One of the most common mistakes people make in recording is to work alone. One person writes the music, plays the instruments, makes the recording and supervises the mix.
If this is you, how can you possibly hope to compete with the professional industry?
Depending on the genre of music, most song publishers put writers together in pairs because they know that two people will generally write a better song, and more of them, than one. And behind the scenes it is common practice for songs to be 'polished' by other writers before they are recorded. It wouldn't be that unusual for six or more writers to be involved. Of course they all share in the royalties or receive fee payments.
Then there are the musicians. Even in electronically based music, it is normal to bring in session musicians according to what style or musical component they are good at – drum programming, bass lines etc.
Although it is becoming more common for the roles of producer and engineer to be combined, always the A&R department of the record label will supervise the mix. Often, this is at a distance. They will listen to an early mix then send comments back to the studio, rather than actually being there.
All of these people are top industry professionals, and they didn't get to be that way by accident. How can you compete?
The first answer is to team up with someone who is as hot as you are, preferably with complementary skills. So the two of you are much more able than either would be alone. The traditional way of meeting musicians has been through notice boards in music shops, classified ads, and now through musicians' web sites…
But the thought occurs to me whether speed dating for musicians could work?
Imagine going to a musicians' speed dating event. Take your iPod with a couple of your best tracks, then spend three minutes with each of maybe twenty people, seeing who you are compatible with musically, and also feel you can get along with.
Once you have met the musical partner of your dreams, the next step will be drawing up a 'prenuptial' agreement. Another time…