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12 Reasons Why A Band Can’t Finish A Song

When it comes to bands recording their songs from when they first come up with the idea, to when it hits streaming platforms, the entire process involves a lot of creativity, teamwork, and a dedication to getting things done. It’s no joke!

Here at Young Coconut Music, our business is all about taking a demo song, and, with the help of our crack team of online session band members, see that song through to fruition.

Looking to hire an online session band to record your demo and make it great at a fraction of the cost of big recording studios? Contact us now!

In working with a lot of bands, we’ve heard a ton of stories about bands who don’t actually finish the song they’ve worked so hard on.

Sometimes, they barely even get started before things go sideways.

This article dives into some of those reasons – 12 to be exact. Let’s go!

1. Creative Disagreements

When it comes to creating music, usually there’s multiple people involved – the band, their producer (who may be part of the band, maybe not), mixers, masters, people on the record label (if the band is on one), moms, dads, crazy uncles, girlfriends, boyfriends, cats, dogs, pet snakes, etc.

Logically speaking, the more people that get involved with the creation and production of a song, or even get to have an opinion on what’s happening with the band and the song, the more likely there is to be a disagreement on something at some point in the creative process.

From the moment the band chooses the song to work on, no matter what stage of development that song is at, from a vague idea, or just a riff, or maybe it’s already a well-crafted demo – the disagreements over literally any part of the song can throw a wrench into things.

For instance, the band can fight about who will record the song (studio or band itself?), who might produce the song (actual producer or band?), what instrumentation to use on the song (acoustic guitar “unplugged” style or full on rock version), someone’s significant other might suggest the song sucks (“Daniel, I really don’t like that song, ugh!”), and the list goes on and on.

Hence, creative disagreements or differences can halt production of any song, sending any song or even the entire project into the ditch temporarily, or permanently. ๐Ÿ’€

2. Band Member Gets A Romantic Partner

Alright, how many of you can relate to this one?

You have a best friend of yours from high school, y’all having a chill time, hanging out, playing music together…then your buddy meets his “one and only” girlfriend and disappears for a while (maybe forever).

Meanwhile, you and him used to be recording, practising a set of songs, and making music all the time. You were about to record a song, hit the road, but now he’s with this girlfriend 24/7.

This story can happen the exact same way when it comes to band members, at any point in their lives. People just dip.

Usually, if one of them gets a girlfriend, that’s usually it. Now they “don’t have time” to record or make music, much less complete a song. Are you kidding?

This can lead to a huge problem with the rest of the band members and lead to the whole band splitting up and never getting any songs done. ๐Ÿ’€

3. Lack Of Funds ($$$)

For most people trying to “make it” in music, they never really do make a lot of money. Not from their part-time jobs, and not usually off the music, either.

Let’s face it – those people who throw themselves into music are not usually the top earners of society.

Doctors, lawyers, tech startup CEO’s like Elon or Zuckerberg usually don’t give that life up to go record a song that may earn them a few bucks from streaming.

And if you do take music seriously, here come the expenses: microphones, preamps, computers, a non-pirated digital audio workstation, and decent instruments aren’t cheap when you add it all up.

It takes thousands of dollars to put together your own home studio. And for that, you first need a home. In this economy, that’s a tall order, to just have a house to use as you please.

But then there’s another option – studio time, which isn’t cheap either. Professional studios cost upwards of $100 per hour or more…sometimes way more! How about $1000 an hour? Holy f*ck, bruh!

It then also costs a ton of money for the song to get mixed by a sound engineer.

A music recording can be a fairly expensive hobby with little to no return on investment.

Depressing, yeah, but it’s often true. Hence, lack of funds is definitely a reason songs don’t get done. ๐Ÿ’€

4. Equipment Sucks or Is Broken

This point is related to the lack of funds reason I just gave you.

If you’re in the middle of recording a song and suddenly your pre-amp stops working for whatever reason (did you check the driver???), and you cannot continue recording without said pre-amp, as it’s the heart and soul of the recording process.

Maybe your Macbook suddenly doesn’t accept USB A inputs because you mistakenly updated your OS, and so now your USB C to USB A cord you just got from Amazon is useless. Who knew that could happen?!

Maybe your guitar is trash, and, even when the guy at the repair shop tries to fix the quarter inch jack by jamming a toothpick in there, guess what? The toothpick breaks, and guitar no work-o.

Maybe your drum cymbal stand is starting to get destroyed, and the nut holding the cymbal upright keeps coming loose and your cymbal goes flying. Whoa!

Maybe you couldn’t pay your phone bill, so you had to sell your half-decent drum throne to your friend, and in exchange, you get a barely-padded drum stool that feels like the metal pole holding it aloft is going to break and go up your butt. Damn!

Maybe you had a really nice $4000 digital drum kit that you got for your birthday but then suddenly you have to fix you truck and pay the government $1500 in taxes, even though they should be paying you, and you unfortunately have to sell the nice quiet digital kit that you could play at night (but not anymore) – and you’re stuck using your crappy kit again, bumming you out.

And so on, and so forth. The point is, your gear is trash, and the song you wish you could record just won’t sound any good, so you need to save up your allowance until you get better gear. Good luck! ๐Ÿ’€

5. No Urgent Reason To Finish Song

We get it, we get it, small town musicians don’t make a ton of revenue from their songs, unless you’re somehow in a really famous band, selling out concerts and swimming in that sweet a$$ merch sale chedda.

Recording a song takes time and money, which a lot of musicians have little of. Seems to go with the territory – gotta work, pay the bills, no time time for rockin’ and rollin’.

This being the case, sometimes musicians can lack the motivation to finish the song because there’s little to no money being made currently, or to be made eventually from said song (streaming revenues admittedly suck ass) and they just don’t have the time, working their 9-5er.

What it all boils down to is that some musicians simply know that there’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for them, and they don’t delude themselves that there is.

So, with no money on the horizon, then what? They have to will themselves to write the song and see it through to release just to have it on Spotify, just to have their family and friends say, “What, you’re in a band or something?” Nah.

Or, even better, friends say “Yeah, I’ll check it out!” and then proceed to never check it out, like, ever. What a let down.

Even if this doesn’t strike you as depressing, what it can amount to for your average musician a certain “why bother?” attitude which amounts to that song they have in their back pocket never seeing the light of day, because, well, meh. ๐Ÿ’€

6. Lack Of Practise

Usually when it comes to recording, whether it be in your own home studio or at a professional studio, you want to play your best at each part you’re playing.

After all, that’s the version you’ll be hearing for the rest of the songs existence.

If you don’t practise the part enough, you won’t be able to play the parts that need to be recorded properly, hence, never getting finished.

Or you’ll play the part so horribly that you won’t even want to release that version to the public.

This point ties in with other points being made in this article (no time, and perfectionism), but it’s specific enough to warrant its own heading.

Overall, when you look at an entire band, playing together, in order to make the track sound good, they all have to practice, and practice, and practice some more, in order to be ready to lay the song down.

Even if the song is laid down in such a way where each person is more or less on their own when it comes to recording their part (live off the floor vs individual tracking), that means that it’s a matter of EVERYONE having enough practice time put in to sound good for their own part, either separate or together as one.

What sometimes ends up happening is the song is good, the band is even good, if not great. The gear is good, and there’s even money enough to afford the studio time or whatever. Then, there’s just this lack of time to practice the parts, and the song slips away.

This point is one of the sadder points, just because the song has basically 3/4 of what it needs to get done – no in-fighting, no girlfriends or wives botching the session, some cash to fund things, no lack of creativity to write a good song or lyrics.. but then, just.. mmm.. NOT ENOUGH PRACTICE, sorry! ๐Ÿ’€

7. Not Enough Time

This one kind of goes hand in hand with not having enough practice, but whereas practice means the skills aren’t quite there to lay down the parts, not enough time just means that between all the band members, and schedules, and whatnot – the time cannot be carved out to do the actual session.

As you know, with our busy lives like having a job or raising a family, musicians don’t always have much time to spend together recording music, unless somehow it’s your full time job to be making music, but let’s be real here, it’s probably not. Most of us are not Sting, or Bono, or Ozzy, or Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Maybe all bandmates are so busy with their own lives, having BBQ’s, going bowling, working at the shoe factory, that they only get time to record together once a month and only for a few hours. Seems sad, but it is what it is.

Most people don’t have every day to wake up and say “Well, I’m in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, what wacky song titles do I have in my notepad today?”

If you are a 9-to-5’er, that doesn’t give you a lot of time to go through the whole process of creating a song, as in writing, practicing, performing, setting up, and recording the actual music.

Sometimes it’s your wife who wants to go to Barbados, and that means you will have to find the time to jam with Rick and Sammy in maybe ohhh.. 3 months? And by then, the song you were excited about, and were ready to start practicing for the next album, “Lightning Bolt Hit My Boner” starts to lose its appeal. ๐Ÿ’€

8. Perfectionism

Sometimes, the song you’re trying to create is simply not good enough for…for who?

Could be not good enough for the guy in the band who is in charge of the band and makes most of the major decisions. Maybe he (or she) doesn’t think it’s a good enough song to devote time to.

Then again, maybe it’s the drummer, who really is just there to drink beer, who hears the song and yells out, “I hate this one!” which drains all the fun out of playing it. Maybe that’s his way of being a “perfectionist”, by being passive aggressive towards you.

Maybe YOU just don’t like it that much. Or maybe you do like it, but you need others to like it.

Or MAYBE there’s a riff in the song that just isn’t quite cool enough for you, so the song is fine but the lead guitar part is kinda blah so you basically axe the upcoming recording session until you, or the other guitar player, or some guitar god who isn’t even in your band, comes and plays the PERFECT solo.

Some people try to chase perfection but that never happens so the song never gets finished.

So your friend says, “Here’s the thing, no part in the song is gonna sound perfect and that’s ok, rock is all about the energy and passion, less about the perfect playing.”

And while you agree with that, hypothetically, you still can’t bring yourself to record, or if you do record, you can’t quite release the song to the world. It’s just not ready. ๐Ÿ’€

9. One Bandmate Really Sucks

You could be writing a cool song where the guitars, bass and vocals sound amazing together but the drummer just can’t keep up.

Maybe they can’t come up with or make a beat that compliments the rest of the song, which means that the song can’t be recorded fully since the drummer isn’t able to perform at peak performance.

As the principal songwriter, you grind your teeth because of this drummer, who really actually does kinda suck, because you know “a band is only as good as their drummer.” Whoever said that, you know, is 100% right.

Sometimes you’re the problem. Yup, and you know it too. You deep down know you suck.

You can think of a whole guitar lick or drum beat to a song in your head, and in your head it sounds great, but can’t play it, and can’t get anyone else to play it either. The guy you show it to just doesn’t play what’s in your head.

Hence, until someone doesn’t suck and can play the Dragonforce-level lead you have in mind, the song isn’t getting recorded.

Have you ever been in a band, though, where one guy just actually plays an instrument that they aren’t that good at? They want to play the sax, but every time they blow that thing, it sounds like a baby screaming at the mall. You want to tell them to quit playing the sax, and throw the sax in the ocean.

The point is, if one of the band members sucks, and is the weakest link, until something is done about that, the song either never gets finished, or gets finished but sucks, and you can’t let that happen. ๐Ÿ’€

10. Band Member Quit Go Bye-Bye

This kind of relates to the “Band Member Gets A Girlfriend AKA Romantic Partner” reason I already mentioned.

If one of the band members just quits, that part of the song will never get played, so the puzzle will always be missing a piece.

People quit bands for many reasons, like girlfriend, moving, jobs and life in general can get in the way.

Either that, or one of the members takes over the part in the recording or replace them.

This reason ties back into not having enough time, as having someone quit means you either have to replace them, play the part yourself, or yadda yadda.

Band members quitting definitely sucks, but that’s life, and, if your band is going nowhere or you have different goals, then what do you expect?

These days, because people are so bad at communicating, it’s no huge shock when Zeke quits to go fishing for 2 weeks and never comes back.๐Ÿ’€

11. Underestimating Time Needed

I already said “Not Enough Time” as a reason songs never get finished, but this one is more related to having some time available, but not realizing that recording can take a lot longer than you thought it might.

So, in this case, you might have time to put into a song or project, but you maybe figured the song would get done in a couple of sessions, or weeks, or whatever.

Turns out, for a variety of reasons, the song is taking months.

Maybe there’s just 5 more overdubs to complete, and the guy who runs the studio just went to Cabo for a month. Don’t worry, he’ll be back (or will he?).

Maybe the drummer can’t master a fill, and had red-light phobia (gets psyched out by the recording light being on), and flubs it every time.

Maybe Shane deleted half the track one night and has no idea what happened, but you will have to reschedule and do it all again. ๐Ÿ’€

12. Distractions

There’s a lot of steps to be made when creating a song from scratch – writing the song, practicing the song, recording the song, then mixing and mastering the song. F*ck, man. That’s a lot of steps.

During this process, it’s easy to get off track and scrap the whole idea early on.

For instance, you could have a cool guitar riff for a song but can’t implement it into a full fledged song because you get easily distracted and just make up another riff that sounds cool but basically is its own song, but then you tinker around with that for 4 hours, forgetting the point of what you’re doing.

Studio time is often paid by the hour, so when you go there and fart around, as in not stay on task, it’s your loss.

Plus, what happens when your friends come by the studio and you all get drunk? Distractions. What happens when your wife calls? Distractions. What happens when outside the studio, a dog attacks the mailman? Distractions.

If you have ADHD or OCD and you’re in a studio, trying to play some kind of 3/4 drum beat that becomes 4/4 and then 5/4 back to 4/4, and your headphones keep slipping off, so you lose track of the click, and then your phone is sending you Tweets from Joe Biden telling you the economy is the best its ever been – DISTRACTIONS.

What if you’re on 3 dating apps and while you’re trying to play a gnarly bass riff, you match with 3 girls and they’re all hot, and so you put the bass down and try to talk to them for 4 hours. DIS-TRACT-IONS. ๐Ÿ’€

There, that should just about cover all of the reasons songs don’t get done.

It’s true; there are tons of reasons why some songs never end up getting finished.

But Young Coconut Music is all about getting shit done.

No slacking, no procrastinating, if you have a cool guitar part, or an idea of what you want to do, maybe scrap the idea of studio time, and contact us.

Let us do all the heavy lifting with our team of virtual session pros.

Forget about long arduous process of recording: first the scratch guitars, then the drums, then actual guitars, add some more guitars, come up with a bass lick, then vocals, then back up vocals (be sure to double track)… that’s a lot of work, so why not let us take care of it! Talk to you soon!

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