Last fall, Nashville Music Buzz featured a post suggesting that the lock and key publishers and writers put on their catalog may be on a little too tight. As the music climate changes, digital media is gaining steam and the independent artists are finding it easier to stand on their own two feet. The thing they might not be finding is the music.
Nashville songwriters, publishing houses, and song-pluggers have their sights on the Mirandas, Rascals, Rebas, Ladys, Traces and Lukes of Music City. Add a few more names to the handful of major, signed artists and you get the picture – the odds are not stacked in favor of the songwriter. Without conducting a formal survey, it is logical to assume that since the labels are encouraging their artists to write more of their own songs and signing new artists that already do – major cuts by the up-and-coming songwriter are definitely harder to come by. With so few artists cutting songs at the top and so many desperate songwriters climbing over others to join them in the cool breeze at the pinnacle, why don’t songwriters look to other mountains?
Songwriters (and their representatives) tend to stand in a mountain range of artists and genres focused on the one mountain of “majors” while there is an abundance of other peaks as far as the eye can see. If only a songwriter were to look to their left and right, noticing the possibilities, their odds of a cut would increase dramatically.
Just think about it… the talented artists climbing the other smaller mountains and hills have adoring fans, a steady flow of events, backing from their local fans and an internet presence to die for. Independent artists are forced to think out of the box, connect with their fans, and put sweat equity into their craft. But sometimes, they are more focused on the musicianship and artistry than they are the songs. Think back to the days when singers sang, guitar players played and songwriters wrote songs; and when everyone was specialized at their craft, they turned out to be really good at it!
While you (the songwriter) are focused on trying to be “bffs” with Ms. Underwood’s hair dresser’s dog-walker in hopes that Carrie might actually listen to the song, there are independent up-and-comers that are begging for material. Fame, fortune, and music trends shift with new winds of philosophy, revenue streams, and the newest form of social media. You never know if the farm boy from Nebraska that recorded your song for his e.p. could end up being the next Garth Brooks. You believed in him when he was covered in hay and singing at the local county fairs on the weekend – just think how that could come back to be pretty beneficial for you in the long run if you start out humbly.
Sites like Melodic Grooves are growing. Songwriters realize there is a benefit to getting their music out there to be listened to and cut by the independent artists. Who’s to say that the interns at publishing companies and record labels won’t run across the music as well. Melodic Grooves is a Nashville based, online publishing venture with a mission to create melodic, marketable, music with a solid groove and market that material to talented, independent artists and record labels.
You will never forget about the Major mountain, but don’t overlook the rolling hills around you that are begging for material. If there is one thing to be said for how to make it in Nashville – there isn’t one way to make it to make it in Nashville… try climbing a few different hills, you never know when an earthquake might happen, changing the game with the shifting the plates, making the indy hills the new major mountain.