“What’s more important: Quality music, or Quantity?”
I already know what the answer is for the majority of music creators reading this. But, The truth is, It depends. It depends on ‘who’ we’re asking: Writer, fellow producer, relative…..(insert type of client). There are a lot of variables to consider.
Give a homeless person a McDonald’s happy meal and I’m sure he/she would be thankful, won’t have many complaints (if any). Although, there are some high-class homeless individuals out there.
A food critic, on the other hand, would have an entirely different view regarding the ‘Happy Meal’. The critic will comment or complain about the: texture, grade of meat, flavor, cooking method, and so on.
“Greg That’s not even on the same level or playing field as music or anything related to art”
– Just bear with me for a moment.
Whatever your belief is, forget it and take both scenarios into consideration (just for a moment)… what’s more important now?
The Quality or Quantity of your music?
What Majority Of You Will Say
→ Quality Over Quantity ←
People want the best of things. The best quality this, best quality that, etc… I get it.
Few argumentative quotes I’ve heard over the years:
- “Quality > Quantity.”
- “Quality first and foremost.”
- “Quality is what sets you apart from the crowd”
- “I’d rather make 1 great song than 10 just okay songs”
The Truth About Music Quality
What is quality music? How do you determine quality? What sounds good to you and, what you deem as quality, won’t always translate as ‘quality material’ to others.
Quality Music is subjective. You could play a good Rock tune for someone who doesn’t care for rock and that person will pass the track off as ‘junk’.
Let’s get some die-hard country music fans in a room and play some ‘Lil Wayne’… I don’t see that going too well.
Few examples to further illustrate what I mean.
1) For years I’ve hated Jpop and Kpop. I just couldn’t stand the cheesy sound it had. Does this mean the genre is any less quality than the music I like? No, not all, it’s just my personal opinion.
2) Pay attention to music cues that are licensed over and over in movies or reality tv shows. Most of those cues would never fly on the Billboard Charts as ‘quality tracks’, but they work perfectly for background cues.
Do you get my drift? No? Okay another example it is!
3) Let’s use hip-hop as an example. I love using this genre because it breaks a ton of rules, it’s popular and a good % of musicians don’t consider it music. Trap music, a sub-genre in hip-hop has been a trend for many years now.
Most hip-hop beatmakers aren’t impressed with it, they hear and go “eh.. simple”, “all he did was this and that”, “sounds like everything else” etc.
To the artists/client in need, it could be the best thing since sliced bread. To a creator, it’s just another copycat track – nothing special.
Music Quantity (Egos Aside Please)
For some reason, the word ‘quantity’ has become synonymous with ‘inferior quality’. Why is this? Let’s look at the true definition of the word before I go off on my little tangent
The amount or number of a thing not usually estimated by spatial measurement: “the quantity of the fruit can be controlled”.
The property of a proposition of being universal or particular.
So, with that said, ‘quantity’ is a number. Meaning, you could have a large quantity of good or bad tracks. Quantity doesn’t = a ‘grade’ of quality.
The same could be said about the word ‘quality’… It doesn’t determine the ‘grade’ of.
Alright, I’ll stop with the splitting of hairs and technicalities but it’s true.
The truth is Quantity breeds quality. No one comes out the gate creating great music on their very 1st try. Things take time. You have to learn the equipment, you experiment, you go through a trial and error phase. Repetition is key. The more you create music, the more you learn, and the better you become.
Take a look at professional athletes, dancers, speakers, and so on. They spend countless hours perfecting their craft. Could you imagine how many routines and drills they do a day?
Practice Makes Perfect
The more material you have the better chances you have of landing a gig. You don’t know what’s going to catch the ear of a ‘potential client’. Everyone has different tastes and projects have different needs.
I can’t tell you how many musicians I know that land production gigs simply because they had ‘more’ music in their catalog. Were they the greatest songs ever heard? No, but the tracks are consistent and the clients were satisfied – that’s what matters.
If a client informs you of a project that needs x amount of tracks in a few hours are you going to tell them “no” because you can’t deliver your best work? Or, do you deliver what you can?
The client understands the risk. They understand the chances of getting your best work are slim. They just need to complete the project and, in many cases, the music doesn’t need to be spectacular, decent is good enough.
That last example is actually about an opportunity that was passed to me last week. I’m in a position to supply a new reality show with a bunch of music and, the chances of placement are extremely high.
How did this opportunity come about? Well, it was put in my lap (basically) I wrote a post about music libraries giving me their client base ← you should read it.
Had I said no to this project simply because of the time frame and personal pride, I’d be missing out on a huge opportunity.
Here’s A Short Video I Created On The Topic
Music: Quality Vs Quantity (Finding A Balance)
Finding a balance comes easy if you’re a lover of technology and audio as a whole because you’re just excited about creation. I think the struggle comes into play when you become prejudice.
There’s a lot of it in this industry
Purists generally hate change and will devalue anything short of their training and expertise that gains popularity.
Think about it…….
So as a creator of music where do you stand? What is your take on the debate (quality vs quantity)?
If you work in another field, your input is still welcome and valid. What is your take on quality vs quantity?
The reasoning behind this post is to get people to think rather than follow the herd (as most do). Looking forward to reading your replies.