“We just wanted to say thank you”
A gospel-music songwriter passed along this link recently about Rascal Flatts’ treatment of its songwriters. Money quote:
Band members Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus wanted to recognize the 80 or so songwriters who have contributed work to the group’s six studio albums. So the guys booked the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum and threw a big party with food, plaques and singing.
“We just wanted to say thank you,” LeVox said. “We don’t just have professional relationships with these cats, we have personal relationships with them, too. We are always touring and they are always writing, and they are always traveling and we are always traveling, and after 10 years of being able to do what we love to do it’s a big, huge milestone. We just wanted to get them all in here to say thanks for a wonderful 10 years.”
But the trio did more than that: They asked the writers to each bring along two songs to pitch for the band’s next studio CD.
Until Taylor “Maybe She’s Not the Best Technical Singer” Swift at the Grammys, I would have said that Rascal Flatts is probably the most pitch-challenged act in country music today, but they get major props for treating their songwriters so well.
Perhaps needless to say, this contrasts mightily with sg. My gospel songwriting correspondent, who writes for top-tier groups, had this to say:
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If, like we all are fond of saying, it all begins with song - then wouldn’t it behoove artists to treat songwriters like Rascal Flatts does? I can’t tell you how often artists contact me - desperate for “hit songs” - and then, after I send them a stack of my latest/greatest, I hear nothing…(crickets)…not a “thank you” - not a “I got them and will give them a listen” - nothing. Total silence.
I do understand that it can be awkward to respond, specifically, to a writer about his songs - especially if you don’t love them all. But I’ve had scores of artists who’ve gone on to record my songs - even singled them - and I wasn’t extended the courtesy of a single note of thanks or even a copy of the product itself. I’ve joked that I’ve actually spent more money purchasing CD’s of my songs than I’ve made from royalties off those songs - assuming that I was even paid royalties!
I don’t know if artist in SG are ignorant, rude, over-extended, or a combination of all three. But I do know that what Rascal Flatts has done should serve as an indictment to all artists who take for granted the hands that feed them.