Making Bad Music on Purpose: The Surprising Path to Creative Freedom

Unleash your creativity by making bad music on purpose. Learn how stepping outside your comfort zone can elevate your music.

Ever aimed for the moon only to hit a nearby lamppost? As creators, we all want our songs to be the next chart-topping hits, the ones that set the clubs on fire. But have you ever considered that making bad music on purpose could be the secret sauce to your future hit? Let’s dive into why flipping the script might just be the best thing you can do for your music.

What can failure teach us about creative success?

Everyone longs for success, but what about its unsavory counterpart—failure? Our society often paints failure in an unfavorable light, which can overshadow its inherent value. Here’s an analogy: picture Johnny flipping a quarter. He assumes he’ll get a 50-50 outcome, heads or tails. But if he only flips it ten times and lands on heads three times, does it mean his assumption was wrong? Not at all; this still falls well within the bounds of a normal distribution.

Image of a man recording with a mic while playing the guitar. Source: unsplash
Image of a man recording with a mic while playing the guitar. Source: unsplash

The concept applies to creative work as well. Not every song you write, every book you submit, or every cake you bake is going to be perfect. We need to accept failure as an inevitable outcome of our endeavors. Sure, after tasting the thrill of success, we subconsciously anticipate our next attempt will yield an equally impressive result. But let’s face it, that’s an unrealistic expectation and often the root cause of creative blockages.

My favorite MIDI keyboard (at the moment):

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

Making bad music on purpose: the surprising path to creative freedom | 717qmgla7zl. Ac sl1500 | audio apartment
My favorite MIDI keyboard (at the moment):

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

I’m loving the AKAI MPK Mini MK3 for its compact design and the range of controls. It’s one of my essential tools. The velocity-sensitive keys and MPC-style pads are great for making beats, while the thumbstick and knobs give me precise control.

What is the highlight paradox?

In a world dominated by social media, it’s easy to fall into the “highlight paradox”—where we’re mostly exposed to others’ successes and rarely their failures. We’re not naturally inclined to share our shortcomings with the world, but this skewed perspective can distort our perception of success. When we place others on a pedestal, we often forget that they too have had their share of failures.

It’s important to remember, you don’t have to succeed at everything you do. However, it does require producing enough work—good or bad—to eventually uncover that gem hidden in the rough. Don’t view your “bad” work as lacking value. Instead, consider it as an essential part of the creative process.

What if we view failures as experiments instead?

Think about a baby learning to walk—they fall, they get up, they try again, and over time they eventually master the task. As creators, we need to adopt a similar approach—keep trying, keep experimenting, and you’ll get closer to your desired result. The real value lies in the growth and learning that comes from these experiments.

Remember, perfection is unattainable and constantly chasing it can lead to self-criticism and stagnation.

Taking risks is an integral part of the creative process. Remember, perfection is unattainable and constantly chasing it can lead to self-criticism and stagnation. By adopting a growth mindset, you focus more on self-improvement and progress, elements that you can actually measure. You may discover new ideas, learn more about yourself, and push boundaries you never knew existed.

Is perfection really the end goal?

Let’s kick things off with a bit of a mind-bender: perfection might just be your biggest roadblock to success. I know, crazy right? As creators, we’ve got this mental image of a ‘perfect’ track, and we’re convinced that it’s the only way to make it big. But here’s the thing. When you’re chasing perfection, you’re basically setting yourself up for disappointment. Think of Kanye’s “Life of Pablo”. The dude kept tweaking it even after the release!

So, what’s wrong with aiming for perfection?

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not bad to want your track to sound like it was produced by Dr. Dre himself. The problem arises when this pursuit of perfection starts inhibiting your creativity. It’s kind of like when you’re so afraid of failing a test, that you can’t even focus on studying! The fear of imperfection can have you second-guessing every beat, every chord, every lyric until your song loses its soul.

Why you should embrace the “bad”

I’m gonna drop a truth bomb here: there’s no such thing as a bad song. Sure, there are songs that might not be to everyone’s taste, but that doesn’t make them inherently bad. Every track you produce, whether you love it or hate it, contributes to your growth as a music producer. Every ‘bad’ song is a lesson learned, a stepping stone toward your next big hit. So maybe it’s time to stop beating yourself up over a funky bassline or a wonky melody.

What’s holding you back from making the music you want to make?

Now let’s get real for a second. What’s holding you back from making the music you want to make? Is it the fear of not being good enough? The dread of negative feedback? Or is it something more complex, like not living up to the standards set by your favorite artists? Here’s where the counter-intuitive concept comes in: making bad music on purpose.

Image of a musician playing the keyboard and recording music using his mobile phone unsplash
Image of a musician playing the keyboard and recording music using his mobile phone. Source: unsplash

Imagine this. You’re flipping a coin, expecting a 50-50 chance of it landing on heads or tails. But that’s not how probability works, is it? Even if you land on heads three times out of ten flips, that’s still within the bounds of what’s considered normal. To achieve a true 50-50 distribution, you’d need to increase the number of total flips.

Now, let’s apply this to your music production. If you write ten songs, not all of them are gonna be bangers. That’s just how it is. And it’s okay. This is the creative equivalent of flipping the coin. The more songs you produce, the higher your chances of landing on that ‘heads’—that chart-topping, mind-blowing hit. So don’t let the fear of failure, or the pursuit of perfection, stop you from making your music.

Why does ‘bad’ music have such a bad rap?

Now that we’ve addressed the fear factor and the chase for perfection, let’s talk about why ‘bad’ music gets such a bad rap in the first place. Remember when Rebecca Black’s “Friday” went viral for all the wrong reasons? And yet, it catapulted her into fame and she was able to use that as a platform to build her career. That’s the power of ‘bad’ music!

The reality is, we live in an era where the number of likes, shares, and positive comments determine our perception of quality. We’re quick to judge and discard what doesn’t meet our taste or what doesn’t align with the mainstream. But let’s not forget: innovation often stems from breaking norms and pushing boundaries.

In a sea of repetitive pop songs and generic EDM tracks, ‘bad’ music often stands out. It’s unique, it’s different, and most importantly, it’s unapologetically you. So, making ‘bad’ music isn’t about compromising your artistic integrity; it’s about embracing your individuality and daring to defy conventions.

How can you benefit from making ‘bad’ music?

You might be thinking, “Sure, this all sounds great in theory, but what’s in it for me?” Well, making ‘bad’ music can be the catalyst for personal and professional growth. It can help you break free from creative blocks, overcome your fears, and ultimately, evolve as an artist.

Creating ‘bad’ music also helps you face your fears head-on. You take control of the narrative and turn the thing you dread most—negative feedback—into something you actively seek. It’s a bit like that “Dune” quote, you know, “Fear is the mind-killer”? Well, this is your chance to conquer that fear.

And lastly, making ‘bad’ music pushes you to grow as an artist. It encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, take risks, and ultimately find your unique sound. Remember, even Picasso had to start somewhere.

Do embrace imperfectionsDon’t chase perfection
Do experiment with new ideasDon’t fear negative feedback
Do create consistentlyDon’t get stuck in a creative rut
Do learn from every trackDon’t discard a song just because it’s ‘bad’
Dos and don’ts of making music

How to start making ‘bad’ music?

We’ve explored the why, but let’s now dive into the how. How can you start creating this ‘bad’ music we’ve been advocating for? Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you intentionally play off-key or scribble down gibberish lyrics (unless you want to, that is!). The process of making ‘bad’ music is actually all about cultivating a mindset shift. First and foremost, you need to let go of your fear of judgment and rejection.

Art is not just about the final product, but also the journey of self-discovery and growth it facilitates.

Making ‘bad’ music is also about enjoying the process, not just the end result. Don’t rush to finish a track just so you can release it and get instant validation. Instead, savor the journey. Enjoy the process of creation. Art is not just about the final product, but also the journey of self-discovery and growth it facilitates.

Another key element is consistency. Even if you’re not happy with a track, finish it anyway. Each song you create, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, is a stepping stone to becoming a better artist. So, don’t just sit on an idea because you think it’s not good enough. Make that music!

Advantages and disadvantages of intentionally making ‘bad’ music

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of intentionally making ‘bad’ music.

Advantages of intentionally making ‘bad’ music

After exploring this unconventional path, there are a few benefits to highlight:

  • Creative Freedom: You are not bound by traditional musical standards or expectations.
  • Exploration of New Sounds: Making ‘bad’ music can open the door to a new palette of sounds and techniques.
  • Growth as an Artist: By pushing your boundaries, you may discover new facets of your artistic identity.

Disadvantages of intentionally making ‘bad’ music

However, it’s not all roses and sunshine. There are also some potential pitfalls:

  • Audience Alienation: Not all listeners will appreciate this deviation from the norm.
  • Commercial Risks: It could potentially impact album sales or performance on music charts.
  • Criticism: Music critics may not respond positively to this unconventional approach.

If you want even more great tips and information, check out this video called “Why you should make music that sucks” by the Venus Theory Youtube channel.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

In our exploration of intentionally creating ‘bad’ music, a few common questions often arise. Let’s address them:

Will making ‘bad’ music hurt my career?

Possibly, but not necessarily. It depends on how your audience responds to your experiment. Some may appreciate your boldness and creativity, while others may be put off. It’s a calculated risk but one that could potentially pay off in growth and innovation.

Does creating ‘bad’ music mean I lack talent?

Not at all! Making ‘bad’ music on purpose is a deliberate exercise in creativity and experimentation. It pushes the boundaries of what’s considered traditional or acceptable, leading to potential growth as an artist.

How can I start making ‘bad’ music?

Start by stepping out of your comfort zone. Experiment with unusual sounds, off-beat rhythms, dissonant harmonies, or unexpected song structures. The key is to challenge conventional expectations and create something that is uniquely yours.


So there you have it, folks! By embracing the wonky, the offbeat, and the outright terrible, we can find a new path to creativity and artistic growth. Remember, in the world of music, sometimes you have to hit a few wrong notes to create a masterpiece! After all, nobody wants to live in a world where every song sounds like a broken record.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this sonic journey into the unconventional. So, did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below. I read and reply to every comment. If this article struck a chord with you, feel free to share it with a friend and explore my blog for more musical insights. Thanks for reading, and here’s to making some beautifully ‘bad’ music!

Key Takeaways

This article covered the topic of making ‘bad’ music on purpose. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Making ‘bad’ music is a form of artistic exploration and can foster creative growth.
  • This approach comes with risks, including potential audience alienation and commercial drawbacks.
  • Many artists have experimented with this approach and seen positive impacts on their subsequent work.
  • Engaging with this process does not imply a lack of talent, but rather a willingness to push boundaries.
  • Your journey into making ‘bad’ music can begin with a simple step out of your comfort zone.

Helpful resources

Image Andrew Ash
Written by Andrew Ash, Staff Writer

Hey there! My name is Andrew, and I'm relatively new to music production, but I've been learning a ton, and documenting my journey along the way. That's why I started this blog. If you want to improve your home studio setup and learn more along with me, this is the place for you!

Nick eggert.
Edited by Nick Eggert, Staff Editor

Nick is our staff editor and co-founder. He has a passion for writing, editing, and website development. His expertise lies in shaping content with precision and managing digital spaces with a keen eye for detail.

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