Music Production mastery: One-to-One & Online Courses from Make Your Transition. MYT offers Personal and Online Training in Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Serum, Native Instruments Komplete, Synthesis, Sound Design, Arrangement, Mixing, Mastering, Artist Development, Marketing, Finishing Tracks & Getting Signed
This is something that I teach all my clients, no matter what level they’re at and it’s probably one of the most important concepts to understand if you want to win at social media.
No amount of marketing will ever grow your social media following quicker than a hit record will.
I’ll leave that there to percolate for a minute.
That’s why the goal is not for you to become a marketing guru, it’s to arm you with the same knowledge as the big guys and show you how to execute it in the most efficient way possible. That way you still have time to write that Beatport number one.
In order to do this, you need to think about documenting rather than creating. What I mean by this is creating social media content through documenting the tasks that will bring you closer to your goal of being a DJ, producer or record label.
Let’s say you’ve been booked to play a gig and the promoter is keen for you to push it on your socials. Rather than posting the event flyer across every social channel you have, every day, for six weeks, here’s what you could do.
Record a promo mix to upload to Soundcloud that uses the event artwork and has the details in the track description, with a ticket link.
When you go record shopping to purchase some new tracks for the promo mix, you could capture a Boomerang of you flicking through records and post it to your Instagram Story.
At home, when deciding a possible track list, you could take a photo for Instagram of the record sleeves all laid out. Better still get someone to take a shot of you going through your records. In the caption you can then reference the promo mix and the upcoming event.
Can’t decide between two tracks? Poll your fans on Facebook or Instagram to get their opinion.
Whilst recording the mix you could stream some, or all of it, as a Facebook or Instagram Live. This recording can then be downloaded and chopped up into shorter clips or also uploaded to your YouTube channel.
On the day of the gig, having a mate come along as a stand in Tour Manager, armed with a smartphone is absolutely invaluable. A Go Pro and a Gorilla Pod to setup behind the decks and record your set is also a worthwhile addition as it’ll free you up to do your thing whilst giving you content for the next few weeks.
No amount of marketing will ever grow your social media following quicker than a hit record will.
TAKE YOUR MUSIC TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Remember, this is just one example of how you can create content by documenting your day.
You just need to think about what type of content will be right for the channel you’re posting on. Remember this and you won’t go far wrong.
The other great thing about this method is that it doesn’t require you to already be a star or the finished article. There’s something incredibly engaging about watching someone’s journey as they try and make it. You only have to look at the glut of reality TV shows for proof of this.
So, remember to focus on your goal and simply document your journey getting there. Choose the right content for each platform and use the captions to link it back to what you’re trying to promote.
We’d love to hear from you, especially if you’ve tried this technique out and have some feedback on how you’ve gotten.
Hit us up in the comments below and we’ll reply to everyone.
So before I’m lynched I feel an explanation is in order…
First, let me start off by saying that this all comes from a place of love. The music game has changed and what worked 10 years ago, no longer works today. Far too many talented artists never get the break they deserve because they still try to play by the old rules or they don’t have the knowledge needed to market themselves in this new world. Our purpose is to share some of the tips and secrets used by established artists and labels, to try and level the playing field.
Secondly, let’s clear up what we mean by DJ mixes. What we’re referring to here is recording a mix at home and posting it on YouTube, Mixcloud, SoundCloud, in the hope of building your profile.
What we’re not talking about, is recording a set from a gig or live streaming a set so that people can listen back to it and see what they missed or relive the event. Neither are we talking about recording a mix as a means of assessing your technique or just for the sheer joy of mixing records.
Now that we’re all clear, let’s dive into what we mean by this incendiary statement.
Before CDJ’s and Ableton came on the scene the barrier to entry to become a DJ was significantly high. Equipment was expensive, you had to invest time and money into building up a record collection and then on top of that you had to learn how to beat match and know your records intimately.
These days anybody can download a cracked copy of some DJ software and use MP3’s that they already have in their music library to string together a mix.
This is why the internet is now awash with DJ mixes and if you go to the pub or a house party this weekend, chances are someone will be having a blast on the decks.
There’s no shortage of mixes or DJs so it really is a listener’s market. If someone is looking for a mix they’re likely to go for the big names they trust, leaving the chances of your mix being discovered, similar to that of finding a needle in a haystack.
The ease with which this new technology allows people to mix two records together has also meant that artists are no longer booked for their mixing skills. Sasha was once lauded as the king of the blend, using his knowledge of harmonics and beatmatching skills to seamlessly layer records in perfect sync. What once took hours of practice to perfect can now be achieved almost instantly thanks to CDJ’s and Rekordbox. In this modern age, if you go to see a touring DJ it’s because they’ve been booked for their productions rather than their mixing. This is especially true of House and Techno genres.
There are a few exceptions to this but they are definitely in the minority. The most popular examples being Jackmaster or Ben UFO.
But rather than take my word for it, let's look at some real life examples.
let’s clear up what we mean by DJ mixes. What we’re referring to here is recording a mix at home and posting it on YouTube, Mixcloud, SoundCloud, in the hope of building your profile.
TAKE YOUR MUSIC TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Case Study #1 - Mark Craven
Mark’s been a regular fixture on the Sydney scene for a good while now.
He would get the occasional good slot supporting a bigger name who’d come to town, but couldn’t seem to make the next step in his musical life - he wanted to be playing bigger and better gigs and ultimately playing more headline slots.
He had a regular radio show that took up a lot of time, and whilst some listened, it wasn’t moving the needle of his career forward, or giving him the return in growing his fan base for the time and effort he was putting in.
Mark started learning production, and as part of developing himself as an artist, we advised him to stop the radio show and focus on his tracks.
Now, he has Hernan Cattaneo and Guy Mantzur playing his latest remix, which is not due out for another month, and his Musical career is about to take a massive step forwards...here’s a vid of Hernan playing said remix in Tulum...
Case Study #2 - Jack Brown & Luke Bennett aka KUSP:
Both Luke and Jack have been DJing together and individually for a number of years.
They’ve also been learning production for a while alongside DJing, playing locally around Liverpool under various guises and had some success and played some good gigs without ever truly breaking.
Having had some success, they were keen to take the next step.
Again, I advised to focus on production rather than putting out regular DJ mixes, which they have done relentlessly in the last year, honing their skills and getting a host of tracks ready for signing and release.
Last weekend they opened for Amelie Lens no fewer than twice in separate cities, and the biggest names in techno including Alan Fitzpatrick are currently playing their tracks.
So when is recording a mix as a means to marketing yourself worthwhile?
Generally when someone has asked you for one. This might come in the form of a website or by a label as a tool to promote a release. This is why we feel it’s so important to focus on production as a means to grow your career as a DJ. The key thing here is that these platforms already have an engaged audience and act as a stamp of approval. Even if people have never heard of you, if Data Transmission or Fabric post your mix, people are going to listen.
Likewise, after a string of remixes and productions you’ll have hopefully built up a fan base on Soundcloud. This is the time when you could record a mix for your fans and you’ll be in a position to benefit from it.
It all boils down to the fact that if you only have a small number of fans or followers, then it’s unlikely that you’re going to persuade people to listen to your mix and really gain any exposure. No matter how good the mix may be.
In summary, it all comes down to making and releasing great music on a regular basis. This should be your goal. No amount of marketing will grow your career quicker than a hit record. There is definitely a place for the DJ mix but it should come when the time is right and not at the expense of releasing records.
DanceFair 2018, Masterclass 1: How To Finish Your Tracks - YouTube
Hands up if you've got a hard drive bursting with unfinished tracks or you struggle to get out of 'loop world' and into the arrangement?
The good news is you're not alone. In part 1. of my DanceFair Masterclass I show you the number one way to increase your efficiency and workflow, giving you a proven process to ensure you finish every track.
GET YOUR HANDS ON THE MYT M/S EQ & COMPRESSOR RACKS FOR FREE!
Mid Side Mixing & Mastering in Ableton Live 10.1 Tutorial: Mixdown Mastery 2 - YouTube
What, more free stuff?
Well, yes actually! We're an especially giving kind here at MYT, so as part of our 4 week journey into the Mixdown Process as part of the launch of the new Mixdown Mastery Online Course, Week 2 took a turn into the murky world of M/S Processing
In the video above we demystify and define what M/S Processing actually is, and it can be of benefit to your Mixdowns.
M/S Processing can be an extremely useful way to ensure mono compatibility of your tracks, as well as manage stereo width, and bring various parts of your tracks to life, whilst losing new perceived stereo width or detail
Added to this, we introduce to you not one but TWO M/S Racks Paul himself built, which he developed as part of the Mixdown Mastery Course.
First up is a souped up M/S EQ, complete with Mono Maker and M/S Levelling. Whilst the native EQ Eight in Ableton Live 10 can indeed do M/S EQ within a single instance, Paul has always found that workflow a little annoying and somewhat confusing from a visual standpoint.
Paul's solution to this issue was to split the M/S signals into separate EQ's, which, as you will see from the video explaining ow the Racks work, provides a lot more flexibility and ease of use and processing.
Finally, there's the M/S Compressor, which is an extremely effective and efficient way to make dynamic range in the M/S Matrix, in the form of discrete Glue Compressors working on the Mono & Stereo parts of the signal independently. this gives amazing control and versatility and can really bring synth parts to life whilst not sacrificing that all important mono compatibility for club and festival play.
All in all, both of these Racks have been extremely popular so far and have been downloaded many times already since their launch on Friday
Whilst you're looking at our wonderful YouTube walkthrough of these Racks, you could also Like, Comment & Subscribe to the MYT Youtube Channel, where there's new tutorials every Friday, and a lot more besides!
Our legendary MYT Drum Rack is back to help take your Drum Sequencing in Ableton Live 9 and 10 to the next level!
This has become a mainstay of Paul's production workflow in recent years and has been downloaded by hundreds of people already!
It serves as a great sounding Drum Rack in it's own right, and also can be used as a template to host your own Drum Sounds!
All the sounds are pre processed with EQ, Filter, Delay, Reverb, and it even has it's own Send & Return System! this makes the Drum Rack pretty much a modular unit on it's own, and can be dragged and dropped into any production
It even comes with some pre - programmed MIDI Grooves that mean all you have to do is drag, drop and hit play!
You can download the Ableton Live Drum Racks by clicking here, and you'll be emailed a download link!
The video above is a demonstration of how the Drum Rack works and sounds, taken from the MYT YouTube channel, which you really do need in your life!
So, to be clear, I’m not talking about offering sacrificial lambs to the gods, or walking backwards with your eyes closed in the studio every day for good luck.
Nope, whilst all that sounds like fun (if a little extreme), I’m are talking about implementing certain actions into your daily routine that get you ready and focused to be as productive as possible in the studio.
IT'S TIME TO 'GET OVER YOURSELF'
The concept of rituals came to me whilst reading a book written by a ballet choreographer.
Yes, read that line again.
I read books written by ballet choreographers. Problem? ;)
You're now probably sat there thinking "what the actual fuck can ballet teach my about making tunes?" Well, rather a lot as it goes...
The book is called "The Creative Habit" written by the renowned Twyla Tharp. In it, she lays bare her creative process from front to back, challenging both herself and the reader to 'get over themselves' and confront their creative fears (hers: an empty room, yours: probably an empty arrangement screen in your DAW).
She also details with great deliberation how she overcomes these fears, and the daily routines that help to get her into the optimum creative mode.
The first time I read this a few years ago, it hit me like a train, and had me completely rethinking the way behave in the studio before I go in to create.
THE TRUTH ABOUT CREATIVITY: IT'S NOT DIVINE INSPIRATION
But first let's understand something about creativity: it isn't what we think it is.
For most people, creativity seems like the 'Eureka!' moment in the bath, when a bolt of lightening sent from above hits you and gets your going. Whilst that can happen occasionally, the reality 99.9% of the time is that you have to create something without that'spark'.
'The Creative Habit' explains this perfectly. To master your creativity and fulfill your potential, you need only do two things:
1. Have rituals that you repeat every day, that get you into the creative mode2. Work hard at it (no surprises there)
So yeah, probably not as glamorous as you'd been led to believe.
Basically, being an artist is hard, fucking, work. Don't be thinking it's a cushy life being sat in a studio all day rather than being sat in front of your desk in the job you hate. Yes, I'd much prefer to be in a studio, but in its own way, it's even more challenging than switching my brain off and performing some mind-numbing task 9-5 working with people I don't like in a job that's not going where I want to be in life.
Being an artist of any kind is to know frustration, annoyance, self - loathing, fear, insecurity and more failure than success. I'm being honest with you about it, because frankly, not many others are. However, these feelings can be minimised, through those all important rituals.
“To me, a ritual is an action that is repeated daily, or often enough for it to take on essential or even ‘religious’ meaning.”
TAKE YOUR MUSIC TO THE NEXT LEVEL
SO, WHAT ARE RITUALS PRECISELY?
To me, a ritual is an action that is repeated daily, or often enough for it to take on essential or even 'religious' meaning.
A ritual is also an action that has a specific effect on the person undertaking it.
For example, when I put my running kit on, my mind and body anticipates exercise will happen imminently. Whether I feel like it or not (because your feelings are absolute bastards getting in the way of you fulfilling your potential), the kit goes on, and I'm out running.
It never ceases to amaze me how often when I 'can't be arsed', I put my running kit on, and all of a sudden I feel like running.
Let's apply the same actions to the studio then. I'm sure we've all had the 'I'm not feeling it today' vibes, or had a session where nothing comes out, as hard as you try. Well, in my experience, having a ritual will minimise this in future, should you implement one.
MY STUDIO RITUAL
For me, my ritual is playing scales on my piano for 15mins before I start writing and producing in the studio. This does several things for me:
1. It gets me listening to the notes, getting familiar with their sounds and tones, ready for the session
2. It gets my fingers warmed up and gets me used to playing the keyboard
3. It triggers the creativity that is sat latent in my mind, and allows it to reveal itself in new melodies, rhythms and chords.
4. It changes my frame of thinking. It gets me out of the mindset of thinking about the itemson my 'to do' list, and shifts my reality into a more musical, creative space.
So, in short, I put my running kit on to feel like running. I play scales for 15minutes so I feel like creating.
How many of you are doing this? Not many, I bet, but I can guarantee a lot of successful artists do this without even recognising it.
SMALL THINGS MAKE THE BIG THINGS HAPPEN
This feeds into another great perspective on creativity and productivity. The fact that if you want to be successful, it's all about the small, seemingly meaningless actions that you perform every single day.
According to Darren Hardy, author of "The Compound Effect" (one of the books that changed my life last year), the small things you do every day, over enough time, 'compound', like interest in a bank account, into either success or failure depending on if you are doing the right small things or not.
For me, rituals are one of those small things that will over time compound and create enormous success, if you apply it correctly.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE RITUALS FOR YOUR MUSIC PRODUCTION, I'D HIGHLY RECOMMEND DEVELOPING SOME…
This is an essential guide for anyone looking to take their own Mixing skills up a level - and there's so much more available on the Mixdown Mastery Course!
In the Mixdown Mastery Course, we go through all of the essential technique, theory and workflow necessary to mix your own tracks down to a professional, release ready standard.
Mixdown Mastery Includes Live, Realtime Mixdowns, full explanations of EQ, Compression and Mid Side Processing, and so much more. If you're serious about getting your tracks signed to the best labels possible, and generally taking your tracks from sounding 'good' to 'amazing', then you need this course in your life!
LEARN THE FOUNDATIONS OF PARALLEL COMPRESSION WITH MYT FOUNDER PAUL NOLAN IN THIS NEW MIXDOWN MASTERY SERIES
To celebrate the launch of the new Mixdown Mastery Course here at Make Your Transition, we start a 4 week journey into the Mixdown process on our YouTube Channel (which you should really subscribe to if you haven't already!)
This first part is a nice quick and practical introduction to using Parallel Compression, using only included plugins in Ableton Live 10!
Parallel Compression In Ableton Live 10: Mixdown Mastery Series Part 1 - YouTube
IF YOU AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH PARALLEL COMPRESSION, IT CAN REALLY ADD DEPTH AND WEIGHT TO YOUR DRUMS AND BASS
TAKE YOUR MUSIC TO THE NEXT LEVEL
If you aren't familiar with the concept of Parallel Compression, it can really add depth and weight to your Drums and Bass in the Mixdown.
Usually we use Compressors as insert effects in our Productions, either to control peaks, transients or for creative effects such as Sidechain Compression.
With Parallel Compression, we use the Compressor (in this case, a Glue Compressor) on a Return Channel, and send our Drum Group channel to it, where it's heavily Compressed with extreme settings, resulting in audible pumping, slamming and gain reductions often reaching 20dB!
Putting the Compressor on the Return Channel means we can control the Compression independently of the main Drum Mix. We can EQ, Filter, and add Distortion and Drive to this signal, and level it so it blends perfectly.
This technique is also well known as New York Compression, and is an essential technique to take your tracks mixes to the next level
We cover this and so much more on the Mixdown Mastery Course - with Live, In Realtime Mixdowns, full technique and theory breakdowns, and so much more!
This is a real biggie and one that we see time and time again. You need to make sure that the content you’re posting fits seamlessly onto the platform that you’re posting on. To do this you need to not only be familiar with the platform and the types of content that perform well but also understand people’s motivations for being on that platform in the first place.
Instagram is generally the place people go to spend some time looking at aesthetically pleasing photographs. It’s not where they go to look at badly designed club night artwork shouting about 50 arenas, 300 DJs and 1000 MCs. The only exception to this rule is artwork displaying DJ set times. People generally browse Facebook on mobile, with no volume, often during the work day. That’s why posting a Soundcloud link to a two hour long mix often gets an underwhelming response.
2. YOU'RE ASKING FOR SOMETHING WITHOUT HAVING GIVEN VALUE FIRST
I always liken social media to dating. If you were to walk up to someone in a bar and ask if they’d like to go home with you the answer often isn’t favourable. Instead your opening gambit often involves buying them a drink before spending a few hours asking them questions and revealing a bit about yourself. Then, and only then, might you lean in for a kiss. You should apply this thinking to your social media efforts. Start by providing value, this could be sharing a funny video. Then ask questions of your audience and really get to know them. Then and only then can you ask them to listen to your new mix or come to your club night.
TAKE YOUR MUSIC TO THE NEXT LEVEL
You need to make sure that the content you’re posting fits seamlessly onto the platform that you’re posting on.
3. YOUR CONTENT SUCKS
Sometimes it really is this simple. In a world where there is content overload and attention spans are microscopic, anything less than excellent just gets lost. So how do you cut through all this noise? Again, this comes down to basic psychology and what makes people engage with content. The rule of thumb here is that if it makes them laugh, cry, get angry or shocks them, then people will engage. That’s why funny videos of cute animals rule the internet and why Donald Trump receives so much airtime. Put simply, always think “would I share this” before posting.
4. YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
This is why at the start of Market Your Music, Paul and I have dedicated a lesson to getting to know your audience. What accounts do they follow? What posts do they interact with the most? Do they share video or do they prefer links? Are they serious or do they like funny content? You can build up a surprising amount of insight using Facebook’s Audience Insights as a jump off point. Then it’s a case of testing different posts and seeing what works best. You even have the ability to poll your audience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Stories. The best bit is that the social media algorithms love it when your fans reply and this engagement will give you greater organic reach.
5. YOUR FANS AREN'T AWAKE
Bit of an obvious one here but something that again we see all the time. Even at Defected Records we realised that we were better off saving live videos from Saturday night events and posting them on Sunday evening, rather than going live at 4am when most people are either out or at home in bed. Facebook and Instagram (If you have a business account) give you insights into when the majority of your fans are active. You should be aiming to post in these sweet spots to give your content a fighting chance. When looking at these graphs, our top tip would be to post an hour or so before the peak for best results.