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If you aren’t making serious attempts to connect with others in the music world, your songs are going to suffer from the vacuum that results.
In a sense, pop music is the “Wikipedia” of musical styles, where no one act represents the total sum of experience available to us. So if you tend to immerse yourself in your own music to the complete neglect of whatever else is going on in the ubiquitous world of songwriting, you’re likely going to notice a shrinking fan base.
Even for songwriters and performers that appear to be on the cutting edge, there is a tremendous importance to staying current with what people are listening to today. One of the problems with being innovative in music is that innovation has a way of scaring away potential fans. But The Beatles, for example, were extremely innovative for their time, and no one could make the argument that they suffered from a lack of fans.
But in The Beatles’ case, they wrapped their music, as it were, in some of the sounds that were popular in the day. So the guitar work of The Byrds, the vocal style of Bob Dylan, and other such anomalies popular in their day, all played an important role in why they were able to make such a strong impact on the listening public and grow their fan base.
So The Beatles may have wanted to be innovative, but they pulled listeners in by being familiar with what people were already listening to.
Preventing a musical vacuum means any or all of the following:
- Get out to concerts. Listen to live music. It’s often the best way to not just hear music that’s newly written, but to judge audience reaction for what they love.
- Play live concerts. For the same reason that you’d go to a concert: it gives you the best way to connect with people and find out what they really like.
- Do lots of online listening. Stay current with what is rising to the top of the music world. You won’t like it all, but it can all play an important role in developing your own particular style.
- Take part in songwriting circles. Play your music for other like-minded people who are also trying to increase their audience base. There’s nothing like playing your songs for people who are generally respectful and in your corner.
- Partner up with someone else occasionally to write songs. By creating songwriting partnerships, you have the potential of tapping into a larger and more diverse musical world. You also can potentially improve your own writing style by allowing your imagination to go in a new direction.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.
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