It’s like the music business is a machine with an invisible door and people try to locate the knob. They go to school hoping someone can tell them where that handle is but it’s invisible. Yet you might get in and if so you have a golden opportunity to try to accomplish whatever your music fantasies were because it’s an invitation only party and if you’re inside you can play.
Thinking about this while listening to a retrospective on the radio on Bob Dylan’s birthday filled with a zillion people covering Dylan which is no surprise because he’s a brilliant writer but I started thinking about the fact that because he got inside he had so many opportunities. We all know someone who’s a special unique writer who isn’t inside and they are not noticed… probably die in obscurity.
An older music manager once told me that in early years people had heard a bit about Dylan but he was not the big deal he became until Peter Paul and Mary did Blowin’ In The Wind. Same goes for Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen who’s careers became huge after Judy Colllins covered Both Sides Now and Suzanne. Maybe the lesson there is if you have any access to more commercial people –
If you’re a songwriter and somehow you find yourself inside the machine you should realize
- Don’t assume there is no expiry date on the power and privilege that comes with being invited to an exclusive party.
- Never give up your publishing it is your future, your retirement, your ticket to not working at Long & McQuade (don’t hate me people at L&M).
- Try to get your music covered. The more it’s played the more other people, other than fans you already have, get to discover you.
The difference between these two versions always makes me smile.