In this detailed article, I will talk about how you can become a successful producer in edm and in your own means. Success has a broad meaning; as a producer, it can be as little as finishing your first track, getting a record deal, or building a large online following through having your own unique sound as an artist. I will go through what I believe will get you where you want to be and what I find universal for the fundamentals of music production success.
Have a vision for your music career
Nothing great has ever been accomplished without a vision. You need to know what you want to achieve as a music producer and why you want it. If we never find out the reasons that inspire us to go after what we want, we will always have a hard time staying motivated and inspired when times get tough (and they will). What helped me when I was lost, unmotivated, and had trouble finishing music was to draw on my influences and past experiences, identifying my favourite music, artists, and events I went to, to reignite my passion to keep pursuing my goals/vision.
That was a method I used for finding out my reasons. As for creating your own ideal vision, it comes down to you writing down where you want to be in the next 5 to 10 years. Get crystal clear. What do you want? More followers and gigs at major festivals? A record deal with your favourite label? To travel the world and have a unique sound/style? Get pen on paper, collect images for visuals, create a vision board using images of record labels, music festivals, artists, and so on. Remember, you have to look into your vision daily. We live in a world of distraction, where everyone and everything will try to take you off-course away from your desires and goals.
I envision the life I want every day in the morning with visualisation and meditation. I have made it a habit because I know just how important it is to get me where I need to be. It worked for me as a Melbourne DJ when I supported 30 international trance acts for Majik Entertainment, so I believe it will work for me and my future desires. Creating a vision is something all DJ/Producers must do to achieve success.
Produce music daily and build a successful habit
Everyone I have learned from in music production has told me to write music every day and create successful habits. It doesn't matter if it’s only 15 minutes a day; daily practice is essential to mastery. My mentors, Mike Monday and Hyperbits, have drilled this message into me and other students. It sounds simple but can be hard, especially after a hard day’s work at your 9 to 5. The idea behind this is to create unstoppable momentum and make writing become subconscious and second nature, and not always try to analyse your music and ask questions, like ‘is it good enough’ and so on. I think you can relate to this; we all can.
It’s about getting into that flow state effortlessly and creating music from the heart, not the head, becoming the creator while writing music, not stopping at every decision, and becoming the editor or changing things all the time. I used to do this all the time, and I could never get into the flow state and finish my music. I found that, by taking action every day, no matter how big or small, moves the needle forward and got me one step closer to finishing more music faster. Daily practice is essential.
Finish your music fast
As I mentioned, daily practice leads to finishing more music faster, something a producer must do to develop their sound faster, sign more music, get goals faster, and get more DJ gigs. When you get signed to a record label, a remix usually has to be done within a 2-week period, which means your skills and effectiveness must be up to speed to do the job. You want to get signed to a label, don’t you? Or should I say keep your remix duties with a label.
To build a large following as an artist requires regular releases, whether self-released or by a label. The music industry is demanding more from the producer these days as we have a saturated market, where there is a lot of noise, so to stand out really requires us to do just that, finish more music faster, so we can release more consistently. Mike Monday has a great course that helped me tremendously when I was stuck. It’s called Start Now Finish Fast. I recommend it highly.
Listen to music religiously every day
This can spark ideas and create more avenues for experimentation. I have found it’s super beneficial to listen to other genres of music even more than your own preferred genre of music. It’s how you can improve on developing your own sound and style to push the boundaries that have a tendency to keep us all stuck occasionally. Listening to music also helps you become more inspired each day. The music you listen to can literally become you as you can develop subconscious music patterns, which means: You hear a song so often and when you sit down to write your track without knowing, you write similar music to the songs you listen to the most. It can be a good or bad thing, depending on how aware you are of this and where you're going as an artist, in terms of combining elements for your own style and sound.
Invest in mentors, training, and education
We have an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips. As a matter of fact, I find we have too much, so it almost all conflicts and contradicts with one another. It can be a challenge to find the right mentors and teachers to learn from, but we all need them to become successful in the music industry. If you are serious about your career, you will find the time and money to invest in the right mentor. Ideally, you want to find someone that has achieved the results you are after and follow in their footsteps.
Yes, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials for free, but I find they are only good for the tips and tricks. A mentor will find your weaknesses, give you feedback, and point out what you need to focus on first. This is how you get better faster. I also find there is little information out there to do with mindset and psychology for music production. A Mindset will make or break you. As a producer seeking success, you need to develop resilience and persistence.
We have to continue to develop a growth mindset to learn new concepts and systems for doing things and learning. This comes down to you. Are you willing to invest in yourself and change the way you do things to get to the next level in your career?
Here are a list of Mentors, Teachers, and Education sites that I highly recommend:
Be unique and different
How can you differentiate yourself as an artist to become unique? I believe it comes down to a few things. First is your process and how you apply your instruments and tools to finish music. Second is to tell your story through your music, which includes your background and journey, which gives a unique feeling in the music you make. Third, who are you as an artist? What is your environment like? What are your perceptions, beliefs, identity, mindset and behaviours? How can this be included in your music? Who influences you in different genres, and how can you take what is current, what was old, and what you currently combine, experiment, and create to make unique music.
This takes years of trial and error, and we all have to make music we like, not just for the fans. Create music that makes you happy, makes you move, dance, and be proud of what you can create, then build the tribe of loyal raving fans around that music.
Aim for progress, not perfectionism
Quality comes from quantity, and trying to perfect every detail is a waste of time. I have found that the only way to get a quality track is by writing a whole lot of music that sounds average. I learned that going through the entire process faster enabled me to reach my goals quicker, and I got better at a rapid rate. I was a perfectionist, like you wouldn’t believe. There are still those traits in me that I have to keep reminding myself to get rid of; however, I am more aware of what I need to do now.
It took me 18 months to finish a track because I was never satisfied with the music I made. It nearly tipped me over the edge, and I wanted to quit writing music. That was until I found Mike Monday and paid him, as a coach, to help me overcome my bad habits of perfectionism. After one month of working with him, I could complete 1 track in a two-week period, something I have never done before. I was shocked, not because I completed a track so quickly, but because it was the best track I had ever made.
I thought tweaking and trying to get my sound design, mixing skills, and arrangement perfect at the same time would pay off. I was set in my ways and bad habits; these had to be broken. I had a fixed mindset, and it changed from having a mentor to point out my weaknesses etc. This is why I am a big believer in investing in the right people, not wasting hours on YouTube tutorials. Remember, most of your music will suck, and you won’t like it, but to make the music you love, you have to practice the process each day and show up to do the work.
One in every ten tracks you will most likely love. I have found this in my experience.
What other resources can I use to become a successful producer
Beside reading many articles on the internet, I have never really read many books on music production, I did read Dance Music Manual; Tools toys and techniques. I firmly believe reading a lot of books to do with mindset helps the most, rather than only concentrating on the skills and techniques.
I recommend books like:
- War of Art - Steven Pressfield
- Flow: The psychology of optimal experience - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Mastery - Robert Greene
- Mindset - Carol Dwek
- 5 Second Rule - Mel Robbins
These books focus on the basic principles of success and are universal for almost everything, because they focus on human behavioural traits that we need to work on. The list could go on, but I only want to recommend what has helped me overcome the challenges and obstacles I have faced so far.
Surround yourself with successful DJ/Producers
The right contacts, connections, and friends will help you succeed at a rapid rate. We need these connections to get booked for DJ gigs at clubs and to learn from. Become a producer that can help others succeed; offer your time, your services, and improve the quality of people’s lives. Build trust with people in the music industry, get out there, get involved, and make friends with not only the DJs but also the fans. Support gets support, and you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Release music regularly to get more DJ gigs
I think, up to this stage, we could all agree that music is the most important thing for getting DJ gigs and exposure. We also know we have to finish music fast to release music on a more regular and consistent basis. This is a hard thing to do if you are under a label, because they are more interested in their needs as a business than yours. Rarely will they release your new music every 3 to 4 weeks, as they have other artists that will be more of a priority, and they have other overheads and task to concentrate on.
I would recommend self-releasing and starting your own label; get a name you can protect via trademark (depending on how serious you are) and find a third party to distribute your music on platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Beatport, and more. They help take away the workload of making sure your music has the right sound specifications to publish on those platforms and do all the annoying paper work etc.
You can use services like:
I also recommend reading this article below, written by Budi Voogt from Heroic Academy:
This will help you understand more about music distribution and the music industry.
I would like to know your successes so far in your career. What has worked for you?