Learn to Be Criticized
In today’s world, many of us are being criticized everyday, some fair, some not so much.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much better, especially as you grow as an artist.
You’re constantly under a microscope whether it’s from other artists, labels, managers, venues or fans. With that in mind, you need to know how to wade through the waters of criticism.
Check out this new episode of Electronic Dance Money where we discuss the importance of handling the good, the bad, and the ugly of criticism
What You’ll Learn:
- How to handle criticism
- What good criticism looks like
- What bad criticism looks like
- Why you should listen to some criticism
and much more!
Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy
Hey guys, welcome to electronic dance money, your number one business resource for making money as electronic musicians and
producers. Hey guys, welcome back to a brand new episode of electronic dance
money. I’m your host, Christian besito Hey guys doing Welcome back, we’re gonna be hanging out. For the next Oh, I’d say probably probably 15 to 20 minutes, we’re gonna keep it short again, actually just started getting an ear infection the other day. So that has not been fun at all, especially having to put push off projects and working on some music stuff got to kind of keep it real mellow and quiet for a little while. So I’ll try to get through this one relatively quickly. But today we’re going to be discussing the parts of criticism, and how you can learn to truly be criticized, without taking too much offense. And also, you’re gonna probably learn some tips on how to give criticism to others. But being criticized in general is there’s a number of different forms of criticism that you can face, especially in the music industry, whether it’s someone criticizing your music in the literal sense of a critic, reviewing your music, someone giving you feedback through criticism, whether it’s good, bad, or just outright horrible, being criticized. As a music personality, you end up getting enough fans, there’s a lot of different ways in which you’re going to be criticized. As an artist going from where you you’re at now to beyond. So whether or not your career is fulfilling and filled with a lot of success. And there’s a lot of success stories, there’s gonna be a lot of criticism about you along the way. Additionally, there will also be criticism about you quitting music, if you end up deciding to leave or take a break or change up your music, whatever it is that you do throughout your career, you’re going to face criticism, and there is certain types of criticism that you do need to pay attention to the A lot will be stuff you don’t necessarily need to pay attention to. Let’s take music, for instance. Okay, let’s talk about the idea of what is what’s good about music. What makes music good. It’s a pretty subjective idea. Music itself is very subjective. You know, you’ll have people who just listen to let’s say, classical music or opera, that probably think electronic music is terrible, or hip hop is terrible. Trap is terrible. But then you have the other side of the spectrum where you as an EDM producer, you’d love electronic music. That’s not to say you don’t like other genres, and you can also like electronic music and opera music. Sure you can. Why not? It’s it’s again, it’s music. It’s very subjective. But there is still an idea of musicality to music, right? That you can judge fairly well on saying something is good or bad. A bad singer on American Idol is truly a bad singer. Right? They don’t sound good. If their pitch isn’t right. It doesn’t sound correct. Okay, versus a good singer who knows how to sing on pitch. That sounds nice. It’s pleasant. It’s not disruptive. It’s not completely out of left field, you can apply the same sorts of musicality ideas of mostly just about any genre in electronic music. If you produce, let’s say, you produce trance, and you really don’t like hard dance stuff,
you can probably still being a producer of one genre, and respecting what it takes to get to a certain level of music and another depending on your skill level. Now, this is you know, people who are 15 years 20 years into make producing can probably produce almost any genre musically, they’re very musically inclined creatively. They have good systems, they can finish songs really quickly. And you see those producers all the time on YouTube, where they write a track in five minutes, or 10 minutes dead mass has done it dead mass is lightweight. He wrote a big room tracking 10 minutes, I think. So there are elements to certain genres that make them easier to write than others, especially if you know melody well and know what good melody is and how to write a good melody very quickly. You can write songs fairly quickly. But getting back to our example of your trance producer, you really don’t like hard dance, but you hear a hard dance track and you can go, I can respect the person that wrote that because I know it still takes some skill to do that thing. It’s not my cup of tea, but obviously there is some skill level to it. And sure for that music, it’s probably good. I don’t like it. I subjectively I don’t think it’s good. But musically, I could say it has. It checks off the right boxes for to be considered good music within that genre. You can usually say that pretty easily. So when people start criticizing your music, or maybe even giving you feedback on your music, it’s important to probably find out where’s this criticism coming from? Is it someone that just doesn’t like the genre? Because if so, it’s probably not valuable criticism. They can they can say whatever they want, and say that your music is bad. But if they don’t truly enjoy the genre, then Who are they to say what’s good in your genre of music, but if there’s a really big, you know, if you’re that trance producer, and Armin van Buuren, is giving you criticism on your music, that’s probably someone to listen to, what do they have to say? What feedback do they have to get? That’s valuable, good criticism that you should pay attention to. And you can apply these different things in different aspects of your life. But I think they’re better applied to things that are more subjective, right? When you get into the idea of morality, and you become a huge, famous artist, with lots and lots of fans, the morality of how you treat those fans or treat people in your life, talking, kind of going back to the ego discussion that we had criticisms on morality are a lot easier to make that are more truthful and not so subjective, right? I think we could probably all agree on that. Depending on your religious beliefs, or your upbringing, the idea of morality can be kind of twisted and distorted. But for the most part, obviously, you know, you shouldn’t hurt people, that’s not a good thing morally. So having criticism on your morality, or different aspects and your morality, that’s something maybe you should listen to a little bit more, depending on what it is, obviously, this is all kind of still within some constraints here. The point is, is that more of those, the more subjective something is, the less of that criticism, you should really even pay attention to, if at all, you know, if you’re huge artists, no reasonable look in your comment section, for the most part, because you’re going to focus in on those negatives. And who are people talking shit about you and your comments, saying you’re not a real artists, you suck, you sell out, blah, blah, blah, who are those people they don’t know you at all through them through your music, so they don’t know you truly deeply to the core, that sort of Chris criticism is stupid and stuff you shouldn’t pay attention to. So let’s talk a little bit about good criticism, verse bad criticism, and then just downright ugly criticism. And this is where you’re going to probably get some pointers on how to also provide feedback or criticism to others. And most of the stuff can be bundled up in the idea of getting feedback for your music, because that is truly the thing that you’re going to be criticized the most throughout your career as a musician is the music as it sound, why does it sound the way it is, and what you can do to improve on that sort of thing. And this is extremely important to understand. Critically criticism as a younger artist, because criticism as a younger artist can feel more difficult than when you’re a bigger artists more well defined, right? It’s like you’re this person walking through this maze of mirrors, all you all that’s being reflected back to you is is your own music that you hear constantly over and over again. You might even stop listening to other music, other people’s music, because you’re writing so constantly, all you’re doing is writing your own music, all you’re doing is listening to your own music, whether you’re testing in the car and you replaced five times on your way to the dentist and five times back on the way to your apartment, you’re just listening to your own music, criticizing yourself trying to figure Okay, what do I need to do with this section? Oh, I should change this and that way and this criticism can get so intense that eventually it this music becomes a part of an extension of yourself. And so when other people start giving you feedback or criticizing it, it feels like they’re criticizing you which is not the case at all. And that’s more so the case with good criticism, right? That you should be judging the music and what they’ve written people giving you good criticism on your music should be able to do it in a way where they’re separating kind of you. You in the art you in the craft. What’s what About this piece of music that can be fixed, good criticism should give you enough detailed changes where they don’t rip the entire track apart and essentially ripping you away from it. And it turns into just a song that this person would write, it should provide some feedback on like, Hey, you could improve these parts by doing a, b, and c. Enough to just challenge the person writing and giving them some new ideas, fresh ideas, and going oh, yeah, you know, that will make that part sound better, but not drastically changing it to the point where it’s like, Well, every sound needs to be replaced, or this melody needs to be completely different. Now it’s changing the heart of the song and in kind of changing your creative element to it coupled in with that should be some points of what you did, right? Hey, this part is good. This is a well done part. This is a well written part enough to challenge but not enough to destroy the entire track and rip it apart. And not in enough sprinkled in good comments. So you know what you’re doing, right? It’s hard to know, if you’re what you’re doing right? When you’re walking through that maze of mirrors, just seeing a reflection of your own track all the time you go, what good, what am I doing, right? And so when you can get some sort of confirmation on Hey, this is good keep doing that, then you have an idea of things to put in skill sets to put in your repertoire to work on later on to experiment later on with different things that you’re working on. You go oh, I remember I wrote that track a few months ago, this part was really good. That was confirmed by a couple of people. Let me try using that in this section. That’s when you start to really play outside the box and get creative and work on new things. And then things that you didn’t execute? Well, that criticism should be able to patch that for you and go, Hey, you should use a compressor here. This is the time to, you know, if you’re trying to learn about compression, this is the time to learn because that should have a compressor on there. And this, these should be the settings and what that’s going to do is a, b and c, this is the good criticism you should listen to the bad criticism is going to be obviously the ones that just outright, don’t give you any tips at all. They don’t tell you what you’re doing. Right? A, it doesn’t tell you what you can fix and what’s wrong with it. Or like we were saying before, it completely rips it apart to the point where it doesn’t even become your track. It’s someone else’s. If you’re not directly asking for feedback, and someone says, oh, this is good. Well, obviously, you didn’t ask for feedback, need to ask for the criticism for the feedback. That’s important too. When you send a track to someone in your expecting feedback, make sure you ask for it. Because when you don’t ask for it, and someone does just send you a, it sounded good, good job, you might take offense to that as well. Don’t expect someone to just give you feedback because it can go either way. People I know a lot of people who send songs just for me to listen to that don’t want feedback. And it’s to the point where if someone sends me a track, that’s what I’ll do, I’ll just say, hey, this sounds good. I won’t give them any feedback. If it’s not asked for sometimes I’ll ask them. If I hear things I go, Hey, would you like some feedback on this? I’ll do that. Occasionally. If I hear ways I could input my you know, give them some ideas to fix some things. But then people who ask feedback, too, sometimes I’ll even just say, hey, what specifically do you want feedback about because then that can narrow things down to where I don’t have to pay attention to other stuff. I can just pay attention to the things they want feedback on bad criticism, bad feedback is going to not include these things.
You ask for feedback, and they go, No, it’s It’s good how it is? It’s fine. It’s fine. If they’re responding with it’s fine. They clearly just don’t care about how it sounds at all. They don’t listen to it at all. If you know they don’t, obviously, this is bad criticism. It’s bad feedback. If they’re blown away, and they’re just like, Dude, I honestly cannot tell you to do anything else because I wouldn’t do anything. That’s not bad criticism. It’s you know, them being honest, saying, I just I can’t think of anything more that I would need to do to this to get it to a better place. I can’t get that to a better place for you. And then obviously, the ugly criticism is going to be the worst and it’s probably going to be people who are just like this fucking sucks. You suck. In that happens. People are that much of a piece of shit that they’ll say it’s mind boggling. I’ve seen it happen before. But that is ugly criticism. That is not good criticism. That’s criticism that you’ll just find in comment sections. Like we were saying before, if you’re bigger artists, you’ll get those ugly comments more. When you’re smaller artists, you’re going to bounce between good and bad criticism from people. When you’re bigger artists you’re you’re usually teetering between good and ugly criticism, people who are who will say in your comment section, this is the best thing you’ve ever written. And then another person right under them saying this is the worst fucking music you’ve ever made. That’s just, it’s not even bad. It’s just ugly. It’s terrible. Having these ideas of what good criticism is, will probably help you decide whether or not someone is giving you good criticism. And you can apply these same techniques to other ways that people may criticize you. And what you do some good criticism may feel ignorant, or like someone just again, when we’re talking about ego, some criticism that’s intended to be good, may not actually be the best because someone’s talking down to you, or treating you as though you’re dumb. Obviously, that’s not good criticism. That’s bad criticism. This is partially the issue with social media is not great communication, not great. There’s not great ways to communicate to people. So having people clarify, some things may help out as well. So that, you know, okay, this is coming from a good heart, I’m just reading this wrong, but knowing what is good, what is bad is going to help you decipher through the criticism that you want to hear, and from the people that you want to hear it from as well. Now, obviously, you don’t want constant confirmation bias. So, you should, like we described in what is good criticism, it should, that criticism should be brought from people who will help challenge you, you know, you want to be challenged, so that you can overcome those challenges. You can learn from them, you can grow from them, you can become a better person or producer, and you move on from there, if that good criticism that they’re sending you isn’t challenging you and making you think and making you go oh and lightbulbs aren’t being fired, then it’s probably not coming from the best person and you know, sometimes at some point you will over overcome the challenge of being criticized from certain people, right, they can only give you so many notes and you apply the things that they say that it a either becomes something else their own music, or your skills go beyond there’s that can happen too. And all of these things combined will help you deal with the fact that you’re going to feel like you’re constantly under a microscope. And sometimes you are so you need to know how to walk through that chaotic maze of mirrors remember, like we were talking about earlier. That’s it for today guys. Thanks for hanging out and checking out this episode head to envious audio.com/episodesixtyfivetocheckouttheshownotesletmeknowifyouwanttobringonaguestyouwantmetohaveaguestontheshoworyouhaveatopicideaforthepodcastyoucansubmitsomeofthatinformationthroughthatlinkatenviousaudio.com/episodesixtyfive That’s about it for today guys. Thanks for hanging out. Take care.
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