When Is A Song "Ready?"

Asking when a song is “ready” is kind of like asking Bob Ross how he knows when to stop adding happy trees to his paintings. There is no definitive answer. He just ‘knew.’ There is an element of instinct; but unlike animal instinct, it must constantly be refined with a conscious effort. Most of us won’t wake up one day and know how to play the piano without experiencing some kind of head trauma. So regardless of the amount of “talent” that we’ve been endowed with, it’s our own personal responsibilities to slowly chip away at what we do know and have until we’ve shaped it into something resembling what we want. Where would Mozart or Beethoven be if they sat around saying, “man, I have this great idea for a song but piano is fucking hard!”

I might not be able to tell you exactly when a song is “ready.” That’s largely up to you. But I can give you guidelines for better judging yourself and examining what you want. A good place to start would be to look at two of the most common song formats of the 21st century “electronic music producer.”

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A Moment (Or Lapse) Of Clarity

It used to drive me nuts that I felt like a handful of artists and labels controlled all of the money and quality of music in the "mainstream" market and could self-popularize anything, good or not, that they wanted to. But as I've gotten older and I've met more and more people, I'm beginning to realize that it shouldn't bother me that these 'moguls' cater to the lowest common denominator of people; because people grow up. It's not sustainable. Younger generations will always flock to what is "hot;" the only difference between 40 years ago and now is that now the labels are forcibly and deceitfully telling you what is hot and what is not.

But in cases of deceit, people eventually figure things out for themselves.

Sooner or later people will lift the veil off of their own eyes (or ears) and see past the lousy drugs, the peer pressure and the gimmicky music and collectively determine what it is that they deem to be "quality," as opposed to letting the media and their friends determine it for them. I'm witnessing it happen, I can feel it happening, I can feel the culture and the people around me finally changing. And it's a beautiful thing. The music industry is showing the world that its demise might not have been as much of a tragedy as originally thought, when the best example that we have of it is watching it grasp at straws by buying millions of artificial listeners, painting charts and graphs to nowhere.

I recall Kim Kardashian, while one of my least favorite "famous" people on earth, saying something along the lines of, "I'm famous for being me, not for being something that a bunch of other people have made me up to be." And as much as I hate to admit it, what she's trying to say is pretty accurate. These icons all around us, with the ghost writers, publicists, pre-recorded mixes, lip-syncing and teleprompter-reading, are what the bible would refer to as "false idols." And all false idols eventually fall. Whether it's an expose' in the form of a Youtube video or a magazine article, or it's a slip-up during a "live" performance that reveals tapes playing in the shadows, something, in some dark, obscure form, levels the playing field.

I think what I'm trying to exude from this temporary moment (or lapse) in clarity is that there is nothing to worry about and nothing in life that seems unfair remains unfair. If you've climbed your way to the top without once cheating, reap the benefits and enjoy it. If not, you'll eventually end up on the bottom. So no jealousy, or insecurity, or self-loathing is justifiable. Goals are attainable but shortcuts will be regretted, no matter who you are. Revel in that and try not to forget it, I know I will. I'm sure I'll have to pull this up a few times whenever I get frustrated that I'm not deadmau5 or Avicii. Hopefully it will serve to benefit some of you as well.

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