It took me a long time to develop a workflow and work routine that was consistent and that I could commit to on an ongoing basis. It takes a massive amount of momentum to see any sort of real, sustainable success in the music industry. For this reason, developing a workflow that fits into your overall life and that you can commit to on an ongoing basis, is one of the most important parts of realizing success in music licensing and the music business.
I used to have a sort of two steps forward, one step back approach to making music. I would work really hard for a few months and make a little bit of progress and then inevitably start feeling burnt out and take a step back to rest and regroup. The first few years of my music licensing career I had very sporadic success as a result. I’d license several songs and then there were often long stretches where not much was happening. I’d then frantically go back to the drawing board, so to speak, and throw myself into the process of music making again, see some renewed success, slow down and take a break again and repeat the entire cycle over. This went on for several years as I was also juggling the duties of several internet businesses and different projects.
These days I have a much different and much more consistent approach to making music. It’s very simple and my workflow and creative process has become much more efficient and dialed in. I write and record one song a week and release one music video weekly. It’s still a lot of work, don’t get me wrong. I can easily spend 30 to 40 hours a week or more, mixing, rehearsing, writing and video editing. But it’s a schedule that I can commit to regularly without getting burnt out doing. I still have plenty of time to manage my other duties and I really enjoy the time I spend making music. And if takes me ten days to finish a track instead of seven, it’s not the end of the world. I simply aim for averaging a song a week.
A lot of people ask me how many songs they should be aiming to record weekly and monthly, and like a lot of things related to music licensing, there are many variables. It depends on what kind of music you’re making, how efficient you are at writing and recording, what your goals are, etc. But really, the most important variable, is you. By that I mean, it comes down to what you can commit to, how skilled and motivated you are and so forth. I like the song a week model because, after a lot of trial and error, this is the schedule that feels right to me. My goal is to consistently make music and put it out into the world, without getting burnt out or stressed about it. There are enough stressful things in the world right now that the least thing I want music to be is a source of stress or frustration.
Aim to setup your schedule and life in a way that you’re excited about and brings you more joy than stress. If making a living from music if your goal, you’re going to be doing it a long time, so make sure you’re creating a workflow that’s sustainable and enjoyable. If you’re pushing yourself to the point of burn out you’re not going to be able to sustain that.
What is your workflow like? Do you have a set amount of songs you record each week or month? Have you given this issue much thought? One of the keys to success is consistency. Just keep showing up and putting in the work. There’s a lot that’s out of our control in the music business, but the one thing you we do control entirely, is our output. And like I’ve said before, more songs will generally lead to more licensing opportunities and more money. In my own experience, I've seen my licensing income go up significantly over the last several years as I've simply been writing and recording a lot more music. It's sort of a no brainer. More songs = more licensing opportunities.
I’ve also been ramping up my efforts on Youtube ever since the pandemic started and have been releasing new music videos each week. Here’s my latest effort, a video for my song “Everything Is Going To Be Alright”, shot in the Caribbean during lockdown with my quarantine project, Bandits Of The Apocalypse. Check it out and be sure to subscribe to my Youtube Channel here.
The blog of musician and thinker of deep thoughts, Aaron Davison.