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That’s a tough question! I don’t think that artists necessarily need to be more entrepreneurial. But it is a question of perspective. Some artists make their art for the love of it before thinking about how they are going to sell it. But a work of art is work and all work deserves to be rewarded! I want to help artists who would like to sell their music but just don’t know how to it or who can’t even conceive of the process. 

We better go back to the source of the loop for some context — Lauren Hill’s “Ex-Factor” — and holy rabbit holes, did they make it their own! First, they took the sample and pitch-shifted it up a whole step from G♭ to A♭ (thought it sounded kind of chipmunk-esque), then they chopped it up and taped it back together out of order. But what really transforms the music of it is what they didn’t take. So we were right that the singers are singing in A♭ major note logic, but they didn’t sample any A♭ major chords — and how can you have a song in A♭ that doesn’t have any A♭ chords? Also, they didn’t sample any of the bass notes that made some of the singer’s triads into different tetrads.

Sırma Munyar is a singer, producer, songwriter, and topliner with a degree in Contemporary Writing & Production from Berklee. She’s also a commercial jingle writer, has had songs that hit the top of the Spotify charts in her native Turkey, and has recorded and performed with artists like Akon, Illenium, and Keri Hilson. She loves working with students on vocal production and using technology to create the sorts of songs you might hear in your head.

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For many of us in the English-speaking world, the Middle East remains a mysterious and misunderstood place. For those of us who love music, exploring artists from a different region can be a way to deepen our understanding and make the world seem a bit bigger and more expansive when it starts to feel small and repetitive.

Another extremely common and timeless technique to make your chorus shine is simply cutting the music out completely for half a measure or even an entire measure in some cases. Some of today’s electronic producers also prefer cutting out effects such as reverb and delay, to make that moment of silence even more dramatic, like you’re falling off a tiny cliff. This technique is especially fun to apply in situations where the chorus vocals start with pick-up notes from the previous measure.

This is a very classic song structure that can be found in everything from James Taylor to Ariana Grande. Here are some recent songs that use this structure (or something similar):

To collect these royalties, songwriters must be registered with a performing rights organization, or “PRO.” These organizations exist to track, collect, and distribute public performance royalties. The U.S. PROs include ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. In the UK, there’s PRS For Music, France has SACEM, Germany uses GEMA, and so on.

Take a look back at television shows that were geared towards young children throughout the decades and listen to their themes. I’m a ’90s kid myself, so I watched a lot of shows on PBS Kids, especially Arthur, and I watched a lot of Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules. When songs and musical pieces mimic scale degrees from these shows and movies and focus on notes 1, 2, 3, and 5 in a scale, they bring me back to my childhood just a bit.

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However, sometimes the music pours out too fast, or I have to cram a bunch of writing into a single night to meet some kind of deadline, then there’s less of an opportunity to analyze oneself and the only thing to do is trust that the little musical navigator will stop you from repeating yourself… Both methods are absolutely terrifying!

If you can’t use VHS, it’s likely your DAW has some kind of tape emulation or saturation plugin on hand. If not, FerricTDS is a good free option for PC users, as is Diabolique. Mac and PC users can both check out Klanghelm’s IVGI.

+ This article comes directly from Soundfly’s brand new mentored online course, Songwriting for Producers. If you’re producing music at home, you need to check out this course to learn the techniques and strategies of pro songwriters, master an efficient and productive workflow, and bone up on how simple music theory can improve your storytelling arc. Free preview here.

Morricone, Rota, Cipriani, Umiliani, Piccioni, Ortolani, Trovajoli: They’ve all influenced my work in countless ways, and not just in their shared collaboration with Edda Dell’Orso. Starting with Morricone and working my way down the line, I’ve tried to study the work of these composers as deeply as I can, and discover what it is about the kind of music they made which speaks to me on such a profound level.

Or you can divert expectations by dropping out most of the instruments right before the chorus, creating the illusion that we’re about to hear an explosive chorus, only to find a mellow one instead. When done right, this is a technique that can lead to some unpredictably climactic aural experiences, but it’s less formulaic compared to the other methods, and therefore it takes practice to get it right.