These days everybody is looking to be unique, “you be you” was the saying of 2018. And yet they somehow find a way to look the same, following the tail end of trends, purchasing the new Apple, Samsung or Huawei phone, go on the same diets. For years most people have claimed to be unique, yet (on the outside at least) have proved themselves otherwise. Why?
Marketing, Availability, Choice and Creativity are all part of the reason why so many people end up being the same. People tend to go for things that have good reviews by large companies, as such competition in their markets are drowned out to the smallest of scales making the smaller more niche (or unique) companies increase both quality and price. People are much less likely to create the product themselves, if they can buy something more functional and practical from a large company. This combined with the companies designing similar products to each other, drowns out the development of new unique products that could be embraced more easily if companies were more independent from each other, instead of having the attitude that “We can offer that too!”. Rather what companies should be saying is, “Sure they can offer that, but they can’t offer this. This is unique to me!”.
Don’t be Fooled!
However, a line must still be drawn. Unique is good and all, but it is also often associated with being too abstract or just weird. This may be because that the idea/style is too far ahead of it’s time, too far behind, the idea is poorly presented or presented to the wrong area in the industry. Not understanding this will likely act against your development in the music industry.
So where is the line drawn? This is relatively subjective. But for the most part it means that (after a little market research) you should be leading the way, not always abandoning the progress already made by yourself and others. Instead you should be unique by developing the sound of the moment into something of your own.
“be unique by developing the sound of the moment into something of your own. “
“IT’S A TRAP!”
One of the most common traps among aspiring composers and artists, is to use sample libraries, preprepared ideas or common techniques. While they can give you good inspiration, if you’re using the same samples/techniques as the majority of your competitors, it’s going to be much more of a challenge to craft your own sound.
What makes You… You?
However we appear on the outside, who we are on the inside can differ greatly. Our preferences, decisions, abilities, friends and family, our story defines who we are! This could be a choice of Mic that we prefer to use when recording. It might be that a family member has given you a Tape-recorder Dictaphone that’s been sitting in the loft. Perhaps you live in a bustling town that gives a really cool ambient vibe. Maybe you live next to a Train-line and get some really cool low-frequencies that give a nice rumble! Perhaps you have an array of strange and wonderful instruments you can record or morph into something else.
What about my Inspirations!?!?
The people/things that inspire you are part of you and what you like. Drawing from your inspirations doesn’t necessarily make you less unique. It depends very much on how you draw inspiration. If you copy large features of their style, of course it’s going to work against you. But if you take an idea that you really like from their style, and try to apply it in a different way, this would help you to keep your own sound.
Once you’ve started to get a grasp on your own sound, It’s your responsibility to keep on developing it! The moment you stop, people start to lose interest, which ultimately means losing business. Keep refining your own sound, while at the same time keeping an eye on your target audience and how they react. Being adaptive to your audience, will help you to craft a unique sound that people enjoy and puts bread on the table.