Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Music We Love

We often find music we enjoy in movies. In the last ten years or so, movie producers have gotten really good at using obscure artists to add power to their movies - music that you wouldn't normally hear on the radio.
I've pretty much given up on radio as a means for discovering new music.
I know that must sound strange coming from a songwriter, but it's true. In years past, the only way songwriters made any decent money was when someone famous recorded their songs, and the tunes made it to radio.
Each time a song is played on the radio, the songwriter gets a little money. It's not a lot, but when you multiply that by the number of radio stations around the world, it adds up.
There is no telling how much songs like Brown Eyed Girl, Mustang Sally, Sweet Home Alabama, or Hotel California, earn for the writers annually. I can assure you, a hit song that makes it to the "oldie rotation" is like an annuity for the songwriters.
But twenty years or so, something happened to  music. All of a sudden, huge corporations realized just how lucrative music was, and consultants started running the show.
The Internet has leveled the playing field somewhat when it comes to music. Nowadays, relatively unknown artists have a shot due to the viral quality of the Internet. Someone can recommend a great song, you can listen to it, and if you like what you hear, for a nominal fee, you can download it and be playing it on your iPhone in a matter of seconds.
What started me down this path, is tonight we watched a rerun of an old movie called Serendipity. One of the songs played toward the end was Northern Sky which was written by Nick Drake. He released the song on an album back in 1994.
I used music software on my iPhone to identify the song, then I immediately downloaded the song to my phone. Many music industry people are quick to say the Internet has destroyed the music industry. I guess it has played havoc with the the big record labels, but it's also given a voice to those great songwriters and artists who have been overlooked by the "all knowing" consultants.
I am grateful to movie directors with good ears, and know a great song when they hear one.

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