Zedara

Music Production and Promotion Tips

Is my song good? How to tell.

Posted on | May 3, 2012 | No Comments

Divorcing yourself from an artistic creation such as your latest song and trying to work out how it will be perceived by others is a difficult thing for us musicians to do. You may have a particular affection for your song because of the way it is written or what it means to you, but that doesn’t mean others will instantly love it. Not only that, but a song you have written that you think is average or at least not your best work might be your big hit. It’s tough to work out what other people will think when they listen to your music. Here are my tips for working out the most elusive of questions aspiring musicians are faced with; “Is my song good?”.

  1. Don’t listen to it often. It may sound counter intuitive but listening to a song over and over again can give you a really distorted view of it, take a break! Listen to it a few times a day, max, like you probably would with a song from a band you like.
  2. Put it in context. Make a playlist of songs you love and put yours in the middle somewhere, then play it on shuffle mode. When it comes on, does it stick out like a sore thumb, or does it fit in with the playlist? Of course, this isn’t as relevant if you have a poor recording of the song, but it will still give you an idea.
  3. Listen in another environment. You may have only heard the song through one set of headphones, which again wont give you a wide experience of the contexts you might listen to the song in. Try it in an old stereo, some different headphones, your car, or even leave it on in one room and walk into the next, does it still sound good? Different speakers will pick out different aspects of your song, and you need to try and make a mix that is listenable on as many as possible.
  4. Listen to it with some visuals. A good song will often fit nicely over an advert or a movie trailer, and allows you to focus on something else while you let the tune flow into your subconscious. Still sound good?
  5. Bounce it off of other people. And NO, not just your partner or family, try a forum or find somebody you have no relationship with, they’re much more likely to give you an honest opinion than somebody who doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.
  6. Bounce it off lots of people. As many people as you can get to listen to your song, in fact. What sounds awful to one person might sound great to another (I don’t like death metal, but I love loads of other genres), as long as there is a strong niche who enjoy your tune, you’re on your way.
  7. Leave it alone for a long time. Sometimes I leave songs for six months, not even listening once. When I go back to it, I’ve forgotten the nitty gritty of how I produced it, and it helps me look at it in a third person context rather than first person. I find this really helpful.
  8. Don’t give up on it. Just because a song isn’t great initially, doesn’t mean you cant polish it and make it better. Think of your songs as works in progress for as long as you can bare it, and try and make changes based on the feedback you receive.

The most important thing of course is a song that you like and that portrays the message you are looking for, but we all want to write the best songs possible, and compositions that others can relate to. Hopefully these tips will help deciphering your best tunes from those that need work.

Open house, as always, please do leave your comments and let me know how you try and find out if your song is a winner.

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