To follow or not to follow the rules
Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth… There is no spoon. Then you will see it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
– Spoon Boy (to Neo in The Matrix)
The most successful people are often those who bend the rules and who paddle against the stream. Bending (or breaking) the rules and paddling against the stream leads to new ideas and to new concepts. That’s what we call INNOVATION.
As mentioned numerous times already, the music industry is no longer innovating, and record companies don’t like artists who do not follow trends. But if you take a look at the history of popular music, then you’ll see that all of those highly successful artists, and all of those who are considered to have been the greatest artists of all times, they almost all matched the following criteria:
- They have always been breaking the rules.
- They were important because they changed the way things were being done.
- They influenced the following generations.
In other words:
They were DISRUPTIVE, they were GAME CHANGERS.
There are no more game changers in the music business nowadays, and that’s the problem. Reading this book and applying its recommendations means paddling against the stream already, because trying to create great music is not what most of the people in this industry have in mind. Nevertheless there are some rules that will have to be followed to some degree. Those are rules not dictated directly by the industry, but by common sense and by the habits of your audience, such as:
- The album length, which is usually somewhere between 35 and 65 minutes, containing about 8-14 songs. You’ll soon learn that less is more in most cases.
- The fact that your album has to feature at least one “hit song” (or a “signature song” if you want), respectively a song that stands out, that will make your potential fans go crazy, and that will thus help to sell the album as a whole.
- The hit song duration, which is about 3:00 - 4:30 minutes (but which can be a lot longer nowadays, you’ll soon understand why).
- The hit song structure, which is generally something like VCVCBC (V = verse, C = chorus, B = bridge) or VCVCAA (A = alteration).
- The fact that you’ll need some kind of a video in order to promote your single.
- The fact that you’ll need some kind of clever marketing.
Such rules will have to be followed, although they can be bent. You will learn about all of this very soon.