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#440967 - 11/27/17 09:31 AM [Songwriting] The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections
David Snyder Online   happy
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Registered: 08/29/14
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Dear Musical Peeps,

On various forums in the past few months (including the one about Sonar dying) I have seen various people comment something to the effect: “Well, a lot of people who are upset are just old people, we all have to learn to recognize the changing times, people aren’t really playing guitar and keyboards anymore, we are just a dying breed of dinosaurs, music is evolving,” etc. etc.

Well, I really think that sometimes it does not hurt to sit back and look the music industry squarely in the eye so you don’t go insane. If you are writing anything even vaguely musical you should be proud of yourself and it doesn’t matter if you are 80 years old. Or 110.

I am not saying anything here to be negative towards the music industry in any way, as odd at that might seem—I am only trying to shine the light of realism in the hall of smoke and mirrors. And I am only saying what I am saying to songwriters as a way of encouraging everyone, no matter how young or old, to “stick to your guns.”

We should always try and learn from others, but generally speaking, I have found most criticism or evaluation of music that comes from those in it for the money (i.e. the “professionals”) to be a complete and utter waste of time. If you have written a great song you will know it. It is that simple.

I have a very specific example to describe the total state of chaos in the commercial music industry, as I have seen it, as an example of why you should be profoundly careful about the kind of advice you take, as an artist, and what you take to heart, as a creator.

Not too many years ago, I helped a much younger friend with a music project in Nashville by co-writing a lot of the songs. My young friend is 100 times better than me, and I have often compared him to Mozart. He can write six part harmonies in his head and sing them perfectly on the first take, part by part, with no practice beforehand. Some of his stuff, to me, is on the same level as Paul McCartney and Paul McCartney is one of my all-time heroes.

So, we go to Nashville and record an album with one of the top Christian rock producers, who is very well connected. I got a chance to play with some of Nashville’s top session musicians. What I heard at the end of the sessions was jaw dropping—I thought what my friend had created was as good as a modern day Abbey Road. The music was simply stunning. One of the musicians on the project had played with Tom Petty. He said: “Man, this is some of the best stuff I have ever heard.”

Then the band did a showcase for some major labels. I thought for sure my friend was going to get signed to a five album deal, and so did the producer, who has discovered numerous famous people I won’t mention.

But what the label reps said to the producer afterwards was this (basically), and I am not joking:

“They’re too old and they’re too fat.”

No one in the group was “fat” and the oldest member was 25. Most were between 19 and 22.

I stuck around to hear the next group that came in. I could not tell if they were boys or girls. They must have weighed about 110 pounds max. I was told they were boys but they were wearing what appeared to be a woman’s size 1. The music was horrible. My daughter played better than the keyboard player when she was three years old. But they had nice shiny flat bangs. Great hair. And pointy shoes. The labels were ecstatic.

I will never forget that as long as I live. The same night we went to the Dove Awards. I thought I was going to get sick. I am a church going man myself, but I swear I would rather have spent the night with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, or maybe Iggy Pop back in the day.

So my personal take is that there is no such thing as “too old.” If you are 101 years old and you are writing great music I personally am begging to hear it. Dying to hear it as a matter of fact.

Also, if you ever have the thought “Gee, maybe my stuff isn’t good enough for commercial music” then you should be elated.

Being “not good enough for commercial” doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes. More than likely, it probably just means you are great. Keep going!!! The world needs you!!!

Those are a few thoughts and observations for my peeps as we move into a New Year of hit writing here on the Forum.
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#440976 - 11/27/17 11:01 AM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: David Snyder]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5622
Keen and on point observations.

Yes, the age thing is alive and well. As far as lack of talent.... we can fix that in the studio. We simply lip sync the live shows. Even the Garth-Man is lip syncing these days. WTH????

I've been a member of NSAI for some time but I think when my membership expires in the new year, I will not be renewing with them. I recall having a one-on-one with the VP and he really got excited about one of the songs in the session and suggested a few "this will do it" changes. After making the changes and sending it back.... the reviewer, you see, the VP didn't even work on reviewing any of the music coming in the doors from the members, totally thought the whole song needed to be rewritten. WTF???? So damn frustrating it makes you just wanna scream. And forget about getting any advice or names or phone numbers you can actually use. Their advice..... "network and work the streets" ....huh? I have a life and a family and a wife and kids and live 500 miles away.... "sorry.... if you want the dream you gotta sacrifice"....

F&#$& ^#*!!!! ... I'm too old for that kind of stuff.

Anyway..... yeah, to be a performer, you need to have the look and be under 20 years of age. To write songs, you really need to be in the circle of friends with folks who have the recording deals and do co-writes with the artists and the up and coming artists.......

or...... you can write for film and TV from the comfort of your home and no one gives a flying flip how old you are as long as the music fits the part they need in the show.
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#440983 - 11/27/17 11:25 AM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: Guitarhacker]
sslechta Offline
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Registered: 12/27/13
Posts: 1186
Loc: St. Louis, MO. USA
Originally Posted By: Guitarhacker
You can write for film and TV from the comfort of your home and no one gives a flying flip how old you are as long as the music fits the part they need in the show.


Now I'm finally starting to understand why you do this.... smile
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#441045 - 11/27/17 05:09 PM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: David Snyder]
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 2153
As an old fat guy, I get why it feels good to blame youth and fitness for my lack of musical success but the truth is, thin young people are not getting any record deals either! And I guess it can be satisfying to drag out that old saw about how their music is horrible and not excellent like mine! smile

My "wisdom" on this topic is simple and it boils down to a couple of rules,

1) you are NOT going to get a record deal
2) if you think you are going to get a record deal see #1

There are a few folks here who are making a living playing music and hats off to them! No offense but I suspect they are a dying breed serving a demographic that is also a dying breed.

That's not to say you cannot make money with music. If you have great music and work incredibly hard with shows and selling your stuff you may be able to make a meager living. And there are opportunities for writing for film and other uses but ya gotta know the competition there is incredibly fierce too! And of course, there is Shovel Selling where you sell the promise of helping others succeed in music either by teaching or selling equipment, etc. But mostly ya ain't gettin' rich and you are gonna work a whole lot harder than your standard minimum wage job!

So, what's a fat, old songwriter to do? Well, for me, it is keep my day job and do the music because I enjoy it. I write songs for me and a small group of friends and fans who enjoy my music.

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#441174 - 11/28/17 06:35 AM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: JohnJohnJohn]
David Snyder Online   happy
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Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 3628
Loc: North Carolina

That was pretty funny J3.

smile

My main point was "be careful what you listen to and take to heart" but I have to admit your post did make me laugh!

You could be on to something here. Have you considered a sideline career in stand up comedy?
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David Snyder
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#441185 - 11/28/17 07:05 AM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: David Snyder]
Deryk - PG Music Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 02/15/17
Posts: 1054
I agree with almost every point here, David. I've always held a firm belief that just because you land a major record deal doesn't mean you've "made it." This isn't anything new though - major record labels have always had a strong stance on what their music artists look like. The rise of popularity in music videos since the 80's has only further pushed that agenda.
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#441194 - 11/28/17 07:27 AM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: David Snyder]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5622
A story of 2 bands. True story.

Both were signed by the same major label on or around the same day. Both were, at that time, pretty much unknown bands. Both playing the bar circuit and small time gigs but had a substantial local following.

One band was playing the house gig at a bar in Myrtle Beach called The Bowery. That band, Alabama, went on to a string of number one hits and changed country music. They were innovative and original.

The other band, The Bill Lyerly Band release one song that barely cracked the top 100 and ended up back playing biker bars after the record company failed to renew their contract. Bill was good but he sounded too much like other country outlaws.... Waylon in particular.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQrxsGlWhKA this was at the same venue where our band at about the same time won a huge battle of the bands against 31 other bands from up and down the east coast.
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#441271 - 11/28/17 12:25 PM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: David Snyder]
JohnJohnJohn Offline
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Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 2153
Originally Posted By: David Snyder

Have you considered a sideline career in stand up comedy?

Maybe you could open for me? smile

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#441300 - 11/28/17 01:43 PM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: JohnJohnJohn]
David Snyder Online   happy
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Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 3628
Loc: North Carolina

It would be my honor J3!!!!!!

smile
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David Snyder
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#441326 - 11/28/17 03:26 PM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: David Snyder]
edshaw Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 10/09/16
Posts: 321
Loc: Colorado
What a fascinating first hand account, and so well told.
It is topical, too, in that it is not too much of a stretch to
suspect the underlying sexual psychology (should I say,
pathology) is not removed from what we are seeing now
in the Hollywood scandals; pay to play, in a manner of
speaking. I can think of more than one, now and then,
from whom in my youth, I would have run, not walked, away.
Very good video out, now, 1.5 hours and free, "An Open Secret,"
painful to watch, in parts, but worth the effort.
( And, yes, I do understand one or two of the fundamentals of marketing.)


Edited by edshaw (11/28/17 03:32 PM)
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#441389 - 11/28/17 05:49 PM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: edshaw]
David Snyder Online   happy
Veteran

Registered: 08/29/14
Posts: 3628
Loc: North Carolina

Hmmmmmmm.

Very interesting Ed.

I do know so much now IS about pay to play and entire towns (not to mention any of course) are built on that idea, but I never thought about it in this way until you brought it up.

Maybe there is a Devil after all.

wink
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David Snyder
Audiophile Everything + Studio + Instruments + Fingers
ASCAP, NSAI

www.davidsnydermusic.com
www.reverbnation.com./davidpsnyder
www.soundcloud.com/davidsnyderchannel
www.songtradr.com/user/profile/david.snyder







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#441398 - 11/28/17 06:01 PM [Songwriting] Re: The State of the Music Industry and Songwriting: Holiday Reflections [Re: David Snyder]
JohnJohnJohn Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 2153
Originally Posted By: David Snyder

It would be my honor J3!!!!!!

smile

laugh Well, I'd prolly need to be the opener since I'm the old, fat one!

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