As I write this I'm sitting at LAX airport with my Songwriting partner, waiting for a connecting flight to Philadelphia then onto London Heathrow. Stupidly, I thought I'd save money and get connecting flights as opposed to direct. It's not all bad, it's given me a little time to edit a few Pro Tools sessions and do a little vocal tuning and also write this piece for the Pro Tools Expert community.
I've been here for the past week writing songs and having meetings with various record companies and A & R. While I have been here I've worked at some legendary studios and met some people I have respected and looked up to for decades. I always find these trips worthwhile it's always good to connect face to face with people. As producers and songwriters we spend so much time in solitary, sitting in dark studios not connecting to face to face with other creative people. Every time I write away from my studio I learn new things, new techniques, learn about new plug-ins that I haven't heard of, and I would urge everyone to get out of their comfort zone and meet new collaborators.
While I've been here I've found it fascinating how we all create music in such different ways. Some of the sessions were the old fashioned way, guys around a piano and a guitar crafting the song, in complete contrast to a session where the sound of the kick drum was way more important than any melody or lyric. Both sessions turned out well despite their different approach. In the past I've seen a few sessions fall apart where the writers are not gelling, so If I'm producing/writing I like to have prepared tracks so if creativity falls there is always something to at least start from.
I've also noticed a shift in the brand of DAW. It used to be that everyone In the U.S. used Pro Tools, I did three sessions while I was here where the guys had switched over to Studio One, they still had an PT HD system but they found Studio One to be a far more creative tool to write and produce with.
In today's music market its getting harder and harder to place songs and I do worry about the future not only for myself but for the guys that are starting off. I've been writing songs for years and have built up enough contacts so that we can talk and have meetings with A & R and music supervisors face to face, I'm also lucky as I have a song that's in the U.S. charts and that really helps with being able to get meetings with new guys you haven't yet met.
Music sales are at their lowest and with the arrival of apples new streaming service it's clear that the good old days have gone. All of us writers are waiting and wondering what the new business model will be as this model clearly needs fixing. Unless you have a hit with one of the big artists the good old days where you could earn a really good wage from music sales are over. All of us now have to diversify, we now not only have to write, we have to be producers/ mixers/ arrangers/ editors and know how to play multiple instruments. Of course there are exceptions but the more of these jobs you can do, the more in demand you will be.