WHERE IS THE BAR?
But the team he is on is not going to get him any closer to his goal of playing in the NBA. I know songwriters who moved to some countries with literally no music industry and when I ask them why they are living in that particular place as a songwriter, their answer usually is something like, “because there is no competition here. Here I can be the king”. But what is the point of being the king of your own room? A true king’s throne is worthy when it’s ruling a huge empire not just one empty writing room!
There is no shame in not making a team. Or in having your songs rejected. But what I hate to see, is people that get feedback saying that their music isn’t good enough yet who just start shopping around for someone who will tell them something different. Those people are plentiful. For $25, they will tell you that your song is amazing and that they are going to pitch it to Taylor Swift for you. They don’t mention that Taylor Swift doesn’t take outside songs. And they don’t tell you where your song really gets pitched – the trash can. But, because they tricked you into thinking the bar is low, you’ll pay them $25 again to repeat the cycle. You feel like you are getting somewhere, but you are playing pickup ball with a con artist.
Your best friend in the music business is the person who will tell you “These songs aren’t good enough yet.” The only way you will succeed is to listen to those people and to spend your time learning why your songs aren’t good enough so that the next song you write will be better instead of shopping around for a lower bar. Here’s the real truth. Top publishers have a bar that songs have to get over before they stake their reputation on pitching them. They are only interested in pitching songs that are going to WOW the artists. And guess what? That bar is even lower than the bar Tim McGraw, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood or any other major artist use when choosing the songs for their records. The real publishers will pitch songs that are in the ballpark. The artists are only going to cut outside songs that are home runs. So, if you want to play in the big boys’ league, don’t worry if you haven’t “made the team” yet. Nobody does on their first, or tenth try. But, don’t lose sight of the fact that the real bar isn’t going to change just because you shop around and find someone who tells you your song is amazing. If you’ve gotten feedback from several reliable people in the industry that your songs are not at “bar level” yet, don’t be discouraged. That’s part of the journey. But, don’t settle for a pickup game at the lower league and pretend that’s going to get you to professional level. Dig in and do the hard work. Just like the professionals who have gone before you.
It takes thousands of hours and hundreds of rejections before anyone succeeds in the music business. The ones who make it are the ones who take rejection as a sign they need to improve and prove somebody wrong. And they never give up learning or working toward their goal. There isn’t a way to lower the bar. It is where it is. And, with enough hard work, you can get over it.
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