It All Starts With the Song

by Jul 16, 2018Ramblings

“It all starts with the song.”

[This is] Your Song

I remember those words like it was yesterday. On the first day of my first class for learning about how the music business works, my professor (and the founder of the prestigious program at Belmont University), Robert “Bob” Mulloy, said those words with a seriousness and sincerity that felt a bit overstated to me at the time. But, as an impressionable freshman wanting to be the next David Foster, or Brown Bannister, or Daniel Lanois, I took those words to heart and began a fun, but short-lived, stint – mostly as a live sound engineer – in the music industry.

I was blessed to work with some amazingly awesome and terrifically talented people. Many of them were great performers and musicians. All of them doing what they do with a passion and love for entertaining and connecting with an audience. But all those great shows and great moments were made possible by great songs.

25 or 6 to 4

As much fun and satisfaction as I got from working live shows with great performers giving great performances, what I often find myself thinking about and remembering most is the time I worked as an intern for Tree Publishing in their writer’s demo studio. It was during this time that I began to understand the nature of songwriting and the dedication of the songwriter to the craft. Songs weren’t written, they were birthed. The songwriter wasn’t simply a vessel through which the song was delivered, they were the father, mother, midwife all rolled into one, with the singular purpose of birthing something that, at the least, hopefully, would be appreciated for the unique creation it was or, better, that would resonate with the people who listened. Or, maybe, on occasion, they’d create something that could affect change and make the world a better place. But it was always about telling a story with truth and authenticity. And more often than not it was conceived through experience.

Write Your Own Songs

I found myself repeating those words – the ones I first heard as a freshman in my Survey of the Music Business class – often as I had the opportunity to work with friends and young, aspiring artists. Not that I was accomplished, or even had any real authority at the time, but I’d come to believe fully the truth in those words. “It all starts with the song.” I tried to encourage them to write, and write often; to hone their skills and become someone who could craft and/or recognize a great song. Performers singing the songs might get all the recognition, but without the songs to sing, it wouldn’t matter. Becoming a great songwriter would certainly help them become a better performer, I thought. I still think that’s true.

I Write the Songs

If you’ve ever been moved by a song, you should watch this. If hearing a song triggers memories of people you love, people you loved, lost love, or moments of pure joy or even the deepest, darkest sadness, you should watch this. You should also thank a songwriter. Unfortunately, they’re a dying breed.

There Was Only One Choice

According to a number of sources, it’s become almost impossible for most songwriters to make a living and support a family. Many thousands have left the industry, have left Nashville, because it’s just no longer sustainable. Maybe it’s time we all think harder about the value, or the lack thereof, we’ve placed on music.

UPDATE 2018.08.13:

There’s Actually Another Choice, and a Better Way

Some really smart folks actually have been thinking harder about the value of music. They’ve thought about how to make it not only sustainable but profitable once again. And here’s where it gets even more interesting. They’ve even thought about how to make it profitable for the music fans, too. Sound interesting? It did to me. Check out Crowd Music to see how they’re changing the game. I’d love to have you join the crowd with me.

Share & Share Some More


Join the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!