in that spot, that brings us to the next point. Like, you have to be clear about your goals because not everybody wants to be on the radio. Your goals might be different. and so I think comp comparing only makes sense if you know what you actually want it. Like, if you don't wanna be on the radio, you don't have to compare yourself to stuff that's on the radio. Depends on your goals. As you often said in other episodes too. Do you wanna be on a certain playlist? Do you wanna tour with a certain band? Do you, wanna be known in a certain scene or niche or whatever? compare yourself or your music to whatever, other people do who share the same type of goals or who wanna achieve the same, same, same things. You know what, whatever that is. But, but be clear about those goals because you might be com be comparing yourself to, stuff that's irrelevant for what you wanna.
Malcom: Totally fun train of thought. You could actually go the opposite way with this, I think, and be like, okay, this is what the successful stuff in our niche is doing. Why don't we try and totally break that mold? that's a, that's a totally valid goal. That could be awesome. You know, like, keep that in mind as well.
Benedikt: yes, absolutely. Especially I think as a DIY or like an independent artist, you have a certain amount of freedom that some artists don't have. If you don't ha, if you're not tied to any sort of contracts, you don't ha you, you're not, uh, on a strict schedule, you're not required to deliver something a certain way, then you can experiment and you can try things like that. And like, I mean, the worst case scenario is that it doesn't resonate and then you could try something else, you know? But, I think your worst, case scenario is not as bad as the worst case scenario for, for some major artists who can't afford to make something that doesn't work. So they might. Not be willing to take as much of a risk as you can maybe with your music. So I think that's an advantage. You can be really bold. You can try to do something completely different and just see how it works. Because if it doesn't work, nobody loses their job. Right? Um, so that's actually an advantage, I think. So you can be bold. You can't try and do similar things, but you can also take a risk and do something completely different. But be aware of what's out there and, find your spot in that niche or, you know, I, I'd say
and that's also brings us to the next point here, which mean, which is whatever you do, I think more like, and this is, this is getting even more important in the future. I think you gotta be, you, you gotta be authentic. You have to have your, the finger on the pulse and you know, what's like current, what people like and all of that. But still, I think authentic art, Real art, human art, like back to the whole AI thing and stuff, you know, I don't know how long it will take until we hear like really computer generated music and even the music out now is already sometimes so structured and so, I don't know, sometimes generic, depending on the genre. So I think authentic music, personality, emotion, all of that will always win. And this getting even more important in the future because the quality, the sonics is kind of expected. That's not what's gonna set you apart. Like, everybody can do that with a certain amount of education and the right tools and stuff that's accessible, but like what connects on a, on a human emotional level sort of, that's what's gonna set you apart. So I think. yeah, you wanna be, you, you wanna be authentic and you wanna be, real and relatable. I think that's, that's really, really important. Even when you try to do something that's current or that's popular, still try to make it authentic and believable and relatable. I think that's, that's huge. And even more so in the
Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. I think you're right. If we're predicting the future, I think that's gonna be paramount to having a, like a successful connection with an audience, cuz things will get more computery.
Benedikt: Yeah. for sure. For sure. Yeah. So, also one thing that I've always find interesting when you look back at past the past years and decades and like the trends and things that have come and gone. Um, I think you gotta be aware of trends and of current aesthetics, but you should avoid sounding dated in the future there, There's some songs when you listen to those, you clearly know when they were produced in a way, because there's some giveaways and some songs that make you think, oh yeah, that's, that's early mid two thousands metal core or something, you know? Or there are certain things where you immediately know when this was created and can be cool and like iconic, but more often than not, I think you wanna avoid like, making something dated. I think timeless stuff is better in most cases. I don't know. That's just my, at, at least I find it worth thinking about it, you
Malcom: Yeah. It, it's worth considering for sure. I wouldn't wanna sound like a nineties band if , if I could help it.
Benedikt: Yeah. It's hard to, to judge though, or to tell like what, what would you say for now, for example, what could be something people are doing now that could be, that could sound dated in the future? it's really hard to tell in the moment, like after the fact, it's.
Malcom: Oh, very hard. Yeah. I think there's maybe some reverb styles in the last five years that'll like, you know, I use Val Halla vintage verb all the time, but like the default setting has a sound and people use it a lot.
Benedikt: Agree. there's some, some arrangement or writing stuff like some in pop music, some background choir elements with like a, a long reverb and like some shouting of a, of a, I don't know. I have to have to say that I would've to give you examples, but maybe you know what you mean. There's sometimes these sort of background gang vocal shouts or choirs and some pop songs that sound pretty similar every single time they come up. This is something in pop music that has been done a lot, like oftentimes combined with very minimal arrangements, but then these huge vocals and backing vocals that come in,
Benedikt: Maybe just, maybe pay attention to what's, what's been on the radio for the past one or two years, and maybe you discover your own patterns that you wanna avoid because everybody's doing that. I think. the next part is I'd say listen to a variety of music and, let your, more than anything, let your life and experience inspire your art and trust your gut feeling in a way when you come up with, with song ideas. What I mean by that is some people are so into one specific sound or like genre or type of music, and they only listen to that. They only surround themselves with, with people of that, uh, niche that's seen or whatever, and they are only inspired by those types of bands. And as a result, the song, their songs are kind of always the same. We're not really inspired, not really unique, and I'd say. Maybe try different things. Maybe try listening to completely different styles of music and maybe try letting your, like paying more attention to what happens to you every single day, like the experiences you have. it's an awareness sort of, or like, a mindfulness sort of thing where you really pay attention to what happens around you. You pay attention to other music, to other types of art or whatever, and let that inspire your music and then trust your gut feeling if you think that you, you have a good idea, even if it's like outside of what you normally do. Sometimes you just have to go with your, with the first instinct. And if you have a good idea, even if it seems scary, maybe just go for it and try and make something of it. I think a lot of people should just be more open to different kinds of influences outside of what they usually.
Malcom: Yeah, I think that's a a great point.
Benedikt: Yeah, because again, unique, being unique in the future is gonna, gonna set you apart more than anything I think, by, like, by definition. But I mean, being real and authentic, is, is what we want. Okay. So, another thing here, and that's the, the other points under that, that category are, are, are kind of similar. So yes, there are tried and true songwriting arrangement and production techniques. yes, there is certain things that are proven to work, but still you wanna find your own identity that's kind of all in the same, that's, that's all the same thing basically. We already talked about that, but the next part here is also really important to me and that is I think we all need to become better musician. And songwriters, and not just producers, mixes and engineers, because again, the tools are all there. there are amazing plugins that do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. there's a lot of tools you can use to make stuff sound great. uh, you might be creative and have good ideas, but then there's the execution when it comes to actually playing and delivering it. And I think, being a really good musician, but also songwriter is also something that not many people are, are that, you know, and out of these 60,000 songs that are uploaded to Spotify, there's only a small percentage that sound, that sounds great. And out of this small percentage that sounds great. There's even, fewer songs that are actually, also played well and performed well. You know, and this is gonna set you apart for sure, because so many people can't really, there's some, some, I, I'm not saying that overall it got worse because there are some very young musicians who are crazy good. Um, but also I think. There are a lot of people who think you don't have to be a good musician anymore. And, uh, and I think that's gonna set you apart for sure. If you can actually play your instrument well and deliver emotional performances, that's, that's gonna be required at some point, I think even more
Malcom: Yeah. Yeah, that, that's, that's a really cool thought. Cause the recording part is the part that's accessible to anyone now, or almost anyone where it's very affordable to get the tools you need. It's ever been more affordable. and it's the, the software's very intuitive. It's easy to learn. There's lots of resources on how to learn, like what we do here on the Self Recording Band podcast. We simplify and educate on how to do the recording process, but the playing part, we can't really just grab the guitar from your hands over the internet and make it, you know, hold that chord in tune. Like, we can't do that. We can't make you change your strings. . I mean, uh, we can't tell you how to hit to your snare drum. I mean, well, we can tell you, but we can't make sure you're doing it. and like that part's all on you. You have to take that part into your own hands and become really proficient with your instrument practice. Not only playing well, but recording well, which is, there is a difference as we've mentioned in, in different episodes. and it, it kind of does also tie into like why we recommend outside mixing because like the plane and the mixing are the two hardest things to get right in the whole process. the recording is the easiest part. They're making your instruments sound good on their own, is also the easiest part. It's not rocket science. You just experiment until it sounds cool.
Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely.
Malcom: But the actual perform unit, it, that part just takes time and practice and mixing is kind of the same, where it takes years to become a professional mixer. So it's kind of like, oh, what, what we're talking about just kind of sums up our whole platform here. I like it.
Benedikt: Absolutely. Yeah, same. And yeah, and, and ironically, if you are into, like these little human mistakes and like natural organic productions, minimal editing and stuff, this is even more true because. If you can't play well, a lot of processing has to be done. A lot of editing has to be done. A lot of fixing has to be done to make it work. But if you can play really well with emotion, with a great feel, great timing, you can't have tiny little, you know, mistakes and things in there, or like, not even mistakes, but like, you know, imperfections. You can have them in there because it will still sound great they can even be like intentional or it can be part of your style. But this only works if the performance is good. If you can play well, if you can't play well, the mistakes will sound like mistakes and you have to fix them. So if you're into natural performances and productions and wanna keep the takes as much as possible, then uh, you have to be even better at your instrument. And, and the, yeah. And if you are not as good, more processing is required. So,
Malcom: The only drum performances I've ever recorded that I have not touched at all for. Like, just like one takers have been the best drummers I've ever recorded. It's not the other way around . It's, it's not like, it's obviously that way, but it's like they made it sound so perfect that it's human enough. I mean, it's always gonna be human enough. That's never gonna be the problem. It's gonna be trying to get it to be professional enough and the, you know, the best drummers in the world can pull that off, and get it past that bar of, of being professional enough. So, yeah, the human thing isn't a problem with most instruments. You're gonna have mistakes. So it's about being able to nail, uh, the perfect threshold enough.
Benedikt: Yeah, because what happens isn't, this is really interesting. If you are able to play a perfect take. So that you don't have to touch it, it's gonna be perfect, but not really perfect because as you said, it's always gonna be human. But what happens if you are not able to play a perfect take? Then we have to edit it. And that is gonna result in something that's either not perfect enough so it sounds amateur and like a mistake, or it's gonna end up sounding too perfect because it's very hard to get it to exactly that sweet spot where it's corrected like it, it feels correct, but like still human. So oftentimes these edited performances end up sounding too perfect, while a perfect performance is perfect, but just imperfect enough. You know, that's the, that's the thing because it's very hard to recreate that in editing. so, yeah.
Malcom: Very hard.
Benedikt: Yeah. okay. So another thing I think is you gotta be smart about your, gear purchases and, and what real, and get and get the stuff that really matters because, You know, there's so much stuff available and all of it is getting more and more affordable. There's so many options. You can spend so much money on all these things. I'd say more than anything, invest in yourself. And get the tools you really need to get the job done. be careful there. There's always a sale, there's always some exciting new tool. You are bombarded with marketing messages around gear and, and plugins and all of that, and most of the stuff won't make your recordings much better. There's some stuff that really helps, but not all of it. So I'd say focus on, sort of the know that the, the hierarchy of gear, like what's really important, what's not so important. And then more than anything, if you wanna spend money, spend it to invest in yourself and improve your skills and become a better musician, as we said, a better songwriter, a better engineer, a better producer, that will really set you apart. That will really make a difference, because everybody can buy a $29 wage plugin, but not everybody's willing to invest a lot of money in themselves and get really good at something. So if you wanna make, if you wanna stick, stand out and make good sounding stuff, then that is the much better investment compared to plugins and gear and all of that.
Malcom: Totally that conversation and topics actually gonna come up in our next episode. We never do this. We never foreshadow our next episode. Um, but we're, we're, we're gonna be talking about how, communities and how Benny and I met actually cuz we're both huge proponents of, and, and fans of investing in ourselves. you know, personal development and skill development. and how that doing that has resulted in us all sitting here today. Listen Ian and talking about audio. So there, there's a lot to it that, that's so Click subscribe to our podcast if you haven't already, you'll get that one.
Benedikt: Totally. Yeah. And the next one on the list here. there's a reason for why I put it on this list. It's it, I'm talking about, I put on this list that you should have a process that allows for consistent output and lets you focus on the fun, creative part. And why I put that there is, I think the album cycle sort of is already a thing of the past in a lot of genres, in a lot of, uh, artists are doing consistent like content, consistent releases a single a month or an EP every, you know, couple of months or whatever your schedule is. But like consistent output tends to work better for many artists compared to doing an album every two years or three years or something like that. And, No matter where, what, what your opinion is on that. I think even if you do an album cycle, you should have something in between, because otherwise, yeah, it's just hard to keep, you know, people's attention and to, you gotta put something out. I think as an artist these days, e even if it's just like, I don't know, collaborations, remixes, def, you know, acoustic versions, whatever, something in between your main releases or you do the consistent release schedule thing. And, I think it's a requirement to be able to put out stuff quickly, to come up with an idea and then to finish that idea quickly so that you can release it. I think you can't really afford to, unless it's you doing it for yourself and you enjoy the long process, that's always okay. But if you wanna, if you are more ambitious and you wanna have consistent output, you can't really afford to take forever to turn a, an idea into something that you can release. And that requires you to have, a process and a setup that you know very well, that you feel comfortable with. And that enables you to have this consistent type of output. And, and that lets you completely focus on your ideas, on the creative stuff and not worry so much about, setting up the gear and all the, the technical stuff and, you know, all these things. So if you can be efficient with the stuff that just needs to be done and focus more on the creative stuff, that is gonna be a big one because the people. who are not able to do that and who take forever to get an idea out. yeah, it's gonna be way, way harder, especially if you're a hobbyist, if it's not your main job, if you only have limited time. So, there are some people who are really good at that who with like very minimum, uh, minimum amount of, of, of time, they are able to produce fantastic sounding things and even like good looking videos and all of that, and they just put it out and it seems so effortless while others take forever to just record a demo, you know? So I think being able to do that and figuring that out is, is huge. I think in the.
Malcom: Yeah, I, I, that's been important and becoming more and more important I think, and lucky for you is that if you embrace that kind of getting content out quickly, workflow, you're gonna get to take advantage of the software that is way more affordable than the traditional route of. Big block of time into a studio and go in that route. and, and you're gonna learn skills that just make you quicker and quicker. Like it's, it's just so worth investing in learning how to program drums, for example. what a huge time saver, proven professional results at this point. I could point to just so many releases that are program drums that people totally connect with. The, the argument that you can't connect with a song that doesn't have a human drummer is just gone.
Malcom: it's over
Benedikt: 100%. Yeah. This is actually also, again, a good segue to the next bullet point here, which is focus on what you're good at and what you enjoy doing, or else you won't stick to it. So if drums are your bottleneck and you're not good at playing drums, you don't have the, you don't have access to a great room, you can't record real drums, then maybe you just, just, you should just focus on writing great songs, playing the guitar or singing or whatever you're good at, and program drums or get a session drummer to play on your songs and not even worry about the drum recording part. I think the, the result will be so much better because if you try to do everything because you think you have to be good, become good at everything, and you, you have to do everything yourself. The outcome is oftentimes mediocre, but if you focus on what's your personal superpower and then, um, find ways to to get the rest done, um, I think that's gonna lead to better, to better results. And drum programming is a perfect example. It's way easier to learn how to program drums than it is to get the room to do it. The mics learn how to actually do it, tuning the setup, the playing, all of that. It's so much more complicated than learning how to program drums. And so why not focus on the stuff you are you actually enjoy doing? You're already good at, get even better at that so you get exceptional. and then have a fun process that you will al also stick to. I think that's, that's the, the way better option. And. You know, there's the always the outliers who can't figure it all out. You know, who can do everything After a while, there's al, but like, don't assume you are a unicorn like that because most people don't stick to things if it gets really, really, really hard and if it takes a long time until you see results. So most of us will just give up before we ever get there if you try to do everything, you know? So, yeah.
Malcom: To add to that, I think it's also worth saying that just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Malcom: like is your time and money spent better elsewhere? you know, like if you don't have a great vocal mic and vocals are important and you, you're gonna do that on your own In this scenario, why are you buying like 12 channels of cheap drum mics and the a bigger interface to do drums so you can have that, and then finding a space and soundproofing it so you can actually record the drums. Like, that's just a huge waste of time and effort. When you could have just had it done already, you know, like , there's better things for you to focus on so you don't have to spend years developing a drum skillset and gear locker, because you're not gonna be happy with those cheap drum mics. Probably in the end you're gonna upgrade it. it'll, it'll just go on. It'll
keep spending money forever.
Benedikt: 100%. 100%. Yeah. To totally,
Malcom: I are still doing it.
Benedikt: we are still doing it. And, and in some ways we're also going backwards, or at least I have when, because when I decided to stop recording, I could finally sell some of my preemt that I didn't know, that I didn't no longer, uh, use and uh, and mics and all of that. And so now I have a leaner set up again, but the stuff that I have is of higher quality because I only focus on a certain part of it,
Benedikt: So this is exactly
Malcom: I just found two like anheiser Tom mics in my like shelf in my studio and I was like, why do I still have these ? Like I have a two channel interface. . I can't record drums. Why would I have Tom mics
Benedikt: I have the, I have some audits next years too, still, and I don't know. I don't know why. Yeah. Yeah, they are for sure. Yeah. So anyone needs uh, Audis mics, let me know.
Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. Benny and I are flogging gear even though we told you to just not buy drum gear because that's probably not something you need to do. ?
Benedikt: No. Uh, probably not. alright. So. Next point here. We also, very, we're gonna talk about that more in depth on our next episode. So again, kind of a spoiler here, but find partners and collab opportunities so you can combine your superpowers. I think this is gonna be even more important in the future because first of all, collaborations. Work really well because of how music is promoted and marketed these days, you know, you have twice the reach, you can col, you can team up with people with a bigger audience than you and you can reach way more people. That way you can, you know, you can, you can multiply your, your reach and that's part of the argument. But the other argument is that if you bring together a group of people with different skills and combine all these superpowers, The results are oftentimes amazing and it's so much fun too. And in a world where we are, there's, you know, there's the danger of being completely isolated now because we can do everything at home. We, we don't have to leave the computer or our phone, you know, we don't have to go outside to get things done. And I think it's even better now to have, or even more important also for our mental health, for our, for being inspired, staying inspired as an artist and all of that, to just be connected with other people. it's easy to do it online, even better in person, but I think really cool inspired art and, and things that people are really enjoying is gonna come from collaborations of different artists with different perspective, different life experiences, different superpowers and skills who combine that to create something really, really cool. And I've, I'm seeing this in my community right now in the coaching community that I have the syndicate where, you know, people hire each other, to, you know, we have a guitar teacher in there and somebody, somebody else hired him. to, to give them guitar lessons. And then we have other, that's not necessarily collaborating on a song, but then we have another group of people where one is playing bass, another one is playing drums, and one is the producer mixer. And, you know, so they're combining their superpowers and coming up with new creative things. And I just love to see that. And I think that's gonna be more and more important in the future. So if you can build a, a community around you, reach out to other people and collab with other artists and, uh, and see what comes out of it.
Malcom: Absolutely. Yeah. The, again, more on that coming in the next episode, so I'm gonna save my, my tidbits for that
Benedikt: Okay. Cool. Cool, the other thing is we've talked about the consistent release schedule. there's also something to to be said about just completing and finishing stuff, even if you don't even release it. So I think in the habit of finishing songs regularly, writing songs, um, recording ideas. You know, and not overthinking it, but just keep, know, just keep writing. I think that's important too. You don't have to release them, but you have to, to build the muscle and find your unique style and voice, because sometimes you don't even know what you're really good at or what your unique voice and style as an artist is until you've done it often enough. and, and figure it out. So, yeah, I think in the future, as we said, unique, authentic, real, artists are gonna win or are gonna be popular or even more popular. And, and so you have to take time to figure out who you actually are as an artist. What's your identity? What's your, what do you wanna sound like?
What are you good at? and, and in the only way, in my opinion, to really do that is to just keep writing, to just practice that and to have a lot of output, capture a lot of crappy ideas until you come, come up with a good one. like, you know, It's like that, it's like an author who writes the, you know, so many authors have said that they write a hundred crappy pages until they, they arrive at, at a good one, and that they start with a very raw draft and then they edit it even more and more and more until it's like the final thing. And I think you should do something else. You just, writer's block is just saying you stopped writing and you know, just keep, keep on
Benedikt: and And building that muscle
Malcom: Absolutely. Yeah. You just gotta embrace the suck. I think of something we said a few times on this podcast, just , if it's sucking, oh, well, . Hopefully the next one doesn't.
Benedikt: Yeah. Totally. Totally. And you gotta be aware There are a lot of artists who just do that, who just keep writing cons consistently and constantly, who always are recording things. Who are Who are building that muscle and who are getting really good because of that. And again, it's not a competition, but you are in a way still competing for the audience. This, for the audience's attention. And you have the choice, like you can either not do it and hope that the one thing you record this year is gonna be the thing, or you can drastically increase your chances of getting hurt by just recording a lot and writing a lot and doing what these, very creative, very ambitious people do, who are building their that muscle, you know? So,
right. the other one, I don't know, again, the community thing, probably Malcolm, right? Like the get, get feedback and keep that feedback loop short. So don't do it in isolation. Don't write in a vacuum, I'd say, or record and produce in a vacuum.
Malcom: yeah. You're other people, context, it's good. You'll learn from other people. By collaborating with them, you'll pick up new tricks, styles, speed beat, speed hacks, you know, like just like, oh, I didn't know I could just do it that way. Now I'm way quicker at comping vocals in, in logic or whatever, you know? Just find ways to learn by collaborating with other people.
Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. The next one is, is cool too and interesting too. I think, um, this is be okay with the fact that it takes time to get good and every overnight success, quote unquote overnight success has been years in the making before we hear about it. That's almost always the case. And why I put that on the list is I bet that, I don't know if there's stats on this, but I bet that most of these 60,000 songs that are uploaded each day on Spotify, most of the people writing these. They're never gonna release a second one. I bet that the majority of these people upload that one song and then they don't do another one ever again. It's the same with podcasts. There's, I've read, I've seen the statistics about podcasts where, I don't know, like 80% of new podcasters or so do one episode and then they stop like only 20% or so make it to the second episode, and then it drops off even steeper and, you know, very
Malcom: Totally. Yeah. Just not many people stick with it. So just by sticking with it, you're beating the odds. Um, yeah, it, it's, it's incredible when you think about it that way. yeah, I heard a podcast just recently about like how there's like an average number of videos posted on YouTube per amount of subscribers kind of thing. So it's just like, well, you know, if you get to a like 400 videos, you're probably gonna be around this number at least because that's the average. So
um, or, I mean, not at least, but you know what I mean? Uh,
Benedikt: yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Malcom: it, it's like, it's just kind of fascinating. It's just like most people won't get there, so they can't expect to have results that exceed that average number.
Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. And so that, as you said, you increase the odds just by sticking to it. And if, if you release the first song and it's not perfect and that doesn't matter, like just, just know that it takes time and that most first things are not perfect. And, just keep releasing your music, keep doing, keep putting out music, keep putting out records or songs or whatever. And, and just by sticking around more and more people will discover you and you'll get better and you just increase the odds of being hurt. Definitely.
Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. And like you said, if you're doing it right, you're gonna get better, which means that you're not gonna be super happy with whatever you did first. No matter what, it doesn't matter. If you spend 10 years getting that first one ready and then you release it, it's perfect. Another 10 years from now, you're gonna be like, man, I, could have done that better. Like, so don't wait for better because it's always moving. It's, it's just there's, there's nothing to wait for.
Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. And as, as you said, like many overnight successes have actually been long in the making, and it looks like an overnight success because they might have changed direction or genre or rebranded or whatever, but if you dig deeper, you always find a pretty long history of other things they've tried before that. And, uh, so that could be the true for use for you two. I just watched the, Taylor Swift documentary and I talked about to a coaching student of mine about her, because I find it, her story is pretty fascinating too. a lot of people only discovered her when she became sort of a pop sensation, but if you look at her country career and how young she was when she started and what she's done before, you know, it's incredible what, how long that journey has been and how much work went like into that
Malcom: Holy. It's always like that. Yeah.
Benedikt: Now the next one is interesting, Malcolm. Uh, you put it there. maybe, maybe just go ahead and explain that point, because I've never thought about it like that, but you're totally right. Uh, and I can see where this is going.
Malcom: Yeah. So I don't know if it's the same everywhere in the world, but in Canada at least. and I would assume many parts of the world, because most of the world went through similar things over the last few years. but inflation has been outta control. So things have gotten more expensive. Like everything has gotten much more expensive and wages nec not, haven't necessarily gone up
So things are tighter and recording was already expensive to pull off. So what I'm noticing happening is that more people are finally embracing more affordable ways of recording. and that was already happening, but I think it's accelerating now just outta necessity. so like artists using things like program drums, um, or MIDI packs, to get their drums started at least. Is a trend that I'm personally have been like, happen more often where I went years with like literally doing no mixes with program drums. Now I'm doing, usually it's program drums, which is awesome. They sound great and, and they're, they, they can be pulled off in like a really believable way. another trend as of course using amps sims with just recording a di a di is something anybody can pull off. like, you know, it, it's not rocket science and then a mixer like myself can then reamp it using an Amps sim or my Kemmer or whatever. But it's just like, these are incredibly efficient, fast and affordable ways to record. And I think because of. Inflation. People are just saving money and doing it that way. And I think that's not gonna change. So it's like, I think for 2023, making sure you know how to do that so that you can continue recording if you can't afford to get into a studio to do drums, for example. Very important.
Benedikt: 100% agreed.
absolutely fantastic point. And, and I think that That means that even if you listen, if you're listening to this and maybe you do your own demos and you write, but you never really, you've never really thought about doing the actual production yourself because you're, you, you were thinking like, I will always go into a studio. I will always hire professionals. That's good if you can do that. But even if you're that person, there might be a situation at some point where we can't do that anymore and we hope that this will not be, uh, be the case. And of course, it's always good to hire pros and to do, to go to studios for everything. That's the ideal situation. But I think, you know, as you said, Malcolm things, things are already pretty crazy and have like inflation has gone through the roof the past couple of years. And, um, you might find yourself in a situation where you can no longer afford to be spending a lot of time in the studio each year to all to do all these things. And then if you haven't built those skills and you have to start from zero, you are way behind the people who are already investing in themselves and learn, learning those skills. And when you learn those skills, You might discover that you actually prefer it, you might discover that you actually like it, or parts of it you might discover that you, you still go to, to the studio for drums maybe, or you still hire, hire a mixer or mastering engineer, but maybe you enjoy recording the vocals on your own because of the creative freedom and, you know, whatever you wanna, or the, the, your own schedule and all of those things. So maybe you discover parts of the process that you actually enjoy doing and you, you actually prefer to do it yourself compared to going to studio. And so you can save money and enjoy the benefits of doing it yourself. So even if you're not planning on doing that anytime soon, that might be a situation where you have to, and you might even discover that you enjoy it. So I think it's, as you said, Malcolm, absolutely a good idea to invest in yourself and to learn those skills as a musician, to just make yourself future-proof and, to discover these more affordable, but still really good sounding ways of recording music yeah, this, these, uh, these skills. These skillsets? yeah, I think that's, that's almost, I don't know, I don't know that it's almost part of being a, a musician these days that you, you have to learn at least some of it, I think even if it's just for demos and pre-pro, but probably even more in the future. it's almost required that at least one person in the band knows how to do it.
Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. It, it's, uh, totally worth, worth getting good at. I'm, it's actually something I'm gonna be getting good at myself, cuz I've just been mixing it . I don't, I've never really had to like do much of it at all. But lately I'm finding for, for like YouTube stuff, it's like, oh, I kind of need to actually get efficient at this. So I'm in the same boat. Here we
Benedikt: Yeah. What, what do you mean? What, what do you mean exactly? what would you, you wanna learn?
Malcom: Well, like for me, if I wanna make a audio example and I need some drums, I'm not gonna go into a studio book it and what you just to make a YouTube video, I just need to whip something out. So I'm, you know, like we've got our room sound, Kurt Belu kit, um, which is amazing. Uh, and check out that previous episode with Dave Pek if you haven't already. but I'm like using that to, you know, quickly just whip up a drumbeat or using a mid groove and just throwing that in a session, writing a quick guitar riff to it. Now I've got an audio example I can mess with. so it's just like the quicker I can make amazing sounding drums that I can use in my video, the better. So it's just like all about speed for me.
Benedikt: Yeah, totally. Okay. You mean that, so getting more comfortable with the sims and the program drums and all of that, yourself. Yeah, yeah, totally. But I, I mean, in general that just the, the skill of being able to just record yourself and do a lot of the production steps yourself is almost required these days for a musician. because that, that's what I meant because you, you don't know for how long you're gonna be able to, to afford studios and a lot of studio time. And, and if you're ever in a situation where, and it doesn't even have to be because of money. It might be time, it might be something like another lockdown or whatever. Like you don't, you don't know, like these past years have been, have been pretty crazy and have shown that you. We don't know what, what's happening next year. You know, it's like so unpredictable and crazy. Things can happen and if you set up yourself, uh, if you set yourself up to be independent no matter what, and to be able to produce great music from home if you need to, that's always gonna be an advantage. compared to the other people who com who are completely relying on other people to produce their records, I think
Malcom: Yeah. that's uh, a great point.
Benedikt: So, yeah, and this brings me to, again, we said it before, investing in yourself learning things is more important than anything else. So I think if you can get mentorship from people who can help you get there 10 times faster without the frustration headaches, without the overwhelm, without the conflicting information on the internet, this is like, it's crazy what that does for you. And this should be top priority if your music is important to you. No gear purchase could ever be more important or a better investment than investing in your skills. And And really good education and personal mentorship and coaching and stuff like that. Things like the coaching program that we offer here. These are not cheap either. I'm not saying that they are cheap, but it's still way more affordable than higher, like going to a studio for a full length record. If you go to a studio, proper studio with real pros and a great room and all of that, and you spend enough time there to do it right, and the, it's, it's really a lot of money. Not many people are aware how much that actually costs if you do it properly. And if you can spend a fraction of that, even though that is still not going to be super cheap, but it's a fraction of a really professional production. And if you, if you, if you can spend that. And then get personal mentorship and guidance and learn everything you need to know so you can do it on your own. You can use these skills over and over and over again, so you're not only saving that money once on your next production, but every single time you produce something, you are saving money basically, because you can use those skills and the setup you build in the process, you can use that over and over again and set yourself up for the consistent output that we were talking about. And you might still hire out parts of it, but still it's gonna be way cheaper than doing everything at a studio. And so don't look at, at these investments in yourself. Don't look at them as like very expensive costs, but they are really an investment because you wanna have good quality music anyways, and either somebody else has to do it, which costs a lot of money, or you can do it. And if you do it even with great education, it's always gonna be cheaper. And, uh, you can actually, if you think about it like that, you can actually afford to get really good education because you're saving the money elsewhere. yeah, before that, that's just what I, what I wanted to say here, because think. You can start with like cheap online courses. You can start with U YouTube, you can start with that stuff, but that's gonna only gonna get you so far. And once you start taking it seriously and really invest in yourself and uh, really make it a priority to learn that stuff and get personal feedback and guidance, then it's gonna, that, that's where it's gonna see real progress. That's what everybody's done. Like, you know, not that, not that everybody has bought a coaching program, but everybody has either spent years and years and years of trial and error and a lot of headache frustration, or they learned under somebody in a, in another studio gap mentorship there, which is not impossible, but also not, not easy to do. Or they had mentorship because they paid a mentor or bought a program, right? Like that. But there's, there's almost no other way. And I know of very, very few people, if any, who made it quickly by just watching YouTube or, uh, cheap online course that's gonna get you. A little like, you know, that's
Benedikt: you something, but it's not gonna, you know, ,
Malcom: you're going to. Like that YouTube stuff is awesome. You're gonna want to do that. Well, you're doing like your, your other training, right? you know, I, I was one of those people that got to learn by interning at a studio that, that was such a huge part of my education, but also watching stuff, and especially trial and error as well. But having that person, Zack, my mentor, to, to be like, why did you do this and tell me what I did wrong? Um, which a U YouTube video can't do was, you know, like, the mistakes I made are the best lessons I learned, of course. but I need, you need somebody that can tell you that you made that mistake, otherwise you think you'd, you're good. just gonna keep doing that same mistake over and over until you realize, so it, it, it's, it's quicker.
Benedikt: Yes, for sure. And so, yeah, once you realize that you wanna have a good quality output anyways, and that you need that, then just have to make a decision. Do you wanna hire others to do it for you or do you wanna learn to do it yourself? Both are gonna cost you money. The doing yourself part, doing it yourself part is almost always gonna be cheaper. And, um, and then there's other factors too, but like, don't think that not doing anything or just trying to figure it out yourself will get you there very fast and don't think that you will be, able to quote unquote, compete with all those people who are already doing this. Like this is not gonna happen. So if. If that's okay for you. And if it's just a hobby and you don't care about the quality, fine. But if you are ambitious and wanna have something out there that people actually care about, you only have these two options. You can hire somebody who knows what they're doing, or you need to learn the skills. And that is not gonna come for free in most cases too, or at least not free and quick. And so just make a decision basically. So, yeah, and if you wanna start doing that, and if you wanna learn about how, what that could look like, obviously you can go to the self recording bent.com/call and book a first completely free call with me so we can talk about what that could look like. There's no obligation to do anything or to buy anything. You can just grab the plan that I gave you and implement it on your own, but we can at least talk about, and like I can show you what, what that actually means. and yeah, I, I would be happy to, to talk to you about this. And this is only one of many options, but of course I wanna mention it here because we do exactly that.
Malcom: Yep. Hit ' free. Why
Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. All right, let's wrap it up. Um, so. To sum it up, the bar is high. . Yeah. You're competing for, a limited amount of attention. There is a creton of music out there every single day. Most people won't stick to it. Most people will give up before they get good. If you can stick to with it, if you can be consistent for a certain amount of time, if you invest in yourself, if you embrace doing it yourself and learning, then you can increase your chances of actually being heard. And, um, yeah, and I think personality, unique music and the, yeah, being able to just stick with it for a while and get better at it, that is what gonna make, what's gonna make you, what's gonna make you stand out in the future. And you don't just wanna release one more song that nobody really hear hears. And that's sounding just like anybody else.
Malcom: totally. Yeah. Make this 2023, the year that you're actually consistently releasing music that's, you can't be a professional, full-time musician if you're not providing music to the world. So let's make it happen. Everyone.
Benedikt: Exactly. All right. Thank you for listening. See you next week.
Malcom: See ya.
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