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Would YOU Sign YOU?

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Posted Sep 25, 2006 by Paul
Filed under: Commentary

My Internet has been somewhat up and down so I haven’t been able to do many updates – and so… the page has been on the John Barlow Jarvis interview for about 3 days and if you haven’t read it – what are you waiting for? He’s an excellent writer, a nice guy and a great source of information.

I’ve also had a lot of time to think about the state of music in Nashville. About 80% of what I cover here is Major label news from Artist that everyone knows. Certainly not what I had intended. I had intended NashvilleHype! to be a portal for new unheard artist and songwriters. Unfortunately, just because you can sign up a bunch of artist and songwriters from Nashville as friends on MySpace doesn’t mean that those MySpace friends will get the idea they’re drifting all alone in a sea of talented people in real life and they need every opportunity then can to spread the word about their own talents. It seems like the opposite actually.

MySpace is a great tool but I now know something I’ve suspected for some time – the ‘goal’ of many on MySpace isn’t to use it as a tool of promotion to gain fans, it’s to sign up as many ‘friends’ as you can and move on.

And there in lies the biggest problem of MySpace – just like in Nashville, you’re 1 of 100,000,000 people all searching and reaching for the same goals.

continued after the jump

Does talent rise to the top on MySpace? No more so than provocative pictures. And do the people who become your ‘friends’ ultimately become your fans as well? Rarely.

In Nashville, as many of you who have been here for any length of time know (and those who are new are finding out) – about 80-90% of the artists and songwriters here are talented. I certainly admit to having the ‘wow’ factor seeing some of the artists around – and sometimes it begs the question, ‘why aren’t these people signed?’.

Isn’t that the holy grail? To be signed? Recognized? My experiment with signing MySpace friends (I have over 550 now) who I hoped would come over and use the site proves the point that that most likely isn’t the goal of most.

Some ‘friends’ are working like dogs to do what they want to do in life. Most are simply sitting around (singing, writer nights from time to time) hoping for lightning to strike. It won’t.

Everyone I’ve interviewed here I’ve personally contacted because they are personal friends, or I know and respect their work (not that I’m complaining, I really enjoy talking and getting to know these people). But maybe that’s what most are waiting for – to be contacted. I certainly know I get some ‘check out my music and if you like it…’ emails and I gladly check out everyone – but who am I to say if I like it or not and whether my opinion of whether I like something or not should be promoted? I actually created the site to not have a filter of quality by my own standards. I created it so that anyone persuing a dream would have access to something I wish I had had so many years ago – an outlet.

With so few songwriters and artists actually using the site for it’s intended purposes, I’m thinking I am going to make some changes –

Would YOU sign YOU?

That’s a question I personally ask myself each time I visit someone’s site – ‘if I had the million dollars it would take to break this artist, would I sign them?’. Overwhelmingly the answer is ‘no’. That’s not to say I haven’t heard some extremely talented people.

What about you? Why should anyone sign you? What have you done? What are you doing?

I have two favorite quotes – one from Quincy Jones, one from me:

Quincy said, “Listen to ‘We Are The World’, you don’t hear the best singers, you hear the best voices. You can pick them out of the crowd without having need to see them.”

I love that because as I listen I hear one after another who sounds like that last one. I am not joking when I say I was on one page listening to a blonde singer in Nashville when I clicked one of her blonde ‘friends’ and began to listen… same look, same sounding voice, same sounding song! So much so I had to open a new window and click back to make sure it was a different girl! There’s no less than 300 of those. If I can’t distinguish YOU from everyone else on the radio (or MySpace or the internet) – if I can’t tell you whose voice I’m hearing, you’re already a step behind – no matter how ‘pretty’ (or masculine) you are. Don’t get me wrong – there’s several female artists on Major labels right now that I can’t tell apart besides their equally competing taste in bad songs as singles. (personal note to the industry: Singles are meant to SELL records – hello?)

My other favorite quote?

“The dishwasher at Shoney’s has a better deal than you have”

The universal truth of Nashville is – everyone has something going on. As I said, at least 80-90% are really talented. I’m content with meeting and interviewing individuals whom I like personally or respect creatively – those people with which I would like to work with in my own career. I think NashvilleHype! works great that way. Even still, the silence from songwriters and artists struggling to be heard or noticed in Nashville is staggering – especially given the interviews I’ve already done and the calibre of people who daily monitor this site.

So where do you fit in? Better yet, WHEN are you going to fit in? And if I could get you a record or publishing deal, Why sign YOU?

Would YOU sign YOU?

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