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Written by Ramsey Brown.
Creating your own music is a beautiful and rewarding experience. It’s an art form that musicians take very personal and put a lot of time and effort into crafting. Unless you are a hobbyist musician who makes music solely for your own personal entertainment, you are probably among the majority of artists who make music because it is your passion and you want it to be heard and enjoyed by the masses.
After all, music is meant to be shared… and what is the point of putting so much energy and hard work into creating an awesome song when other people aren’t able to appreciate it with you? Well, if you are a musician you know it’s not as easy as it seems. There is a lot of planning and strategy involved in releasing new music. Beyond that, there is a lot of fear and anxiety that artists often experience when striving to drop new music.
The fear artists feel before releasing music is extremely common and caused by many different factors. Anything you are passionate about in life will come with a heightened sense of emotions. Artists who are dedicated and serious about their passion for music often run into the problem of perfectionism, over-analyzations, self-doubt, fear of public disapproval, and other negative thoughts that ultimately prevent them from releasing anything new at all.
Undoubtedly, artists should be meticulous about their craft and have a proper release plan put in place… but far too often musicians leave hundreds of songs on their computers to go unheard by anyone — songs that could actually have big potential to be chart-topping hits and change the trajectory of their careers forever.
Every artist is out here aiming to make it big in the industry, but how can you break through if you're hiding your talent from the world? Well, it’s time to stop hoarding your music on your hard drive and overcome whatever fear, anxiety, or thoughts that are in your head telling you not to release your music.
In this article we are going to share some tips that will help you overcome your doubts about releasing new music. This problem is very common among creators — and a very debilitating one that definitely needs to be addressed and solved in order to achieve your goals of having a successful career in the music industry.
In order to combat the apprehension of releasing new music, you must first find out what exactly is causing these thoughts inside of your head that are ultimately stunting your growth and success as a musician. It may be self-doubt, perfectionism, anxiety, laziness, loss of interest — or it may be that you're not necessarily afraid, but you just don’t have the proper knowledge or tools to do it properly.
Whatever the reason may be, this block stems from your psyche and ends up inhibiting your career and development as an artist. If you have radio ready music that hasn’t been released yet—today is the day to change that. It starts with reforming your way of thinking and understanding that the benefits of dropping new music highly outweigh whatever uncertainties or thoughts you may have that are provoking you not to.
We are going to discuss some common thought processes that prevent artists from releasing their music, and rebuttal them with an explanation as to why you should release your music. Defeatism and complacency can lead to the death of your career, no matter what industry you are in. So I encourage you to read through this article with an open mind and willingness to learn so you can truly advance in the music industry.
There has always been an ongoing debate with music professionals about the proper time to release music. Many will say “hold onto your songs until the time is right to release”, or you may have heard “save up more music and release a compilation later down the road”, or maybe “wait to release the song when you have the budget to promote it”— the list of excuses goes on.
Though some will disagree with me, I believe wholeheartedly that this is terrible advice and mere excuses that are toxic to your career growth. This type of mindset and submissive thinking will ultimately fail you as an artist. As a matter of a fact, artists should actually be dropping as many songs as possible in order to compete with the overwhelming saturation of music in today’s industry.
To give you a real life example— rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer, Russ credits his career success to his strategy of dropping one song every week for about two and a half years. In an interview with Gary Vee, Russ explains that it was around the release of his 98th track when his career began to finally pop off.
He goes on to explain that it took patience combined with persistence and quality combined with quantity in order to achieve his goal of becoming a famous artist. This example is the perfect point as to why musicians should always be releasing more music than not. If Russ’ results aren’t enough to convince you to start releasing more music, then hopefully some of these other points mentioned below will be....
This formula coined by Russ basically explains that those who produce and distribute the most music have the better chances of making it big. It boils down to simple math and percentages — the more content you have out, the more likely you are to be seen or heard.
I’m not saying you should aim to put out one song per week like Russ did for 2+ years, but I am saying you should come up with a reasonable release schedule and growth strategy that you can stay committed and consistent to. Artists who want to excel in the music industry should be putting out no less than one song every three to four months.
This is a pretty simple concept: The more music you put out, the more streams you will have. The more streams you have, the more fans you will make. The more fans you make, the more publicity you will get. The more publicity you get, the more fame you will receive.
It’s extremely rare to find an artist who became successful with only one or two songs out. Also, you never know which song will be your big make or break hit until you put them all out there for listeners to decide. If you increase your quantity of song releases while maintaining the quality, I can guarantee that it will increase your chances at success.
If your goal is to have a sustaining career in music, then there is no time for fear of failure. As we know, the music industry is extremely competitive and you need to use every second to your advantage in order to become noticed.
Many people will tell you to hold on to your songs until the time is right — but the right time is NOW. In this fast paced music industry, trends are constantly coming and going. A song you created a year ago, or even a few months ago may not be as popular today as it would’ve been right when you made it.
There are also new artists emerging daily, which ultimately means more competition for you. The quicker you get your music out, the more leverage you will have on your competition. Since there is so much music being released every day, artists who spend years between releases run the risk of being forgotten.
In order to succeed in the industry, you have to act quick and adapt to the constant changes and competition. Releasing new music frequently and consistently will help you stay current and more prominent in the music scene.
Don’t you hate it when your favorite artist takes forever to put out new music? The anticipation of a long awaited album or EP can be antagonizing to fans. At the end of the day, your entire career lies in the hands of your fans, so you should be doing whatever in your power to keep them happy and engaged.
Fans want to constantly hear new music, that’s just a fact. When you give your fans what they want and continue to engage with them through new releases, they will continue to stream and support you. But if you haven’t released anything new in years, you take the risk of your fans losing interest and tapping out of your music completely.
Artists should always strive to give their followers something new and exciting to listen to — this shows that you are still creating and evolving as a musician, and that you actually care about your fanbase.
New music will get fans starting conversations about you, which will lead to increased social media traffic, that could lead to press releases, that ultimately could lead to you getting the placement or deal of your dreams. It’s important to keep as much buzz around you as possible and the easiest way to do this is through your fanbase organically hyping you and your new music up.
Most serious musicians are their own biggest critics, by far. Artists often revert from dropping their new music because they think that it isn’t good enough, or isn’t quite finished, or that they have to make it perfect first. The fact is — perfectionism doesn’t exist and even if it did, it’s not what makes for great music.
Yes, you want to set high standards for yourself and yes, you want to continue pushing your own envelope and creating at your best. However, you do not want to be a perfectionist or someone who obsesses over the final outcome of a song to the point where you choose to not even release it. Critiquing every little part of your music will only inhibit your creative process and lead to procrastination, frustration, and exasperation.
“Don’t get so stuck in the details that you forget the goal” and ultimately your goal should be to release new music as much as possible — to the points we’ve mentioned above. When you don’t release music because you think it’s not good enough, it can cause you to miss out on opportunities, positive feedback, potential collaborations, new followers, and many more valuable experiences.
It’s important for artists to get out of their own heads and set realistic and quantitative goals for themselves when making music. You cannot be a perfectionist 24/7 and it’s okay to put out music that you are not 100% in love with.
When you learn to embrace your imperfection you will find that you become more creative, more inspired, you’ll finish more music and commit to actually releasing it. releases. Which in the end means growing as a creator and getting closer to becoming a successful artist.
Instead of being afraid of releasing new music, you should really be afraid of becoming irrelevant because you aren’t releasing any new music. Though your song from 3 years ago is probably a banger, consumer’s attention spans are extremely short and listeners want to hear the newest and hottest songs out — not ones that they listened to years ago.
To give you an idea, there are a whopping 60,000 new songs uploaded to Spotify every single day. If you are not constantly releasing new music, it’s inevitable that you will fall through the cracks and become less of a commodity than you were before. The last thing you want is for your audience to think you fell off the face of the earth because they haven’t heard anything recent from you in awhile. Prove to the world (and yourself) that you are still an amazing and dedicated artist.
Another point to make, just posting on social media isn’t quite enough to maintain your fanbase or your status as a musician. Remember that you are a musician first and a social media figure second. If you have time to post on Instagram everyday, you have time to post a song every couple of months!
Being a musician isn’t an easy job, but it sure makes it easier when you receive praise from fans after they hear the amazing music you worked so tirelessly on. If you find that you are having trouble letting go of your music and releasing songs to the public, it may help to do some self reflection and remind yourself that you make music because it’s your passion and that passion deserves to be shared with the world.
There are a lot of things that go into making music — sleepless nights at the studio, hard work and dedication, hustle and grind, practice and patience. But if you love doing music you know that all of this is worth it for that appreciation and recognition from your fans. Don’t let your hard work go to waste and the experience slip away because you haven’t put out any recent music.
Your time and effort is much too valuable and your music is probably way too good for it to go unheard and unable to be enjoyed. If it’s criticism or harsh comments you are dodging — just know that there will always be haters out there to troll the internet. You are also more likely to receive positive feedback than negative. Either way, all feedback is beneficial for creators. Use it to your advantage to become a better and stronger musician.
The ability to create your own music is a gift and a gift that should be heard with the world. Fear and self-criticism is a normal part of the music making process, but it shouldn't be a part that paralyzes your chances of success.
We hope that after reading this article you will analyze the points we made and find a new level of confidence in yourself and your music. Don't let your amazing songs go heard, continue to push them out and reach for the starts of success!
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