Sunday, January 17, 2010

Write or Wrong?

Well here I am in the wake of recuperating from NAMM 2010. I probably logged in more hours than any previous year. No complaints though. It was great connecting with with friends and fans! Nice meeting and seeing you all.

Anyway, so getting caught up on my RSS feeds and I ran across this little tidbit from

"There are a lot of holes in the music business. A hole is something you see that the mainstream does not. If you want respect, if you want instant accolades, entrepreneurship is not the right road. You’re betting against the mainstream. But the mainstream is so calcified in the music world that the landscape is ripe for innovation.

But your best avenue is to come up with hit music. It’s the cheapest way. And hooky, melodic songs sung by people with good voices never go out of style. That’s the huge hole in the music business today. Exploit it."

The entire article is much more epic and you can check it out here:

So, maybe he is right? As simple as it sounds, the future of the music biz are great songs? What a concept! Sounds easy enough, right? Well it isn't! Unfortunately for most, writing a great song is not something that comes all that naturally.

The bulk of my music career has been playing other people's songs. I have zero regrets for that being my path. I do not claim to be a song writer, and early on I realized that playing great songs live that were written by musicians that I highly respect was ultimately more gratifying than anything else I had previously experienced while being in a band. That's just me though.

So I guess all musicians that want a fulfilling career in this business really need to be honest with themselves in terms of ability and talent. Just because you know the difference between a pentatonic scale and a paradiddle does not by default make you a song writer, it makes you a musician, and there is a finite difference between the two.

So, my question is why do musicians feel the need to boast at the fact that they write their own material, and mock the ones that don't? If you feel that you are not reaching the goals that you have set for yourself, or that you are finding your motivation has plateaued, be honest with yourself and don't blame other bands and circumstances around you for your perceived failures... maybe your songs just suck? Maybe you need some outside writers to assist you in crafting your sound? It happens in the publishing world all the time... they are called "ghost writers".

Maybe the record biz wouldn't be in the shitter if they had decided to release a lot less mediocre music? No wonder why all the record stores are closing and the new generation just wants the shit for free... maybe that is all it's worth?


  1. music succes is what you do know and ozzy

  2. Although I have no musical talent, I do tend to see this theme being discussed among the bands I work with. The one thing I see lacking now are well written songs, and the talent seems to focus more on auto-tune and catchy hooks. Which is all fine and dandy, if I enjoy listening to it, I will purchase it. BUT in the long run I will be more apt to continually buy a band's music if the album as a whole is well put together and "speaks to me". After all, music expresses emotions which I lack words for....hence I seek the music that can tell my story without me saying a word.

  3. Clever title. Interesting post... When you think about it, playing the songs of musicians you respect and admire really is the ultimate form of compliment that one can give.

    And, I've learned that the ones who are loudest with their bravado, and bullshit are usually just looking for direction...which just means they need a leader.

    Do you also believe the future of music is in great, well written songs? How does one submit a song's lyrics? I love to write... I wrote some lyrics that are set to the angst of current events, and yet are parallel to prophecy. It's pure hard rock, both soft and hard (in my mind...), and all about the build-up to what's supposed to happen in 2012.

    I think I have written something worth reading, but I haven't a clue as to what to do with it. Help!?
    Loyal fan, missourijewel

  4. nailed it.

  5. missourijewel: In my experience, it is not so much about the lyrics as it is the melody. Find a partner that can put your words to a great melody!

  6. If only it were as simple as just writing great songs. I see very few 'great' songs sell enough to get radio airplay, yet plenty of mediocre ones sell plenty, and make the artists millions. Most of the artists I consider talented probably barely make enough to eat. It seems to me that the music business is geared toward style rather than substance and that's a shame.

  7. cheballard: I am right there with ya in some respects. I mean my fav album of '09 was Gallows "grey britain", and it was just in the blogs that the band got dropped from their major label due to lack of sales. Bottom line, it is still a business. Beauty is in the ear of the beholder in this case. Style over substance... very much a fact as disparaging as it may seem.