Did you know that some of the greatest songs ever written have never been heard by the vast majority of people?
I have no doubt there are unknown composers, songwriters, and lyricists with enormous talent, creating phenomenal melodies, chord rifts, and wordsmiths that, given the chance, would easily put their successful contemporaries, and their famous songs to shame. Yet, despite being comparable to a 21st Century Schubert, Mozart or Beethoven, many of the most gifted songwriters, and their songs remain in obscurity.
Simply put, a lot of songs get turned down, today because they don’t fit into what some music publishers are looking for at a given time. In short, lacking “commercial potential” when the truth may be the exact opposite – or as is often the case, they never get heard by the “right people”.
Who do I blame? The music industry? Of course not. Like every industry, it’s filled with fallible people working in a crowded market – and in a crowded market, a lot of good and even brilliant product inevitably gets turned down or overlooked.
That’s all nice and interesting, but it doesn’t help the unknown songwriter. Or does it?
The problem often lies with the songwriter him/herself. Not always, of course, but it seems that some of the most talented and creative souls, are themselves, the least “pushy” or inclined to business.
Like creatures of habit, many believe once they have written the song – somehow, somewhere, someday, someone will pick up his “golden gem” and make him a fortune in royalties. I’m not suggesting this never happens.
There are, of course, wonderful stories of how songs get selected and covered by famous artists, or someone who has a number one hit. And there are rags to riches stories we all love. But for most of us sitting around and waiting to get a break, is not a good recipe for success. Like any author – the real work of marketing and promoting begins once his book is written.
The same applies to songwriting. It’s not just about writing a song – the key to success is knowing how to get out and promote and market what you have written – including the right time to go to a music publisher, and on what terms.
If you have talent, don’t wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it!