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Pop Song Structure Ideas-How to Write a Pop Song That Sells

Pop song structure refers to the fitting together of different musical sections. It should be catchy and linger in someone’s mind. Pop songs tend to be shorter and bring in choruses far quicker than other genres of music. This is because the chorus is the most catchy part of the song and pop songwriters want the listener to hear it as soon as possible.

Pop song

Good pop songs should stand out regardless of the production behind them. Whether it’s sung with a piano or has a fully produced studio instrumental behind it, the core of the song should be simple and easy to remember. Sometimes production can add even more hooks and melodies through other instruments. This will only enhance your pop song further.

What is the typical structure of a pop song?

The pop song structure can take varying forms but will typically involve a verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus structure.

A 3-minute pop song at 120 bpm will have 360 bars. However, this can vary significantly from song to song depending on its structure and tempo. There is no fixed limit for how many bars make up an individual section either so this can change a lot.

A verse is usually between 8 or 16 bars. Sometimes verses can be really short, around 4 bars, in order to bring the chorus in sooner. A shorter verse is usually more effective with a pre-chorus section because otherwise, the song will be really short. You can also cut down a second verse to around half of the first. This is especially the case if your verse is longer, around 16 bars, because the listener may not be as engaged the second time around.

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Song structure examples

Introduction – The intro is a crucial part of the pop song structure as you will want to get the attention and interest of the listener straight away.

Verse – A verse provides listeners with more insight. It leads to the main message of the song whilst advancing the story.

Pre-chorus – A pre-chorus fits in between the verse and chorus, changing the mood to build up anticipation for the chorus.

Chorus – The chorus repeats both musically and lyrically. It is the ‘pay off’ component of the song which listeners tend to be waiting for.

Verse, pre-chorus & chorus – The verse, pre-chorus and chorus typically repeat with an added arrangement. The second verse can be shorter than the first so that you get to the chorus quicker.

Bridge – The bridge can provide a tool to break up the repetitive effect of jumping back and forth between the verse and chorus.

Break – An instrumental break is an instrumental or percussion section within the song which breaks up the pop song structure. It is optional but can be used effectively within a song to build anticipation and grab our attention.

Final chorus – A song will start to wrap up with the last chorus after a bridge or break. It could be repeated twice at the end, sometimes including a drop chorus to contrast with a big ending.

Outro – The outro is the closing segment. The song will often fade or break down to a simple beat or melody.

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How to write a pop song that sells 

First, you must choose what kind of song you want to write. Even within pop, you have plenty of options from which to choose. Will it be a big ballad, slow and gentle, fast and dancey, or low key. This can always change as you’re writing it but it’s good to have an idea in your mind from the start. Then start to come up with different ideas for different sections and start looking at piecing it together.

It’s best to sit down with a piano to start writing your pop song. You’ll be able to create chords with one hand and experiment with melodies on the other. It doesn’t have to be a massive grand piano. You can use a keyboard or keyboard controller that can play the piano through your computer. This will typically be through a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). If you want to know more about DAWs then you might want to do some research on home recording studios.

What makes a pop song successful?

A catchy song is one that sticks in the minds of its listeners. And that’s the song that sells, both directly to fans and to companies who might pay to use your tunes. The catchiness of a song is dependent on how easy it is to remember and how it makes someone feel. The song doesn’t even have to be played for it to get stuck in someone’s head and even humming it can cause it to spread from one person to another.

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Music and productivity: Trends in modern work ethic

Music I remember, back when I was in 10th grade, I would put on my earphones while solving math problems. I mostly heard pop and hip hop tracks. Those times were really fun, I would just get in my zone and do questions with ease. And I scored well, too.

Music

Above all, my office colleagues working in creative writing also put their headphones on, but occasionally. Seems like music may boost productivity. Let us find out.

What you need to know

Furthermore, the notion that music brings productivity is not new. A 1993 study suggests that listening to Mozart before taking the “spatial-temporal reasoning” section of an IQ test showed better performance. Rather, this looks like a purported fact. Listening to Mozart improves an individual’s mood. Better mood results in better productivity. A meta-analysis stated that the music had little to no effect on performance.

A recent study examined 56 software engineers in two scenarios: working in silence vs. working while listening to music. They observe that there are improvements in mood and quality of work in the latter scenario. One small study found increased mood and concentration on a reading task while listening to Baroque music. Another study found increased productivity while listening to background music for a repetitive task.

Seems like music can improve productivity. Performance is mostly dependent on a good mood and lesser or no distractions.

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Make your OWN playlist

Most researchers agree on one thing: music enhances productivity when you really love what you’re hearing. So definitely avoid the music you hate. Different people have different tastes. I am listening to hip hop since 8th grade, mostly commercial. Recently I have Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, and Kanye in my playlist. So it boils down to your personal choices. Even more, people having reading, comprehension and writing tasks can benefit from hip hop. It increases your knowledge of metaphors and vocabulary. Of course, you should exclude the cuss words from your vocabulary. Let’s finish this piece here.

One study states that listening to tracks whose lyrics you understand decreases performance. A study was conducted comprising 334 middle-school students sitting for a reading comprehension test. It ends with the conclusion that top Billboard bangers decreased scores.

So keep in mind that you can listen to tracks you enjoy as long as it isn’t too familiar. Also, I would not prefer those tracks which are lyric-oriented.

Music and work type

During my college days, I had a subject called “engineering drawing”. To be honest, my major in college never fascinated me. Above all, I had to make 12 drawings of engineering components during those six months. Each drawing took 3-4 hours of my life and happiness. So I turn on my “ecstatic” playlist to keep myself going.

Each work differs from the other. Labor work requires physical robustness. On the other hand, creative work like graphic designing requires vivid imagination. Each work requires unique levels of concentration.

Most of the research drawing relationship between music and work has been on repetitive tasks. Which makes complete sense. It is also noted that complex music distracts the mind where high levels of concentration are needed, such as reading test and puzzles. Therefore, if your work is repetitive and boring, upbeat and complex music will keep you aware and inspired. If your work needs problem-solving and creativity, low-tempo and simpler music will help avoid distractions.

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Music and the “reward” pathway

The emotions we go through, all have a chemical basis to it. Whether you are joyful, ecstatic, successful, sad or angry, the body releases the respective chemicals (hormones). When we listen to music that we enjoy, the brain activates the reward (or dopamine) pathway. It is the same hormone that is released when we consume food or do exercise. The dopamine release is at its peak when there is an overwhelming emotional response to the music.

A recent study concluded that the same parts of our brain are activated while listening to music that is activated while “eating chocolate, having sex and consuming drugs”. That being said, “whistling while you work” seems like the oldest hack to boost productivity. In a nutshell, music enhances awareness and rewards you for a job well done.

Music and noise

So far we have looked at the effects of music, but what about noise?

Studies have found that background noise, such as ceiling fans and low to moderate traffic, increased creativity. Now I wonder why many writers emerge with unique ideas at coffee shops. On the other hand, loud and uncomfortable noise such as machinery and crowded places kill focus and decrease productivity.

A lot of research emphasizes the benefits of nature sounds, such as chirping birds and ocean waves. As these sounds are calm and serene, they “naturally” improve mood and hence, performance. This is an intuitive fact. We are in many ways connected to nature and the cosmos. It is only the five elements of nature that are keeping us alive. You take one of them, you drop dead. So these nature sounds connect us more with the vital life energies. Of course, taking a walk in the park has the same effect.

Ambient noise is a viable option if you find your music distracting. In fact, research says that ambient nature sounds have a better tendency to lower stress as compared to silence or even classical music. Hence, switch to ambient noise if music distracts you.

Finally, the research on science between music and productivity is still on a beginner level, but it is fascinating. We hope to see more eye-catching studies on this, till then, study yourself and find out your taste. You can even create a new playlist and update it regularly. Be happy with what you do, and keep hustling.

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Trademarking Your Artist Name as a Singer

Trademarking your artist name as a singer or musician is worth considering. Especially if you’re going places in the industry. It gives you the exclusive right to create, record and release music in that name. This protects your brand and prevents duplicates.

Trademarking

Trademarking your artist name as a singer or musician

The music industry is a business. As such, if you’re ‘trading’ in the music industry, you may decide to register the right to use your business name. This protects your brand, which is especially useful if another singer comes along and tries to steal your thunder.

Or if someone pretends to be you. It means you also have the right to your name on social media and on websites – meaning you can campaign to have any duplicates that arise, shut down. If you do go ahead, you’ll be able to use the ® symbol next to your name to show that it’s trademarked.  

Trademarking is similar to copyright in that it’s about rights. But trademarks must be registered. Whereas copyright is automatically granted to the creator or owner of an original piece of work. Copyright protects artistic works, whereas trademarking applies to all industries.

And copyright lasts a lifetime whether or not the creator is still active in that field. However, the registered owner of a trademark must continue to use the name and brand, to be eligible to maintain registration. 

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Do you need to trademark your artist name? 

No. It is not compulsory to do so and many artists never do so. However, if you’re serious about a recording career and have your sights set on big success in the music industry, it may be a good idea. If you don’t and someone else comes along after you and trademarks the same name as yours, they may be able to stop you using your name to make music.

If you’ve already had thousands of downloads and garnered hundreds of followers on each social media channel, this is a problem. You may be made to stop using your name and fans will struggle to find you.  

So if you do decide to trademark your name, the sooner you do it the better. Depending on your name a duplicate scenario may be unlikely though. We’ll take a look at who should and shouldn’t be trademarking their name, shortly.  

Can two music artists have the same name? 

Yes. There’s nothing to stop this. But therein lies the problem. Imagine plugging away for years, building up and reputation and following, only to find another musician arrives on the scene with the same name. This would confuse your fans and may result in them being redirected to the other musician’s tracks and ticket sales. Worse still, if they act inappropriately, or offend influential people in the music industry, you may be tarred with the bad reputation too.  

You may have heard about actors having to change their name because someone else was already registered with the same one. This is because the British actors union, Equity, only allows one registration by each name. So if yours is already taken by a living member, you must create a new one to join.

But this is not the case for the Musicians’ Union, as not all members are working in the same field or genre. It doesn’t matter if you, as a rock singer, have the same name as a cellist for example.  

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Should an artist trademark their name? 

If you’re considering trademarking your name, here are the factors to take into account when making the decision.  

  1. Are you planning a high profile career by yourself? If, for example, you gig on a part-time basis and teach music the rest of the time, it may not be worth the hassle and outlay. 
  2. Are you a solo artist, or part of a band? If you’re part of a group, is it worth trademarking your name as an individual? Similarly, if your band is taking off, you should think about trademarking the band.  
  3. Can you afford it? There will be fees involved, which we’ll explain further into the article. 
  4. How unique is your name? If you have a super unusual name and self-manage a relatively low profile career, it’s probably not necessary.  
  5. Do you sell merch, have a domain name, and big streaming/album sales? If so, you need to protect your overall brand, of which name is a part. So a trademark is sensible. 
  6. What’s your role? If you’re a bassist in a band or a session guitarist, it may not be relevant to trademark your own name. Not all working musicians operate as a business brand in the way a solo artist or pop band would do.  

Trademark database – how to check if a business name is trademarked  

Before you can trademark your name, check if it’s already taken. The UK government website has a search tool for trademarks. As well as checking here, it’s worth researching whether any other – non-trademarked – artists are operating in your name. They may not have a copyright. But if they’re already out there and prolific in music, it may be worth changing your name to avoid confusion. When searching, also check similar spellings to yours (ie. Katy and Katie, Girls and Girlz). 

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How Not Being Tech-Savvy Can Hurt Your Music Career

Hurt When I think of my strengths as a musician, a lot of skills pop up. Yet, none of them have anything to do with tech. The more I strive to create impactful music in a world that’s increasingly reliant on and fluent with technology, the more I realize there’s a growing deficit in my musical skill-set that needs addressing, and I’m not alone.

Hurt

No matter what kind of music you create in 2020, technology is almost certainly bound to be involved in some way. Whether you use DAWs to write, record, mix with, or share music online through a distributor, tech is integral. A lack of tech literacy hurts musicians of all stripes. Not only that, but the problem will only get worse for the ones that fail to address it.

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How bad tech habits can keep us from creating and succeeding

“You badly need to work on your digital file management skills,” my fiancée explained as she scoured my hard drive. After trying to access old music sessions with a new computer and external hard drive, plugins crucial to my tracks mysteriously stopped working, so I asked her to investigate. This is taking away from valuable songwriting time, I thought to myself as she clicked through my files. But the truth is that since I currently rely on my computer to write, produce, and record, my creative process is at the mercy of the technology I use. Knowing how to address tech issues on my own will make my life easier and far more productive as a musician and will keep me from being nagged from my better, tech-savvy half.

A strong approach to digital file management is never going to be as sexy as having a haunting singing voice or being able to come up with memorable melodies. However, ignoring it and other musical tech skills end up making music much harder to write. The more barriers we place between us and our ability to create music, the less time and passion we’ll be able to put towards our processes. This idea is similar to musicians who prioritize having instruments and equipment easily accessible versus those who don’t.

Being able to understand how technology impacts our music-making processes means being spared time-sucking frustrations that make arriving at the point of being able to create difficult to get to. The benefits of knowing your way around musical tech don’t stop at the writing process.

In 2020, tech literacy in music helps musicians do things such as having smoother soundchecks, creating better-produced music, and gaining a clearer understanding of how audiences interact with their songs. It’s not easy if you’re a musician like me that isn’t naturally geared towards tech. But the good news is that it’s never been easier to learn.

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How to empower yourself musically through technology

For me, one of the first steps towards addressing my music-related tech issues is realizing that doing so is an essential part of my career that I need to reserve time for. If you’re anything like me, wanting to skip the non-musical parts of my music career and skip straight to the writing, recording, and producing parts is understandable. However, doing so ends up hurting my work in the long-run whether I’m rehearsing for shows or setting out to work on a new collection of songs.

Tech’s relationship with music is extremely broad, so the things I need to focus on in order to improve will probably be a lot different than yours. Rather than dropping everything and entirely focusing on improving my tech skills, I’m planning on addressing my issues one at a time to not get overwhelmed.

The good news is that there’s an unfathomable amount of resources online for musicians who need help finding their technological footing, from tutorials to message boards to customer service teams ready to dispense advice and walk you through issues. It takes a lot of work, but if you can extend some of the curious energy you (hopefully) devote to your songwriting, you’ll end up learning a lot. Even tech-savvy musicians struggle with their computers and gear from time to time, so it’s important to remember that no one is perfect. How well we continue to adapt to the tools we use to create, perform, and share music with will inevitably impact our work.

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5 Ways To Get Press Without PR Or A Publicist

In today’s music industry, it’s very possible to get great press without a publicist. However, the challenge is getting noticed when there is so much music being released every day. Publicity is very important as it exposes you to a larger audience and gets you real, engaged followers as they find you from more trustworthy and credible resources.PublicistIn that sense, press coverage in today’s world would include getting into traditional media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, and radio. Of course, there are also newer outlet types, such as blogs and other online channels, but in this blog post, I’d like to offer five tips to get press in the traditional media outlets without a  publicist.

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1. Write a Press Release and Send it Early

Having a press release is probably the most important component of reaching out to the press. Not only does it do the ‘talking’ for you for your music, but journalists also love copying the press release and using it to create entire articles as it saves them time and effort. In the case of an interview, it is a great tool for them to prepare questions and educate themselves about your project.

You should ideally prepare and send your press release three months before your release. This gives enough time for journalists to pitch stories to their editors. Sometimes they might ask you to remind them closer to the release. This is totally okay. Better to be early than late to the game.

The press release should be no longer than a page and should have all the ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘where,’ and ‘who’ information about your project.

2. Create an Electronic Press Kit (EPK)

An Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is a great tool to showcase yourself, as it’s a great way to accumulate all the essential information under one package. This way, if someone looks you up, they can just access the EPK and find all the information they need. The EPK should include your best 2-3 songs, your short bio, a video, social links, and your contact information.

3. Contact local and international press

Most of us would love to get coverage in major media outlets, but they are also the most competitive and it is often really hard to get coverage on these outlets as an independent artist. Fortunately, there is local and international press who still have a sizable audience and can help you get solid coverage if you use it right.  You should gather a long list of local and international publications that are relevant to you. College and university press outlets are also great for local resources.

Then, you should track down the email addresses of writers. When you contact them, you should send them a personalized message rather than a mass email. Also, you should engage with them on social media and follow their accounts. This will help them put a face to your name and also show that you’re willing to go the extra mile.

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4. Have engaged, up-to-date social media accounts

Social media is a great way for journalists to understand the way you interact with the world. Having a video page offers them content that they can use when they publish an article and interview about you. Having your content polished, tagged, and ready to go makes the journalist’s job easier!

5. Develop a pitch of your project

If you had 20 seconds to pitch yourself to a famous person in an elevator ride, how would you do it? Develop a pitch for yourself like this when reaching out to the press. Who are you? What is your music like? Which artists do you sound like? (X meets Y meets Z).  Answer these questions in less than 20 seconds. You can use your pitch as the basis of your press release and your EPK.

Final Words

After preparing your package and sending it to the press, you might not get a response. If that happens, it’s okay to follow up about a week later. Chances are, you will get a response from the follow-up. The other thing is that your email should be brief and concise. I highly suggest keeping it at two paragraphs at most. Again, let your press release and EPK do the talking.

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How to Sing With Energy: 10 Power Tips

Sing  If you don’t sing with energy, your performance may not be very inspiring. The audience may not always realise why they’re not connecting, but it could be because you lack any kind of oomph. Some singers have a very laid back, relaxed style. But usually, they’ll still be putting effort into it and singing in an energetic way, even if you can’t see it. It’s often more about the hidden technique.

Sing

However, if you want to sing lively pop numbers like Justin Bieber or Katy Perry, you’ll need bags of energy both in your vocals and in your physical performance too.

vocal energy definition – what is vocal energy?

When identifying vocal energy, there are a few factors we may hear and look out for.

  • A bright tone
  • A loud sound (but not one that is forced)
  • The ability to move between notes rapidly and easily
  • Powering from the breath/diaphragm

The opposite of vocal energy is a sluggish, lazy effect. It’s not about whether you sing fast or slow, but rather how you sing. Your capacity to sing with energy and power may be partly down to your physiological make-up – notably the cavities in your face and chest. But like range and tuning, it can all be worked upon and improved.

How can I get energy for my voice?

Microphones are a great way to bring you volume and amplification. Artists couldn’t possibly fill stadiums and sing with a live band without them. So if you have a softer sound you’re not going to miss out by not being blessed with a ‘big’ voice. But if you’ve ever been told you need to put more into it or lack effort when you sing, then you need to get more energy into that voice. And exactly how do you do it?

Power tip #1 – Visualise

For those who struggle to get themselves moving and getting going with a new regime, this is a great starter for ten. It can really help get you on your path to a more powerful voice. With many things in life – including singing – if you want to achieve something, it can help to visualise it first. Picture yourself singing your song, full of vigour, with a powerful gutsy sound. Imagine how that would feel and then believe it’s possible in reality. Try singing your song again with that feeling in mind. This technique will also help you to see what the end result could be. This will help to incentivise you when it comes to those next tips and steps that take a little more time and practice.

Vocal power tips for singers

The journey to power may start with the mind, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. It’s not enough just to think about it. You must also teach your body to sing in a new way, and that includes learning how to engage muscles you’ve never used before or better work out the ones you already have.

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Power tip #2 – Exercise

The body, mind and voice are all closely connected, especially when it comes to your core muscles. A strong core will help power your singing. So while we will get onto some vocal exercises, another step toward energetic performance is with a physical workout. There are many options from which to choose. Power yoga, pilates and swimming all help you get better lung strength, while cardio activities will bring stamina.

How do you sing with power when hitting notes?

Learning how to sing and hit high notes is a big topic in itself. By developing your range, you can bring more dynamism to your performance. And power is often most impressive when produced at very low or high frequencies. If you specifically learn to sing high notes with power, you can astound and enrapture audiences like so many famous artists. It’s generally easier to sing loud in your upper register, but the question is – how well you can do it. It’s no good having volume and power if it sounds unpleasant and screamy.

Power tip #3 – Open your throat and mouth

So the next tip for getting power into your vocals may be an obvious sounding one, but you’d be amazed how many singers forget or neglect it. Open your throat as you sing and open your mouth to let the sound out. Particularly when nervous, we can have a tendency to close up. This clips the flow of the notes and inhibits their release.

How to sing without strain

Strain arises when you sing from the place – namely your throat. Not only will tip number 3 help to release the sound, but it’ll help prevent strain also. But if you’re not using your throat to sing, which part of the body should you use?

Power tip #4 – Engage the diaphragm

This is the most important tool in your arsenal. Your diaphragm is your vocal powerhouse. Do you want volume, a steady tone and the ability to sing for hours? Get the diaphragm in shape. This also helps with fast energetic songs. Pulsing the diaphragm while singing a fast ‘ha’ ‘ha’ will get you trained for high octane pop and rap numbers. Long deep breaths followed by a sustained release of it across a note will undoubtedly produce a more powerful long note. But if you need to sing a fast song or rap, you’ll need to learn the art of snatching quick breaths too. Without enough breath, your voice will de-energise. So work out where you can grab some air in your song.

Power tip #5 – Practice in front of a mirror

This leads on from tips 3 and 4. By checking what you’re doing, you can monitor if you’re forgetting to open your mouth, or see your chest rising, rather than your diaphragm expanding. When you stand in front of the mirror have your feet planted hip-distance apart, with a tall spine, your shoulders down and your body relaxed. This neutral position is the best place from which to produce vocal power. While at ease, your whole body should be engaged.

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How to sing with power

If you long to fill a huge venue with your vocals like Adele or Lady Gaga, it could well be possible. Opera singers are known for their huge sound and ability to perform without a mic. They achieve this through years of training. Which brings us onto…

Power tip #6 – Do regular vocal warm-ups and voice exercises

Ultimately, there’s no quick fix. You need to work at it. Your voice will get stronger the more you sing. But you must do it properly. Our advice pages have lots of articles listing singing techniques and exercises you can do at home. Having a vocal coach to work with you will really help, but you can also follow online tutorials.

YouTube: How to sing with power 

YouTube is a great place to find top vocal coaches who’ll take you through the exercises and warm-ups needed to improve your voice.

Power tip #7 – Project to the back of the room 

Stand straight (as in tip 5), at one end of the room. The bigger the room you can use the better. As you sing, imagine your voice hitting the opposite wall. The theory is, if you do this, you’ll project to the size of the room. So if you’re in a huge space, still imagine your voice flowing to the very end of the room or auditorium. This way you’ll produce enough power to fit the venue.

Energy vocal tips for singers

Chances are you have some favourite singers who are always full of energy. You may wonder how they sound so vibrant, especially after a poor night’s sleep, or a long day in the studio.

Power tip #8 – Stay on the note

Singing flat is a telltale sign of a lack of energy. When we’re tired and our voices are dulled, it can be hard to reach for – and hit – the right notes. This results in a lazy sound that isn’t on form. So make sure your tuning is top-notch. You can use a piano, app or tuning device to help you hear if you’re off. You can find out some more tips on this specific issue in this article.

Power tip #9 – Diction

If you need to spit out your lyrics with energy, you’d better be on top of your diction. Sloppy enunciation will de-energise your song. Whereas crisp consonants will make it sound impressive and snappy. Understanding what you’re singing or rapping also helps your audience to engage. Even in slower songs where vowels may take centre stage, hitting your consonants will give it an edge. Work on your diction by doing daily tongue twisters at speed.

And finally…

Power tip #10 – Find an energy song 

Have a song or energy boost playlist that really gets you going. It should be something that gets you pumped and ready to go – the kind of song you’d listen to before – or during – a party. Numbers with a strong beat are best. Dance around, get your heart rate up and sing along. Harness that energy and take it on stage with you. Although singing needs energy, it also produces it. When you perform you often feel buzzier and energised. This is down to the adrenaline pumping around your body. But also down to the feelgood endorphins that come from the increased oxygen you’re taking in as you breathe deeply and release.

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I’ve Written a Great Song — Now What Should I do?

Written Fantastic! You’re already in possession of the raw materials needed for a successful career in composition. You may also be on the path to making it as a recording artist, but that will depend on whether you’re a singer, as well as a songwriter.

Written

Before you move into that territory though, you need to understand where your song fits. Ask yourself these questions…

What genre does my song belong to?

Which other artists around at the moment, write or record songs similar to mine?

Who – and where – is the audience for this song?

What setting is it suited to? (There are many options other than the charts – on the soundtrack of an indie movie, in an advert, as part of a jingle for example).

Is it definitely ready, or does it need some more work first?

Your song is ultimately a product in an industry. And so, you need to establish where you’ll market it and to whom before you make the next set of decisions. It’s not good to be vague. If you’re unsure about genre or audience, ask a professional or even better, research it yourself. As a musician, you should already have a familiarity with music types and contemporary artists.

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How do I sell a song that I wrote?

Here are some of the things you might like to do with your complete song:

  1. Record and perform it yourself. Then put it on streaming sites, social media and YouTube and play it at gigs – all of which can generate some income. You may want to hire someone to plug it for you.
  2. Collaborate with someone else – or several other musicians – who will sing and play on a recording of it. Then put it on streaming sites, social media and YouTube. They play it at gigs, but you retain a percentage of royalties and copyright as the composer. No one else will be able to legally do this without your permission (and usually, after paying you for that).
  3. Sell the rights to another artist, so they can record, release and perform it.
  4. Record it either with you or someone else singing and then submit it to sync agencies and music licensing companies. They then put in their library for TV, filmmakers and advertisers to check out. If one of their clients wants to buy the licence or sync for that track, you make money.
  5. Enter a competition. Although this isn’t a direct sale, there may be prize money involved And it’ll often get picked up for recording or licensing if you win. Check out legitimate websites like the Songwriters’ Guild for competitions. But be wary of scams and fake competitions. Check that websites are fully formed.

You should first register with PRS for music. This will protect you in terms of royalties, whichever route you take with your song next. And to ensure you own the copyright, you’ll need to have the song in some kind of electronic or hard copy format. The most reliable way to do this is to record it. Your first recording can be a rough version. Just make sure it’s down somewhere, to cement your right to it as the composer.

Submit music to A&R

These people will be some of the best contacts you can ever make. They sign and develop artists. So whether you’re wanting to make it big as a singer-songwriter, or to have your song used by an artist on the up, see whether you can connect to some A&R. This will be a challenge. Scouts and artist developers and busy and constantly have thousands of musicians knocking at their doors.

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How to sell songs to music publishers

Your rough recording will cover you for copyright. But it won’t do once you want to sell or promote the song. Now you need a professional standard version. If you have some good equipment, you may be able to do some or all of this in a home studio. However, in most cases, it’ll be worth investing in some studio time.

The amount of time you’ll need will depend on what’s involved in the track. A simple acoustic number with you singing and playing the guitar will probably be quick and easy to lay down. A layered, multi-faceted track with lots of instruments, backup singers and mixing will take longer.

The studio will be able to advise on the time you’ll need and their packages. Be sure to have a very clear plan of what you want to achieve and how you want your song to sound before you speak to them. If you have several songs you’re considering, you could make them as demos, then choose one to record fully.

Submit songs to music publishers 

You’ve got your finished track. It’s probably in a WAV format. You’ll need to convert it into an MP3 to be able to email and send it. When converting it, add metadata, namely the song’s title, your name and contact details (read how to do add metadata to a song here). And ALWAYS make back up copies of your track!

Next, you can either pitch to music publishers yourself or use a third-party site like ReverbNation. ReverbNation is one of the more useful pitching sites as it doesn’t just deal with one facet of song-selling. It covers gig, syncs, licensing and publishing. Some music publishing companies hire staff writers if they really like their work.

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To Gain A New Creative Perspective In Music

Despite our best efforts, creative stagnation and predictability are things we all experience as songwriters at some point in our careers. Working hard and pushing through works for some artists, but others need to bring real change into their processes in order to move forward. creative

Here are four ways to get a new musical perspective if you’re stuck and in search of a little creative inspiration:

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Take a trip to focus on music

If you’re in dire need of a new musical perspective, consider skipping your vacation and taking a trip focused on making music instead. Where and how we make music are factors that can siphon away our creative energy and suppress new ideas. Or, it can do just the opposite. Getting away for a week, month, or even longer can help us get back to our creative roots by giving us the space and freedom to explore new ideas. Yes, it’s expensive, and yes, not every musician can afford to do this. But for those who can, music-centered trips are well worth the investment.

Learn a new instrument

Remember back when you first learned how to sing, play the guitar, or drum? That early sense of frustration and limitless possibility might be exactly what you need to find a new musical perspective. Being able to easily play an instrument often means playing through the same tired ideas over and over again, but we don’t have that option when it comes to learning a new instrument. Toying around and picking up the basics on an unfamiliar instrument can expose us to new ideas and perspectives.

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Bring in new collaborators

Working with a new collaborator might be uncomfortable for some musicians, but it’s something that can add new life and meaning to your process. You or your band have developed a certain way of working if you’ve been making music for a long time, but a new person blows up that dynamic in a powerful way. Ideas you never would’ve thought of on your own can materialize out of nowhere simply by adding a new person into the mix.

Blow up your process

The way you do things in songwriting might feel comfortable, but comfort is often a bad thing when it comes to creativity. Changing your process in a significant way can shake up your songwriting world, whether it’s starting the process by singing without music or writing drum parts last if they’re what you typically do first. New instruments, experimenting with musical extremes like tempo and dissonance, or writing as minimally as possible are all good things to explore here, but the important thing to focus on is creating in ways that are exciting and unfamiliar.

Each of these tips are different, but all are focused on embracing newness, risk, and fun in your process. When the same old methods keep resulting in predictable results, it’s time to explore working in ways that are different to jumpstart our creativity in music.

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Managing Your Own Music Career

Career As a singer or musician, you have to be many things. Until you gain enough recognition – and make enough money – to hire a team or sign to a label, it’s all up to you. We understand this. It’s why our advice pages are packed with practical information on the various elements involved in making it as an artist, as well as articles about the creative aspects of music.

Career

Managing your music career, at first at least, will not be a choice. You’ll have to do it. And the better you are at it, the more your music will spread and become known. It might be the very best thing you could do for your career. Many big names have done it.

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What is music management? 

Music management has often been portrayed on TV and in the movies in a less than positive light. It’s true that the quality of management can vary hugely. There have been high profile stories of controlling managers like Elvis Presley’s Colonel Parker. And comic takes on amateurish attempts to manage, like Murray’s famous ‘band meetings’ in Flight of the Conchords.

To begin managing your own music career, you’ll need to know what’s involved. And the specifics will depend on the rung you’re on, on the musical ladder. But an overview of tasks you’ll need to do is:

  • Liaising with event promoters, publicity agents and talent-booking agencies
  • Generate, find and book paid and high profile gigs
  • Negotiate contracts, fees and ensure you’re paid
  • Come up with a career strategy including which songs to record and release
  • Develop a brand, including graphics, logos and the artist or band’s look
  • Deal with the media
  • Identify and contact influencers – big promoters and broadcasters and record companies
  • Run and manage PR campaigns (including social media)
  • Promote and market yourself
  • Organise backup singers, dancers and musicians as required
  • Plan and arrange tour logistics

How to start a career in the music industry

You may have read the list of tasks a music manager carries out and realise that you do some of these already. And many of the points – like tour arrangements – may not yet be relevant to you. But as you grow, these will become important too. The good news is, with the advent of social media and streaming, self-management as a musician became easier than ever.

Any manager taking on a new artist would want to get a really good understanding of their branding. And if you’re doing the job yourself it’s no different. You must consider factors such as which genre you fit into it, who your audience is, what kind of image you want to project and what name you’ll record and release under.

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How to be your own music manager

You no longer need the backing of a record label to get a following, although it does help. Neither will you have to spend a fortune on the services of others when you’re starting out. But you do need to accept that with these benefits, come expectations. Because musicians can manage themselves these days, everyone is doing it. So if you sit back and do nothing, you’ll be overtaken by another budding artist who is working hard to pick up gigs and promote themselves.

Music visionary and entrepreneur Dave Kusek of New Artist Model says:

“Today, artists need to be musical entrepreneurs. They need to develop their image and brand and know how to raise money and market their art. Often, if they don’t do it––it won’t get done. Artists have to realize that times have changed and they are responsible for their own success.”

Bookers will not be surprised that you’re managing your own career. Don’t feel awkward about asking for gigs and discussing money and contracts. You have to think with a business head, but never be harsh or mean. Those who are positive and nice do better in the industry. That doesn’t mean you can’t be firm. It’s about doing it in a way that’s professional and reasonable, but that leaves people wanting to work with you again.

How can I start a music career with no money?

Very easily. On a basic level, all you need is a smartphone. With this, you can record and edit videos of yourself singing. You can research, book gigs and contact people. You can build a website for free and you can start a social media marketing campaign. If you have access to a laptop it will make life much easier though. The kind of multi-tasking and organisation that’s needed in management, is much harder on a bigger screen with a full keyboard.

The caveat to getting started with no money is that you must be ready for a music career. This advice is only relevant to those who have really worked on their craft, formed their sound and know who they are as an artist or band. It’s no good being an ace manager if you don’t have an act that’s sellable.

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Building A Productive Songwriting Practice

The world has a romantic image of how music is made that often involves scenes of musicians caught up in moments of passion and despair expressing their emotions through music. Sure, this sort of thing does happen to some of us from time to time. Yet, the truth is that great music almost always takes hard, consistent work to make.

Songwriting

Inspiration is essential for creating music that connects with people. However, it’s up to us to be listening and ready for when it comes to us. That’s where the importance of a consistent, productive songwriting practice comes in. No matter who you are, making songwriting a part of your routine will result in you creating better music. Here are four tips for building a strong, fruitful practice:

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1. Sticking to a schedule will develop your skills and give you time to explore ideas

Writing when you feel like it will most likely result in little to no finished music. Some musicians are lucky enough to make ends meet through their art. But most o fus have jobs that require a great deal of our time and focus. Carving out time that’s purely devoted to creating gives you far more time to grow as a music-maker than you can have access to by only working when you’re inspired to.

Some musicians don’t set writing schedules because it can feel somewhat like a job, but that’s exactly the point. If you want the world to take your music seriously, you’ll need to work as consistently and productively as possible.

2. Remove distractions

Crying babies, nagging partners, and talkative roommates are examples of distractions that can thwart your songwriting practice. You won’t be able to create at your fullest potential if distractions pop up in your writing sessions unexpectedly. It’s not easy, but carving space for making music effectively demands planning ahead of time for distractions and removing them.

A good way to do this is by designating an area outside of your living space to be your studio. If you’re unable to do this, asking for space from the people you live with will have to do. Another thing to think about when it comes to distractions is your smartphone. Disabling the internet or leaving it another room is a great method to ensure a distraction-free songwriting practice.

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3. Choose a place that provides easy access to instruments and equipment

Having to unpack and set up your gear every time you play might seem inconsequential, but it can keep you from focusing and getting the most out of your time. You should strive to make music in a space that gives you instant access to the tools you need.

This will not only save you time but will also give you the best chance at capturing ideas that you come up with unexpectedly and instantaneously. If you want music to be a major part of your life, don’t make things harder than they have to be by hiding the tools you need to create it in a closet.

4. Have a recording device out and ready

Being able to record ideas as they happen is a crucial part of building a productive songwriting practice. Remember, we work around the ideas that come to us and not the other way around. It’s our job to be creatively ready and available to recognize ideas when they materialize, which is the whole point behind sticking to a consistent songwriting practice. Having a recording device ready to go is an essential part of capturing these ideas in the moment and developing them later. This can be done on your computer or even your smartphone. However, it’s still a good idea to shut off the internet to remove distractions during writing sessions.

How your unique songwriting practice looks is completely up to you. Some musicians thrive by creating music at home during the day. Others create their best work holed up in an outside studio in the middle of the night. The important thing is to build a practice that allows you to give the time and attention your music needs to develop and succeed.