There are a lot of reasons artists listen to their own music. However, some do, and some don’t. Some think it’s weird, and others get a lot of value from it. The truth is a lot of musicians enjoy listening to their own music. It helps them to develop areas to improve on, their own writing style, signature sound, and helps them to identify mix issues.
All of these are extremely useful to critique. It's a lot like an artist painting a picture. They'll look at it, compare it, and make adjustments based on that. Although it may seem weird for a musician to listen to their own music, many musicians do, and there are a lot of benefits to doing so.
In this article, we’re going to discuss whether artists listen to their own music, and explain why it's useful for them to do so
Do Artists Listen To Their Own Songs? (Quick Answer)
Yes. Musicians listen to their own music a lot (or at least once). Artists listen to their own music to learn from it, and understand what it needs to sound more professional, or complete. It's a great way to learn, and identify weak areas that musicians can then practice further to improve.
Why Do Artists Listen To Their Own Music?
1. Learning From Their Mistakes
Making music is a lot about analyzing what you've made, and improving on that through practice.
And, being able to understand what parts of your own music make it great, and what parts are missing, or don’t make it so good, is an essential skill to have.
Many artists will listen to their own music for this reason – to realize the mistakes they've made, understand what they could do better in the next song, or what they could start incorporating into their practice routine to improve.
For instance, from listening to their own song, artists could pick up on flat notes in their voice, dud notes played on an instrument and spectral imbalances in a mix.
When you're in the music creation zone, you don't always notice the sound as it is.
If you sit back, and listen objectively, without interfering, you'll pick up a lot of things, that you may have missed while in your zone.
Many artists will take this approach before finalizing a song. First, taking a break to prevent ear fatigue, then going back with fresh ears to listen, and take notes.
This helps them to decide whether a song sounds full enough, if it's too overcrowded in parts, if the chorus is catchy enough, and if the instruments blend sonically.
It's the same way a writer would read their own work, to check for grammatical errors, ensure that the sentence structure is right, make sure they're on point and making sense, etc. Listening to your own music acts as a last “spell check” before releasing it. It also helps to listen, to see how far you've come from your first ever musical creation.
2. Comparing it To Professional Music
To make something sound as good as the professionals do, you have to compare it. With your own songs, it’s no different. Many artists will listen to their own music, comparing it with other music, to hear the differences between the two.
Doing this helps artists to understand what’s missing from their own, or what they may have overproduced, and speeds up the learning process.
It's also a useful process to check the difference in the mix, and sound quality, because it will become immediately apparent when switching between the two songs.
This process is similar to cooking. You taste it, compare it to the food you've had before, and wonder what's missing. You then add some more ingredients, taste it again, and then make another judgment based on what you tasted.
You repeat this process until you're happy with the final result.
It's the same with comparing your music. You would listen, compare, then add more “ingredients” to your music, then listen, & compare again – adding until you're satisfied with the final song.
3. Listening For Fun
Sometimes artists are just really happy with the music they've managed to produce, and they want to listen to it because it gives them a sense of achievement. They made that piece of music – no one else. And, it sounds pretty great!
I've personally listened to my own music for fun more times than I can count.
It’s fun to listen to older songs and hear how your ideas were back then. It helps you develop your own unique sound and writing style. You'll hear things you liked doing and things you didn't. Incorporate the stuff you liked in the next song and ditch the rest.
It might be difficult for artists to listen to their own music depending on how far they are in their musical journey, because it may not sound too good. But, with practice, and consistency, it will get to a point where you’re happy with the tracks you make. You just have to keep going!
Artists listening to their own music for fun might sound like an egocentric activity, but it's good to be proud of what you've made.
It can bring back memories, or feelings you were experiencing at the time you made it, and it can even help you through some hard times – much like what regular music listeners report when listening to their favourite music!
Sometimes it's even more fun listening to your own music just because you made it. Think of it like finishing a race 1st, and watching it back over. It inspires you and reminds you that you are great.
Sometimes we all need a bit of positive encouragement, especially when there are so many other artists that are amazing.
4. To Check For Mix Errors
This reason is a little more technical and applies to artists and musicians that are capable of mixing and mastering their own songs.
Sometimes a song just doesn't sound right, it doesn't sound clear, punchy, or it's just a little bit off balance.
This is commonly due to the mix of the song.
Mixing is the process of taking multiple recordings and combining them together to create a final song file that sounds clear and cohesive.
Most musicians need to check for errors in their mix because it can highlight areas that need changing in future music projects or the current project they're working on. These changes can be the difference between a professional sounding track, and an unprofessional one.
Even the slightest changes can have a huge impact on, the energy, and vibe of the final song.
You may not be able to identify mix errors just by listening if you're a beginner artist, but with time and practice, you'll develop an ear that can identify the smallest details.
This is the most useful thing to develop because you can take a listen to your song after an ear fatigue break, and instantly identify what you need to go back in and change. It may be small, but it can make a huge difference.
Keep practicing, keep listening, and you'll improve drastically!
Checking Mix Quality on Different Systems
Another reason is to check the mix quality on different systems. We included this heading under the mix heading because it's part of this process.
Listening to your music on different devices will tell you how your song translates to the devices that people will be listening to it on.
It's all well and good listening to your song through your professional studio headphones.
But, the likelihood is, that your fans and listeners won't have the same equipment. They'll be using things like Laptop speakers, Apple earbuds, phone speakers, and home speaker systems. You want to ensure that your music translates to all of these.
This is why artists listen to their own music through different speaker systems.
5. Improving A Live Performance
Another reason musicians can listen to music is to improve on their live performances. By listening back to recordings of an instrument practice session, you can get a clear understanding of where you need to improve.
It can highlight timing issues, and even performance problems like hitting the notes too hard on a piano, or not getting the feeling of a song correct.
Taking notes of where you went wrong gives you exact points of what your weaknesses are. If you then use these notes to develop an effective practise routine, based on those weaknesses, you'll improve in those areas much quicker.
Do Musicians Listen To Their Own Music? (Conclusion)
Yes. Musicians listen to their own music a lot (or at least once). Artists listen to their own music to learn from it and understand what it needs to sound more professional, or complete. It's a great way to learn, and identify weak areas that musicians can then practice further to improve.
Some people may find this process weird, but it's the same as a writer reading their own work. Or, a painter looking back over previous work.
The constant analysis, identification of weakness, and practise makes artists better at their craft.
So, why wouldn't they?