Often times in days old you might have heard someone say, “Don’t try to be like everyone else or you’re a sellout.” This was much truer in the past decades when most music was new or creatively unique. There were tons of uniquely different genres all with their own distinctive sounds. Rock was heavy, country was twangy, and hip hop was bumpy. Almost everyone back then was trying to do something different and set a trend. So attempting to create something similar to what you heard on the radio made you a sellout.
Take notice to what is currently popular on the radio and realize how different it is now than, even, say in the 90’s. Each genre is not so distinctive anymore. You can hear similarities in almost every song on the radio, and while this may seem sad, you have to understand that music is ever evolving. Ten years from now we’ll be having a completely different conversation. Another thing to take into consideration is the influence of technology on today’s music. Sound design, programming, and sampling have come a long way. Sound designers have literally taken chopped up samples of high quality real recorded instruments and processed them into electronic, but very real sounding digital instruments. This is now very common practice in producing music across all genres. You can often hear 808’s, sampled drums, and loops in the majority of radio songs. So you might ask “Why would everyone do the same exact thing.” Because it sounds fantastic! Don’t fix what isn’t broke right?
Let’s take a look at the pop genre. Pop is short for “popular” because it’s what people enjoy listening to. Isn’t that part of the reason why we even create music is to share it with the world? If people don’t like your music then you may never experience the full satisfaction of writing and recording. Sure you may want to be different and develop a cult following. That’s all fine and dandy.
My point here is just to say that being popular doesn’t mean you’ve “sold out”. Sometimes songwriters literally sell out their songs to major artists who end up cutting them on their record and the song sees great commercial success. Now let’s think about this for a minute. If you’re already established and successful, then you may not desire to sell your songs. Although, on the other hand, if you’re still trying to make it then why not pitch your song to a major artist? What are the benefits? Well obviously monetary benefit is a big one but also the credit you’ll receive as being a songwriter could be huge for your career! It will absolutely open you up to many opportunities you may not have had otherwise. I can personally tell you that writing for big name artists and songwriters has single handedly changed my career in a big way. So, trust me when I say you’re not a sellout and it could only mean good things for you.
The world has come together to create an amazing and thriving community of ambitious artist’s and songwriters. Make yourself a part of that big picture and share in the collective joy of music creation!