Great Tips For Music Producers To Reach Global Success

Are you a music producer  and would like to take your career to the next level? Your number one priority should be to produce the best possible songs you can. Don’t skimp on any aspect of the music production process. If you do, chances are you are setting yourself up for failure.  Great producers have the ability to put out hit after hit.  There’s a reason they could do this. It comes down to extremely hard work, dedication and a mad quest for perfection (read about my experiences with Trevor Horn to see how the mind of a total professional works).

Vocals

The vocals are the most important part of any song (providing it’s not an instrumental).  They should be in tune, dynamic and understandable. People are used to hearing perfectly autotuned vocals, so if your recordings contain pitchy vocals, it’s not going to go over well with a listener.  On the other hand, a bland, perfectly tuned, highly compressed vocal is worse than an open, dynamic vocal that may be slightly pitchy at points.

Singer in the studio

Lyrics

Lyrics are always debatable. On the one hand, there are countless hit songs with super cheesy lyrics. On the other hand, there are recordings that have lyrics with depth and emotion and an audience immediately connects with. Decide what kind of artist you are (or you are working with) and give the lyrics extra special treatment. No matter which path you take, your song should be easily singable and catchy.

Arrangement

It’s always a good idea to keep your songs in a radio friendly format. Try to keep them under three and a half minutes, and make sure the vocals kick in within the first 15 seconds. Every song is different, but this is a good general rule to follow.  Try to draw your listener in with a great intro and a build up to keep then interested.  The average consumer doesn’t care about fancy arrangements or chord changes. They are pleased as long as it sounds good.  You can make a hit song using only three chords.  But make sure that the melody is interesting and dynamic, from the intro and verse, through the pre-chorus and chorus. Experiment with your melody, singing in a lower range for the verses and building excitement through to the chorus. Then sit back and ask yourself? Is the chorus catchy? Do people want to sing along. Does a listener know it’s a chorus? Keep it short and simple and often times, it will be the right formula.

Tracking in the studio

Music

Stick with what works. If you are working in the Dance, Pop or AC genre, don’t use dated or weak sounds when you are sequencing. People expect to hear a certain quality. If your material sounds different (in a weaker or bad way) compared to what’s on the radio, then go back to the drawing board. It’s ok to have your own style and experiment with different sounds and interments. But in the end, it has to work to elevate the song to the next level.  If you are mainly recording live instruments, focus on quality, expression and dynamics.  If you could barely play guitar, then hire a guitarist. You don’t want to sound like an amateur so put your best foot forward.  

Guitar home recording studio

Are your drums weak? Hire someone on Craigslist or Fiverr who is a drummer with an electronic kit. They can play along with your song and send you a professionally played midi file via midi. You can then import it into your daw software, edit the sounds as you please and have full control over your recordings.  You can replace any drum sound you like, layer them, or run them through a virtual instrument such as EZ Drummer, addictive drums or Battery.  A real drummer that plays with expression and dynamics can add another dimension to your recordings. 

Recording a drummer

 

Mixing

A lot of up and coming producers try to do everything themselves, including mixing their own music. Often, that can be a mistake. Chances are you are not getting a good sound, especially if you are mixing in a room with bad monitors and no treatment.  And not only that, to become an accomplished mixer, it takes years of practice. So ask yourself if your mixes are lacking compared to what is on the radio.  If they are, you can continue to produce and record all your songs at home. But when it comes time to mix, track out your project as separate wav files (24 bit, 44.1k) and bring it to a local studio with an experienced mixing engineer.  If they are a true professional, they should be able to give you a really good, radio ready mix in about 4-5 hours. If you have the budget for it, go for it. You can even find a pro mixing engineer anywhere in the world online. Simply send them your files, pay through paypal and they’ll send you the finished product via email or a service like dropbox. There is really no excuse for releasing a bad mix.

Uniqueness

Is your music unique and fresh?  Being in the studio business for many years, I would be faced with this on a weekly basis.  Clients would bring in a cd of a popular artist on radio and would ask me to compose and produce a similar song.  It’s ok to be influenced by an artist or musician, but please, be original. Nobody likes a copycat.

Decisions

Take a song you are working on and really put it under the microscope.  Does the vocalist have a unique sound?  Are the lyrics simply out of this world?  It’s your role as the producer to be confident that every song you work on is a hit and you should treat it that way. Working on a mediocre song is absolutely no formula for success.  If you find any weak link from the songwriting to the composing, arranging, producing, tracking and mixing, then fix the problem. If you can’t do it yourself, don’t be afraid to work with other people. There are many successful producers that can’t play any instruments. But they have an ear for what sounds good, great melodies, passionate performances and captivating lyrics. 

Home music producer

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