The days when musicians wrote their songs to express their view of the world is long gone in many countries. Today the most famous stars turn to professional songwriters, who primarily work for numerous musicians at the same time. They tailor the numbers for the musicians and guarantee a constant supply of hits. What’s more, digitization and streaming have dramatically changed the way we listen to music today. That is also noticeable in song structures.
The first bars have to ignite; hardly anyone has the time or desire to listen to intros lasting minutes. Streaming has radically reduced the duration of attention. Songs today are written down based on listening habits of their target audience. At the same time, the quality has decreased drastically because most pieces are played via a streaming service anyway.
These changes have had a massive impact on songwriting. There are so-called songwriting camps where composers and producers work together in a team and only those who have the best contacts can get the most commercial songs that guarantee a great career. The best example of this is the international superstar Rihanna. When she collects prizes for her albums or hits, she is just the interpreter of numbers that others have written for her. Her hit Umbrella gave her career a considerable boost. It became her signature song. But she only got there through her support in the person of Jay-Z. The hip-hop mogul and husband of Beyonce is one of the most powerful men in the international music business. He decided to push the career of Rihanna. The process of becoming a famous singer when recording a hit does not usually correspond at all to what the fan imagines.
Assembly Line Work for Anonymous Musicians
Music publishers invite composers and producers to work in previously mentioned songwriting camps. They are divided into teams and work on new songs according to certain specifications. Sometimes the stars look into the studio and try to give a little input, but the specifications for how the songs should sound are precise. Songwriters’ work looks like an assembly line when creating hits. Nothing is left to chance. If this results in a potential smash-hit, the producers offer it to different stars. Anyone who recognizes potential in it will have access. But of course, the most promising pieces go to the biggest stars or the producers who have the most influence.
Big record labels have branches all over the world and participate in the current state of affairs of the music industry. Songwriters write songs to order and often offer them to different artists before one records them. Nearly every songwriter can end up working with a big star but even then, nothing is left to chance. Although the best musicians are available, the producers heavily rework the music in the studio. In the end, the finished song is a product and no longer art. The assembly line work of songwriters and producers has turned the pop industry into a confusing throw-away product. How long this trend will continue cannot be foreseen. A musical revolution may put an end to this aspect of the music business.