We’re not going to lie to ourselves- most artists misunderstand how to get musical feedback for their careers.
- Either they take the “we’ll see” approach, hoping that if they play their music in enough places, someone will give feedback (preferably positive feedback).
- Or they spam their tracks to music influencers, media and labels, and then wonder why they don’t get any response.
In short, we can do better!
That’s why in this article, I’m going to give you 5 practical tips to get more or less constructive feedback about your music. But before that, why is getting feedback so important?
🖊 This article was translated from an article in French by Guillaume from Marketing Musical. Thanks, Guillaume, for your insights!
The critical role of musical feedback in boosting your career
I imagine that many of you already realize how critical feedback is to your career. But I’m sure some of you still feel that the opinions of others don’t matter and that you don’t need the validation of others.
The first reason why feedback is so important is that it’s immensely difficult to listen to your own music in an objective way. You spend countless hours producing a track, listening to the same sections over and over again, and inevitably over time… you lose all objectivity! You start to fall in love with your rhythm section or the melody. Or on the contrary, you start to hate this gimmick that everyone would find great in your song.
When you ask someone to give you their opinion on your song, you ask them to listen to something they’ve never heard before. You ask for their first impression. Obviously, it is not possible to get 100% objective feedback from anyone, because everyone has their own preferences and background. But we’re getting close!
Beyond that, feedback can also help you find new creative ideas. You can ask someone to give you feedback on your mix and they will tell you that a certain pattern or plugin could be added or adjusted. Constructive feedback can be useful not only to identify problems with your tracks, but also to improve the artistic execution of your songs.
Finally, when you get enough feedback, you start to notice recurring problems: your weak points. If several people point to your choruses, drops or arrangements, then it becomes obvious that you could spend a little more time training and practicing to minimize your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
In short, feedback allows you to find your weak points BEFORE you publicly release your song, so that you can correct it and maximize its commercial potential.
In short, feedback is an essential step!
So, how do you actually get concrete feedback?
All you have to do is ask! The truth is that there is no extravagant strategy to be put in place here, it’s just a matter of asking. However, as you may guess, there are some things you should keep in mind.
1. Be specific in your request
There is nothing inherently wrong in asking for overall feedback and impressions. But you will often find that if you ask for feedback on a particular aspect of your track (mix, arrangement, vocals, etc.), you will get more specific and therefore more practical advice in return.
2. Ask your question correctly
Unfortunately, asking for feedback cannot be done on a “hey check my youtube please” basis.
You should be professional and formulate your request with respect, but be concise. In a few lines, politely introduce yourself, give context for connecting with your contact, state your specific request and thank the person you are contacting for his or her time.
If it is someone to whom you can bring value beforehand (exchange of feedback, visibility, etc.) then you will boost your chances of getting an answer.
3. Accept criticism
The best way to never receive feedback from a person again is to reject all the feedback they give you. For example, if you ask someone for their opinion and then try to justify it to them, for fear of admitting that your sound isn’t ready yet, then they will understand that it’s a waste of time and forget you for good.
Of course, you will receive feedback with which you will disagree. Sometimes the feedback will be justified, sometimes not, and sometimes it will hurt your ego. But whatever the case, it is always best to be grateful for the feedback and take action on the points you agree with.
Don’t try to argue with the person giving you feedback in order to be the one who is right in the end, because the person you are talking to is only trying to help you.
3 groups of people to ask for feedback from
Now that we know why and how to ask for feedback, we will see who you can turn to for constructive answers.
1. Your Super Fans and your loved ones
Although they are more biased than other groups, your super fans and your loved ones are a crucial first step in validating the potential of your tracks.
Here, don’t expect a technical or in-depth analysis, but rather to find out quickly if your audience would catch on or if there is a particularly noticeable problem with your song. In addition to offering you an overall opinion, your fans and your loved ones will feel involved in your project, which can only be beneficial for the future.
To do this, prioritize in-person exchanges (or at least in private by instant messaging or email) rather than publishing on your public accounts, so that the person you are asking feels valued by the exclusivity of this request.
2. Other musicians in your musical genre
As mentioned before, you can exchange feedback with other musicians like yourself. Simply ask someone to give you feedback on your song while giving them feedback on one of their own.
This only works with people who are more or less at the same level as you. Don’t try to do it with artists who are much more experienced and well-known than you are, because in that case the balance of power would not be in your favor; what you have to offer would be much less interesting than what they can offer you.
The main advantage of an exchange of feedback is that you often get more in-depth feedback than usual, because in this framework you both seek to progress together, to help each other, and you don’t see this as an exchange of politeness or favors.
It is also a good way to receive regular feedback if you and the other artist get along well. In this sense, you can also use forums and specialized Facebook groups.
It is true that many of them are full of spam, but some of them are real gold mines. (Like the private group of Marketing Musical 😉 )
Often, in these communities, there are many more people asking for feedback than giving it, but it is still a great option to network and find your match!
Afterwards, you can even create a private “workgroup” on Facebook where you only allow artists who accept the rules of the group. For example: everyone must give feedback when someone posts a link (maximum of 1 song every 15 days).
3. Music professionals
Finally, thanks to their experience, music professionals (media, labels, managers, etc.) are probably the most capable in steering you in the direction of what’s currently going on in the music world.
Ok, but how do I contact them?
Apart from going through your network or sending cold emails, you can use platforms like Groover which is both easy to use and relatively affordable. With such a service, paying for feedback can really be worth it, because Groover guarantees that the professionals must listen to your track and send written feedback within 7 days for only 2 euros. If it’s a track that is ready to be shared, this can lead to interesting opportunities (articles, playlist additions, radio broadcast, label signing, etc.).
I specify that I am in no way paid by Groover to write these lines! I sincerely believe that this is a powerful tool for every musician to get feedback and media opportunities. And as such, I strongly encourage you to try this platform.
See as well: RADIO: HOW TO GET YOUR SONGS SUCCESSFULLY ON THE AIR?
Now you know how valuable feedback is for your musical project and how to get it. In general, remember that giving value to your interlocutors, building your network on a daily basis, and asking the right questions to the right people will only take you further in your career.