One of my favourite songs a couple of years back was the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. I was grieving the death of my father who died at the age of 91 of Alzheimers just before than and that song just perked me up out of my gloom. I even wrote a post about it on my I Like Songs blog. Well, I didn’t write much, I just wanted to feature it.
It’s no surprise that the song was an enormous hit.
What IS a surprise is an article I read just recently about the income it generated from Pandora. There were 43 million streams. And what did it earn? A measly $2700. Yes, to some of you $2700 sounds like a lot of money. But 43 million streams?
I remember the first song I plagiarized. It was “Leaving On A Jet Plane” by John Denver. I was probably only about 12 years old at the time because I had likely heard the song on the radio sometime in 1969 when it was first released. I didn’t know the word “plagiarism” then, let alone understand the concept of it.
I was in the middle of writing a song called “Home” (sorry, I took that title before you, Edward Sharpe and Phillip Phillips!). Instinctively I came up with a little instrumental bridge, but then I decided to hum over top of it. Part of the melody I was humming was the first two lines of the chorus of Leaving On A Jet Plane. I remember the subtle feeling that the melody wasn’t mine, but it didn’t bother me too much at the time!
The question today is: Has production become more important than songwriting in today’s music? It’s not a new question, but it’s important to revisit from time to time. I actually saw a discussion of this on Reddit and it got me to thinking about it again.
Let’s first separate production from arrangement. Arrangement involves the musical part of the song; who plays what where and for how long, whereas the production is the more technical aspect; volume, effects, mastering and everything in between.
The hardest part about writing a song is finishing it. Wouldn’t it be nice if they all just flowed out of us in one, sweet sitting with no editing necessary? More likely is the fact that we’ll have to work at it to get it done. When you find yourself struggling to finish a song, consider these five points:
I have written about this before, but thought I would do so again after reading another songwriting blog that suggested what the five “most successful” songwriting topics are. They were listed as “love, country, religion, nature, sports”. I want to take each of those topics and discuss them a little further. These are my opinions, of course, you might want to argue with me in the comments section below :-).