NVDT Random -Truth in Turd Polishing and a Surprise

This is a two-fer. Scroll to the bottom for the surprise

I still get newsletters out the wazoo from my old career. The one below resonated cross-curriculum. Why? I am personally aware of authors with many books out there I wouldn’t put my name on. Authors with ‘editors’ cashing their checks for commas and semi-colons and leaving disheveled content in place. I have read enough rules to drown in them. I have run the first chapters of respected authors through a handful of writing checkers, read books on style and substance and indeed have polished my own turds beyond a reflective shine, style-wise. But as I have learned with writing, synth demos, sheetrock mud, any sort of tile – micromanagement is a waste of time. Because no two tiles are the same. No wall is straight. No prose or performance is perfect. And I’m only the judge of my effort, not the result.

From Sep, at Unison software. A company that if you can’t write a tune, they have software that will spit one out for you.

Hey Phil, (Don’t you love personalized via database notes?)

My first song that I ever released took me 6 painful months to finish. I must have spent over 200 hours on it…And by the end of it, all the fun had been sucked dry.

But here’s the worst part.

When I finally called it done…And had the courage to release it…It got 50 plays and nobody cared.

The problem was…I was spending all my time trying to make 1 song perfect. There was no consistency or momentum happening to rack up my fanbase.And, I wasn’t giving myself the opportunity to improve at all stages of the music production process.

So, eventually, I came to realize something key.

Quantity is more important than quality.

I know this sounds weird. After all, aren’t all your songs supposed to be special?Isn’t it more important to make 1 amazing song than 10 good ones?

Actually, no. And there are 2 reasons why:

1. It’s not up to you.

You don’t decide which songs become hits and which ones don’t. You may think you do, but at the end of day you have very little control over what songs resonate with the public. And which ones completely flop. Even the top producers I know can’t guarantee their songs will be hits. And I had absolutely no idea my remix was going to get 20 million plays when I first released it.

In reality, every song you make should be your best effort. But then it simply becomes a numbers game. Some songs will stick, some won’t. However, you can up your chances by finishing and releasing music consistently.

2. Don’t be so tough on yourself.

You know what sounds stressful? Putting insane amounts of pressure on yourself. And saying the next song I make has to get signed. Or has to get 1,000,000 plays. Or has to make X amount of dollars. It’s great that you’re ambitious. But who needs that pressure?

Your music will strike a chord with the public when it’s ready to. Again, all you can do is make music to the best of your ability. And make a lot of it.

Plus, intense pressure isn’t fun. And we’re making music here. It’s supposed to be fun before anything else. Let me leave you with one analogy.

Making music is a lot like sending bottles out to sea. You keep sending them and sending them, until one day, a bottle comes back to you.

That’s what making music is like.

That bottle may back to you in the form of a hit song. Or an awesome record deal. Or a dream set at a major festival. Or perhaps just the satisfaction of creating a finished work you can be proud of.

But the point here is — just keep sending those bottles.

Have an amazing week,

PS from the blog author – The formula works, as long as you clean it up!

BONUS SURPRISE – Sir Mashalot – the top 5 or 6 country songs over 5 or 6 years. More punch-ins than Steely Dan, more sameness than a table full of “NYT Bestselling Authors” at pick-your-book-store. This is how hilarious all aspects of publishing and delivery are. If you can’t get this in your region Google Sir Mashalot Country Mix


Published by

Phil Huston


3 thoughts on “NVDT Random -Truth in Turd Polishing and a Surprise”

  1. Instagram is the perfect example of this. Or Youtube. You never know which post or video will spark a viral flood. And, yeah, it’s not up to you. And the corollary to your thought: wouldn’t more quantity eventually up your quality?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read the early one not long after the industry I was in tanked. He makes a lot of good points, but amidst the philosophizing and making your own luck he owns the right place right time scenario. Even if we make our own luck by defying conventional wisdom, or parking ourselves down the street from our “dream job” the likelihood of top tier “success” is still very small. For all the Paul McCartneys out there with life-long careers there are thousands of one-hit wonders and the classic 5 years of fame types. Millions of singing guitar players working on cars, mowing yards, couch surfing. The same with any number of businesses like he talks about restaurants. There are ceilings and cycles and it’s stupid rare to beat them. I got to do what I would have been doing for free and got paid for it. I have no idea how. Being able to hear the cosmic doorbell go off? I had no idea I’d end up where I did when I packed it all in a VW van and took off. I took Taleb’s book as a sort of upgraded Wall Street take on “Illusions”. Think of it even subconsciously, and it’s bearing down on you like a Mac truck. Chance is tripping over the right channel on the cosmic radio, at the right time.


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