Tuesday, February 12

Songwriting 101: Why Originality Matters



Believe it or not, Songwriring matters! No matter how good a musician's technical skills, no matter how much experience, and no matter how many effects, auto-tuning and other enhancements a producer can add to a record, it's the writing behind a song which defines you as an artist, and is a huge determining factor in finding fans and success with your music.

Our friends over at Music Think Tank recently posted a great little article from a record label principal/creative director, on the importance of songwriting. Click Here to read more

Check back often for more industry news, tips & tricks on how to make the most out of your promotion on Radio Airplay!

29 comments:

LeBrecque Morrison said...

I definitely agree.

Anonymous said...

You think it matters, but what matters more is whether or not a producer / label thinks they can make money off of your writing.

ARTHUR ALVA said...

see this makes me different from the rest i was taught repect in music it was always for the fan yeah money great but seeing and feeling the music cant be bought i guess its why i play alone i enjoy my styles to play all and do my own thing see not gonna sell my body nor do nasty things thats where i draw the line repect Artie we all can play other's but ya own is gold

willie hill said...

In order to create anything original..you must return to your original state of being.

Richard Mclaughlin said...

A lot of recycled, psuedo-new age advice, for what purpose? Music today is nothing but the same half dozen or so cloned assemblage of lyrics, song by the edgy young thing du jour, just with different production values.

Modern music purveors shun originality like the Black Death. Listeners don't want originality because music is not for listening anymore. It's for background, something to have gnawing at the periphery of your mind while you attempt to disprove the notion that people can actually do something useful while "multi-tasking".

As long as the demographic tastes of teenagers and twenty-somethings control what gets played, music is simply a meat counter, T-bone at X number of dollars per pound.

epussy said...

yes these things i know and mastered but why record labels still look,for the talent they got to make I
to a star. why so they get more out of the percentage then the creater so if i go digital i feel i dont need a label just pay my taxes and keep makings music about your everyday life

Rick Inglett said...

as long as you write from your heart and not for the BUCK you will almost never go wrong. Write about the things you have experienced or know of. Just simply tell a story!

Brian said...

It matters, but within a very narrow bandwidth. If you write just outside the accepted "pop frequency", you suddenly are like a dog whistle that only a few sensitive mutts can hear.

I'm amazed at how many musicians are still so far out of touch with reality. They may as well buy their lotto ticket each week, since the chance of "making it" is even less than winning the jackpot. (Clear Channel has a lot to do with that.)
Just do a search on Reverbnation or any other music site to see how many talented musicians are toiling in near-complete obscurity, then go buy your lotto ticket and watch the news to see who won (not you).

Brian Vassallo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Vassallo said...

"indeed, infact i have fallen in love more deeply in songrwriting lately more and more ..A blank paper and a pen..and off i go into new imaginary worlds .." brianvassallo.com

Unknown said...

What ever you do with a song wither it be "clever lyrics", effects or what ever, people get it for free and the artists gets nothing, zero and zilch.

Deadra Sibert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LemG. said...

What separates those of us who have been tunesmiths for decades and pop music hacks is demographics, creating an industry buzz and being in the right place, with the right sound and the right look at the right time.
For those who respect the craft, success is an unexpected coincidence. What passes for quality is always subject to the marketing bean counters. Look at people like Taylor Swift, would she have been as successful back in the 1960's ?

Chet Cline said...

Let's be honest here, there really hasn't been anything musically original in many years. Lots of hybrid stuff, lots of taking certain genres/subgenres to a more extreme level, a TON of recycled stuff, but when was the last time truly original and innovative music bubbled up into the mainstream? Late '70's Punk (really just a reaction to the hard rock/post hippie music of the day)? Early '80's Rap (if that even qualifies as music)? Late '80's computerized Techno (again, music with no musicians)? Did I happen to miss something groundbreaking?

Deadra Sibert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deadra Sibert said...

True; the lyrics to a song has a lot to do with how a songs music will sound...if you have good lyrics you will have a good sound..there is music is in lyrics and in the way the singer sings...but in some cases when music is already written the lyrics are added to complete and enhance a song..If you can feel a song even with out music that is when you know you have a great song.....

茶ん手楽 said...

It is best to write EXACTLY how you feel. You can write what you think people want to hear but it'll be hard because you're not those other people so you really don't know exactly what they want to hear. Sometimes I DO tell myself "If I were looking for a song to make me feel at the moment, what would I rather hear?" But if you write what you feel then people will sense the realness in your lyrics. Like for me: I always write based on how I feel at the moment. If I'm sad or depressed, then the song is sad or depressed. If I'm angry, then the song is angry. If I feel strong love for the person I'm in love with, then the song is about him. And so on. I write like the song is my diary and then others who hear it can relate to my story. And no need to worry about songs about strength, though I DO have those. When I was younger, just knowing that a favorite singer of mine went through what I did brought enough comfort. I didn't have to be told whether I was weak or strong, and when I was told that it only worsened my mood. In my songs: I just tell my feelings, and I sing to the listener and say that they're not alone.

Oh gosh...my comment is very long.

Anonymous said...

The hardest part of writing good music, is knowing what is good music. I learned from the world famous ABBA, that one needs to listen to a wide variety of music. Not to copy, but to learn from it.

Greg said...

I don't want to be discouraged by giving in to the idea that the majority of pop culture doesn't want to hear anything original any longer, and that it all comes from 5 or 6 basic sounds. If all artists take that approach into their songwriting, we would never have groups like "Nirvana" who had the balls to do something completely different and it changed the face of music.

Brian Jackson said...

There Is No Replacement for good lyrics, Otherwise the industry would be completely overrun with nonsense like the US is almost completely full of!

Anonymous said...

Well that article said absolutely nothing at all that anyone with a brain couldn't have written in 10 minutes.

Caroline Krieger/songwriter said...

I agree..it's about Originality..but also an ability to write a great song. I get so frustrated because everything you hear, nowadays, sounds exactly the same. There is nothing original about cookie cutter. There are a lot of great writers out there that we will never hear of, because they ARE original. Keep up the great work, writers..don't give in! :)

Leleco said...

Hello guys!! Im from Mozambique and I am a songwriter since I was 16 years old. And I'm sure that I was always at the best way. I created my first band of Rock'n'Roll where only rehearsed. I felt I had to practice a lot and sure we did.

A year later, me and my two colleagues from the School of Visual Arts got together and created a band that was nearly the fame. We played a fusion of Afro, Rock and RNB SOUL. It was me who composed all the songs and the singer wrote the lyrics.

The band broke up because they had no money to record, but we were good because the songs were always original and unique.

In the band, only two elements continued. me and the vocalist (Terry - who also began to compose beautiful music).

I was lucky to have at the age of 18, an organ Yamaha PSR 340 which helped me to write my feelings and ideas. Also helped me to discover a style of music that is not new, but different in implementation, which makes it unique, exclusive and original.

Carefully read some posts here and take this opportunity to tell you that I wouldn´t like to die before the world meet and hear my music or recording an album. If you can, listen JazzAfRock, thanks.

Leleco said...

https://soundcloud.com/leleco-fourever

John Kitsco, Songwriter said...

I was so excited when DJ Bev Munro of CFCW played Pretty Little Sunshine Girl, nearly drove our car off the road...Thanks forever CFCW....

John Kitsco, Songwriter, Edmonton, Canada

Eric Marshall said...

I'm going to have to agree with Richard Mclaughlin. The mainstream industry wants a rubber-stamped copy of last weeks hit. EVERY TIME. The new record industry has gotten so narrow-minded after forcing years of absolute rubbish down the throats of the public, they can't see past the end of their own blinders. As far as actual fame, money, or career, it's all purchased. Take 10-20 grand, pay a promoter, wait four years, then pay a big promoter 100-200 grand, and you can be a star!The philosophy of the major labels is: "If we tell the little lemmings that it's popular, they'll buy it."

By-Tor said...

I think I agree with just about every post I just read, particularly the universal cynicism towards the recording industry. I hope all of you artists are pouring this passion into your music. Believe it or not, I'm actually a little bit optimistic about this latest trend back to American folk music. Why? Because only the musicians who have put some time in studying this craft will rise to the noticeable surface. You can't fake sincerity when it's just your acoustic and a microphone. Keep playing those open mikes, and keep looking outside your windows and telling the true life stories of the people you see. There's a wealth of great material to be found when you talk to your mother on her hospital bed, or watch a documentary, or read about a crime in your local newspaper. At least that's where my wishing well lies.

Janet said...

I'm not sure what the purpose of this article is, it certainly doesn't reflect what is happening in the music "business" today. A guitarist friend of mine was just learning a Taylor Swift song, she said she knew exactly how to play it before she even really listened to it; it was a formula, the same as 10 other songs she learned previously that week. Not just the chord progressions, but the strumming pattern and bridge breaks, all predictable and completely uninteresting. And don't even start on the lyrical content, dismal. The most unfortunate part is, however, that the really talented and creative musicians are rarely every heard by anyone other than their small fan base because the music business is obsessed with the mediocre Taylor Swifts and with the rehashing of all the baby boomer oldie music that fills their greedy coffers over and over again; leaving few resources to develop really great talent. Rise up musicians and take back the business!

Christine Bauer said...

Songwriting is an art form such as painting. Most of the music industry is like a paint by numbers set. You'll do pretty well if you don't go over the lines. I think Picasso would get bored pretty quickly with a paint by numbers set because he was an artist. All real Art comes from a deep place in a persons being. Not everyone can access that place and open the creative door. My semblance of musical art, what ever that might be to a listener, was a result of being an introverted teenager with a very bad speech impediment. Writing songs was the only way I could comunicate what I felt or thought. Today I love writing songs and jamming with friends....They hear my songs.....Hearing one of my songs on the radio is pretty cool but my joy comes with writing. Glad to hear other Artists feel the same way.