I’ve been around musicians of all types all my life and one thing that comes up in conversation a lot is whether something is commercial or not, credible or not. Basically is it cheesy or cool? Before I go on, I want to state for the record that I am using a great big broad stroke by putting artists into two camps. Hopefully by the end of the blog you will see why I have. If not then tell me.
I have had conversations where the authenticity of a so called commercial artist is called into question by a so called credible artist. They attack the process. I.E. How the song is conceived. If it’s written by more than one person they might say it’s been contrived rather than collaborated on. Equally I have had conversations with commercial artists that attack the credible artist because they see them as being arrogant and pompous about their art.
If you haven’t suffered for your art is it less worthy? I know plenty on both sides that don’t suffer for their art. I know plenty on both sides that do.
So, is song writing an art or a craft? I tend to lean toward it being a bit of both. The inspiration part of the songs conception is art. The work that goes into finishing it is craft. But again this is a matter of personal experience. If a songwriter tells me they only write from a place of inspiration then I am totally down with that.
A good friend and big commercial artist recently judged on the panel of a big music award. She got into an argument with another artist (credible) because she suggested that the song they were judging hadn’t sold very many units. The credible artist asked why that mattered.
So does it matter? Well, that’s a tough one for me to answer. Mr Blobby* sold more records than my band but I honestly think that if you listen to my music back to back with Mr Blobby’s you might place my bands artistic worth above that of the fat pink blob.
It’s subjective. In my experience both types of artist feel no less attached to their work, no less protective and proud. I have heard people call things cheesy I really don’t think is. Equally I have heard people call things credible I think sounds really corny.
In truth, I think it’s a subject that bogs us down. I have seen this picture a few times knocking around FB and Twitter.
But what if we replace Justin and whoever the girl is with Lorde and The Weeknd or two people you rate right now. For me the argument doesn’t stand up. I mean I actually know people that don’t dig Prince. Not people I like very much, ha ha, but people none the less (no one dislikes Bowie, that’s just silly). But you get my drift. What you think is cool is personal. There is no bearded, tattooed trendsetter living in East London who gets to choose (actually there is). It’s all of us. Artist and consumer. Visionary and taste maker.
I mean what is commercial anyway? Music the labels and radio stations spoon feed us? Or the music the public choose with their hard earned?
Whatever your thoughts its worth reminding ourselves that there is plenty of amazing music out there, under the radar, that once discovered can go right to the top of your personal chart.
*Don’t know Mr Blobby? Google him and let me know if his music is better than mine!