Songwriters and The Internet: More Relatin’, Less Hatin'
In a few years of blogging about songwriting and the business in general, I've really never felt compelled to have to take a stand. Until now.
That One Guy
The more social media songwriting groups I participate in, the more I'm seeing something I can't keep quiet about. Hating. Not hating on each other, not hating on me, but hating on the business. Not so much cautionary tale posts but more often a need to vent. Comes across to me like bitterness, and sour grapes.
Now, I have to say 99.9% of the people sharing on these sites are fantastic. I’m talking about that one guy. The one who feels he was “ahead of his time” or his songs are “better than any of the crap on the radio”. Guys like this are easy to spot but harder to ignore. They have an agenda. I like Football coach Lou Holtz’s comment “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it".
More Blows Than Bows
This is a hard business we've all chosen. It's based on phenomenally long odds. To think we can come up with something out of thin air and get someone to record and release it, people to love it and be financially rewarded...we have to be crazy confident and good! Beyond that: informed. 'Knowledge is power' is true with this path as much or more than any I can imagine. To take on this life you also need encouragement. You have to have people in your corner and wise consul wherever you can find it. You have to develop a thick skin to withstand way more blows than bows.
What you don't need is to hear from the haters of the world. The ones who didn't make it and want you to wallow in it with them. One side note. Before a career in songwriting I was in a band with one semi-hit record and some major label releases. Opening act status. It never failed that the bigger the main act ( Fleetwood Mac, The Doobie Brothers, Hall & Oates, Peter Frampton, The Allman Brosthers ) the more generous they were. The ones who were marginal at best always made it hell for us.
And In The End...
So here it is: if you haven't done it, please don't present yourself as an expert. Wrong direction is worse than none at all, and spreading bitterness is damaging beyond belief. If one person is discouraged by your comments from being creative and going after a dream, then shame on you. If you can't encourage I'm encouraging you to just be quiet. If you know the territory and can be a guide, then good on ya!
I can't tell you how many people I've met and worked with that have encouraged me and informed me. What to look for and what to look out for. They all had horror stories about the music business, but the point was always to inform me. They didn't want me to make the same mistakes so they pointed out the pitfalls while pushing me along. Every one of them had knowledge and a passion. They passed both along...with love.
A few years back I wrote with Craig Wiseman, a guy whose last name fits him well. I read a quote from him last week which I can’t seem to find today, but the gist was that he comes across lots of writers on Music Row who grumble about the job. He can’t even begin to relate. Not because of his success, but more that creating is the greatest job in the world. He also mentioned that most of his favorite songs remain uncut. That's the Music Business, not the music. I can relate.
Who has encouraged and informed you over the years?
Heres one more related blog from my archives
Hope you'll sign up to follow future blogs at
Mark Cawley's songs have appeared on more than 15 million records. Over a career based in LA, London, and Nashville his songs have been recorded by an incredibly diverse range of artists. From Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Wynonna, Diana Ross and Chaka Kahn to The Spice Girls, Tom Scott, Kathy Mattea, Paul Carrack, Will Downing and Pop Idol winners in the UK. He has had #1 records in the UK and throughout Europe as well as cuts in Country, Jazz & R & B. His groundbreaking website Song Journey created with Hall of Fame writer Kye Fleming was the first to mentor writers from around the world one-on-one online. He is currently writing and publishing as well as helping writers and artists in the US, UK, Australia and all around the world with a one-on-one co-active coaching service, iDoCoach.
Dedicating all my blogs this year to the memory of John Braheny. I still ask every songwriter or artist I coach to pick
up his book before we start talking.
There is also a college scholarship in John's name, through the California Copyright Conference (John was a past president)...here's the link:
Image: Google Images