I often get asked, “Which is more important: quantity or quality?” They don’t like the answer: both.
Quantity is greater than quality. It absolutely is. There are multiple reasons for this.
First, quality increases over quantity. As a creative iterates his process, it becomes smoother, and more effective. If the final product is observed and learned from, the creator is able to quickly increase skill, seeing what works, what doesn’t, in a very short amount of time.
When I first began producing, I made projects quickly–in a day, or few. I grew in so much time, learning new techniques off of YouTube or through the patient advice of friends. As I felt I needed to build a brand, I slowed down my speed of production, releasing a track every month or so. This dramatically halted my growth. When I was learning to produce, I skyrocketed learning by repeating the same principles until they were deeply internalized. When I became serious, that quick learning process was sacrificed as I felt that I needed the extra time to finesse each track, rather than tackle the quick learning process to perfect my flow over time.
Secondly, consistency creates momentum. When you release one tune after another, you appear to be everywhere. Slushii is my classic example for this. He came out of nowhere! In reality, Slushii worked hard under the alias DJ Swoon and perfected his skills until the point where he could make a giant splash under a new name. Slushii released a tune every week for 8 weeks straight, each one building on the last. When you come out swinging with nothing to follow you are forgotten. You are a one-hit wonder.
Lastly, consistency creates discipline. The hardest part about working for yourself is working as readily as you work for others. Discipline and habit are major key to achieving any type of success.
While slightly less important than consistency, quality is still pivotal to musical success. Just as there are many talented artists who do not release enough to stay present, there are a multitude of half-decent artists who are consistent enough to be at the top.
Quality does not only refer to music. Quality is everything, branding, written communication, visual design. How does the music sound? What does the logo look like? What types of content is shared on social media? Every public aspect of the artist must be quality, must be good, and true to the authentic spirit of the individual musician. An artist with a strong brand is perceived superior to an artist of similar talent with a weaker brand. It matters.
Quality is on a unique scale, steep on both ends of the spectrum and widening out in the middle. Quality matters most at the beginning and the end of the spectrum. A 20% improvement from 10-30% is largely more important than a 20% improvement from 40% to 60%. The close we approach to 100% on our quality scale, the improvements become subtler. Most professional, full-time artists live within a 60-80% on the quality scale. While they may not be virtuosos, the hustle and consistency keeps their art afloat and their pockets full.
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