Five Lessons Learned After a Year of Music Releases

Time flies.

It’s been a year since I started to release songs through Spotify, Apple MusicDeezer, YouTube, Amazon, and iHeart Radio among many other outlets and stores.

I released 21 songs since October 2017.

A spoken-word record will be released in the near future.

I decided to do things differently with the latter. I decided to do the project in Spanish, my first language. I don’t know where it’s going to lead me, but I’m happy with the product. It’s a record that will have some of my favorite poems, in spoken-word format with a dark ambience. It’s a recollection of past experiences and memories that are here to stay, for better or worse. Please see below the following five lessons of the year.

What I learned after a year:

  • Developing your style takes time: I enjoy music. I enjoy creating it and listening to the finished product. The problem is to narrow down your style because if you are like me, you have the need to create different styles, a thirst to explore. From Hip-hop to Black Metal, and everything in between. If you haven’t mastered your niche, per se, you’ll be getting closer with each song. I’m not sure about other artists out there, however, all I know is that I am a creator, and for now, exploring different colors and textures its okay. Perhaps you really know what you like to do and can narrow it down to a style. Right now, however, I’m enjoying the process of getting there. Kudos to you if you already achieved this milestone.

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  • Listen and study songs outside your main genres: I’m forever grateful with my grandparents because they showed me their passion with music, and why they like their songs. I started to acquire a taste for old songs in Spanish during my late teens, and at the same time, my grandfather started to enjoy Black Metal as time passed by. It feels awesome when your grandpa says, “I really like this Gorgoroth band you listen to.” Listening closely to other genres outside your main ones is a great thing to do, don’t be afraid to try something new. Your favorite band could be the next one suggested by your algorithms or your friends.
person holding cassette
Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com
  • Expensive equipment will not make you better: It’s cool to have the ultimate home-studio if you can afford it. However, even if you have analog equipment, such as EQ’s and Compressor units, a couple of USA boutique guitars here and there, and more plugins that your iMac can handle, owning all of that won’t make you a better player or producer. The best equipment that you’ll have at your disposal are two things: your skill, and your drive to learn. Focus on the basics, and learn to use what you have. Invest in yourself by becoming more skilled. Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands on the newest iMac Pro, perhaps invest half of that money to learn your DAW inside out. I’m no expert with my tools, but I’m doing small investments here and there to make the most of it.
man wearing black crew neck shirt holding white keyboards
Photo by Hallux Makenzo on Pexels.com
  • It’s hard to make a living with music alone: Know that Spotify pays about 1/4 of a penny per stream. It takes plenty of streams to make 1 dollar. Do the math if you wish. However, I decided to invest on my craft with the unconscious goal of recovering some of my investments, without obsessing about the numbers. At the end, my ultimate goal is not to make money, I do this because I have to. I have a need to create something that captures my emotions.
working business money coins
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com
  • Do it for the love of the craft: If you really like recording, mixing or producing music, do it because you can’t help yourself. If you worry about making unrealistic amounts of money, the process won’t be enjoyable. Of course, the latter can be falsified if you have the resources, time, and contacts to market your music. It is possible to make a living out of it, but understand that you’ll need a plan and plenty of energy. Life situations can also affect your musical output. I go to school full-time, work part-time, and about to start an internship this week. I’ll be doing everything but music, however, every moment I have, I dedicate it to the craft. Even if is just one hour a week, when I grab my guitar, the wait and the stress is worth all the struggles and time commitments. Make music and release it. Let the sound speak for you, and the money will follow. At least that’s how I see it because I’m preparing for a career.
black headset hanging on black and gray microphone
Photo by Barthy Bonhomme on Pexels.com

That’s it for now. I’m excited for the unwritten songs and unexplored ideas waiting to be discovered. I hope to release more than 21 songs by October 2019. Time will tell.

If you would like to support what I do, sharing my music with 3 of your friends on social media (or better yet, in-person) is all I ask from you. Follow me on all streaming platforms if you wish. Give this post a like if you listened to a song or two. Bonus points if you leave a comment below with your feedback.

Thank you for your time,

Ernesto

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3 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Jordan Hall and commented:
    Everyone learns at different paces, but these are some really good points here: Be patient, study your craft, ignore the paycheck, love the work. I’ve hit on a few of these pillars, but Ernesto pointed out some that I overlooked.

    Liked by 1 person

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