Knowing when your track is finished can be a subjective and somewhat intuitive process, It often depends on your goals, artistic vision, and personal preferences. Many musicians and producers find the act of sharing their music with the world rather daunting. There’s a pressure to release your best possible work and constantly strive for perfection. This can hamper decision-making as perfection is very rarely achieved. Besides music is totally subjective so the notion of perfection is a redundant one. In this article, I will consider 5 common signs and considerations that may help you determine when your music is release-ready.
Probably the most important factor in knowing when your track is finished is whether it matches your initial vision or intention. You will no doubt have something in mind when creating a track. This could be a message or emotion you want to convey or a musical genre you want to align with. If you’re satisfied that you’ve achieved what you set out to do then chances are your track might well be finished.
So you’re satisfied with your track and feel it fulfils the initial brief. This is certainly the most important factor BUT getting the feedback of others can also be helpful, especially if you do have any doubts or concerns. Seeking feedback from trusted friends, collaborators, or mentors can offer fresh perspectives and help you identify areas that may need improvement. (Just avoid asking your mum as she will tell you you’ve done a ‘lovely job’ regardless.)
Track/song arrangement is one of the key areas that can inspire second-guessing as to a track’s completion. It’s very easy to just keep on adding more and more musical elements and variations. Very much like a fine artist, It’s all about knowing when to stop!
The main objective is to ensure that the arrangement of instruments, vocals, and other elements flows smoothly. The key is to maintain listener interest throughout. This is often a fine balance. You do not want the arrangement to lack interest. On the flip side, it shouldn’t be overly complex (Unless you’re working in the prog rock idiom) Check if transitions are seamless and if the song structure makes sense for the particular genre that you’re working in.
Comparing your track to songs by artists you admire can help in knowing when your track is finished. While you don’t want to directly copy them, this can help you gauge if your production quality and songwriting are on par with your inspirations. For instance, look at the types of instruments, effects and song structures used. These may influence and inspire the direction of your finished track. Try playing your finished track next to those of your peers. If your track sits in a playlist or mix without standing out then chances are it’s ready to go!
The other important area in which to compare against your musical influences is the mix and overall sound. The quality of your mix can often make or break a track. For useful mixing tips check out this article. If mixing is not your strong point then it could be worth employing the services of a professional mix or mastering engineer.
Take a Break.
Finally, here is an often overlooked technique to help gauge when your track is finished. Taking a break from the project and returning to it with fresh ears can often bring a whole new perspective. When you are deep into the creative process, it is often hard to see the composition as a whole. This can especially be the case when focusing on short sections of your track,
Sometimes, a little distance can help you identify issues or areas for improvement that you might have missed. The longer the passage of time you leave the more detached from the creative process you will become. Leaving a substantial amount of time away from your track will help you fully experience your track’s emotional as well as sonic characteristics. This should certainly help in knowing when your track is finished.
Remember that perfection is elusive in art, and at some point, you’ll need to make the decision to release or share your music. It’s common for artists to continue refining their work indefinitely, but setting boundaries and deadlines can help you complete and release your music to the world.
Ultimately, the sense of completion is a personal and creative judgment that comes with experience and practice. And when you are happy to release your track, RouteNote can handle all your digital distribution in one place.