I recently had a talk with a young man in his early 20’s. He was a singer and he asked me what he needed to do take his career to the professional level. He was hoping that a label would one day pick him up. I told him that he might want to rethink that ambition. I basically told him to establish his own style and his own sound. Make music that fits but yet “doesn’t” fit. Be unique. He told me that all the music on the radio pretty much sounded the same. I had told him to listen to some older artists for ideas. I even recommended Marvin Gaye’s “What’s going on” album. He had gotten back to me and told me that he “loved” the CD and then asked me why music doesn’t sound like that anymore. I simply told him that the record industry had altered it’s priorities, and instead of focusing on great music they are emphasizing more marketing and promotion. They no longer care if you are just a great singer. They don’t care if you wrote a really awesome song. The radio stations are only interested in getting good ratings so they would be able to procure more “advertisement” dollars. Unless you are the product of a record label, your chances of getting your song played on conventional radio are fairly bleak. What this means is that if you are signed by a label, the label will in essence “own” you and they will be sure to get all of “their” money before you get “any” of yours. For each expense that they incur for your promotion they are guaranteed to get it ALL back. While it is illegal to pay the radio stations this process is still going on (indirectly) and that is the reason why a lot of today’s music sounds the same. I did inform him that the industry is changing though. Regular radio is starting to faze out with the introduction of online stations like satellite radio, internet stations and Pandora. In a few years regular radio might just become “extinct.” When you hear the same artists getting played over and over that is because the labels continue to pay the radio stations to play only THEIR artists (and NOT to play anyone else), so even if you have a “great” song it will not get put in regular rotation. The public “thinks” it is hearing the best songs available, when they are only hearing the best songs that “money can buy.” I didn’t want to discourage this young man from pursuing his career, but I had to let him know what he was up against. The music and movie world are “not” innocent by “any” means and while there have been success stories there are plenty more stories of trials and tribulations. There are “way” too many bad stories to tell here, but if you Google them you can read them for yourself. I eventually told the young man to be innovative, and work on selling his own music through his own promotions and marketing. That way he stands a much better chance of getting paid for his artistry. I wished him the best. Hope you have a great day today and thank you for checking out my Daily Thought.
Singer Bunny Sigler and Brett Jolly performing at a Phillies baseball game