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Achy Breakey Heart

#1 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:05 PM

There's alot of talk on these forums about ways to manipulate your craft songwritingwise specifically with a view to earning some $$$ for your effort in the current marketplace

Do you think this is a reasonable n attainable goal for you to pursue ?

Do you believe if you're able to learn enough about specific hit-writing techniques- described in these forums and beyond- you'll be able to turn yourself from an amateur to a professional and rake in the cash relatively easily ?

Do you believe the only true measure of a songs value is in the $$$$s its able to generate ?

#2 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:17 PM

First, it would probably be a good idea to find out where this $$$$ is supposed to be raking in? Most songs are making nothing because the majority of songs themselves are being given away for free to bring people into live shows. An artist makes a majority of their money on touring and merchandising. This is part of why you have less and less publishers at all now. And why you have more artists writing their own songs.

So as far as "commercial songwriting" it should be measured in other ways, as in how much of a fan base can it help an artist attain.

MAB

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:50 PM

I think the short answer would be no, Steve. But the short answer is based on my opinion of what benefits the "art" of songwriting and music in the long run.

In a world that revolves around financial gain and personal success, there has been a blatant attempt to satisfy profit goals at the expense of artistic excellence.

Mabbo, with all due respect, to continue feeding the beast is not promoting what is best for music or the industry. There is so much great untapped stuff out there which is being virtually ignored by the "music" industry. But I think they will soon realize that they're already behind the times. Honest and diverse music, sought out by so many who have been screaming for it, is busting wide open while "those in the know" tick off their boxes in their high rise offices. But maybe they do know, hence their attempts to stifle the flow as they whine about music sharing and lost revenue, blaming it on the listeners instead of their own short-sightedness. Their idea of diversity is Taylor Swift and other pop-country fence sitters. Not good enough. Not even close.

Unless, as Desertrose mentioned, I happen to be somewhere where I'm subjected to and bombarded by their opinion of what "music" is, I choose not to listen at all. I'm not alone. There are more listeners out there than the narrow demographics they are pandering to. Untapped resources they've been too blind to consider.

If a songwriter is in it only for the money and fame and he has the template down pat, he has a slim chance of getting something out there. Umm, slim to none maybe. My advice to him/her would probably be to write, perform, and record music he/she can proud of. The odds are probably the same either way.

The more musicians out there who write to an elevated bar, the more likely the chance will be it might finally start rising (again).
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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:02 PM

No Steve.

When you add money into the equation it begins to dilute the true purpose of WHY you write.
If it's only to make money quite frankly I think you're (people are) hard core seriously deluded. :blink:

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:00 AM

View PostScenesFromPalacio, on 23 February 2012 - 09:05 PM, said:

There's alot of talk on these forums about ways to manipulate your craft songwritingwise specifically with a view to earning some $$$ for your effort in the current marketplace

Do you think this is a reasonable n attainable goal for you to pursue ? Not Reasonable, but why do people play the lottery? That one chance.

Do you believe if you're able to learn enough about specific hit-writing techniques- described in these forums and beyond- you'll be able to turn yourself from an amateur to a professional and rake in the cash relatively easily ?

There are some books that help you, but only if you are moving in that direction. I've read the first page of a book and threw it away because I didn't have a common goal or believe in what they were saying.

Do you believe the only true measure of a songs value is in the $$$$s its able to generate ? NO. NO WAY. It's what you like. The sad this is much of what the majority likes falls in the "follow the leader" catagory. someone breaks slightly new ground and 50 others follow the money trail.



Happiness v.s. money

I'll put happiness before $ anyday. If I'm down to my last cent, then maybe I'll force the card and play and write exactly what someone whats/needs. I played in a cover band and to be honest, in that time frame, I played "Play That Funky Music" nearly 1000 times, but I had to make money at the time. I wasn't the happiest as a musician

I write for myself, it just so happens that my songs are poppy and hooky. Sure, i put a few clever chords and harmonies in there, but I am what I am and will be what I want to be. I'll continue to grow, but always I'll always be able to see my house from here.

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 10:15 AM

I think this is a false dichotomy.

I get just as much pleasure writing jingles as I do writing my own songs, because it's all the same activity. I get to use my cleverness with words (The New York Times Crossword puzzle is a daily ritual for me), my ear for melody and harmony, my studio, my guitars and keyboards.... I get to hang with other, better musicians and singers, and use my tools and skills to record and edit their performances into something good. It never occurs to me - not even for a moment - that there is some truer, purer expression of my talent. For me, it's all the same. I'm a craftsman, and I apply the same craftsmanship to whatever I do.

The false dichotomy is based on the idea that there is "important" songwriting and "trivial" songwriting. I can't buy that. If I am in a crappy mood and turn on the radio to hear "O-bla-di, O-bla-da," then that meaningless chunk of fluff is an "important" song at that moment. I don't care what McCartney's frame of mind was when he wrote it... it cheers me up, and that's plenty.

So, yes, I think making money is a reasonable goal to pursue. I'm not going to leave a lot of money to my kids, but I make enough that I don't have to do some soul-crushing job... how is dying inside from 9 to 5 so I can come home exhausted and work on my purely artistic magnum opus "Alone In His Principles" a better choice than enjoying myself making music from 9 to 5 and being paid for it?

Happiness vs. money? I don't get it. Making money doesn't make me unhappy, and it in no way dilutes the purpose of why I write... I write music because it makes me feel good to write music. That's all.


PS: Edited to add: that doesn't mean "Achey Breaky Heart" isn't a horrible song, because it sure is. But not everything written for commercial purposes is bad. A lot of it is real good.

#7 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 10:34 AM

Joan,

With all due respect back I think you are making the same classic mistake that all writers, artists and others make on the "Music business", in thinking that it is all a monoltihic coallition of people in back rooms conspiring as to what is going to be played and what is not. That is nonsense. There are thousands and thousands of songs, and artists, that are released and simply don't gain traction with the public. And part of the reason it is so expensive is that you have to pay the same costs for development, and promotion for the failures that you have to pay for the successes. The successes are what help you pay for the failures, which you always have a LOT more of.

The "Taylor Swift" example is a perfect case in point. The reason Taylor and Scott Borchetta named their label "Big Machine" is because they were turned down by everybody in town. They were told they would never get anywhere without the Nashville Big Machine" labels behind them. But through a product that resonated with millions of people, primarily younger girls, but that is what the entire entertainment business is geared toward, and a smart Internet oriented presence, accompained by savy business marketing by Scott Borchetta, an industry expert, and a desire by the actual purchasers of music, built a samll independent label, which is what Big Machine is, into THE current shaper of the market. It was a response to fans, not the other way around.

And it can work in exactly the other direction. There was once a company here called "Lyric Street." Among the acts they had were Rascal Flatts, one of the biggest country and crossover acts of the past decade. That company was a subsidiary of another company you might have heard of called "Disney."
They tend to have somewhat of a cash surplus for use in artists and promotion. Last year, Lyric Street closed due to unprofitablity. Rascal Flatts, were resigned anyother label, Big Machine. Who also signed Martina McBride and several other very successful acts. Big Machine was now DISNEY.
But did that mean Disney shut down? Nope. Haven't heard of the theme parks here or overseas, movie or television divisions, product development, merchandising closing up, have you?

The point is, that major companies have many different tentacles and too many people think that they are "finally going to shut down and go away." Nope. Because in the words of a major label president, "We do big Well." Major record companies as well as smaller independents, all do the same thing. They put product out, some works some don't. They don't suppor things that are unprofitable, and if a small artist builds into a major artist, they participate by partnering up with that artist to take them to the next level.

It is why record companies now are interested in solid FAN BASE. They are looking at people who have significant exposure through American Idol, the Voice, etc. and a large fan base online. There might be people out there that you don't care for, and the entire denigration of society is a different topic. But as far as commerical writing, promotion, artists, etc. it is TOTALLY fan driven. Trust me. The unprofitable ones are not going to be driven down ANYBODY'S throat. They are dumped, and all you have to do is come to a place like here, and talk to just about everyone who "used to have a deal" to find that out. As a matter of fact, my standard Nashville greeting is "Hi, I'm Marc-Alan Barnette. Who did you USED to be with?"

My point is that all entertainment, irregardless if it is some major pop or rock star, indie artist, a local Friday night honky tonk hero, some regional icon artist, and the writers, producers, musicians, labels, publishers. and all the ancilary people involved in those careers are totally incumbant upon their ability to deliver in the marketplace. If you are a local artist doing your own songs, you are not going to get booked much if you can't bring people in. If you are a National artist, you are only as good as your most recent sales figures, if you are primarily a writer, you are only as good as you make artists look.

That is why it is the entertainment BUSINESS.

MAB

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 10:47 AM

Gravity,

You are exactly right. ALL writing is relevant. Just because I talk a lot about the music business from a Nashville based perspective does not mean that there is all there is. There is great music and relevant writing all over the place. Which is why I dissagree with the entire "cookie cutter" designation for any format. Music is anything but. But it is fan driven and if they like one thing over something else we might or might not agree with, doesn't mean one thing is less relevant than another.

Interestingly "Achy Breaky Heart" is always something kind of funny to me, because I remember all of that very well. The song, which was written by a paper hanger named Don Von Tess, had been around Nashville for years. It was called "Achin Breakin Heart" and was recorded by many artists, most prominatly the Warren Brotherss, who never did much artist wise, but have had many current top ten hits as writers, the most recent being Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup." Being known as vastly intellectual writers are not something these guys are known for.

But it was not until they found the right vehicle on the song in Billy Ray Cyrus. And while a lot of people denigrate it and talk about it, it made $22 million dollars, and launched several careers, and was able to provide a platform for many artists like Shania Twain through the record company. And of course, if it weren't for Achy Breaky, you would have never seen Miley Cyrus. Which again, are probably strikes against it in many people's eyes. But if you look at residual effects of the song, you probably would find some songs, artists, producers, or things that you liked that came out of that well.

Different strokes. But there are a lot of ways you have to look at all of this when trying to make decisions on your own journey.

MAB

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

Happiness vs. money? I don't get it. Making money doesn't make me unhappy, and it in no way dilutes the purpose of why I write... I write music because it makes me feel good to write music. That's all.
I think there are two types of tortured souls that are musicians/songwriters. Some are very close friends:

One is the person who expects to get paid higher than anyone else, they feel they are worth more. This disillusioned person ends up being frustrated because either because of talent, connections or market, they can't get to their goal

The second is a person who needs to get paid since that is their livelyhood and this can range from making $200 a week in order to barely feed themsleves and pay rent to feeding a family of 4 and paying off a $300,000 home. The reason why I say that, is because if songwriting is you means of making money, not everyone can do it, id say less than 1% do it for a living...(MABBO give me the numbers here)

I have the "luxury" of not having to worry about playing music for my livelyhood. Although I can name 50 people that are broke and not happy because of the above scenerios.

We all should be playing because we love it, $ is a bonus for me. Some people dont have a true understanding like you Gravity Jim. I may not completely understand somethings, but Im very happy playing music and feel its a gift to play let alone share this gift with others.

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:05 PM

I'm going to weigh in on this, knowing full well that I'll probably piss some people off, but here goes.

I find it fascinating that there are those who seem to have the mindset that commercial=fluff=bad, and then use a 40 year old song as an example of what music should be. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and while I'll be the first to say there were some amazing songwriters/artists from that period of time, I would encourage you to go back & look at the top 40 hits of any given year in the 60s and 70s. Let's just pick a couple as examples - here are the top 20 hits of 1972:

1. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Roberta Flack
2. Alone Again (Naturally), Gilbert O'Sullivan
3. American Pie, Don McLean
4. Without You, Nilsson
5. The Candy Man, Sammy Davis Jr.
6. I Gotcha, Joe Tex
7. Lean On Me, Bill Withers
8. Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me, Mac Davis
9. Brand New Key, Melanie
10. Daddy Dont You Walk So Fast, Wayne Newton
11. Let's Stay Together, Al Green
12. Brandy (You're A Fine Girl), Looking Glass
13. Oh Girl, The Chi-Lites
14. Nice to Be With You, Gallery
15. My Ding-A-Ling, Chuck Berry
16. (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right, Luther Ingram
17. Heart of Gold, Neil Young
18. Betcha By Golly Wow, The Stylistics
19. I'll Take You There, The Staple Singers
20. Ben, Michael Jackson

Some great songs/records in there, no question. But "Brand New Key"? "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast"? "My Ding-A-Ling"? And my personal favorite, a song about a rat "Ben"?

So how about 1967's top 20:

1. To Sir With Love, Lulu
2. The Letter, Box Tops
3. Ode to Billie Joe, Bobby Gentry
4. Windy, The Association
5. I'm a Believer, The Monkees
6. Light My Fire, The Doors
7. Somethin' Stupid, Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra
8. Happy Together, Turtles
9. Groovin', Young Rascals
10. Can't Take My Eyes Off You, Frankie Valli
11. Little Bit O'Soul, Music Explosion
12. I Think We're Alone Now, Tommy James and The Shondells
13. Respect, Aretha Franklin
14. I Was Made to Love Her, Stevie Wonder
15. Come Back When You Grow Up, Bobby Vee and The Strangers
16. Kind of a Drag, The Buckinghams
17. Sweet Soul Music, Arthur Conley
18. Expressway to Your Heart, Soul Survivors
19. Soul Man, Sam and Dave
20. Never My Love, The Association

Yep, those were the good ol' days of music, when the bar was raised to such artistic heights as "To Sir With Love", "I'm A Believer", and "Kind Of A Drag".

Now I happen to like most, if not all, of the songs on those lists. But to suggest that somehow the music of that period was somehow a high-water mark of musical integrity and art is disingenuous. I would also add that I see nothing wrong with aspiring to write commercial songs and, in doing so, actually make a living as a songwriter. I've been blessed with a career in songwriting that has paid my bills since 1985. I'd like to think I've written some pretty darn good songs in that time. Have I also written (and even had recorded) some stinkers? You bet I have. Am I embarrassed or apologetic about it? Hell no, because it put a roof over my head and bought food, clothes, etc. for my family. Quite frankly, and to be perfectly blunt about it, the vast majority of aspiring songwriters I've encountered who diss commercial music do so because they either aren't capable of writing it or haven't figured out how to do it yet.

Writing for a hobby, writing for a genre outside of mainstream, writing for yourself as a coffee-house type singer/songwriter - all of those are noble things, and if that's where your head & heart are, I salute you. Some of the greatest music has come from those who dared to draw outside the lines. But if your aspiration is to put the word "professional" in front of "songwriter", then it becomes your RESPONSIBILITY to write songs that the marketplace demands. I tried swimming against the current for a long time, and then I realized that there are worse things in life than getting paid to do something you love. I'm proud of each & every song I've had cut - not because of the quality of writing, but because I know how hard it is to make a living writing songs.

One last thought & then I'll post & subject myself to scathing replies. I never turn my nose up at hit songs. Achy Breaky Heart gets trashed a lot. Is it the best song I ever heard? Not even close. Do I wish I'd written it? You bet I do, because it made Don Von Tress a wealthy man. My job is to write songs that I can hopefully get recorded and therefore provide a living for myself and my family. And if Mozart were alive right now, I suspect he'd be laughing his ass off at this entire discussion.

End of rant.

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 02:22 PM

View PostRoger, on 24 February 2012 - 01:05 PM, said:

But if your aspiration is to put the word "professional" in front of "songwriter", then it becomes your RESPONSIBILITY to write songs that the marketplace demands.


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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:36 PM

Ok, so I think I'm being unfair and subjective and probably getting on my high horse when I said it dilutes the reason WHY you write. (for me personally it did and does though.)
Not everybody writes for the same reasons - as Jim reminded me.

Look, bottom line is that I've seen songwriters (and kind of been there too) get SO caught up, and frustrated, by all of this crafting,refining, moulding -following every damn rule to the letter until the songs that come out are so sucked dry of personality and creative substance that they are just shallow representations of what COULD BE amazingly creative and beautiful expressions of musical artistry.
And by getting so involved with this intensive crafting - especially with the view of what is "marketable" and "commercial", I believe, it has the potential to completely crush the creative spark that gets us involved in making music in the first place!

It's like a kid learning to draw. Some of their art is just amazingly creative and completely uninhibited and "free" - until the adult comes along and says "No son, that's not what a dinosaur looks like, you should do it like this."
Man, that's just so.......wrong!

I think, most of which makes a songwriter a really GREAT one is musical intuition, which I question whether or not can actually be learned. (by saying this I realise I might get into hot water, but I'm saying it anyway, lol!)
Sure, you can be guided and everybody learning anything new should have some sense of a map to follow but that's all they are, ultimately - guidelines.

I just wonder whether, in the quest, the dream, or more likely (these days) - the illusion that "you can make money from this!" that people forget to let their creative expression loose, and therefore rob themselves of the joy of creating music, and also inhibit the possibility of perhaps getting in touch WITH that musical intuition?

So, really I'm just burning my musical bra here and saying - For God's sakes - just every once in a while let those damn beasts swing loose and free and just CREATE - and have FUN!
Get your crayons and just GO FOR IT!
Who the hell knows what a dinosaur is really "supposed' to look like anyway.

Ever wondered what might happen if a thread, or section was made - called "Burn your musical bra's HERE!"
Imagine what might go on in there :D

AND....think about it (and I'm feeling very guilty at the moment) how many young kids just starting out in songwriting pop into this board to show us "What they made" and they're happy and smiling and proud of their attempts and then we say "No, that's not what it's supposed to look like. Do it like this!"

:(

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 11:10 PM

View PostScenesFromPalacio, on 23 February 2012 - 09:05 PM, said:

There's alot of talk on these forums about ways to manipulate your craft songwritingwise specifically with a view to earning some $$$ for your effort in the current marketplace

Do you think this is a reasonable n attainable goal for you to pursue ?
It might be reasonable and even attainable.
However from this ole’ farts point of view, doing anything in life with the idea that the major benefit will be to earn lots of money will not be very satisfying even if it is attained.
Do something because you love to do it. Do something because it sparks a passion in you. :)

Quote

Do you believe if you're able to learn enough about specific hit-writing techniques- described in these forums and beyond- you'll be able to turn yourself from an amateur to a professional and rake in the cash relatively easily ?
Never!!!
The difference from writing what you want to write when you want to write it as an amateur and writing with a deadline about writing what the folks who are paying you want to hear as a professional are as different as night and day.

Quote

Do you believe the only true measure of a songs value is in the $$$$s its able to generate ?
Depends on whose perspective you’re dealing with.
To a record company suit, I’m sure that is the only value that a song, or artist for that matter, has to offer.
Personally monetary value is the farthest thing on my mind.
Now if my livelihood depended on it, I might have a different point of view. ;)
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Posted 24 February 2012 - 11:19 PM

View PostDesertrose, on 24 February 2012 - 08:36 PM, said:

.................
It's like a kid learning to draw. Some of their art is just amazingly creative and completely uninhibited and "free" - until the adult comes along and says "No son, that's not what a dinosaur looks like, you should do it like this."
Man, that's just so.......wrong!
Not only is it wrong, it kills creativity.
Your story reminded me of Alistair's topic “Do Schools Kill Creativity?

… when Ken Robinson brings up the story of a six year old little girl who was in a drawing class.
The little girl never paid much attention in class.
She was in the back of the room drawing and the teacher came over to ask what she was drawing and the little girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God”.
The teacher replied, “no one really knows what God looks like.” To which the little girl replied, “they will in a minute.” :lol: :lol: :lol:
.................

Quote

Ever wondered what might happen if a thread, or section was made - called "Burn your musical bra's HERE!"
Imagine what might go on in there
:blink: :wacko: :blink:
So that’s what the creative process is all about. :rolleyes: :D

Quote

AND....think about it (and I'm feeling very guilty at the moment) how many young kids just starting out in songwriting pop into this board to show us "What they made" and they're happy and smiling and proud of their attempts and then we say "No, that's not what it's supposed to look like. Do it like this!"
I don’t have any kids, but if I did and they wanted to get involved with songwriting, I would simply tell them to just be honest with what they create.
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#15 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:05 AM

Porcupine,

I can never tell you how many people make a living doing music. Most of the people I know who make a living from music do a variety of things. Teaching, live performance, inventing products, running business both in and out of the music industry, so putting a number on any song, writer, artist, at all, is pretty hard to do. And of course, I always make it very clear I am involved in Nashville, my numbers come from Nashville sources and so that won't factor in LA, NEW YORK, LONDON, TOKYO, the Internet, etc. A lot of my numbers and comments are ancedotal, and that can vary. I do not know it all. Just mention what I am told by others. When I was involved in a Congressional delgation in 2006 from NSAI, lobbying on behalf of songwriters, intelectual property laws, teeth in legislation, etc. the numbers we used were:

In 2002, there were 1480 "Staff writers", those that were paid to write songs or benefitted from the songwriting community.
In 2006, there were around 310 such deals.

Information I was given this weekend was that has dropped to about 250.

Now this doesn't mean that all of those make a lot of money, some make a lot, many make very little. Many will not make enough to be resigned. Some will find other ways to monetize what they do, others will come into replace those.
But that is a basic thumbnail as I understand it.

Good post Roger. Enjoyed reading those songs. I remember them all.

MAB

#16 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 11:47 AM

Hi ScenesFromPalacio

If your looking to write commercial songs for a living, the Muse is just a jumping off point. NSAI here in the America's is really the starting point. They have chapters located through out the United states and they in my opinion are your Berkley of commercial music teaching. Teaching as in the business as well as the creativity of commercial writing. If your an artist/songwriter and are trying to break into the industry or both, again, you have to define what your idea of success is and how far and how much your willing to give up to get there and there's no guarantee that you'll make it.

I too would have loved to have written Achey Breaky and listen to everyone swoon at it while I laughed all the way to the bank. Being the writer and not the artist keeps you out of the spotlight, but yet you have cred within the industry. I think a case in point of having your cake and eating it too would be Seth Swirksy. He is or was a staff writer out in L.A. and had a couple cuts for some pop artists, and meanwhile has put out the type of music he loves as an artist songwriter on his own due to that he now had the money to do it. He isnt making a killing off of his niche market releases, but is making music he loves and had to release it. He has one solo cd and two joint cds with Mike Ruekberg as the group"THE RED BUTTON" that does a spin on the 60s AND british invasion stuff. Really good music that I enjoy.

As I mentioned in my profile, I came close to my goal a couple times i.e. being a signed artist to a small label. But to have gotten to where I am as a writer/novice artist has been very satisfying. If I were to make any money off of the stuff Ive done, it would be really the cherry on top. The song and the writing came first for me. The thought of making money wasn't a pure motivation for writing. Have I sent out demos? Sure, why not. Means I feel I have something special to offer to the listener. All artists feel that way. :) don't they?

Difference for me is that I wasn't a stellar musician and didn't feel I had the "it" factor to take it to the next level. So I resigned myself to the idea of being an indie pop recording artist that almost made it on a small scale. And that was my goal. A funny side note: I was once even considered for a boy band type thing in the late 80s from one of the pop schlock rock demos I sent out only to be turned down because I wasn't a pretty boy enough for them...lol. Again, it would have been great to write for a band like that and get the royalties, but to be up there dancing and the teen idol crap...ah..no thanks , David Cassidy wasnt my goal...lol

All's I can tell ya ScenesFromPalacio, is music is what you make of it. The path to making it are not always time tested and true, but you cant ignore the trend of going to Nashville or any of the major Music centers to see what you got to show or what the measuring stick is.

just my two cents worth
R-N-R Jim
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#17 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:48 PM

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I find it fascinating that there are those who seem to have the mindset that commercial=fluff=bad, and then use a 40 year old song as an example of what music should be. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, and while I'll be the first to say there were some amazing songwriters/artists from that period of time, I would encourage you to go back & look at the top 40 hits of any given year in the 60s and 70s. Let's just pick a couple as examples - here are the top 20 hits of 1972:


Firstly i didn't use that song as an example of how music 'should' be..It was an example of a song that followed no conventional pop format - yet still totally works as a pop song- because it was dramatic,engaging,suprising and succesfully created its own magical world in 2 n a half minutes...
Thats the whole point..For me -there shouldn't be any 'rules' about how a pop song should be..I love traditional verse chorus verse chorus etc formats too and all the other tried/tested cool pop devices-like most people- but see no reason why you have to be utterly chained to a specific musical structure (like most modern country seems to be from what i've heard musically-and what i hear here)
There's an irony in your using those charts to make the point about novelty songs always being around too..Whatever you might think lyrically of 'To Sir With Love' for instance - its obvious to me its a very accomplished excellently crafted song musically..It even uses the country device of having the title-line right at the end of the chorus-but its resolved in such an interesting unpredictable distinct way..
Can you show me a modern country hit that does anything even remotely as creative musically as that ?

Apart from a few 'novelty' hits those charts were pretty much packed full of magical,enduring songs in a huge variety of styles - reflecting how much more open people were then i guess -and the fact as consumers,they generally demanded creative,excellently written songs to make them part with their money....

It was a time when artistic excellence in pop was rewarded !

Are there any modern country hits with the atmospheric brilliance n timelessness of 'Ode To Billie Joe' ? or the great flowing musicality of 'Alone Again Naturally ' (easily adapted into a country style i should think )

The ones i've listened to -following clues from Mabbo's threads - are so musically cliched i can predict nearly every musical move they're gonna make before they do it....
Even tho i've got alot of respect for the cunning lyrical skill going into crafting them - they seemed so utterly mediocre,formulaic n predictable from a musical songwriting perspective i was genuinelly shocked..Especially if you contrast them with most songs on those 2 charts from the 60s n 70s you put up !

Maybe i'm missing the point..Is a modern country pop audience only interested in the lyric n performer now -with the music (apart from the sound n performance ) mostly irrelevant background scenery ?

I can think of loads n loads of country songs thru the decades that had great tunes ,really cool chord changes -felt really free n magical-even if played on just an acoustic...(and i'm sure theres 1,000s more )Total gems like Crazy,Jolene,Ruby Don't Take Your love to town,King Of The Road,Do-wacka-do,A Thing Called Love,Ring Of Fire,Love Letters,The Devil Went Down To Georgia,Wichita Lineman,Behind Closed Doors (off the top of my head )

Don't people want those kinda songs any more..?

Don't songwriters want to write them ?

#18 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:06 PM

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But it was not until they found the right vehicle on the song in Billy Ray Cyrus. And while a lot of people denigrate it and talk about it, it made $22 million dollars, and launched several careers, and was able to provide a platform for many artists like Shania Twain through the record company


From another perspective -it also encouraged the industry n the creative people within it to focus their energies on producing more n more of those supa-dumbed-down musically-dead,artistically bankrupt kinda songs -as everyone (naturally ) 'follows the money'...
So from a musical evolution point of view (to me) it obviously totally stunk..

Shania Twains hits share the same airless, vapid,cynical unbearably-smug spirit as 'Achey Breakey Heart' btw -so its not suprising it was the success of that which helped spawn her...

#19 User is offline   Roger Icon

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:41 PM

Scenes,
We're probably going to have to put this one in the category of agreeing to disagree. I could list pages of mindless, cheesy songs from virtually any era of modern music. Regarding country music, there are plenty of great songs being written and even recorded, you just have to dig deeper than you used to in order to find them. In the late 1980s, the head of Columbia Records in Nashville (a marketing guy) got what he thought was a brilliant idea: let's send copies of our artists' new CDs to radio before they're released to the public, and get them to tell us what they think the single should be. The thought was that if radio picked it, they could hardly turn around later and refuse to play it. The unfortunate and expected consequence of this, however, was that radio (the only place where egos are bigger than in the music business) became convinced that THEY were the true A&R people, and they began dictating to the Nashville labels what they would and would not play. It became a classic case of the cart leading the horse. Combine this with companies like ClearChannel buying up hundreds & hundreds of stations and doing the programming for all of them in-house instead of leaving it to the locals, and you got tighter playlists and directives as to what type of music would be programmed. Uptempo positive, drive time, etc. In addition, you now have a situation where almost every artist has to sign what is called a '360' deal, which means the label gets a percentage of all the artists' income streams - cd & mp3 sales, live performances, concessions, and yes - songwriting royalties. It has become an agenda for labels now to have all of their artists "write" a substantial portion of their projects, because their 360 deals don't grant them participation in 3rd party revenue streams (outside songs). So now you have artists "writing" their projects, and in many to most cases, they can't write at all. You generally will see a pure songwriter as cowriter on their works. Has it diminished the quality of the overall music? I believe it has absolutely done so.

The bottom line is, however, that waxing nostalgic for the 'good old days' of songwriting and/or music is a self-defeating enterprise. I'd personally love nothing better than to get back to the early 90s when you could still write a great traditional country song and get it recorded - maybe even get a single on it - regardless of who published it or whether or not the artist/producer/etc. had writer credit on it or owned a piece of the publishing. That's not going to happen unfortunately, and so as a professional writer I have to adapt to what the marketplace is. Would I LIKE things to be different? Yes I would, but I have mouths to feed, and at 50 years old with nothing on my resume except 27 years of professional songwriting it's not like I'm in any position to 'fight city hall' knowing full well it would be a battle that I'd never win - and all that would happen is I'd wind up out of the business I've spent 30 years carving out a spot in. It's very easy to maintain a position of artistic purity until your art becomes the vehicle that provides your income.

Country is not the only format that has succumbed to these type of problems - it's just an easier target.

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:42 PM

double post...fail!

#21 User is offline   ScenesFromPalacio Icon

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:35 PM

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Scenes,
We're probably going to have to put this one in the category of agreeing to disagree



No Roger-It seems we're basically in agreement from what you're saying...


Quote

Country is not the only format that has succumbed to these type of problems - it's just an easier target


Totally..Pop 'n' rock is no different really...The cynical-to-the-max,artless ultra -corporatisation has obviously happened there too..
With the increased power of the internet -their time is obviously passing tho..Of course thats no help whatsoever to you if you're trying to make money from songwriting..


Quote

It's very easy to maintain a position of artistic purity until your art becomes the vehicle that provides your income.


I feel for ya man - and can totally understand your position..I'm lucky in that i don't have a family to support and my job in music has nothing to do with catering to a commercial market i have no real musical love for ..
I'm very grateful i have that luxury..

Thanks for being so honest - and its enlightening to see the reasons why things are the way they are -specifically with regard to the modern country market..

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:45 PM

View PostRoger, on 28 February 2012 - 07:41 PM, said:

... you now have a situation where almost every artist has to sign what is called a '360' deal, which means the label gets a percentage of all the artists' income streams - cd & mp3 sales, live performances, concessions, and yes - songwriting royalties. It has become an agenda for labels now to have all of their artists "write" a substantial portion of their projects, because their 360 deals don't grant them participation in 3rd party revenue streams (outside songs).


I didn't know that. It explains a lot. There was a time when signing for a label would indicate that an artist/band had somehow "made it". These days, when someone I know says they have signed a deal I wonder if they just made a mistake. It probably explains why so many are going it alone.

Most people I know who make any kind of living from music have multiple revenue streams (as I think MABBO was saying). For example, one guy I know provides music therapy for disabled kids, teaches, records and runs musical events for venues as well as his own, actual performing (he's a singer). Songwriting is mostly done for fun, for him. Many have day (or part-time) jobs that aren't so musical.
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#23 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:38 PM

View PostScenesFromPalacio, on 23 February 2012 - 08:05 PM, said:

There's alot of talk on these forums about ways to manipulate your craft songwritingwise specifically with a view to earning some $ for your effort in the current marketplace First off, it takes a certain skill set to do this. Someone who is multi talented can and could do this and in some cases are doing this. A songwriter, especially a pro writer can adapt to different genre's because they aren't the one's actually singing or performing the songs. It's not uncommon to hear about a pro-writer involved in country as well as pop.

Do you think this is a reasonable n attainable goal for you to pursue ? If writing is all you want to do and are going to hit the major music centers and rub elbows with publishers etc. , then why not? Your chances are as good as any if you put forth the effort to network. Nashville is all about networking. About two years ago, a songwriter from our NSAI Green Bay, Wisconsin chapter had gotten a song of hers on country artists Steel Magnolias cd. She had been at it for quite awhile. Made two to four trips a year to Nashville. Made the rounds to publishers, the country bar hangouts etc. Made the connections. As they say, you have to be there to be seen and heard.
Granted, half is having a good song and the other is timing and luck. Achey Breaky Hearts story is well documented on how it had made the rounds on minor releases, but once given to a rising star and the country line dancing craze or fad at its height, it became a major hit. As they say, sometimes timing can give a song you wrote a couple years ago new life if the music cycle is swinging a certain direction.


Do you believe if you're able to learn enough about specific hit-writing techniques- described in these forums and beyond- you'll be able to turn yourself from an amateur to a professional and rake in the cash relatively easily ?That would be debatable because I have always felt that being a part of a local songwriting club or NSAI chapter would give you a better feel for songwriting than just trying to sift through the information here as well as the critique forums at the Muse. The Muse is kind of an internet island of sorts for some that may not have alot of access to a population where clubs or music centers are near by. For me, the Muse is just another hang out to meet other novice artists and songwriters.

Do you believe the only true measure of a songs value is in the $s its able to generate ?If money is the goal, then you've answered your own question. The thing is, the artist is the one that has to wear it. If he feels comfortable with the song and can live with it, then that's fine. But if an artist is following a trend for the sake of cashing in on whats hot at the moment or hasn't had a hit in eons and has let management dictate what it is that they have to record on their next cd, then is the money worth it?
The magic of course, is a great song and if it happens to find the right artist and makes money...well...you've won the trifecta. Something that doesn't happen very often and is lacking because of marketing etc rather than the song selling the artist, the artists image is selling the song. Plus the independent radio stations that have been bought up the last 30 years has led to the decline of newer artists making it nationally on a bigger scale. DJs used to have some say and power over what got played. As has been mentioned, the corporate machine has taken over programming and other aspects of the business and that's why we hear 18 songs promoted nationally for 6 months at a time.
Outlets like cdbaby and Amazon.com have catered to the indie market and I have seen alot more artists releases than the local record store...so new good music is out there as others have said, but you gotta scratch below the surface.
So, in conclusion, can this site guide me to a songwriting contract in the future? Probably not. But if I had the talent of ScenesFromPalacio, I don't think I would need this site to make it in the music biz. :) I'd be in London pounding the pavement on my way to EMI.


just my two cents worth
R-N-RJim

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#24 User is offline   Thinman Icon

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 01:13 PM

Good thread - wish I found it sooner !

This caught my eye as complete and utter bollocks

"But if your aspiration is to put the word "professional" in front of "songwriter", then it becomes your RESPONSIBILITY to write songs that the marketplace demands."

"When you see a crowd - go the other way !" - I think Abraham Lincoln said that !!! (or was it Bob ?)

You put out "John Wesley Harding" when the rest of the world is listening to Sgt Pepper type faesces !
Forget the marketplace unless you are a whore

There is no such thing as "responsibility" - an oft used and little understood word

I'll give a simple example:
Bankers are "responsible" for losing a lot of other peoples money
What happens ?
Nothing happens (oh - except that they get a big bonus again)


Need any more examples ?

#25 User is offline   Roger Icon

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 02:51 PM

View PostThinman, on 09 March 2012 - 12:13 PM, said:

Good thread - wish I found it sooner !

This caught my eye as complete and utter bollocks

"But if your aspiration is to put the word "professional" in front of "songwriter", then it becomes your RESPONSIBILITY to write songs that the marketplace demands."

"When you see a crowd - go the other way !" - I think Abraham Lincoln said that !!! (or was it Bob ?)

You put out "John Wesley Harding" when the rest of the world is listening to Sgt Pepper type faesces !
Forget the marketplace unless you are a whore

There is no such thing as "responsibility" - an oft used and little understood word

I'll give a simple example:
Bankers are "responsible" for losing a lot of other peoples money
What happens ?
Nothing happens (oh - except that they get a big bonus again)


Need any more examples ?


So apparently I'm a whore for making a living writing songs. Nice.

Responsibility, as defined in the World English Dictionary means (in some usages) being accountable for one's actions and decisions. If you are a professional songwriter, meaning that you are dependent on income from writing songs, then yes, in order to get your work recorded you have an obligation to write for the marketplace. An obligation to your family, creditors, or whomever. Furthermore, if you put the comment you quoted back in original context, I prefaced it by saying

Quote

Writing for a hobby, writing for a genre outside of mainstream, writing for yourself as a coffee-house type singer/songwriter - all of those are noble things, and if that's where your head & heart are, I salute you. Some of the greatest music has come from those who dared to draw outside the lines.


No one says you have to do it, you can choose to do something else for a living. I'm merely telling you what you will be expected to do if you have any aspirations whatsoever of being signed to a publishing company as a staff writer.

I don't care if you agree with me or not, and I care even less about your opinions about the marketplace I write for. The bottom line is that one of us knows what it takes in order to make a living writing songs, and it isn't you.

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:29 PM

I love it when I get a bite ! (But sorry if I offended)

"The bottom line is that one of us knows what it takes in order to make a living writing songs, and it isn't you."

That is irrefutable Roger ! and I do not deny it
I will file it with my father's favourite saying:

"You'll never make any money playing that bloody guitar !"

I had no intention of likening you to a whore (and I apologise) but the word "professional" does always put me in mind of the oldest profession.

I would like to maintain that pandering and ingratiating yourself to the audience has no place in art but I suppose it does actually, but (hopefully) it's a very small part.

As for "responsibility" - I still maintain it is a meaningless and too often used word

As a point of information what good songs these days are written by "professionals" (as opposed to artists) ?
Maybe there was a lot in the old days (pre-60s) but I'm not so sure now ?
(I'm usually wrong though)

Robby

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:38 PM

"Ultimate success in this society is defined by money, not music or anything else."

I think there's some sad truth in that.

But why not define your own success? In anything you do?

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:38 PM

View PostThinman, on 10 March 2012 - 01:29 PM, said:

I love it when I get a bite ! (But sorry if I offended)

I had no intention of likening you to a whore (and I apologise) but the word "professional" does always put me in mind of the oldest profession.



So, in other words, "Sorry if I offended you, but I love to offend people, and I didnt mean to call you a whore but you're a whore."

I'm a professional, and no more a whore than you are an artist. Your opinions are unformed and untested, suitable for the high school rock band rehearsal room, and a British accent doesn't make trolling cute or endearing. (And don't say you're not trolling... Why else would you describe it as "getting a bite?")

Jesus, online forums get so tiresome.

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:02 PM

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I would like to maintain that pandering and ingratiating yourself to the audience has no place in art but I suppose it does actually, but (hopefully) it's a very small part.


Yes, it has no place in art. Not for people like Mozart...oh no, wait, he had patrons (people who paid him) such as the Archbishop Colloredo, Count Franz von Walsegg, and Emperor Joseph II. Beethoven, I meant Beethoven...oops, he was commissioned (paid)to write music by Prince Karl Lichnowsky, Prince Kinsky, and Archduke Rudolph. Maybe I should have used an artist as an example, like Leonardo Da Vinci...oh no, he had a lot of patrons including the King of France....Michaelangelo...no, he was commissioned for works by popes Julius II, Leo X, Clement VII and Paul III.

Let's not kid ourselves into pretending the marriage art and commerce are a recent phenomenon. It's always been that way, and if you think the great artists I mentioned above didn't have to pander to their patrons' whims in order to get paid you are naive.

Quote

This caught my eye as complete and utter bollocks

Quote

Forget the marketplace unless you are a whore

Quote

I love it when I get a bite ! (But sorry if I offended)


Here's the thing. If you're going to insult someone, own it. There was nothing in your intent except TO offend, and the least you could do is grow a pair and admit it.

It's interesting...I did a workshop for songwriters in Texas a while back, where they complain loudly and incessantly about how awful commercial music is and how all of us in Nashville have 'sold out'. During the course of a 3 hour workshop, in a room full of people I was called a sell-out, a whore, a hack, a disgrace to the art of songwriting, etc. Then after the workshop was over, over half of those in attendance (including most if not ALL of those who had been the most vocally insulting) came up to me privately and asked me if I would listen to some of their songs and maybe take them to my publisher in Nashville on their behalf. Funny how making money at writing songs is an anathema to some until the checks start getting delivered to their house.

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:24 PM

View PostDesertrose, on 10 March 2012 - 01:38 PM, said:

"Ultimate success in this society is defined by money, not music or anything else."

I think there's some sad truth in that.

But why not define your own success? In anything you do?


. . . . and if enough of us redefine what "success" means, we'll redefine society. I'm in! :)

#31 User is offline   Bruce N Icon

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:25 PM

Getting back to one of the original question's asked, and one that I believe has been discussed at length before in one of these forums.

Quote

Do you believe the only true measure of a songs value is in the $$$$s its able to generate ?



A good friend of mine owns his own business, makes his living from it, and for all intents and purposes, I would have to say he's a professional at what he does, in fact his business has grown and expended.

I would say he's quite skilled at what he does, what's the nature of his business ? He's a Honey Man, IE: he sucks the **** out of septic holding tanks. I asked him once how he puts up with the smell that he has to deal with ? He replied "that it always smells like $$$$ to him."

So I would guess, whether you're producing **** or sucking **** if you're making the $$$$$ from it, I would say, yes you could call yourself a professional and what you produce has value because of the $$$$ it makes.

However, if you want to say either endeavor contains a great amount of artistic merit, then I'll be standing upwind of you, thank you very much. Posted Image
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#32 User is offline   porcupine Icon

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 03:34 PM

Here's one viewpoint that I have to agree with most of what is said.

A disturbing and compelling article.

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#33 User is offline   Alistair S Icon

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:13 PM

I keep looking at this thread and almost posting and then walking away.

To my mind, the whole question of the thread is around making money from song-writing. If we set that question aside and ask why any of write, we would probably get a huge variety of answers.

However, that isn't the question.

I think that, if we want to make money, there are a few ways that it can be done.

* You can look at what is selling and produce more of that.
* You can create something that is new and different that people want.

That's kind of it.

The former is probably the more reliable way to make money. The latter is maybe more exciting but requires a certain luck. It is probably also only do-able if you are performing and can build your own audience.

We all recognise bands that break through with something new and fresh. Our ears perk up and we think, "That's different" and we like it. We like it because it is different in a good way. That usually means that it is familiar enough AND different enough. It's not often that we quickly respond to something that is too hugely outside our experience.

We also recognise that it doesn't happen all that often.

Not all of us are writing for money. Writing for money is hard work and may not make as much money as we can make doing other things. It is also perfectly possible that most of us don't have the talent for it.

I have huge respect for people who can write "to order". I'd like to think I could, but we never know unless we actually do it. I respect the craftsmanship. It doesn't matter if it's creating music for a specific genre or whether it's writing for advertising. If you can do it, and enjoy it, good luck to you!

Not everyone will want to, however. Arguably, one of the few places that you can still do it is the country market. And it is a market. I tend to think of "genres" as a marketing concept. A "genre" describes the audience who buys the stuff more than it describes the music. The music adjusts to grow the market.

I wasn't raised with country. It's huge in the USA, but not so big over here. Our markets work a bit differently (but still have an eye on the massive, USA market). As the idea of being a "country" songwriter isn't really available to me, I've never considered it. I doubt I could do it anyway as I don't understand the sensibilities. I know I enjoy some of it - probably the stuff that speaks more to me and sounds sufficiently familiar. I have no interest in knocking it. In fact, I still struggle to tell the difference between country and americana a lot of the time.

Was there ever a time when people weren't writing for a given market? I'm not sure there was. I don't think I remember one. Sure, there have always been people who have been able to introduce something new and change the market and that's exciting. Would that be my strategy if I wanted to make a living? Probably not, especially if I had responsibilities beyond myself.

If I don't need to make a living from it, though - why not? It's fun and, so long as you have an audience, it's growable and a living can be made. Maybe not a fortune, but a living. There are plenty doing the folk circuit who will never be household names yet make a living. There are other circuits, too. Jazz?

It isn't all rock, pop and country out there!

Bleh. I just wrote a bunch of stuff and I'm not sure I made a point. Oh, well. :)
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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:36 PM

A great article, porcupine. Thank you for posting it.

Two cattle farmers are having a beer one night. One cattle farmer tells the other that he's signed on with a big corporation who will pay him twice what he gets at the local auction. All he has to do is give his cattle a steroid injection once a month and one steer will feed triple the amount of people, though admittedly the meat won't taste as good. The second cattle farmer shrugs it off as nonsense, telling cattle farmer number one that he has worked his whole life to raise the best tasting beef he can and if only a dozen people get to enjoy it, he's done his job.

Who's right? They both are. There's music to be made and enjoyed by everyone. Personally, I enjoy the better tasting meat, but I'm not everyone. Some people might not bother at all if it wasn't mass produced, cheap, and readily available at the supermarket.

There is a cattle farmer or two out there who are good enough at what they do to mass market a really good cut of prime rib. It happens, every once in a while, and changes everything.
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Posted 10 March 2012 - 04:48 PM

Something else occurs to me.

Back in the 70s, a lot of artists decided to become very "artistic" and started to develop "concept albums". Boy, was that stuff dreary!

Thank goodness punk came as an antidote, returning us to the 3-minute pop song, 3 chords and some anger. OK, that wasn't all great either!

My point is that there have to be some constraints and constraints can generate creativity. There have been MANY great songs written within those constraints. There has also been a lot of crap written with no constraints.

Sure, there are songs written that break all the conventions and give us something new. However, for many of us, the constraints work in our favour rather than against us. Unconstrained, we can test our audience's endurance! :lol:

Scenes, who started this thread, has a freshness and a familiarity about his stuff that - to my mind - should be highly commercial. I'd buy it! All it needs is an audience. How to reach that audience is the trick!
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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:11 PM

View PostGravity Jim, on 10 March 2012 - 06:38 PM, said:

View PostThinman, on 10 March 2012 - 01:29 PM, said:

I love it when I get a bite ! (But sorry if I offended)

I had no intention of likening you to a whore (and I apologise) but the word "professional" does always put me in mind of the oldest profession.



So, in other words, "Sorry if I offended you, but I love to offend people, and I didnt mean to call you a whore but you're a whore."

I'm a professional, and no more a whore than you are an artist. Your opinions are unformed and untested, suitable for the high school rock band rehearsal room, and a British accent doesn't make trolling cute or endearing. (And don't say you're not trolling... Why else would you describe it as "getting a bite?")

Jesus, online forums get so tiresome.



Hey Jim

What's "Trolling" ? Have I found something I'm good at ? (apart from proper football)

Robby

PS: Jesus is not interested in the tiresome nature of online forums !

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:01 PM

View PostRoger, on 10 March 2012 - 08:02 PM, said:

Quote

I would like to maintain that pandering and ingratiating yourself to the audience has no place in art but I suppose it does actually, but (hopefully) it's a very small part.


Yes, it has no place in art. Not for people like Mozart...oh no, wait, he had patrons (people who paid him) such as the Archbishop Colloredo, Count Franz von Walsegg, and Emperor Joseph II. Beethoven, I meant Beethoven...oops, he was commissioned (paid)to write music by Prince Karl Lichnowsky, Prince Kinsky, and Archduke Rudolph. Maybe I should have used an artist as an example, like Leonardo Da Vinci...oh no, he had a lot of patrons including the King of France....Michaelangelo...no, he was commissioned for works by popes Julius II, Leo X, Clement VII and Paul III.

Let's not kid ourselves into pretending the marriage art and commerce are a recent phenomenon. It's always been that way, and if you think the great artists I mentioned above didn't have to pander to their patrons' whims in order to get paid you are naive.

Quote

This caught my eye as complete and utter bollocks

Quote

Forget the marketplace unless you are a whore

Quote

I love it when I get a bite ! (But sorry if I offended)


Here's the thing. If you're going to insult someone, own it. There was nothing in your intent except TO offend, and the least you could do is grow a pair and admit it.

It's interesting...I did a workshop for songwriters in Texas a while back, where they complain loudly and incessantly about how awful commercial music is and how all of us in Nashville have 'sold out'. During the course of a 3 hour workshop, in a room full of people I was called a sell-out, a whore, a hack, a disgrace to the art of songwriting, etc. Then after the workshop was over, over half of those in attendance (including most if not ALL of those who had been the most vocally insulting) came up to me privately and asked me if I would listen to some of their songs and maybe take them to my publisher in Nashville on their behalf. Funny how making money at writing songs is an anathema to some until the checks start getting delivered to their house.


Hey Rog - you do seem to have taken offence ! I would re-iterate that my intent was to disagree with your statement and not to liken you to a woman of ill-repute, I thought it might be quite a good line for a song as it happens - "I stepped forth from the shadows to the marketplace - merchants and thieves hungry for power - their last deal gone down.............." - "you shouldn't take it so personal !"

However, I might as well go all the way - this place is knee-deep in guys from Nashville pontificating on how to write songs (well there's at least a couple) - Now I'm not an avid reader of these threads but I don't see them posting a lot of songs to back up their wisdom with examples ?

If the song competitions on here were for money would you enter them ?

Tell you what - I'll give you a "hundred song contest" ?

You post a song
I post a song to compete
The reasoned comments that follow will determine which one wins

Then it's my serve
I post a song
You post a song to compete
The reasoned comments that follow determine which one wins

You will "bust my ass" for sure cos I am not a "professional" and I have no friends on here and you will have The Music Capital of The World (full of award winning songwriters and musicians)on your side ? I can take a beating (as the song contests on here prove all too readily) and I will learn a lot along the way.
Make it 10 ? Make it 20 ? Make it 50 ? Make it 200 ? I don't mind.
(I can feel them growing already !)

Times have changed since Wolfgang and Ludwig Van and as it happens I am no supporter of subsidising the arts - it's just another way of the establishment foisting their concepts upon us - if you're reliant on hand outs you are hardly a professional ?

(Apologies for adding to the tedium of online forums)

Robeerto

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:13 PM

View PostThinman, on 10 March 2012 - 08:01 PM, said:

- this place is knee-deep in guys from Nashville pontificating on how to write songs (well there's at least a couple) - Now I'm not an avid reader of these threads but I don't see them posting a lot of songs to back up their wisdom with examples ?
Robeerto



I'm thinking Robeerto's first song in such a challenge might be entitled Nashville Popes. :)




#39 User is offline   Bruce N Icon

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:44 PM

View PostDavid@HoboSage.com, on 10 March 2012 - 07:13 PM, said:


I'm thinking Robeerto's first song in such a challenge might be entitled Nashville Popes. Posted Image

[/quote]

Nashville Popes ? It would have to beat Nashville Cats, of course that goes back to when country had some soul in it. Posted Image "They play hotter then a 'tater"

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#40 User is offline   Roger Icon

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:02 AM

Quote

However, I might as well go all the way - this place is knee-deep in guys from Nashville pontificating on how to write songs (well there's at least a couple) - Now I'm not an avid reader of these threads but I don't see them posting a lot of songs to back up their wisdom with examples ?

If the song competitions on here were for money would you enter them ?


Never told anyone how to write a song. I've pointed out things you have to do in order to make a living doing it. I don't believe I've ever even started a thread on this board, I've only responded to questions asked or comments made by others when I felt I had something to offer based on my 27 years of songwriting as a full time job. If you don't like what I have to say, if you feel like I'm 'pontificating', block me.

As for song competitions, I compete with my songs every day, in the marketplace. My discography is the testament to how well I've done with that. I'm not on this site for competition, I'm here because I assumed there might be some who would like to hear some insight from those who have been inside the business. I had hoped that type of candid and honest information might be appreciated by some, even if some of the realities aren't what they should be. Clearly, I was wrong.

#41 User is offline   porcupine Icon

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:36 AM

roger
I am one that benefits from the insight you give. We all have something we bring to the table...some of which are more of a benefit than others based on our current skill set. The info you have provided in previous threads have help me and I appreciate it.

My experiences are and have been in writing pop rock songs and occasionally get a country fan. I have toured with bands and have experienced every imaginable studio scenerio...which hopefully benefit others by me sharing my insight.

in reading what you have say roger, I have no reason not to believe you until experience proves otherwise...and so far, that is not the case. The way you talk and respectful responces give me a minimum, given the opportunity, to question someone offering a different way of doing business. That is the most valuable info. Without it, we are aimlessly searching for our finan.cial and business goal.

As far as songwriting, I have yet to receive a crit from you, although I don't expect one. Your help,to daten is more than enough.

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:15 AM

View Postporcupine, on 10 March 2012 - 03:34 PM, said:

Here's one viewpoint that I have to agree with most of what is said.

A disturbing and compelling article.

My link

Porcupine



What a great -and very sad article Charlie...Thanx for sharing..It makes me angry -but there's nothing we can do other than try and keep the spirit alive by making the most creative,magical music we can as artists ..
The cynical corporatization is absoloutly reflected in the desperately homogenised,mediocre modern pop/rock/country fare served up by the mainstream f'sure..

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 05:00 AM

It's a funny old business - about which I don't know nothing - but it doesn't stop me shooting my mouth off !

It's only fair to want to make an honest living and to want to do it about something you enjoy doing and being creative is totally rewarding..................

But it's human nature to get greedy and there are a lot of greedy people out there......music stars can be amongst them.....I mean ...How much money do they want to make ?.....What was that thing about Cliff Richard wanting the copyright on songs extended to 75 years..........He's loaded anyway.....They all made loadsa money when albums were getting sold for a high price and music wasn't so freely available and now the pendulum has swung they start whining. It's the same with footballers man - does anyone think they are worth £250,000 a week ? It's obscene.....so don't get me started on football...................

People sell out to some form of corporatisation as, I suppose, it's still the only access to the mass market and the rewards that it can bring. You can't criticise them - give me one game for Man United and I could retire (I've still got my speed sir Alex if you're reading this !)

I remember talking to a mate of mine in the 80s and asking "What is this **** ?" about some chart stuff and him saying "You don't make it on Top of the Pops" unless you got a lot of talent. I suspect he's correct. Footballers are the same - skilled, fit, tough, competitive, devoted - so I suppose things will find an equilibrium - the pendulums swing - who knows where it will go ?

All I know is I NEVER buy a CD and I NEVER go to a football match - I still go to gigs mind - I'll pay £30 to see Bob Dylan but no way am I paying £70 to see Eric Clapton ? (Mind you those prices are 2 or 3 years out of date)

I'm rambling - sorry

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:46 AM

Though I can excuse him because the timeline for his lament essentially begins in the late 80's, by not going back a bit further, Mr. "Cougar" fails to use a timeline that goes back far enough to provide a fuller perspective on the issue. That timeline begins back when video really did "kill the radio star."

I remember when MTV first started. It was cool. It was hip. It was all about music, and it had no commercials! Of course, that didn't last long. MTV drastically changed the paradigm for the music business, and when it succumbed to complete corporate corruption - the kind of free-market mindset that's only concerned with a bottom line that bean counters incorrectly view as being anathema to innovation - that's when the most recent death spiral for breaking innovative new artists really started to pick up speed. Look at MTV now. Does Music TeleVision even play music videos anymore? New major music paradigms, like MTV, come, and they eventually go. Punk had it's 15 minutes, "new waves" came and went, the push back from grunge dirtied up the landscape for a time, and rap was at first a powerful revolutionary force. But, they, like MTV and radio before it, were all exploited by and all eventually succumbed to the corporate bean counters, and once again homogenization eventually won out. It always does. Chaos always finds equilibrium. Elvis ended up playing Vegas. But, innovation isn't something the music marketplace can plan with success; it can only inspire it and then exploit until it kills it. Innovations itself comes from the souls of artists fighting against the status quo, and the waging of that fight never stops, innovation keeps coming, paradigms change again until they're killed off by corporate homogenization, which in turn inspires the next generation of artistic innovators, and the cycle begins again.

We are right now in the midst of the new major paradigm shift in mainstream music media due to the internet and music downloads, and, like MTV before it and radio before MTV, the popularity of this new paradigm has made it a target for corporate exploitation and bean-counter control. They're fighting aggressively right now for that control by purchasing the support of lawmakers around the world in their markets, to have them pass laws and regulations for the internet to serve their corporate interests at the expense of artistic freedom and innovation. They may eventually win. They always have before. But, we, the masses, we are now a globally-connected community and potential powerful force for major global change to be reckoned with - one the music biz bean counters and their purchased pols haven't had to face before. What we we do? Will we, the older generation of musical artist like Mr. Mellencamp, will we continue to fight against the new music media paradigm shift, and stubbornly cling to to the old paradigm serving corporate interests? [Note, Mellencamp wanted to start yet another "record label" within the corporate-controlled media paradigm.] Or, will we support efforts for free expression and access on the internet, regardless of the cost to own illusions of security, and let the younger generation of musical artists use their energy and inherent spirit to push back against the status quo to bring about the next revolution in the music biz for us all? What will we do?

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:37 AM

Eh you know what gets me about rebellious ground breaking movements in music? They're usually backed by the "man" whomever he is. Punk, and Grunge were cashed in on and co opted like everything else and now they are historical footnotes and great touchstones for musical hybrids (not always a bad thing). Lots of mainstream acts start out with good intentions and lots of those acts manage to keep their integrity and make good music for a long time while still managing to feed the corporate machine. Lots of musical acts sell out and are gone after a short rise to the top too. Everything is a mixed bag.

I remember back in the "bad old days" seeing some talentless act get their 15 minutes as I wondered how the heck "Oh Micky your so fine, your so fine you blow my mind hey Micky" warranted all that attention as we get beat about the head and shoulders with it every 15 minutes on the radio. Bad music is not a new phenomena. That's really where the keys to the castle still are though. Control of the radio and exposure. Unfortunately here in the US there are 2 or 3 conglomerates that now control all of the stations. Sure I suppose someone has to control it still. Far to much noise out there not to. That being said there are always songs that will make you wonder as a listener and an artist. As a corporate profiteer there's no mystery in it though. It's an ear worm and they'll make millions off of it for a short time. No artistic thought at all.
I could buy my way on the radio. If accepted it was like $10 grand per major market but I don't have that kind of scratch or even knowledge to know if it was just someone looking to cash in on the dreams of others.

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

Here's the issue I see as it relates to the original question and my postings. To me, this is the heart of it.

When there is a HUGE media "flow" of music (MTV, VH1, Downloading, Marketing, Clear Channel, name it). The powers that be put something on our plates at dinner time to see what we will eat. The thing is, it may not be the best for us.

Then, when we take a bite, we get bombarded with the same "likes" or the exact same thing over and over and over, like cattle at the trough.

So if we get influenced by that as a songwriter, it changes what we write because of what we know. Imagine, a kid growing up listening to Taylor Swift/Justin Beiber/Lady Gaga (to cover all the genres) 50 ga-zillion times every day without getting the taste of where it all comes from. (These artists have their place, but we're talking songwriting) It's kinda like a watered down Jack Daniels...sure, over time you get cool nuggests or a "buzz", but imagine what you could do with 200 proof as a songwriter. and there may be a few clever lines or musically stimulating from the new hit single from Joe Star, but not very often.

Even studying Lennon/McCarney uncovers another layer of where they got it from, the raw materials as it were.

What this means to me, is its word of a 3rd cousin who told their neighbor's sister's co-worker how to write a song. I am by no means a great songwriter, but I continue to learn, listen and observe my peers and the orginators of my genre.

Either way, we control a small portion of what is fed to us when we first start.

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:16 PM

I just want to know what's the best way to be a "whore" again? That sounds like it might have a few perks to go along with the spankin's ... I'm just gettin' the spankin's now. :-) But don't you stop being a "whore" when you make money at it? Wouldn't a professional be called a "prostitute" ... or if they're really successful ... maybe a "consort" or a "companion". Yeah ... that's what I wanna be ... a member of a professional consortium of prostitutional companions ... whore just sounds dirty.

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 12:45 PM

Quote

So if we get influenced by that as a songwriter, it changes what we write because of what we know. Imagine, a kid growing up listening to Taylor Swift/Justin Beiber/Lady Gaga (to cover all the genres) 50 ga-zillion times every day without getting the taste of where it all comes from. (These artists have their place, but we're talking songwriting) It's kinda like a watered down Jack Daniels...


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What this means to me, is its word of a 3rd cousin who told their neighbor's sister's co-worker how to write a song.


Totally...and mediocrity breeds mediocrity..
Its closer to poison than music to me - and utterly depressing and claustrophobic..
Filling up on a full on diet of modern pop - is about as guaranteed a way to make you sound dull,mediocre n homogenised as there is..

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 07:57 PM

If a great song is great it's still a great song. weather or not it makes money
It doesn't affect the greatness of the song
Mike

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 10:48 PM

View PostJim Colyer, on 22 April 2012 - 07:33 PM, said:

Yes, ultimately a song's worth depends on whether or not it generates money. Money is everything in this society.

There are two ways to approach the entertainment business (and sure, it's a business):

1. Give the people what they want.

2. Give the people what you want--and make them love it.

I respect the first, I admire the second.

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