Switch Up Your Style

music, music business, music industry

The music business is cold, it’ll slam the door in your face just as soon as it invited you in the room. Today you’re hot shit, the big dog in town, tomorrow no one wants to pick the phone up or reply to your emails.

Part of it is fear, label execs don’t want to take risks in case they fail and lose their job. Part of it is wanting the next shiny new toy, the new sound, whoever produced artist X’s new album has to produce yours as they got to number one and that’s where you wanna be. You don’t care that the songs are whack and just regurgitated versions of someone else’s as long as you get to number one. The problem you run into there is you won’t have an identity as an artist, you’ll just be riding a wave until it fizzles out and hits the shore. Then what? People didn’t make your song a hit because of you, they just liked the song. There are so many one hit wonders and that’s why, the artist didn’t stay true to themselves and no one knew who they truly were. The same happens to songwriters and producers. We have a number of friends who were the go-to guys, they won grammys, had number ones and now can’t get a song on anyone’s album because they got left behind.

Pharrell Williams is a perfect example of someone who stayed true to themselves and he’s now bigger than ever. A lot of folks didn’t know who he was until “Get Lucky” came out, they had no idea who the Neptunes or N.E.R.D were. He’s been making hits for 20 years!! He has a signature sound, you always know when it’s him, but he evolved and kept his identity as an artist and producer. Eventually the labels came back to him and gave him the push again. Even after “Get Lucky” blew up they took their sweet ass time before they put out “Happy” which ended up being bigger. You didn’t hear him jump on the EDM (that’s a godawful term by the way) bandwagon or do the trap style hiphop, he did Pharrell Williams and waited for his time to come back around.

It’s not easy to not follow the trends, we all want to get paid and get on radio but if you don’t have an identity why are people gonna keep coming back to hear your music? It’s one thing to throw in certain sounds or melodies to keep your songs current but to try and jump on whatever is popular all the time isn’t good for the long run.

Have faith in yourself and your music. You don’t want to be the next Pharrell or Timbaland. You just want to be next. Bide your time and don’t look for the instant gratification. This game is a bitch and it’ll eat you up if you don’t stay ahead of it.

-HS

Empire on FOX

music, music business, music industry

This show was DOPE! While it doesn’t quite paint an accurate picture of the music business, (for one thing, every recording engineer would have been tearing their hair out at some of the recording techniques the vocalists were using in the booth) it was so refreshing to hear original music in a TV show of such a high standard.

We have Timbaland and his team to thank for that. Creating music for TV isn’t as easy as recording a regular track for commercial release. Firstly there are far more executives to appease and more hoops to jump through. A&R’s and music supervisors will use words or phrases to describe the type of songs they are looking for but oftentimes the same adjective from two people can mean completely different things. This can make it incredibly difficult to decipher and decide where to start. We don’t know how much creative control Timbaland had, but no doubt there were countless requests to revisit songs and make changes.

You can hear in the production that Tim had to simplify what he usually does as the music needed to appeal to a wider range of viewers- 9pm on FOX after American Idol is going to have a bigger mix of audience than, say, a radio station would.

Another consideration is that the song has to match the script and mood of the scene it’s intended for, the music can totally change the feeling of a moment and often dictates how a viewer absorbs the visual (just think of a horror movie without the soundtrack- not very scary most of the time is it?!).

Mixing all of those elements together proves what a tough task it can be creating the soundtrack for TV or movies, especially when all the songs are originals. We’re really looking forward to following the show and hearing the other new songs. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out!

-HS