Thursday, September 3, 2020

The format is not your enemy, it’s free to break the rules but know why.

Many artists follow all the rules and advice that are given to them at conferences, online or in workshops, etc. One rule seems though hard for them to understand, format.

Format is how the general audience listens and is presented to music. You have every artistic right and freedom to not follow these format rules. You need to be aware that you are excluding yourself from a lot of listeners. No, you cannot change people. Either you change for them or you accept a smaller range of audiences. Either way is the right way for you, it's your choice. Right now however I have too many people that have chosen to leave formats and then doing PR and efforts that are in a format world, and then complaining that they don’t get the same chance as other artists and that the world is to shallow.

What are the format rules? It varies, but I can take an example. I got in a demo from an artist. Every song was over six minutes long and an album of ten songs. Me working on the radio know that you need to make a really good exemption to play songs over 4:30 minutes. Why this rule? Studies have shown that the audience starts to change the channel if there is a song playing for too long that they don’t like. Of course, there are exemptions like Don Mcleans, American Pie that is eight minutes long. But then they usually fade it in the middle. And if you look at online radio, fading is not that easy to do, so you rather stay in the format of three minutes to four minutes. This is that the audience hangs on. Playing long songs is risky for me as a radio producer. If you then do songs that don’t fit that it’s my artistic freedom to choose to not play them. It’s your artistic freedom to release longer songs because they should be that way. You take a bigger chance though by leaving the format that I will play it.

Same rule that you should release it on a Friday. Friday is the official release day of music in the world. Many blogs, magazines, and stations has built up their release systems around that. Their working schedule is put that way. Many algorithms are programmed that way. You can release on a Tuesday you have to full right to do that. Don’t expect that all these people should change their schedules just because you don’t want to stay in the format. You can release it on a Tuesday but take a chance that you are not picked since it won't fit the editor's schedule.

A lot of complaining I seen the past weeks has just been around this. Either the artist didn’t know or understand that they broke a format rule, or they just wanted to be cool and different and think that would help them to reach an audience. The choice is simple. You lock your self inside the format and try to be creative inside that. Or be totally outside the rules. Whatever you do don't try to do it halfway that just gonna make people take things off.

If the things you release is mediocre, well then it doesn’t matter if you follow the format or not. It won’t fly. It’s only if it’s great and you follow the rules you might have a bigger chance if you also follow the format.

It’s no rules, it’s a choice but don’t complain about the system or if people mark it out.

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