Is it more important to have a long list of songs at hand or to write the best of the charts? In this post, learn when quality or quantity comes first and how to find the perfect balance between the two.
by CHARLOTTE YACHTS by soundfly
To play an open mic, you can start with a song, but two is preferable. To play an opening set for a headliner, you will need 25-30 minutes of material. To headline, you need at least one 50 minute set. To secure a place in a restaurant, you will need at least two series of 45-50 minutes.
A single is just a song (unless you add a B-side). An EP (or extended play record) is a “medium length” collection or album of 4-6 songs, while an LP (or extended play record) is generally considered an album with a collection of 7 or more songs, most commonly 8-12
And then there’s the “always difficult” second album to consider.
To be a working songwriter, you can see that you need a lot of songs once you poke your head over the parapet. You can also imagine a pattern for launching recorded songs; multiple singles, a trampoline EP, an album that you can consider making as a physical product to sell at your shows, where you need to be able to play a live set or two.
But you also need an ongoing process to generate enough material to fill both your live sets and release schedules, so being able to write multiple songs is a must. Then, of course, you have to make sure that the songs you write have enough quality to release or perform in front of an audience.
Once the ball gets rolling with any growing career, it can be very difficult to secure writing time when posters need to be printed, spots need to be reserved, and those carefully coveted interviews and live broadcasts need to happen, not to mention the many routine tasks associated with the promotion and production of indie music such as answering emails, changing guitar strings or pedal batteries…
You know where I’m going with this.
Although there are many you should Y “must do” in this burst, it all boils down to this: No songs, no concerts. There are no good songs, there are no repeated concerts. No new songs, no audience or catalog development.
Quantity It’s very important. The number of finished songs he writes allows him to connect and reconnect with various audiences. But better quality The songs are attracting larger audiences, more demanding audiences and starting to catch the attention of people in the music business, from studio operators to music media, producers and playlist curators.
Better quality songs move you up the ladder, allowing your career opportunities to expand as doors open.
And yet it is both quality Y quantity that are necessary for their professionalization.
+ Read more about Flypaper: “6 Bad Songwriting Habits and How to Break Them”.
Here are a couple of examples of how the quantity and quality of songs can work at their highest level.
To create michael jackson suspenseproducer quincy jones auditioned 600 songs to come up with the final 12 tracks. Lots of song selection to get the quality of the material and create a quality hit record.
Improving your song can start with one word. Here’s to the multi-award winning genre-crossing producer. Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Dixie Chicks, System of A Down, Johnny Cash) in an interview with Tim Ferriss.
Tim Ferries: “When you’re working with an artist who thinks they can’t do something, or they’re just hitting that wall, what are some of the ways you help them get through that?”
Rick Rubin: “Usually I give them homework, a small, doable task. I will give you an example. There was an artist that she was working with recently who hadn’t made an album in a long time and was struggling to get anything done. And, I just had this: It was a version of a writer’s block… But, he would give her very doable tasks that almost felt like a joke.
“Tonight, I want you to write a word, in this song that needs five lines, that you can’t finish, I just want a word that you like, by tomorrow, do you think you could find a word? And usually he would say yes, I think I can say a word. And, very quickly, breaking it to pieces… and roughing it up, one step at a time, you really can get through anything.”
Here are some ideas on how to work on both the amount Y the quality of the songs you write.
1. Write regularly.
Find its way of being habitual in the composition of songs in all the stages. Brainstorming is as valuable as playing the guitar or experimenting with a rhyme scheme. There is no magic formula, but you will have your own way of creating songs. Prioritize it. Regular writing means that you will have more chances to get things done. Create momentum: progress over perfectionism. Start with one word or line a day, if that helps.
2. Develop a support system
Don’t rely on motivation out of the blue. Support yourself by setting up things that help you write and minimizing the ones that don’t. (You know what I want to say!). Divert your resources to have room to write/sing/play/think about your songs. Save time and build a team that helps you achieve more. Include people in your ecosystem who are like-minded and understand what you’re trying to do.
3. Invest in your own creativity.
Think about what you absorb and consume that feeds your muse. Find and follow what inspires you, what excites you, what excites you and surround yourself with it. Whether it’s a deep dive into a particular artist’s catalog, reading a successful writer’s biography, or hearing “how I wrote bla bla bla” podcasts, help your creativity flow.
Remember, the goal here is to write a amount of songs finished in a quality you have confidence
4. Organize a feedback loop of people whose ears you trust and whose opinions propel you from good to great.
Keep this loop small and tight. You also want specific feedback, rather than an “oh, that’s great” or “it sucks, dude.” This can be challenging, but ultimately you get to choose which feedback items to use for the review.
Collaboration allows you to interact with other composers of different skills and styles. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. And that helps (a lot). This shows you what you can do, but also highlights your blind spots; areas where you may be less fluent.
6. Invest in improvement.
Continuous learning in any area of your musicality will help you write songs. Take a course on Soundfly, for example, on vocal production, beat making, either contemporary Harmony, It’s another way to fill your cup. There are also a host of opportunities in terms of songwriting workshops, retreats and classes now available, which can introduce you to new ways of working or thinking about songwriting that you can use in your own practice. Most importantly, it keeps you open to evolve.
Quantity and quality are not at odds with the approach of top-level artists. Quantity and quality intertwine, hand in hand. It’s not a bad idea to have it at the forefront of your songwriting journey.
charlotte yachts is an independent singer-songwriter from New Zealand with a growing catalog of seven solo releases and thirteen collaborative projects. He composes music for television, theater and short films, and offers a songwriting training service, Songdoctor. Charlotte is a Soundfly mentor, click here to work with her on her craft of songwriting, lyrics, and melodies.