Is it a good thing to be unique?

I always wonder why a lot of good music ends up being unpublished. How is it possible that a good demo email doesn't become a proudly signed track? I was debating with my roommates the other day about the following topic, which has raised numerous questions. We opened up Beatport Top 100 and listened to a couple of popular tracks. I scrolled down the list, pressed play when I thought I had found a wicked song, but the feeling was not right at all…I started to think: many names, many labels and one thing that bothered me was the same sound over and over again which has appeared in every track I have played.

It's not that people produce the same song, but the feeling you get is that all of the top tracks are a part of the same never-ending set with no spirit. Same rhythm, same effects, same taste. Is this normal? You know how it goes, right? In every business, you're trying to get into as a rook and you have to bring something new or unseen to the table…at least that is what they make you believe. In the music industry itself, they tell you your sound has to be different and fresh. "Labels won't sign you up, so don't even bother sending them demos, if you don't bring something unique to listen" is a popular opinion around the globe. But is that true, or is it just an excuse for keeping the circles closed?

Let me slice through this enigma: Does quality even matter?

 Will having a unique and quality sound get you to the top or is it just the connections and the region you are in, that counts? Unfortunately, on most occasions, labels won't sign your music regardless the quality. Sure you can get lucky and sign up a record or two or maybe your friend recommends you, etc. Let me ask you this: have you ever had a feeling that your track would be perfect for a certain label, but they will not release your tracks for some random reason? We've all done the story of composing a perfect email, pining in the demo, and waiting.

Luckily for us, there are a couple of apps such as EmailTrack which helps you get through those "rainy" days. So after many days, when you finally get the notification that your email has been read, there is still no reply. The question remains: have they even listened to the tracks? You consequently come to a conclusion that they have listened to your demo and "didn't like your sound’’ or "you're not good enough for them’" or they just don't have the common decency to respond back.

Fact is, what really matters, in the end, is from whom it is!

Then you wonder: "What am I doing wrong? I'm making my own sound, my tracks are more finished than ever, this label has just the right vibe for my music, what's up?" Of course, there's also a big chance that your tracks aren't as good as you think, but let's presume that they are. The answer that's very often pushed aside in this industry would be: "You don't know the right people, you're from a nameless country and at the start of your career."

So what to do? Every time you get the same old suggestions that you should lock yourself in a studio, find out what's your sound and most of all network yourself on every step. They say that you'll get a good label if you're working hard (they always forget to include if you don't die from hunger because money is obviously not a factor here), because good labels distribute good music, never-mind from whom it is.  So how can you break the circle if you're a no one with your own sound and quality production? How can you get a name in the first place, if the name is the ace in the game?

 Being unique is obviously not a good thing right now.

 So what's the solution here? If I would have one I certainly wouldn't be writing this. What can a certain someone do, if he has his own sound, he doesn't feel producing a type of music just because it's popular at the moment but wants to make a stand? He's just what the big names are certifying as "unique", but has nowhere to release his music. I think that this is just a phrase with other words saying "we're not letting you in’’! My conclusion would be that the connections and your daily environment are still the game changers. So for those who are trying to make it on their own, you better have a thick skin and a true passion because you are going to eat garbage.

It would be nice for once if a certain someone who made it, could honestly say this out loud, not just ignorantly pretend that we all pose a privileged background. With more open discussions like this, we can at least try to bring this stereotypes to an end.

Common Stereotypes is a series of articles written by author Severin Hutinski where she expresses her thoughts on different topics related to the music world.
By Severin, edited on 29 May 2018