Finish that song and release it!
Some years ago I found myself in a strange situation. I was writing a lot of music, some of it quite experimental, not as a genre, but as in doing something I didn't really know how to do, with very mixed results. Some of the songs, I was actually quite pleased with. But. There was always this one thing that I could do better. Get it right. Make it perfect. Having no pressure or deadline is a tricky thing for a musician. Because a song can always be better. Or can it?
Folders of unfinished songs are a terrible waste of energy towards something other people will never enjoy. While making the songs helped me as a composer and producer, it just felt unfair to my work not having it heard. Not only that, with time this collecting of unfinished works simply becomes a bad work habit. So one evening I made a decision.
I would just go ahead and release them in the wild.
After having talked about this with fellow musicians and other artists, I realized that this problem is more common than I thought. We overwork things, and overthink people's reactions to them. Think about it for a minute. How many thoroughly enjoyable pieces of art do you think there are lying around unpublished in the world?
So as a solution, I built a quick website and promised myself that I would deliver one track every month. That would be my deadline. Finish them. Ship them out there and let them have their own life. If anything needed more attention to work, I gave myself two options. Throw the track away, or release it, and apply what I had learned on the next track.
Enter Anthemico Records, my microlabel.
I started releasing tracks. And from that I learned an important lesson. When you publish songs, or any piece of art for that matter, they get a life of their own. And people do not neccesarily like the things you would expect.
I'll give you an example. Once, I was trying out a new synthesizer. What started out as an experiment, soon became a song. And I decided, as I was tidying it up, in something less than 10 hours, that I would just release it.
This track is Lumina, one of my most popular instrumental songs. It's still doing great out there, and has been licenced to commercials and corporate vdeos, making those 10 hours very profitable indeed. Never mind that. The point I'm trying to get across is that I never suspected that. Other songs that I've put lots of work into, and thought that people would like a lot, have fallen short of my expectations. All this is a normal part of the creative process.
This I would never have learned, were it not for the fact that I put it out there for people to enjoy, or hate. Or not care about at all. After all, it's not like there is any shortage of good music out there.
And trough getting my stuff out there, I've created a lot of possibilities, work opportunities, and learned more than I could ever have thought possible.
So. Publish. Go ahead. Get your stuff heard. Do it.