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One of the Biggest Ways to Stay Mediocre in Music

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So I read an article today on VICE that was all about how aspiring EDM DJs have got it all wrong – they don’t actually spend time producing music.

The piece basically goes into how most new up-and-coming artists spend more time trying to market themselves as the next big thing than they do trying to create actual music.

And it’s interesting because the EDM DJs that are most popular all have some element of their own music production within their sets.

And let’s be real – that’s really the only way you’ll differentiate yourself from everyone else trying to be a DJ.

I’m not gonna lie – I got caught up in this early on in my music career and I didn’t spend enough time creating new music, but instead trying to be the next biggest online promoter.

I learned the hard way – that’s NOT what’s most important.

The most important thing you can focus on in your music career is the fuckin music itself.

Everything else will fall into place with a little bit of work, but only if your music is on point. You need to be amazing.

The best marketing in the world is still word-of-mouth. And the only way to get word-of-mouth marketing that matters is to have amazing music.

So if you want to really build a music career – whether you’re a DJ, singer, rapper, producer or anything in between – you need to get off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, blogs (like this one), forums.. blah blah blah… and work on making new, better and more share-worthy music.

I’m not saying ignore all that other stuff completely. There’s no doubt you need to push yourself and your product if you want people to hear it, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus.

You should be focused on mastering your craft. And your craft is not marketing (unless you want to open up a marketing agency).

If you find yourself spending more time promoting your music, than practicing or making it – you’re gonna stay a mediocre artist.

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How to Make it Happen

It’s really easy to get caught up in social media marketing – especially now since it’s literally a part of our daily lives. So here’s some tips on how to get more of the things done that you need to be doing.

Make a Schedule & Stick to It

Make a Schedule

One thing I’ve started doing recently is scheduling out my day.

I know.. schedules suck. But real talk, it’s one of the only ways you’re gonna get real shit done on the daily. Most musicians work for themselves. They may have jobs, but when it comes to working on music, they’re working on their own.

And it’s really easy to let yourself slide – watch TV, browse the net, fuck around and do nothing, etc.. – especially if you don’t stick to a schedule.

So make a schedule where you have set times daily to do the following:

  • make new music
  • practice your instrument or practice singing to become better
  • learn something new about business or making music
  • promote yourself
  • work/school (if you have to)

Wake Up as Early as You Can

It’s really easy to get overwhelmed. There’s a lot of stuff you have to do on the regular and you have to wear a lot of hats as an independent music artist.

So try to wake up as early as you can every single day. You know most successful artists and business people get up at 6:00am or even earlier so they can get as much work time in everyday as possible.

I know.. a lot of creative types are night-owls, spending late nights in the studio working on music. But just try it out sometime. Wake up as early as you can every day – even if you spend a late night in the studio.

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Get Your Health Right

This doesn’t sound like it matters to making music but it surprisingly does.

Recently I read the memoir that Timbaland wrote “Emperor of Sound” and the one thing he said that really stuck out was about his health.

Have you ever seen the Fade to Black movie Jay-Z did? Timbaland is in it and he’s pretty big… And he talked about how him not being healthy really affected his music production, his schedule and his overall productivity in life.

He said it made him less creative. And then LL Cool J told him something along the lines of

Get your health right, and the rest of your life will fall into place

Now, timbo is the world’s greatest producer to me. He’s the best hands-down, no questions asked. So when he says something I take it as gospel.

So take some time to exercise and eat a shit ton of healthy foods. Get your body and mind working like a machine and you’ll see amazing things in your life happen.

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Get Some Help

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of work to do in this business. Especially as an independent. And any successful artist you see out there doesn’t do everything on their own. They have a strong team in place that help them take everything to the next level.

If you have fans, family that support you a lot or any friends that you kick it with on the daily – try and get their help. Give them an incentive if you have to (take them out to lunch or dinner now and then or something).

But if you have someone who can help you with the social media updates, the radio outreach and the rest of the promotion it’ll free up your time to make and practice music.

It’s a huge time saver. Remember, the music is most important for you – the artist/DJ. So offload the other stuff onto someone else if you can.

Make sure it’s someone you trust.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, you just have to spend time making music. But not just making any old music – you need to be making amazing music.

Everyone’s a DJ. Everyone’s a rapper/singer. Everyone makes beats. So you need to be better than everyone.

Do that, and you’ll make it in the music business.

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    About The Author:

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    Omar Zulfi

    Omar Zulfi is a music producer, rapper, singer, songwriter and digital entrepreneur. He is the founder and head writer at Deviant Noise. Learn more about what he's doing by clicking here.