This reminds me of a thread I started in the “old” forum - would you spend money having another AJ author mix, master or more importantly MARKET your tracks? It seems like most people here have the opinion that doing it all yourself is the ultimate solution, still the biggest issue for the aspiring bedroom producer is just that - everything else BUT writing and producing. What happened to specialisation economics? I mean, we have 10.000 AJ authors here out of at least 80% would agree that if they could spend ALL of their time just writing and producing, AND make more money, they would. Still there seems to be an incredible high threshold to go from theory to practice. I’m not saying I’m any different myself, but let’s really question this behaviour together now - it’s the Internet for heaven’s sake, why are we so stubborn to become jacks of all trades when we clearly follow this career out of passion for music and not out of passion for mix, master and marketing?
Take the skill set of a typical “new” AJ author, scale 1-10:
Song idea: 5
The first thing people will notice here is that competition is fierce and there are no free lunches. So then they go back to the drawing board and figure “well if I only write corporate/motivational (or cinematic trailers), and if I learn more about all the skills provided, I will have a better chance at making money”. True, but sad - because as it’s been pointed out, it’s NOT EASY to master all of these skills, not for any one of us. Tireless reiteration of this process will after a few years produce a skill set more like this:
Song idea: 7
Better? Yes. Good? No. Consider the “theoretical” alternative: Focus ALL your efforts on the top 3 skills, BUY the other skills from other people that already achieved those, and with the same commitment you get items (and in a perfect world also sales) that are based on these numbers:
Song idea: 10
Why is this so hard to put into practice long-term? I mean, we already DON’T do a lot that we already pay for. We don’t build our own computers, we don’t code our DAW’s or plugins, we don’t build our instruments and we sure as hell don’t put a market-leading stock audio platform together and care for web hosting, legal stuff, search engines etc. Why does specifically mixing and marketing become an issue in the first place? It’s all in our minds - we want to believe it’s easier to spend our time learning than to spend our money buying. We “invest” in broadening the skill base of ourselves - but it’s a questionable investment strategy in a specialised, highly competitive environment.
Now, to counter my own arguments, there actually have been some efforts by some to offer for example mixing services for flat fees or a portion of future sales. The first “problem” (or rather enlightenment) that occurs is that there simply is no real money or “future sales” to distribute. At any given point, there’s no more than around 50 AJ authors making more than 200 sales a month, and many of these sell mostly SFX. Most of these top selling authors were lucky to catch a good spot in the search, they were featured, or they’re extremely productive. Take a good look at their portfolios and recent items and you can see there are no guarantees every track will sell. It’s a saturated market. So basically, if your time is worth less than your money, you WILL be inclined to go “the long road” and become a DIY multi-practitioner.
There’s also the argument that “the top authors obviously know what they need to know”, so that’s already a “proven concept” that everybody wanting to go elite needs to learn everything about everything. Well, yes they may at most have proved that they went the extra mile, but no one is talking in retrospect about the actual COST of doing so.
And, to confuse everything even more, we note that there are tons of tracks here on AJ that have sold 100’s or 1000’s even with really, really poor mixes.
There’s really a part of basic economic theory - supply and demand - that is offset into obliteration here. Why are people here “monitoring sales” and complaining about lack of exposure? Because they want more money. How do you get money? You provide goods or services that are demanded. What is demanded? Everything else BUT sitting by an instrument and playing music. What are the people here (that still want more money) supplying? Exactly NOT that- UNLESS they just supply it to themselves, in which case NOONE gets any money.
I’m going to stop now because I don’t have an answer to all of this. I just find it quite puzzling that in our modern times and infinite possibilities of specialising and outsourcing, we now choose to do the opposite.
I do get the part when AJ authors say “I want to make music”. And I totally understand the “I want to make money making music” part, too. But when the same authors start to go “I want to make money mixing and marketing music”, isn’t some great dream being totally lost? If you really want to make serious money doing great mixes, then why in the world do you not drop the songwriting altogether and BECOME A MIXING ENGINEER?
Sorry about the caps lock, I added it for comical effect