April 2017 Update – The Hardest Thing About Making Music

john lavido april 2017 update

Do you know what the hardest part about making music and being creative is?

The feedback.

Making music is easy enough. Sit down. Make music. Look up tutorials wherever necessary.

But eventually, if you want to have a career as an artist, you’ve gotta put your music out there.

And that’s when you get find out what people really think about your music.

You may have spent weeks and months creating a song or track, and you put it out there, expecting everyone to love it.


…they don’t.

I’ve gotta admit:

I struggle with negative feedback.

I recently finished a track, and was super excited to release it. I feel like it’s my best work yet, and I feel like people will love it.

Except, that’s not exactly happening.

Here’s a snapshot of some recent feedback I’ve received from SubmitHub on this track:

“Interesting work but we weren’t really feeling the hype stand out to us in this tune to feature it.

“Hi. Thanks for reaching out. This was very interesting but we weren’t really feeling the drop, we felt like the tune could be much heavier for us.”

“thanks for the submission, the vocals could be abit more powerful, i think this is just a mixing thing so should be easy to fix”

Now, admittedly, this feedback isn’t harsh, but it still hurts when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something.

Please don’t get me wrong… I’m not complaining… I just wanted to share more about what I’m struggling with, instead of just the good stuff.

When I released Your Face in March, I couldn’t wait to see how everyone loved it. I thought the production was tight, and the vocals were perfect.

Here’s what I found out pretty quickly:

“Hey! Thank you for submitting to _____. The music and production is pretty good. But the singing doesn’t cut it for me. Try to become great at mixing the singing or use another singer. Keep it up. “

“Hey there, the production and vocal quality just really wasn’t at a high enough standard. “

“thank you not really digging the vocal or production sorry”

“I think that the song is too basic production and singing-technique wise to be honest.

So yeah ๐Ÿ™‚

Apparently, I need to learn to sing properly…

This is a taste of what I’m getting when I’m releasing tracks.

Despite the challenge of accepting critical feedback, I believe that…

…critical feedback is absolutely essential.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that critical feedback about what you’re doing wrong is more important than positive feedback on what people like.

That’s what I’ve found in my experience.

I love getting positive feedback, but it’s the negative feedback that pushes me to the next level.

So keep that in mind with your music, and with anything you’re trying to learn.

What happened in March?

As you can see on the homepage, fan count more than doubled, thanks to a social media campaign I’m running on Twitter and Instagram:

john lavido fan count

Like I mentioned last month, it’s debatable whether most these social media followers count as real “fans”, but I’ll take my chances. My thinking is that if I add 1-2,000 lukewarm followers per month, I’ll pick up a handful of true fans, and those true fans will tell their friends. It’s not the fastest way to grow, but it’s an easy method and doesn’t require a lot of time (which to me, means it’s a good strategy to employ while I look for more explosive ways to grow).

Each month, I get messages from people who tell me they LOVE this track or that track… one guy even asked for my autograph and said I was one of his favorite producers (alongside AVICII, Skrillex, Marshmello and Carnage):


So that’s one strategy I’m trying. Manually engaging with people who message me in the hope that they’ll tell others, and the true fans will build. And yes, I sent him my autograph ๐Ÿ™‚

In March, I picked up almost 400 new email subscribers, thanks to the Anders Ericsson interview I posted on EDMProd.com. If you haven’t read it yet, you should definitely check it out.

I also added HYPEDDIT download gates to each of my songs, and I’ll be watching the Soundcloud follower count over the coming months to see how it affects it.

Why am I track my followers and fans so closely?

Because “what gets measured, gets managed”.

That is, when I track something, I find I automatically work on improving it.

If I track my squat and deadlift at the gym, it’s easier to improve over time (since I know how much weight to add each time I go in the gym). It’s also FAR more motivating because I can see myself improving.

The same applies to music.

If I don’t track my progress, it’s easy for me to either think I’m doing better than I am or get depressed because I think I’m doing worse than I am. Both of those outcomes lead to inaction.

On the other hand, if I know exactly where I stand, I can plan effectively, appropriately dividing my time up between the creative side and the business side of music.

Tasks from March, and tasks in April…

In March, I said I’d finish and promote War, complete the deliberate practice article, and produce/promote another track.

War is complete, and the promotion is in progress.

The deliberate practice article is done.

New track is 25% done, but it has taken a back seat to a few other projects.

In April, I expect to complete the following:

  1. Produce and promote new track (working title: Animalia)
  2. Create collaboration spreadsheet (a list of artists I want to collaborate with)
  3. Start another track

I’ll be investing time in my non-music business in April too, as I’d like to increase the money coming in so I can invest in more software, ads, and events (such as ADE in October).

. .

How about you? What’s coming up for you in April? How can I help you? Post a comment below and let me know.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Eliot - April 6, 2017

Hey, great post John! For me this month I’ve been working on collaborations with singers, and I’ve got a couple of songs that should hopefully come out soon. As for War, I think the ideas are really good in there, and as usual, the production is really top notch!

I think that’s great that you have such a die-hard fan! I hope to someday get as far as you have. Good luck!

Will Davis - April 7, 2017

I am a newer producer at around 6 months. I’ve recently been able to start completing tracks, but still not to the point to where my music sounds good. I want to start creating more volume of work, read and finish some of the books I have recently gotten, and continue djing to get my name out there. If you have any tips for someone in my position anything would help. Thanks

    John Lavido - April 12, 2017

    Hey man! I would focus on the tips in the post I linked with Anders Ericsson. Follow that CODA process, and you’ll get better quickly.

Adrijus Guscia - April 8, 2017

Good stuff. I’d add Musical.ly as a platform… if not for building following then to at least sponsor some successful folks there and get exposed to their fans.

Frank Gonzalez - April 12, 2017

Hey John, great that you’ve been doing so well last month!
I have personally enjoyed more “War” than I did with “Your Face” it feels more catchier and similar to our first official release.
I’ll keep looking at your progress this month and implement some of the ideas of your article to further boost my own music. would also be awesome to be on that collaborators list ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jay - July 25, 2017

Hey John,

Followed you from your marketing work. As a writer/marketer and former rock musician trying to get into EDM, your stuff speaks to me at a personal level.

Q: how do you go about finding singers for your tracks? This is one of my biggest problems as well. I can’t sing to save my life and none of the singers I’ve met have cut it

    John Lavido - August 1, 2017

    Oh awesome! Always cool to meet people from the marketing world in the music world.

    My secret is having a sister who sings (it’s her singing on Hold Me, War, and an upcoming track). Seriously though, I’m not really sure. I had a vocalist reach out after hearing one of my tracks who I’d like to work with one day. If I didn’t have my sister who sang, I’d probably try AirGigs or SoundBetter (I haven’t used either of them personally, but I plan to eventually). You could also just find singers on Soundcloud and hit them up. If they’re still small time, there’s a good chance they might be interested. Use your marketing skills when you pitch them ๐Ÿ™‚

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