How to find your own sound of music and stand out in a crowded industry
by Amy Chase
March 21, 2023
Let’s be real here: the music industry is a cutthroat business. There are so many talented artists out there, all vying for a spot in the limelight. And with the advent of technology, it’s easier than ever for anyone to make and distribute music. So, what does this mean for you as a musician?
It means you’ve got to be more than just talented. You’ve got to have something that sets you apart from the crowd—something that makes people take notice. But don’t worry, I’m here to help you unleash your creativity and find your own sound!
Now, some of you might be thinking, “But isn’t it enough to just be a good musician?” Well, unfortunately, it’s not. In today’s music industry, you need to be more than just good. You need to be unique, memorable, and marketable.
Think about it like this: there are thousands of great singers out there, but only a few of them make it to the top. And it’s not just because they have great voices. It’s because they have something special, something that makes people want to listen to them over and over again.
So, if you want to succeed in the music industry, you need to find your own sound, develop your own style, and build your own brand. It’s not easy, but with some hard work, creativity, and a bit of luck, you can make it happen.
To find your own sound, the first step is to get to know yourself as a musician. What sets you apart from everyone else? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What kind of music do you enjoy playing and listening to?
But wait a minute, hold up. Isn’t music supposed to be about creativity and expression? Can’t you just do whatever you want and let your true self shine through? Well, yes and no. While it’s true that music is all about expression, it’s also important to be aware of what’s already out there. You don’t want to end up creating something that’s too similar to what’s already popular.
Experimentation and Exploration
Once you’ve got a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to start experimenting. Try playing different genres of music, experimenting with different instruments or software, and collaborating with other musicians. You never know what might inspire you!
But wait, isn’t experimentation risky? Won’t it be a waste of time if it doesn’t lead anywhere? Well, yes and no. While experimentation can be risky, it’s also a necessary part of the creative process. You need to be willing to take risks and try new things if you want to find your own sound.
Finding Inspiration from Outside Sources
Finally, don’t forget to look for inspiration from outside sources. Listen to other musicians, attend concerts, watch music videos, and read books about music. You never know what might spark your creativity and help you find your own sound.
But hold on a second, isn’t looking for inspiration from outside sources just copying someone else’s ideas? Won’t it make you less original? Well, not necessarily. While it’s important to be original, it’s also important to learn from other musicians and build on what’s already out there. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you can put your own spin on things and create something truly unique.
To truly find your own sound and stand out in a crowded music industry, it’s essential to develop your own unique style. But this isn’t something that happens overnight. One key step in developing your style is to understand your genre and its history. What are the defining characteristics of your genre? Who are some of the most important and influential artists within your genre? By understanding the context in which you’re working, you can build on what’s come before and create something truly original.
But some people might say that knowing the history of your genre and what makes it unique can be limiting. Won’t it make you less creative if you’re just following the rules? While it’s true that creativity often involves breaking the rules, it’s also true that having a deep understanding of your genre can help you innovate within it. By knowing what’s been done before and what’s currently popular, you can find new and interesting ways to push the boundaries of your genre.
Incorporating Your Influences
Another important step in developing your style is incorporating your influences. What other musicians do you admire and respect? What aspects of their music do you want to incorporate into your own style? By building on the work of others, you can create a unique sound that reflects your own tastes and preferences.
However, some might argue that incorporating your influences can make you less original. Won’t you just be copying someone else’s style? While it’s true that copying another artist’s style won’t make you stand out, it’s also true that all artists are influenced by others. By incorporating your influences in a thoughtful and intentional way, you can create something that’s both unique and pays homage to those who came before you.
Taking Risks and Being Authentic
Finally, developing your style requires taking risks and being authentic. What sets you apart from other musicians? What makes your music unique? By taking risks and being true to yourself, you can create music that truly reflects who you are as an artist.
However, some may argue that taking risks is too risky. Won’t it be easier to just play it safe and follow the crowd? While it’s true that taking risks can be scary, it’s also true that playing it safe won’t make you stand out in a crowded industry. By being true to yourself and taking risks, you can create music that’s both authentic and compelling. And ultimately, that’s what will help you succeed in the long run.
To truly stand out in a crowded music industry, it’s not enough to just have a unique sound and style. You also need to perfect your craft. This means practicing consistently and honing your skills.
However, some may argue that focusing too much on technical skills can be detrimental to creativity. Won’t it make you too rigid and formulaic in your approach? While it’s true that technical skill alone won’t make you a great musician, it’s also true that practicing consistently can help you refine your sound and develop a deeper understanding of your instrument or voice. And this, in turn, can help you be more creative and expressive in your music-making.
Learning from Others
Another important aspect of perfecting your craft is learning from others. Who are some musicians you admire for their technical skills or creativity? What can you learn from them? By seeking out and studying the work of others, you can gain valuable insights and inspiration that can help you improve your own skills.
However, some may argue that relying too much on others can stifle your own creativity. Won’t it make you just a copycat of someone else’s style? While it’s true that you don’t want to simply copy someone else’s style, it’s also true that learning from others is a crucial part of the creative process. By studying the work of others and incorporating what you learn into your own approach, you can develop your own unique sound and style.
Finally, to truly perfect your craft, you need to be open to feedback. What are some areas where you can improve? What are some strengths you can build on? By seeking out constructive feedback from others, you can identify areas where you need to grow and develop your skills further.
However, some may argue that feedback can be demotivating and discouraging. Won’t it make you second-guess yourself and your abilities? While it’s true that feedback can sometimes be difficult to hear, it’s also true that it’s an essential part of the learning process. By embracing feedback and using it as a tool for growth and development, you can become a better musician and stand out in a crowded industry.
Now that you’ve honed your skills and studied the work of others, it’s time to focus on finding your own unique voice. This means experimenting with different sounds, styles, and techniques to figure out what feels authentic to you.
But hold on a minute, some may argue that experimentation can lead to inconsistency and confusion. Won’t it make you seem like you’re all over the place, without a clear sense of direction? While it’s true that too much experimentation can sometimes lead to confusion, it’s also true that it’s an essential part of the creative process. By trying out new things and exploring different avenues, you can discover what truly resonates with you and develop a style that is uniquely yours.
Another key aspect of finding your unique voice is embracing vulnerability. This means being willing to put yourself out there and share your true thoughts and feelings through your music. It can be scary to be vulnerable in this way, but it’s also what connects us to our audiences and makes our music more meaningful.
However, some may argue that being vulnerable is risky and can leave you open to criticism or rejection. Won’t it make you seem weak or overly emotional? While it’s true that being vulnerable can be scary, it’s also true that it’s what makes our music authentic and relatable. By sharing your true self through your music, you can connect with others in a deep and meaningful way.
Staying True to Yourself
Finally, to truly find your unique voice, you need to stay true to yourself. This means not trying to conform to what’s popular or what others expect of you but rather staying true to your own values, beliefs, and style.
But wait a minute. Some may argue that staying true to yourself can limit your audience and your success. Won’t it make it harder to stand out in a crowded industry? While it’s true that staying true to yourself can be challenging and may not appeal to everyone, it’s also true that it’s what sets you apart from others and makes your music truly unique. By staying true to yourself, you can build a loyal fan base that appreciates your authenticity and artistry.
Now that you have found your own unique voice, it’s time to define your unique selling proposition. This means figuring out what sets you apart from other artists in the industry and highlighting those qualities in your branding and marketing.
But wait, some people might say that you don’t need to define a unique selling proposition. Won’t it limit your creativity and make you seem like you’re just trying to fit into a box? While it’s true that defining a unique selling proposition can be challenging and may feel restrictive, it’s also true that it’s essential for standing out in a crowded industry. By focusing on what makes you different and unique, you can attract a more specific audience that likes your style and sound.
Creating a Strong Brand Image
Another important aspect of standing out in a crowded industry is creating a strong brand image. This means coming up with a consistent look and sound that shows off your unique selling point and speaks to your audience.
But wait a minute, some may argue that focusing on branding takes away from the music itself. Won’t it make you seem more concerned with your image than your artistry? While it’s true that focusing too much on branding can be a detriment to your music, it’s also true that it’s necessary for building a successful career in the music industry. By creating a strong brand image, you can capture the attention of potential fans and make a lasting impression that will help you stand out from the competition.
Networking and Collaborating
Finally, to truly stand out in a crowded industry, it’s important to network with and collaborate with other industry professionals. This means connecting with other artists, producers, and industry insiders to expand your reach and learn from their experiences.
But wait a minute, some may argue that networking and collaborating take away from the authenticity of your music. Won’t it make you seem like you’re just trying to get ahead rather than focusing on your artistry? While it’s true that networking and collaborating can sometimes lead to inauthentic partnerships or opportunities, it’s also true that they’re essential for building a successful career in the music industry. By connecting with others and collaborating on projects, you can expand your reach and gain valuable insights and experiences that can help you grow as an artist.
Once you’ve defined your unique sound and found ways to stand out in a crowded industry, it’s important to maintain consistency in your output. Some may argue that putting out too much content can dilute the quality of your work and lead to burnout. However, consistent output can help you build a loyal fan base and keep your momentum going. It’s important to find a good balance between the quality of your work and how much you get done.
Persistence in Pursuing Opportunities
For success in the music industry, it’s also important to keep making music and to keep looking for opportunities. Some people might say that always looking for opportunities can make you desperate and hurt your artistic integrity. But if you don’t give up and take action, you can make more opportunities for yourself and move your career forward.
Learning from Failures and Setbacks
Despite your best efforts, you may experience failures and setbacks in your career. Some may argue that failures and setbacks are signs that you’re not cut out for the industry and should give up. However, learning from these experiences and using them as opportunities to grow and improve can help you develop resilience and ultimately lead to success.
Patience in Achieving Goals
Finally, patience is key to achieving your goals in the music industry. Some may argue that success should come quickly and that if it doesn’t, it’s not worth pursuing. However, the reality is that success takes time and patience. It’s important to keep working hard and pushing forward even when it seems like progress is slow. Success is often the result of consistent effort over a long period of time.
Playing the Long Game
In the end, to be successful in the music business, you need to use all of the above strategies and be willing to play the long game. Some may argue that the industry is too unpredictable and that planning for the long term is a waste of time. But if you have a long-term plan and stay focused on your goals, you can make it through the ups and downs of your industry and find long-term success.