In the early decades of the last century Tin Pan Alley songwriters ruled. During that “Golden Age” song composing was typically its own art form, far removed from the world of performing.
In 1935 only four of the Top 20 songs were performed by the people who wrote them.
THE TIMES. THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’
Along came the 1960’s and the era of the singer-songwriter dramatically emerged. Singer-songwriters and rock bands increasingly performed song written by themselves and not by outside songwriters.
In 1975, 14 of the Top 20 songs were performed by the people who wrote them.
While some songwriters-only still exist, popular music today is largely composed by the artists who perform them.
Today, being a songwriter typically now means also being a performer, too.
And being a performer entails a lot.
It includes recording the songs, making the videos, creating their acts, going on tour, making personal appearances, doing publicity, connecting with fans, working social media, managing their image and making lots of strategic career decisions.
MEDIA MUSIC COMPOSING IS A-CHANGIN’, TOO
Now, to our corner of the world…
During the “Golden Age” of film music, the composers were largely behind-the-scenes artists and rarely public performers. With the rare exceptions of folks like Mancini and Williams, score composers were not well-known and had very limited lives as performers outside of scoring stages.
That is drastically changing.
Music from film, television and games is quickly becoming music that transcends its recorded soundtrack and to become part of popular culture via live performance, videos and other forms of presentation.
Hans Zimmer has gone on tour, like any other music star, bringing his extremely popular music to a live environment.
Video games music packs giant stadiums around the globe.
Live-to-Film concerts are now common place in worldwide concert halls.
TV scores have entire events built around them.
Special Events conceived around media music are being created and redefining the live experience.
Media composers are increasingly becoming performers. And as such, will be increasingly rising to the opportunities and challenges of other popular performers.
They will not just be creating the initial recordings of their soundtracks. They, like other performing artists, will be having recording be just a segment of their overall careers.
They, too, will be making videos, creating their acts, going on tour, making personal appearances, doing publicity, connecting with fans, working social media, managing their image and making strategic career decisions through the filter of being composer-performers.
THE MEDIA COMPOSER-PERFORMER’S ADVANTAGE
We all know new “classical” music is dead. There hasn’t been a single piece of concert music (other than that based on film or stage music) that has entered the real consciousness of a wide, mainstream audience since the first half of the last century.
Media composers have a HUGE advantage in that their music is given initial exposure through films, TV and games that are already cornerstones of global popular culture. They will increasingly capitalize that into launching their bigger visions.
While there will always be a need for composers-only, that market will be narrowing as the world of composer-performer expands.
As a talent agent, I am increasing looking for the new wave of composer-performers who will be defining this new evolution.
Excitingly, my role with my clients increases as we evolve and expand their careers by creating fresh and innovative presentations that move composers out from behind-the-scenes folks into newer and more expansive roles of multi-media creators and performers.
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