This week we’re going to take a look at a few more tips to supercharge your Soundcloud page when you are sending out demos. You can also read my previous article where I covered what your expectations should be. This time around, we’re going to tackle your sound and how it relates to the A&R process.
You can’t stand out by copying what’s popular. You have to produce stylistically ahead of what everyone else is doing today.
If the extent of your production ability is to learn how to do things from YouTube and copy what’s in the top 10 charts of any given genre, you are not being true to yourself or original. You are merely average at best. You could have the most technically superior track, but it won’t be memorable.
Something else to consider is that it takes at least two months to properly release a track. That’s from when the label informs you that they want to sign your track through the release day. Some labels take longer and do much more promotion with the track. The important thing to know is that what is in today’s top 10 was written at least two months ago. This is important because if you are merely imitating what you hear there, you’re imitating two month old tracks. At minimum, by the time your track is released, it will be four months behind the current sound. You have to be forward thinking, but not experimental.
Don’t be experimental.
Being experimental is not the same thing as being original. While they are similar, being experimental implies that something has proceeded way outside the normal bounds of a genre. Being original implies that something is fresh and innovative while relying on the structure of a particular musical genre. You’re making EDM, not classical music. Then again, classical music has a ridged structure depending on the era.
Our music has to be mixed into two different tracks – the one before it and the one after it. It also has to keep people dancing. If it fails at either one of these, it will not sell. Make no mistake; you are marketing your music to DJs and not the fans. If they don’t have enough lead time at the start and end of tracks, they won’t be able to mix it in as easily. If it falls flat on the crowd, then the track will not be played beyond the first time. Function over form is the key.
To be original is to find creative ways of enhancing a genre or pushing it forward without breaking the rules. Bending them is allowed, but you have to fully understand the rules first. Tech House has a certain vibe to it. Techno is as well. Trance is very structured when you get down to it. Learn the basics like the back of your hand and then enhance them. The structure of the genre isn’t wrong, you’re three minute breakdown is. Be original. Don’t be experimental.
If you don’t understand what I’m getting at with the previous tip and you are not a DJ, start DJing.
Over and over again, I have heard producers talk about how much better they are at producing since they started DJing. It’s true. A producer who is also a DJ will be a better producer. When you understand how your music is only a part of a set rather than the whole show, your production will change. It’s why tech house and techno is “so boring” to some people. They don’t understand that these tracks are often looped and layered upon each other to make something completely new on the fly. Simply put: DJing is more than playing tracks back to back.
That’s it for this week. I’ve got one final part in this series where we will cover the importance of what to post and how to classify it. Both can have a major impact on how well your demo is received.