How Much Time Do You Generally Spend on 1 Track?

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  • #31629 Reply
    Mark_Petrie
    Participant

    Tracks designed for TV and with no live parts take me about 10 hours, stretched out over two or three days. The breaks in between sessions give me fresh ears each day and helps a lot with a range of issues.

    Tracks for trailers with no live recording can take me one night (for a custom short TV spot) to four days. With live recording, the whole process from sketch to recording to mix can take two weeks of work for one track.

    I used to crank out tracks for TV at a crazy rate of two or three a day, but those tracks don’t make me nearly as much money as the ones I spend a lot more time on these days. Not to mention, rushing stuff made me develop bad habits, leaning on loops etc. Taking a lot of time seemed scary at first, but I improved a lot faster taking my time on each track. My aim is to make every new track the best thing I’ve produced to date… I might not always hit the mark but at least that’s the goal I have in the back of my mind as I work.

    #31630 Reply
    Paul Biondi
    Guest

    @Mark_Petrie

    …tracks for TV at a crazy rate of two or three a day, but those tracks don’t make me nearly as much money as the ones I spend a lot more time on these days. Not to mention, rushing stuff made me develop bad habits, leaning on loops etc.

    +1 same here Mark. I changed my approach because of the life a cue. I saw that the cues I cranked-out quickly would get many placements in the beginning but eventually slow to a trickle . But the cues where I played the parts and took a bit more time with, their staying power is strong and they continue to get placed.

    #31631 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    I wish I could +1 / +2 you guys, but the oddest thing for me is that there is no rhyme or reason to what gets continual use here. Tracks that I could have made in 10 minutes continue to get used a decade later, and “masterpiece” tracks that I spent tons of time on sit virtually unused.

    #31633 Reply
    Paul Biondi
    Guest

    @LAwriter

    …oddest thing for me is that there is no rhyme or reason to what gets continual use…Tracks that I could have made in 10 minutes continue to get used a decade later, and “masterpiece” tracks that I spent tons of time on sit virtually unused.

    For all/most of us, this might have less to do with how much time we spend on a track and more to do with do with how differently we craft the track. My guess is that your 10 minute tracks are still getting placed not only because they’re high-quality, but they’re also meaningfully different (less complex?) than your bigger, more ambitious tracks. And those differences lead to them being a fit for more opportunities, end-users, media and moods.

    #31636 Reply
    Music1234
    Participant

    Tracks are “done”, when they’re “done” and as everyone is saying, sometimes a track that gets composed, mixed, and mastered in 4 hours goes on and earns a lot of royalties and sync fees. Sometimes the one’s that take 20 hours across a few days earn very little. There is no correct answer.

    Only the buyers decide what is useful for their projects. If you write 2000 pieces of music over a 20 to 30 year period you are probably likely to have some gems that rise up and earn you a lot of money. At the same time, you will also have tracks that never earn much at all. There always will be happy surprises along the way where, for example, a really old track gets discovered and used in a big project and produces nice earnings when you least expect it.

    When all is said and done I would advise that music producers not stop working on a track until they really know it’s ready for release. Never rush work out the door. Just keep tweaking and tweaking until you get everything you can out of the track. I would never advise writing, mixing, mastering and releasing in 1 day. Always sleep on a track and a mix. Listen the next day. If it’s ready, go ahead and release it. If not, keep working on it until you know it’s ready to go.

    #31637 Reply
    pgbanker
    Participant

    Generally I spend 8 -10 hrs per track, on average. If it is a genre where I have a template ready to go then it is closer to 6 hrs, on average. If it is one of my main genres, and I have a reason / incentive (i.e. work for hire w/ tight deadline), I can do it in 4 hrs. But I’m usually focused on making the music as good as it possibly can be, quality over quantity, so I find taking my time is preferable. And like many have mentioned above, mixing and mastering over the course of a few days with fresh ears makes a lot of sense.

    #31660 Reply
    Vlad
    Participant

    Reading this thread makes me feel a whole lot better about my process. I always think it’s really important to put my personal stamp on each piece, no matter what it is for. I’m usually doing 8-12 hours, depending on the genre/length. Sometimes as much as 15-17 if needed. I find it really intimidating when people say they are cranking 3 tracks a day, as I don’t think that leaves room for putting your signature on a track.

    #31662 Reply
    boinkeee2000
    Participant

    The irony for me is, when i aim to crank something out, it would take longer to finish, and when i do take my time, things get completed faster than expected…imo some of my favorite tracks (no relation on placeability) started off as a cookie cutter idea that blossoms to something special, but it would consume double the time expected thus missing the brief

    right now im satisfied with finishing 3-5 tracks a week..i did feel like a failure for a while since i couldnt hang with the “3 a day” crowd, tried it for a few months and wasnt happy, started questioning my competence…beside redoing most of it over…felt theres too much life passing me by

    #31669 Reply
    LAwriter
    Participant

    All I can say is that :

    1. the more you do it,
    2. the less you second guess your creative muse and just write
    3. the more you hone / develop your craft,
    4. the less you “care” about being precious with your output,
    5. the harder you bear down,
    6. the more deadlines you have to deliver on – or fail & get fired. And,
    7. the more you must financially rely 100% on your placements,

    the more tracks you can and will crank out. Be it 3 a day, 3 a week, or 3 a month. Runners run. Cyclists bike. Lawyers argue. Writers write.

    Top film composers regularly crank out 6+ minutes of music a day when under the grind. And that includes phone calls, managing assistants, meetings, and re-writes. If they don’t, they get INUNDATED. And then fired.

    Getting past the “art” part of music and into the “craft / business” aspect of GETTING IT DONE, is where the professional side of things starts to come into play. You can call that good, you can call it bad…but that’s the reality of it all.

    -=LAwriter=-

    #31676 Reply
    MichaelL
    Participant

    Runners run. Cyclists bike. Lawyers argue. Writers write.

    Hey, I don’t always argue! 😀

    Getting past the “art” part of music and into the “craft / business” aspect of GETTING IT DONE, is where the professional side of things starts to come into play. You can call that good, you can call it bad…but that’s the reality of it all.

    Absolutely spot on.

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