“You compose because you want to somehow summarize in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down… some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today.”
Aaron Copland, 20th century ‘Americana’ composer.
What’s your reason? Of course, not everyone writes, and certainly not everyone writes well. But the truly talented composers seem to have little choice but to put something on paper, if for no other reason than to translate their melodic brainwaves into something tangible. This is not a choice, it cannot be wiped away by a day job or six-pack, and it screams for expression. Oftentimes daily.
Years ago, the RIAA used to spread the fiction that without big labels, there would be no good music. Laughable, of course, but in the current environment, the group has a different, more believable point. Simply, the amount of professional musicians and writers has gone down dramatically, simply because there’s less money to go around. Blame it on piracy, blame it on the erosion of the album, blame it on unfriendly judges. But despite the cash crisis, there’s more music being created and consumed than at any other time in history.
Clearly, this is not about the money, but the motivations for writing and creating music are wildly diverse. Turns out that hobbyists are a huge population, and their expressive channels wider than ever. Some write and perform for fun (imagine that), others are trying to make music a bigger part of their lives, while others simply need a stress-relieving outlet.
On the professional side, many of the biggest songs were created by talented writers and producers in the background, and that includes everything from the biggest power-ballads to the simplest advertising jingles.
And yes, others simply want the fame, the flashy lights and bigger lifestyles enjoyed by the elite. Hey, don’t judge.
Paul Resnikoff, Publisher