The music industry is just like any other industry. You have to put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make it. There is seemingly endless marketing on all social media platforms just to get your music heard, and if you perform live, you have to try to peddle yourself to anyone that will listen.
This is time consuming. You begin to feel like a child begging to get your material in the ears of another human. There are so many talented artists out there that nobody will ever hear, and that is an injustice indeed.
Songwriters are modern philosophers and poets with something to say. All of that knowledge will never be imparted to those that could have benefited from the lessons and epiphanies of the creators because you have to think of the best methods of trickery to get people to click on a link. This is very relevant to me at the moment, but I am not wanting to trick anyone. I am being completely honest. I want you to listen to my music and benefit from it in some way. I chose to write a blog about AJR’s album The Click which has so many amazing songs it will have to take more than one blog to cover.
I am giving away my age, but I have a son that is in college. He went with me to Nashville because he also plays cello and performed for me on my single “Dear Daddy”. In the car, he usually plays classical music, but this time was different. He said, “Mom, you have to listen to this band!” He played the entire album The Click,and I was in love at first listen. It started out with an overture that samples every song on the album, “Clever!” I thought. It was an sample of their production skills and songs, but after hearing it, I was curious about some of the lines and what their entire message was. They completely understand how difficult it is to get people to listen, so they made a sampler pack for their music. The one song that I want to discuss this week is "Three-Thirty".
“Three- Thirty” references the goal of a songwriter to get everything out in three minutes and thirty seconds. You have to fit all of your heartache in that time frame, but because people have short attention spans, they will probably skip it anyways (unless you’re Ed Sheeran). Humans are less attentive and research proves it.
The Article in Time Magazine ”You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish” by Kevin McSpaden that was published in May of 2015 stated, “The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds,” according to a Canadian study documenting the drop in attention span from the year 2000. What are they attributing it to? Technology. Ironically, the same reason why so many more artists can distribute their work to wider audiences is the same reason for the lack of attention span by listeners. Think about it. How many of you have been listening to music and been interrupted or distracted by a text, social media alert, or email. You couldn’t focus entirely on the lyrics or beauty of the instrumentation. Some songs you might start over again, and some you might skip because you lost focus. That person you are skipping is pouring out their soul, and nobody really cares. We try to hit that 3 minute and thirty second mark continuously. Maybe it needs to be shortened to match the decline of the human attention span.
This happens with all jobs I suppose. Teachers spend hours preparing lessons to deliver to uncaring students. Layout editors spend hours and sometimes days trying to get pieces to fit together in a printed publication that we all eventually throw in the trash. Most people work on something that typically goes unappreciated. I guess when you write songs, they must be written with the expectation that nobody will listen; however, there is no need to ever stop hoping that they will be heard. I know writing this blog that most people will probably not read it, but if you have made it to this point, you have a better attention span than most. Congratulations!
AJR's The Click has so many songs that discuss the dilemmas they face in the music industry, but they also have songs that can be applied to life in general. I benefit and grow from the music I listen to, the literature I read, the movies and TV shows I watch, and the people I talk to. Three-Thirty is one of the songs AJR wrote that helped me gain perspective on a matter. I am so glad my son chose to not skip AJR and shared them with me.