Making Great Music Is Just The BeginningOct 12, 2021
Alright y'all, I’m so pumped for this because the blog you’re about to read today is part two of five in a powerful new series I’ve put together especially for my aspiring producers called “Boss Producer Business.” If you haven’t checked out the 1st blog of this series, “The Starving Artist Vs. The Boss Producer,” I want you to go and read that now! I’ll link it below!
In this series, I’m going to walk you through the steps it takes to go from being an unpaid amateur to a paid professional. I’m also going to give you a sneak peek into how I run my six-figure production company at a high level of performance & profitability.
I want you to get the absolute MOST you can out of this series, so I created a handout for you to help you implement everything I’m covering! Also, if you make it to the end of this series I will have an entire workbook chock full of goodies, recaps, and worksheets for you! Follow the link below for that handout I mentioned!
Boss Producer Business:
Making Great Music Is JUST The Beginning
Today’s blog is called “Making Great Music Is JUST The Beginning!” It’s something I feel I need to shout from the rooftops because so many people think that talent alone is all it takes to succeed with their music and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Making great music is the bare minimum to success. So for all of my uber-talented ninjas out there, you know who you are, the “everything comes naturally to me and I was pretty much born, singing in key...” LISTEN UP.
This concept is actually HARDER for you because your talent has spoiled you. You’re used to things happening easily. You’re used to praise. You won the talent show, you aced the test, you got the guy...or girl...or whomever. Everybody acknowledges how good you are. But guess what? Compliments don’t pay the bills! So don’t let the fact that you’re a talented musician TRICK you into thinking you won’t have to work for this. The truth is, oftentimes, it’s untalented (is that word?) that will go further because they’re hungry for it. They actually had to WORK to get better, gain skills, and get ahead. Yes, I’m pretty much talking about the story of the tortoise and the hare. My point? Talent and great music are just the beginning. So what does it mean to make great music as a producer? Let’s start with what you got in your toolbox.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have really expensive equipment to make great music. However, as you enter into the big leagues and ‘go PRO’, you are going to want to up your game by making sure you have high-quality software & plugins. This means dishing out the money to get stuff like Kontakt, Omnisphere, and Nexus (just to name a few). Now you might be thinking, “holy $hit Kris, that IS expensive!” BUT let’s take a step back and look at some numbers real quick. Going to music school costs tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes over $100,000. Building a commercial studio, which used to be an absolute necessity, could cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars (Thanks to modern technology though, today you can make records on your laptop from the comfort of your home). Oh, and by the way, none of the above-mentioned guarantees you success.
Also, don’t feel bad, I said the same thing for a long time, but here’s what I’ve learned: It’s not that you need these virtual instrument libraries to make great music, they will just get you there a heck of a lot quicker. You have to ask yourself what you value more: your money or your time? Here’s a hint: money can be lost and made back again easily, time can only be lost. You can never get it back. So as we grow as business owners we have to uplevel our thinking to value our time MORE than we value our money. I’m going to say that again for the people in the back. We have to value our time MORE than we value our money. This is what the most successful entrepreneurs do.
If it takes you two weeks to mix a song because you’re using $h!tty sounds and you won’t spend a thousand bucks on Komplete (or any other great instrument library) then you’re not valuing your time. Oh and one more thing, there are literally zero businesses that are 100% profit. Investing in yourself and your studio gives you SKIN in the game, it tells your subconscious ‘I’m not effing around, I mean BUSINESS.’
Got it? Ok, moving on.
How else can we make sure we’re making great music? I bet you’re not gonna guess this next one… You gotta make $h!tty music first. Yep. You gotta get through the suck factor before you can start making great music.
I want you to think of turning on the water of an old sink and how when the sink hasn’t been turned on in a while, the first thing that comes out is the brown, icky water--the gunk. If you let the water keep running, eventually it starts coming out clear. That’s how we need to treat our music creation when we’re first starting. Whether it be songwriting, arranging, or producing, there’s always a suck factor at first! Hell, I made hundreds of awful demos before I stopped sucking. It’s okay to say “um, hello, I didn’t know what I was doing!” We don’t get mad at babies for not being able to walk when they’re first born, right?
If you sit there waiting to make the perfect song, you’re missing out on the opportunity that creating many imperfect songs can bring you. And if you find yourself stuck on a track that’s “sucking” & you’re not sure when to call it, just remember this:
A project is done when you’ve reached the end of your skill level.
That’s it. Ditch your perfectionism and just finish songs based on your capability to complete them. If you really want to come back to it after you’ve gotten your production chops dialed in, you totally can!
The last thing I want to touch on today is skill stacking.
There’s an amazing book called “How To Be Better At Almost Everything” by Pat Flynn that has absolutely blown my mind. I swear, it’s what I live my life by. Pat Flynn talks about how valuable it is to be ‘a a generalist’ in today’s world and demystifies the idea that in order to achieve the success you have to be an expert. Pat explains that generalists are those who are good at various things and specialists are best at specifically one. If you’d like to dive further into this book and its concepts, which I highly recommend, check out the link below. I’ll make it easy for you just so you don’t have to go scouring the internet to find it:
LINK TO BOOK
The reason I want you to check out this book is because of exactly what I mentioned at the top of this--as artists we think that if we work really hard and get really good at our craft, that success is inevitable. We strive to be EXPERTS and we scoff at generalists saying things like “I can’t spread myself too thin, I need to focus on one thing.” We don’t think of all the other things that are needed in order to become successful with our music, especially when we don't have a team.
Remember, when you’re first getting started, you have multiple hats to wear. You’re the artist, the producer, the manager, the social media manager, and the marketer. So, with all that being said, do you think it would be better to become the best singer in the world? OR would it maybe be more valuable to become a great singer, while also learning how to write songs, track your vocals, produce some demos, and then learn how to market yourself?
Y'all, this is literally my story!!! I was a struggling singer-songwriter and I was pretty good at writing songs and performing, but it wasn’t until I started skill stacking (i.e. learning to produce, doing session work, doing custom songs) that I started providing the VALUE that allowed me to build a business.
Remember what we talked about in blog #54? Check out your worksheet right now if you have it handy, or head to producelikeabosspodcast.com/workbook & check out page 2. The BOSS Producer provides value. They’re service-focused.
So after years of living the “#StruggleIsReal,” starving artist life, the quality of my questions shifted from “why can’t I get paid for MY music” to “what do I NEED to do to provide enough VALUE to get paid for my music?” And that’s when I experienced exponential growth in my revenue as a musician. I remember the year I started my production company and actually started functioning as a business, I went from barely scraping by to having first $3,000 months, then $5,000 months, then $8,000 months, and then more! This is possible guys! I’m living proof and that’s why I can’t say it enough, “making great music is just the beginning.”
Alright, don’t forget to check your workbooks for the recap and some exercises to help you grow YOUR business.
Let’s recap, here’s what we covered today:
Making great music is just the beginning.
- Your talent may be spoiling you. Don’t think that just because you’re good at your craft that you don’t need to do the work to go pro.
- In order to make great music, you should invest in your home studio. Especially your computer, your virtual instruments libraries, and some 3rd party plugins. It’s time to step up your game.
- The most successful people in business value their TIME more than their money.
- Everybody sucks at first. It’s ok. Be messy. You HAVE to go through this to make great music.
- Being a generalist can actually be more valuable than being an expert. Skill stacking can give you a unique advantage in the music industry.
Speaking of stacking Skillz like pancakes, we are getting ready to kick off our Boss Producer Bootcamp starting September 7th, so mark your calendars!!
In this 5-day boot camp, you will discover:
- The mindset takes to go full time as a producer
- What it takes to run a business from your home studio
- The path from the amateur producer (unpaid) to pro producer (paid)
I’m going to show you:
- How to increase the quality & speed of your productions
- How to make pitchable, placeable, profitable music
- Ways to make money online whether you’re a singer, songwriter, producer, mix engineer, or instrumentalist once you learn how to record
We’re going to give away tons of prizes, there will be contests and even scholarship opportunities.
This boot camp is 100% FREE but, don’t get it twisted, this isn’t your run of the mill “fluff” filled freebie where you show up and give your time and then don’t actually receive any real value. You are going to leave this boot camp with a plan to start your production business today!! So I want you to treat this training like it costs you thousands of dollars because that’s how valuable it is!
Head over to https://www.producelikeaboss.com/bootcamp to reserve your seat!
I hope you got a lot of value out of today’s episode. I'll be back next week with part three in the Boss Producer Business series so stay tuned!