I released 40 songs on Soundcloud this week.
If you’re wondering “why” and “how”, it’s mainly because you likely know I write music, but you probably haven’t heard much of what I’ve written. That’s because I have a problem sharing my music. For some reason I love to get songs to where I’m 80% happy and then stop working on them.
Last week the battery on my laptop died, which took out my primary music-production system. For years I’d been wanting to find a new way to sort and catalog the music I write but it was a daunting task and I’d never felt like I had the time. The laptop tanking forced my hand. I dove into my catalog to organize and sort of catch-up with everything I’d written.
I was super annoyed with what I found.
I found nearly 200 songs in various states of completion. Around a dozen had ever seen the light of day, mostly through my Robot Fairytale album. I was kind of ashamed.
I did some soul-searching and realized that the primary things keeping me from finishing songs could be boiled down to a short list:
- I’m afraid of embarrassing myself by releasing bad music
- I’m afraid I won’t be happy with the song after I call it “done”
- My music is badly organized so it’s hard to find what I want and work on it
These are all stupid reasons.
So, this week I uploaded 40 songs to my Soundcloud page. They range from piano music to scores for short-films, to dance music. Many of them could have been worked-on more, but I’m basically writing them off as “old” and calling them incomplete, taking the lessons and moving forward.
I’m changing my philosophy on music because my old philosophy sucks and didn’t work.
It’s (Probably) Not Bad Music
Going forward, I’m making my music available as it’s written. Whether it’s on Soundcloud or my own website, it’ll be out there because it forces my hand. One of my primary reasons for not doing this earlier was simply the question “why would anyone buy my music if they could have just listened to it for free?” The answer is simply “who cares?” I believe I write music for myself, it’s a language all my own, and I can tell stories and speak emotions through it, but I don’t do it because I want you to like it. I do it for me.
I had to face the question “if you knew nobody would ever pay you for any of your music, would you still do it?” Yep. I absolutely would. That ended that point.
Finish Your Music
I can almost always find something to change in a song, but at some point it has to be done. I realized that if I call a song “complete” and then later on decide there’s something I don’t like about it, does that make it a bad song? Nope. Take the lesson and remember it next time you write a new song.
This is a fine line though. You never want to be guilty of hurriedly releasing music, but I think I was swinging so hard on the “work it to perfection” side of things that I was burning myself out.
I never spent the time to organize my music, let alone my plugins, my samples, and all the other mess that goes along with music production so finding things I wanted to work on, or worse, finding sounds that I needed for songs I wanted to finish, has always been a giant challenge for me.
I’ve started spending time going through my sample packs, VSTs, and other things to find the sounds I truly like. I’ve also moved all my music to my Google Drive and organized it there, along with my samples, VSTs, and other files. Everything lives in one place now.
My songs are basically all unique folders, one for each song, sorted by date. I mainly write music song-by-song rather than on an album-level so this organization makes sense for me. It still allows me the flexibility to change things up if I decide to try a concept album or something crazy.
But now that things are organized, the mountain of crap doesn’t seem so daunting.
And things are moving forward. Hopefully quickly. I have a lot of musical ideas I want to get out of my head.