Keys To A ClassicMy buddy Ben sent me this question:

Sound quality or song quality, which would you say impacts a listener more?

A few non-helpful answers come to mind.

Like “both” or “it depends.” 🙂

While they’re not super-helpful answers by themselves, I think diving into each one will uncover some stuff that might help you.


I think the obvious answer is that we’d all like all of our recording projects to be awesome songs with awesome sound quality.

That’s the Win-Win.

That’s the goal.

Aside from the fact that it’s simply nice to have a great song recorded with great quality, they both really feed into each other.

You work harder to get great sound quality when the song quality is so good. In a sense, you don’t want to mess it up.

If I’m recording a song for a client, and it’s just plain boring, I’m going to have a hard time really focusing on on a great-sounding recording. I wouldn’t really see the point.

Chances are no one wants to listen to a really fantastic recording of a sinfully boring song.

“It depends.”

There’s a flip-side, though.

Sometimes a really great song can out-shine a really mediocre recording. I’ve said this before with regards to recording, but the same applies to music-making, too — talent can overcome many obstacles.

If given the choice between really great gear and a really great musician, I’ll choose the musician.

In a perfect world you can have both, but alas, life ain’t perfect.

This is the kind of conversation that could go on for days, but I will say that there are plenty of songs out there that many, many people consider to be really bad songs…and they’re wildly popular.

In the end the public (i.e. your fans or clients) will answer your question for you.

Pursue excellence. Do the best you can. Put out stuff you can be proud of.

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