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Hard Truths: Doing it Yourself is Difficult

Hard Truths: Doing it Yourself is Difficult

Welcome to Hard Truths, the series on the LANDR Blog where we cut through the noise and take on a harsh reality from the world of music production. This is the advice you might not want to hear—but will make you a better producer.

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Most musicians would love to leave their day job behind and do music full-time.

Whether you’re getting started or you’re already in the thick of it, you’ve probably run into a few roadblocks already.

To be successful in your music career you need more than just creativity.

That’s because starting a serious music project is like starting a business. You have to do a great job of marketing yourself, promoting your music, and networking.

On top of all that, there’s so many technical skills to master like recording, mixing, and production.

It’s tempting to think “if only I had a team to help me out”.

But will external help really solve your problems, or create new ones?

It’s tempting to think “if only I had a team to help me out”. But will external help really solve your problems, or create new ones?

Here’s today’s hard truth: playing all those roles at once is difficult, but doing it on your own is totally worth it.

This is not meant to be discouraging, especially when there’s never been more tools available to DIY musicians to help them grow their music.

Having full control over a project is rewarding

When you do everything yourself, you get to make all the decisions.

It’s totally up to you where the project goes and how your tracks will sound.

While that might seem intimidating, retaining control of your project can actually make things easier.

There’s no one to argue with over a creative decision.

You don’t have to wait for people to finish or learn their parts, and you don’t have to schedule around busy lives.

All you have to do is go into the studio on your own time and get to work.

All you have to do is go into the studio on your own time and get to work.

There’s so many tools out there to help you

Being a DIY musician is so much easier with today’s music-making tools.

You can learn about music theory and how to play an instrument from one of many online learning platforms.

VST plugins make it incredibly easy to add any instrument imaginable to your tracks, not to mention just how much you can do with modern DAWs.

If you want a live instrument on your track but don’t know how to play it, you could hire a session musician via an online platform like Soundbetter.

Production techniques like mixing and mastering aren’t the mystifying and expensive processes they once were with automated mastering tools like LANDR and powerful mixing plugins.

Finding quality samples that are cleared for use royalty-free is also much easier with sample libraries like LANDR samples.

No matter what you need, chances are there’s a tool out there to help you do it yourself.

No matter what you need, chances are there’s a tool out there to help you do it yourself.

Collectives are often hard to work with

When you start adding new personalities into your process it can be refreshing and inspiring.

But in the long term, working inside a collective comes with some major downsides.

Creative differences are one thing and it’s not impossible to resolve them.

But the inherently personal nature of writing music and the way that creating music with others often mixes personal and professional lives is often what causes collectives to dissolve.

Constantly disagreeing with the people you work with and bringing personal issues into your work can drag on your mental health and ruin the fun of making music.

Constantly disagreeing with the people you work with and bringing personal issues into your work can drag on your mental health and ruin the fun of making music.

Not to mention that life is always changing.

When people move or change careers, you might find yourself alone again without the skills you could have learned if you had been working on your own the whole time.

Don’t jump into a collective for the wrong reasons, you may end up wasting time and worse off than you were when you started.

Roles and boundaries are key if you choose to work on a team

This is not to say that you should never work with others to create music.

However, if you want to start a band or collaborate with anyone you need to set up very clear roles and responsibilities and everyone has to be on board.

It always helps to designate who’s leading the band, who’s managing emails and marketing, who’s responsible for writing songs and what the team’s process is for creating new tracks.

It may seem weird and awkward, but it’s not a bad idea to draft a contract or manifesto that clearly explains what’s expected of everyone and who owns what.

It may seem weird and awkward, but it’s not a bad idea to draft a contract or manifesto that clearly explains what’s expected of everyone and who owns what.

Making this clear from the start is your best way to avoid the kinds of disputes that destroy bands and ruin friendships down the road.

You won’t find the perfect team tomorrow

But you can keep working on yourself and your music tomorrow.

Plus you’ll keep all those skills moving forward.

Unlimited mastering &amp; distribution, 1200 royalty-free samples, 30+ plugins and more! <a href="https://join.landr.com/landr-studio/?utm_campaign=acquisition_platform_en_us_studio-generic-new-blog-ad&amp;utm_medium=organic_post&amp;utm_source=blog&amp;utm_content=left-hand-generic-ad&amp;utm_term=general">Get everything LANDR has to offer with LANDR Studio.</a>

Unlimited mastering & distribution, 1200 royalty-free samples, 30+ plugins and more! Get everything LANDR has to offer with LANDR Studio.

Yes, one day you might need a booking agent, producer, or manager.

But, in my experience, those things come naturally with time and only once you’ve proven your talent and seriousness about your music.

It’s better to focus on creating new tracks, finishing an album, or promoting an upcoming release on your own rather than pounding the pavement in search of someone to help you do it.

Instead, work hard on what you can do right now. That’s the best way to get noticed by the industry and those who can help you.

Doing it yourself is difficult, but it’s way more rewarding and sustainable in the end if you really dig in and just learn it on your own.

Alex Lavoie

Alex Lavoie works as a staff writer at LANDR by day and moonlights as a drummer for folk-rock outfit The Painters.

@Alex Lavoie

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