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[Note: I’m thinking about giving away something. For free (you can provide input here). It’s going to take some significant time to put together. But if I’m going to hustle to get it done, I want to make sure you actually want it (so I don’t feel like an idiot). More details about this free thing are at the bottom of this post.]

So in my second to last post I said I’d write about…

The #1 reason why musicians fail

Ok. This is going to be really profound. You should probably sit down, ok?

The #1 reason why musicians can’t get what they want from their music is that they have no clue where they are, where they are going, and how to use what they have.

Duh. I know. That might sound a little insulting, but please hear me out on this.

The stuff no one is talking about

We are in the age of social media. Everyone is talking about how you can use this service or that to promote your music. We’re also in the age of cheap technology. More and more musicians are making great sounding recordings in their bedrooms at home.

You don’t need a record label anymore. You don’t need a professional studio anymore.

Now that so many of the gatekeepers in the music industry have been removed, it’s easy to think that there are silver bullets to many musicians problems. We are made to think “if only I could get this new piece of gear, my recordings will sound good”. Or, “if only I could get 1000 Facebook fans, I’ll be selling enough music”.

Most aspiring musicians start off really excited and enthusiastic. But some of them will never finish a song because they don’t know how to put one together. Some of them will never release an album because they think it’s not good enough. Some of them will be disappointed after their first release because not enough people listened or downloaded in the first week.

So they stop.

They stop because they think that whatever they’re doing will never bring them to the realization of their musical goals.

And they stop because they’re afraid of repeating the same failures over again. Or they decide that making music is basically a scam… that only the lucky ones will make any money or gain any traction.

What a half-naked, wiry-haired songwriter can teach us about making music

Jim Morrison, from the band The Doors, once said:

“There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.”

Considering Jim was a songwriter/musician (and may have even named his band after his own analogy) it’s safe to say this statement absolutely can apply to our music and our music careers. For our purposes, Jim might well have said…

“We have the things we know, our current abilities and resources. But in order to move onto that next thing, we have to figure out how to use the things we have at our disposal RIGHT NOW to open the door.” — Andy’s paraphrasing

I started off with a goal. And a problem. I wanted to write/record some songs and release an album, but I couldn’t finish anything. It was frustrating, but I KNEW there had to be a way around it. I knew that it wasn’t just luck that turned people into songwriters.

And I was right. I figured out a way to overcome my problem. I simplified some things and used YouTube as a tool to help my songwriting. Ever since then it’s been a similar story. Another goal will arise, another problem will stand in my way, and I will figure out how to use what I have to overcome it. This is how I’ve moved forward in every category including songwriting, recording, and even promotion and marketing. Each goal I achieve and problem I overcome is another step forward in this whole music thing.

Musicians fail because they don’t know where they are. They don’t know what they have at their disposal. They don’t have concrete goals and they don’t put in the effort to reach them.

Know where you are. Know what you have at your disposal. Have a goal. Experiment and figure out how to overcome the problem and reach your goal.

This next sentence is very long, but it’s really really important

There’s absolutely no reason at ALL (at all) that you should settle for half-written songs, poor-sounding recordings, releases that go unlistened-to, or a stagnant fan base. The skills and abilities you have right now can serve as the DOOR to a future of great songs, great recordings and an ever increasing number of listeners.

Here’s why…

There is no magic bullet. You will never write a perfect song at the beginning.
There is no magic piece of gear that will instantly make your recordings sound better. There is no magic tool or trick to instantly get a bunch of people to start listening to your music. But you can make all those things happen and it starts with what you’ve got right now. There is nothing holding you back.

I want to help you overcome your frustrations and move onto that next step, so I’m going to make something for you. It’s what a lot of you asked for, so I think it will help! This free resource will help identify all those possible (potential) ‘next steps’ (doors) for you in your songwriting/recording process and get you thinking about ways to move to the next level.

Here’s what I want to do

I want to record a 4-part training video series. It would look like this:

1. Recording setup

This will show you EXACTLY how my recording setup works, how it’s connected, and how I get everything into my computer software.

2. Songwriting

I’ll go through a recently-recorded track of mine and bring you through my songwriting process. I’ll explain the inspiration for the song and how I went from a small idea to full track.

3. Mixing

I’ll show you how I put all my tracks together within my recording software and let you in on some tricks I use to make everything fit together and sound cohesive.

4. Mastering

Since this will be a song that I mastered myself, I’ll show you how I put the final polish on this track and made it ready for an official release.

I’d even throw in the audio files you can use to follow along (stems to all audio tracks to use in your DAW).

And I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but the audio files will come from an unreleased track from my soon-to-be released album I’m writing for my soon-to-be-released son, Blake.

Because I don’t want to feel like an idiot

 I’d feel like a total idiot if I spent 2-3 days working non-stop of this thing and no one downloaded it or wanted it.


Here’s what I need you to do now

If you want this 4-part training video series, enter your email address below BEFORE next Thursday.

If I end up making it, I’ll email you at the email address you list below to let you know when it’s ready. Only a limited number of people will get access for free (in exchange for feedback-details to follow), but you’ll be the first to know when it’s available, because access will be granted on a first come, first served basis.

Registration for video course is now closed


  If you and enough other people get on the “interest” list, then we’re good to go.

If not, then no worries. I’ll just spend the 2-3 days to finish watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. I’m not ashamed, I got a little bit addicted : )

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  • http://www.facebook.com/TheOneAndOnlyBrandonJoswick Brandon Joswick

    Thank you so much for doing this! Everyone on here has a lot of questions but I think that this project has the potential to answer them all.

    • http://twitter.com/jjdeschaine Jared Deschaine

      Agreed. This could end up being a real launching point for a lot of us that have felt stuck where we’re at. And you’re totally right. We’ve gotta learn to use what we’ve got!

  • Michael Garr

    I’m really excited about this. Just this blog post alone has made me think alot about where I am and where I’m going. I’m hopeful this catches on so I can sit down and go through the videos and pickup some pieces to help move my music forward.

  • Jed

    Battlestar Galactica is so good. But please make the videos.

  • http://stanmanx.com Matt Smyczynski

    I’m especially excited about the mixing and mastering videos. I think I’ve gotten a lot better at mixing in the last couple of months, but I still have a long way to go. Same goes for mastering, only I didn’t really know what mastering was until you wrote a post about it.

  • Kent

    Yep. I’d be up for it, especially the mixing and mastering bits…

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.szocs.9 Peter Szocs

    Absolutely fantastic article , If the article helped me a lot … I can’t wait for the videos ! Thanks Andy . Beautiful Music , Peace & Love !

  • John

    I’m so excited about this that it’s kind of embarrassing. Please do it!

    • http://www.andyothling.com/ Andy Othling

      I’m excited too!

  • grant

    do it! It would be so helpful!

  • Antoine Michaud

    Andy, you’re the best. Period.

  • Rolf Dinter

    Hello Andy, it is so great, what you do for me! I was also in the trap of GAS need better tools to make my record. But since I have sold most of my stuff and only an iPad and a mixer and some amps and guitars and effects remain, my creative flow is back again.
    Looking foreward to your 4part video training. Kind regards from Rolf
    If you want to listen to my music look on Bandcamp my artist name is Vijayananda, there you find a record from me I recorded 1990.

  • Jonathan

    Hey Andy, so i don’t think i’ve ever commented on anything on here before but i just wanted to say that if you end up going through with this project that I know it would be extremely helpful to me and everyone else subscribed to this blog.
    My main thing is, I don’t actually OWN any recording software thus far cause i’m still in high school and have a pretty tiny income, which is mostly spent in other areas. But i’m currently saving up for some basic recording gear, because I’ve been writing songs over the past year that i’m really starting to feel pretty solid about.
    So anyway if you end up making this tutorial shenanigan i know it would help me tremendously once i save up enough for the actual software and gear, because having someone actively SHOW you how they get a good product starting from scratch is much more helpful in my mind then just reading about it.

  • Pingback: You spoke loud and clear (but DANG!) - Andy Othling

  • Guest

    I jiust found out, and I missed the cut. :-(
    Any chance of adding one more to the mix?

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.wottle James Wottle

    I just found out, and I already missed the cut. :-(

    Any chance of adding one more to the mix?

  • Katrina Barclay

    I’ve missed out on your training series, but this blog was a good and helpful read, and your music sent me to another planet. I forgot what I was even doing before I navigated over to this blog. :) I’d say you’re doing something right. Also, I hate that I only said about 2 words to you at the Future Of Forestry show in Rome, GA. I was your opener. It’s an honor to follow your blog because you are talented and you’re proving to all of us musicians that it takes blood, sweat, and perserverance to be successful, no matter how much talent you have. Thanks and keep it up!

  • zolly

    can i get this tutorial made by you ? please..i just started building a studio and i have no idea how use my hear….i cant even connect a condenser mic to the digital mixer and through firewire to the pc…please help… thank you! zolly_03@yahoo.com

  • blahblahblah

    The so-called re-imagined BG sucks ass. The only thing in common with the splendid original show is a few names. The original show is all that matters to me.

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