100 Top Tips For New Producers

1. Understand that attaining any level of success isn’t easy. It takes work.

2. Dive in and be inspired by an array of different kinds of music, it’ll be overwhelming but helpful in the long run.

3. Listen to different kinds of music. Even music you don’t particularly like.

4. Analyze your favorite artist’s work in great detail.

5. Books tend to provide more value than YouTube tutorials. Read them.

6. There is no “best DAW”. Pick one and run with it (try out demos and see which one suits you).

7. Be wary of potentially misleading social media posts. (misinformation)

8. Don’t keep your early work hidden. Seek out feedback constantly, from producers and non-producers. Sharing your music will keep you motivated by the negative and/or the positive feedback you receive.

9. Want to be a dubstep producer but feel like making a trance track today? Go for it. You can’t disappoint your fans if you don’t have many.

10. Produce other genres.

11. The second most important purchase after your DAW should be a decent pair of headphones (not monitors – headphones are a lot more portable and require less proper setup).

12. Produce for at least one hour per day. If you can’t, do 30 minutes a day.

13. Learn sound design from day 1. Your future self will thank you for it.

14. Some ‘shortcuts’ can hurt more than help. This craft takes time.

15. Contrary to popular belief – you don’t need a Mac to produce music.

16. Don’t worry about promotion and marketing when you’re starting out. You’ll know when the time for that has come.

17. Collaborate with other producers that are better and worse than you.

18. Following trends won’t make you famous, make the music you love.

19. High-pass everything (jokes aside, high-passing can be one of the most important mixing tools, if you know what you’re doing).

20. Learn basic music theory if you haven’t already. Recommended book: “Songwriting For Producers”.

21. Not sure how compression works? Don’t use it until you’ve learned it.

22. You’re only as good as your ears. Take care of them and train them (and always use reference tracks).

23. Get out of the house and talk to people in the industry (whether in a cafe or a club). You need some sunlight, real world interaction is important.

24. Listen to Mat Zo, Noisia, Koan Sound, BT, Andrew Bayer.

25. Your music sucks at the moment, and it will probably suck 6 months from now. Keep pushing through.

26. Study your craft as much as possible, don’t neglect daily practice.

27. Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions, everyone starts somewhere. Google first, always.

28. Don’t spam people. This leaves a bad impression.

29. Mastering? Don’t worry so much about. It’s only 5% of the finished product.

30. More Practice.

31. That $200 plugin isn’t going to make you a better producer, despite the enticing tagline.

32. The plugins in your DAW are more than enough to start with.

33. Being a 14-year old EDM producer does not mean you’re special.

34. Being a 45-year old EDM producer does not mean you’re too old.

35. Browse the EDMProduction Subreddit. I don’t care if you don’t use Reddit, you do now.

36. The most reliable reddit forum for you is probably KVRAudio.

37. Music production involves problem-solving. There isn’t a tutorial for everything.

38. Learn to DJ if possible, or at least to perform live.

39. Enjoy yourself! Please remember this one. It’s important. You and your future fans will be grateful that you did.

40. Finish your tracks. Garbage or Gold... no matter what. Finish your track and move on to the next one.

41. Copy and steal from other artists. You aren’t big enough to get sued (yet?) and imitation is the greatest form of flattery anyway.

42. Remake your favorite tracks. You’ll learn a hell of a lot.

43. Keep your plugins and samples to a minimum. Learn to work with what you’ve got.

44. Playing an instrument of any kind is beneficial, but not essential.

45. Learn how to do things manually, then see if you can replicate them automatically (self-modulation for example).

46. Go to events, festivals, and clubs. Catch the vibe.

47. People will ignore you from time to time. Get used to it.

48. Try to produce finished tracks as fast as possible. As a beginner, this is the quickest way to learn as you cover all bases.

49. You don’t need a Soundcloud Pro account yet (it’s 2021 anyway...)

50. Keep everything organized and name your projects logically.

51. Don’t waste your time with labels, you’ll only be disappointed. Submit demos once your music is good.

52. Learning sound design? Focus on one synth, not ten.

53. Tackle one thing at a time, music production is a very wide and diverse field.

54. Unless this is a mere side hobby, you’ll need to make some sacrifices. Stop watching TV - and way less gaming!

55. Do something related to music every morning and every evening.

56. Read The F***ing Manual (RTFM)

57. Producing music doesn’t get you girls, it just makes you more of a geek at the end of the day.

58. Never delete your work. The stuff you make as a new producer may be incredibly creative musically.

59. Making a living off music isn’t impossible, it just requires a huge amount of determination and patience.

60. Don’t spend $1000’s on gear.

61. Review what you’ve learned each week.

62. MIDI keyboards are helpful, but not essential.

63. Develop good habits overall in the beginning. It’s harder to fix bad habits than to form good ones.

64. Don’t worry about using a template. Find your style first.

65. Constructive negative feedback is far better than a “nice track bro.” It hurts, but it’s worth it.

66. There are people out there who physically can’t make music. Consider yourself privileged and you’ll find a lot more joy in it.

67. Don’t give up your day job.

68. That ‘professional’ sound you want? Yeah, that’ll take a while to get.

69. There is no set period of time that it takes to become a good producer. For some it takes months, others it may take years. Don’t compare yourself to others.

70. Use reference tracks (yes, it’s so important).

71. Capture and cultivate inspiration from everything. Live life!

72. If it sounds good, then leave it.

73. Don’t stress the small stuff. You’ll progress faster if you focus on the fundamentals.

74. Read a lot. Did I mention that? Yes, books. (audio books are good too)

75. If you want to make a song that sounds like it was produced in 2006, then do it. No one’s stopping you.

76. Many of your favorite producers are active on Instagram and Twitter, and might even answer your questions (within reason).

77. Don’t expect to be able to listen to music normally again. You’ll analyze everything.

78. Creating mashups can be a good way to develop particular skills (EQing, automation, tempo matching, ear, etc).

79. Surround yourself with music 24/7.

80. Use the ADSR envelope on everything, including samples.

81. If you think your music sounds great, you’re probably wrong.

82. You’ll always compare yourself to others, this is natural. My advice: focus on yourself, and the music. Be true to yourself.

83. Take some time off if you’re not feeling it, but no longer than necessary.

84. Putting a reverse clap every 4 bars does not make you a creative genius.

85. You don’t need to release an EP or album. Singles are king!

86. Silence is incredibly important in music. Don’t feel you need to fill in all the gaps. Let it breathe, less is more.

87. You don’t need to upload everything to the internet.

88. When asking for feedback, be polite. Don’t just send a link to all your producer buddies without a message to go with it.

89. Ask if you can sit in on a studio session. Pay 100% focused attention if it goes ahead. Take notes.

90. Remix packs can be a great way to get inside other artist’s productions.

91. Listen to a person’s music before taking their advice. Some people study without practice, and therefore only teach by analogy.

92. Disable your internet connection when producing music. Airplane mode was a game changer for me.

93. At the end of each production session, organize, name, and color your tracks.

94. Having source material (samples, patches) that sound good is paramount to having a sonically intact track.

95. Repetition and variation are equally important.

96. Keep tension and energy present throughout your track.

97. Be unorthodox. Try weird shit. Being a little or a lot different within a pop structure is how most top artists break through.

98. Back your work up to an external HDD and/or the cloud.

99. Focus on the music most. The technical side can wait. Melody is key!

100. More and more practice.

And that’s 100 tips for the new producer! Remember, don’t focus on all of these at once – just pick the things that apply to you right now.

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