Step 1 – Songwriting
Before you can start creating anything, you need to know who you are as a band or artist and who your end customer will be. You’re in this business to create music because that’s what you love to do, but you also need to make some sales if you’re going to have a self-sustaining career and be in a position where you can keep creating, otherwise you may find yourself repeatedly returning to day jobs and feeling frustrated that you haven’t made any progress.
So be clear about who you are and who you’re selling to. You’re going to be looking for your true fans so don’t send out a confusing message where your band songs, personalities and image are clashing, otherwise you’ll find it more difficult to find your ‘tribe’.
Once you know where you’re headed, spend a couple of weeks studying your musical niche and finding out who the key bands are in your field. Study their image, band persona, musical arrangements, set lists, performances, etc. Absorb everything and become more expert in your genre. Then start your writing process.
The idea is not to emulate, but to innovate – move your chosen genre of music forward by adding something of yourself to it. Be careful not to lose track of your original destination though, you still want to appeal to the same fan base with your finished output.
Not everyone can be good at everything so you may need your first team member here. If you’re not a strong writer then find a co-writer to help develop the songs with you. Maybe it’s one of your bandmates or maybe it’s someone who has no connection to your band at all (see Elton John / Bernie Taupin). The key objective should be getting the best songs together that you possibly can. Keep notes of who contributed what so that there are no disagreements later.
Be ruthless with your song selection. Keep writing and rewriting. If there are any lyrics that you are unhappy with, get rid of them. Keep working until you are happy with what you have. Take a break and listen with fresh ears. Get second opinions from trusted friends and family.
I strongly recommend that you go for longevity by crafting an album rather than only developing singles. Try not to go with throwaway album tracks, make everything stand out as much as possible. It’s a tough market out there. You may be revered in your home town but if you’re going to compete on a world stage, you need to up your game and have a world class product to sell.
Don’t rush this process. If it takes longer than the time you’ve allocated then shift your schedule. It’s important to have the best songs that you possibly can.
*Did you know that a song can be worth anywhere between £100-£100,000 during it’s lifetime. Give yourself the best possible chance of success by crafting strong songs for your album.