Following is something I have been wanting to share with you. Please don't think it's a testimony of success about me, Instead it’s a way to make a confession; I hope you will understand. Then finally I hope you will view the link at the end that I just got from a mutual friend Billy Braun that sort of sums up this whole essay.I use to have what I consider a dream job. Every day, five days a week I would grab my guitar and go to my office. My office was in Nashville on music row, my office was sometimes at my kitchen table and sometimes my office would be perched on a high mountain rock overlooking the city and countryside. Besides my guitar, my only other companion was a pencil and notebook. My job as you probably have guessed, was writing songs for publishing companies. I worked for a publisher called Hampstead Heath and another called Captain Crystal, both out of New York with offices in Nashville and LA. When I’d get two or three songs completed, I would call up my publisher and they would book studio time for me and then line up world class studio players to play on my demo sessions. Larry Carlton, Steve Lukather, Leland Sklar, Jimmy Keltner and Russ Kunkel were some of the players who I got to work with. The publisher paid for it all and I was in heaven.
About fourteen years ago, a company called Napster decided to create a huge data base to store and collect mp3 files of every song on the planet and then download them for free to anyone who wanted them. The folks at Napster figured that music should be shared by everyone. Once it is in the air, anyone should be able to breathe it in like scent from wildflowers or drinking water out of your neighbor’s garden hose. They refused to understand that songs are just like original paintings, books, and movies. Songs are intellectual property. Law suits prevailed against Napster and the courts decided rightly on the side of the songwriters and publishers. However, file sharing could not be stopped causing the publishing business to lose millions and writing jobs like I described above are pretty much over. So here we are for better or worse in this new digital world. How can we share our gifts and talents that we work so hard to develop and master and yet protect our copyrights and still make a living? That book is still being written right now as we speak.
If you have made it to this paragraph, I want to thank you for hanging in there with me. So here is my point. Using myself as an example, I have been worried about our future as writers because I believe the days of being able to make a living as a songwriter are over. I keep thinking, if only I could get one more hit song before I die? But at age 63, I don’t have the fire and will to jet back to LA and Nashville and knock on doors. Also, why would any of us want to work so hard to get one of our songs recorded only to get it ripped off in this digital file sharing give away world? Here is my answer.
I don't worry anymore! I got over being worried the first time we formed our little writers group and showcased it at The Blue Moose Café in Eagle. I realized then that this community is abundantly full of talented writers who do it for no other reason except for the love of it. That first night made me remember that's why I started writing in the first place. It's exciting to be a part of a group that has something in common and one that just wants to share a message with folks who understand. Money may be the ultimate reward for success but I would argue that it’s hard to put a price on the pure joy and satisfaction of completing a song. And with the talent I am seeing in this group, I believe we have already defined our success just because of who we are. I conclude that because of you, my inspiration is renewed. I now remember that being a songwriter is payment enough. Just be in it for the love and if it's really good, the money will find you.