Taking Risks

music, music business, music industry

We’ll start with an apology today for not doing a ‘new music tuesday’. We know how much you enjoy those (!) but frankly there was nothing released worth mentioning which kinda leads us to today’s topic. 

We were in the studio last night with Bryan Terrell Clark working on a huge song called “Heaven” (no hype, it really is that good). Bryan was singing his ass off and we were working some crazy vocal arrangements. As incredible as it’s all going to sound when we’re done with it, in the back of our minds we’re just waiting for the moment we have to strip it all back and simplify it for mass consumption. It’s pretty depressing when you create something you’re really excited about only to have to scale it back and make it sound like everything else that’s out. 

It happened recently with a single we did for someone. Manny from 3AM Tokyo laid down some ridiculous drum fills that we had in the first mix but we ended up having to take most of it out because the song is for Top 40 radio and you just can’t have that much going on in those types of tracks, which sucks! 

It’s a bit of a catch 22, you can’t blame the labels because they have data (sales figures, radio spins etc) that directs the music they choose to put out. On the flip side you can’t really blame listeners either because they can only consume what they are provided with in the marketplace. The vicious cycle just continues. It’s all comes down to taking risks. Someone has to take a risk with the music they put out and the audience needs to take a risk by opening their minds and ears to something a little different. We always take risks with the music we make because it’s otherwise boring and uninspiring. At the same time we want to get paid and for our music to be heard so if we are asked to scale back the arrangements of songs for mass consumption we do it. 

The goal is to be in a position where as a producer or songwriter you call the shots. We did that with the 3AM Tokyo record which was why it was so fun to create. Hopefully when it comes time for distribution our risks will pay off. 

Just keep this in the back of your mind next time you bemoan the music that’s being released these days. Support the artist you like that do take risks and things will change. Labels are led by financials, you can’t expect them to release a product that they don’t make money off. If we as consumers can show them the kind of music we want to hear, they will listen. 

-HS

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