Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

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achan1058
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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby achan1058 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:00 pm UTC

++$_ wrote:As a classical musician, I am shocked to hear that all these pop singers just perform works written by other people, sometimes even putting their names on the front of the album and giving the actual composer a relatively small share of the credit. I mean, that's our job.
At least classical musicians do give their composers a fair share of their credits. Couldn't say the same about the lyricist most of the time though......

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cerbie
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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby cerbie » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:57 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:I think it's presumptuous to say that you need to know anything more about Britney Spears than she or her marketing team decides to reveal to you,
I didn't say anyone did or does. However, if someone is in the spotlight, who they are is going to come out. Whether you need to know or not, it's going to come out, if there is enough public interest that people are willing to pay to read gossip and investigating reporting about said person.

Zamfir wrote:For older demographs, they have more serious artists who really are more part of the process, even if there are stil session musicians and producers and managers and technicians and god knows who in the shadows. But as classical music shows, the "realness" of artists who write their own songs and sing about their personal things is a bit arbitrary. In a sense, it's just as much marketing as Britney.
A good singer who's just good at singing is just as real as someone who does every bit of the work. When everyone has clear knowledge, without researching the subject, about how much of what is being produced/performed is theirs, there's no problem at all.

With many pop artists, that issue is muddled, and they are either delusional (doubtful, but I don't know enough to say for sure), or guided, such that they will treat what they didn't do as if it were theirs, as much as what they did do. And see, that also gets kinda muddy anyway, because it's pretty common for any musicians wanting original works to have people involved to help them, even to point of writing songs for them. So then, how much do they need to be involved in that process before they are either clearly involved enough that a song aught to be theirs, and how little involvement is needed to say it isn't?

If you have a song, and you shop it around, clearly, whoever sings it is in the latter category. If you were in the same room, or maybe adjacent rooms1, it's good enough to be the former. But, there's a lot of middle ground, there, and where the truth lies for any given work is generally obscured as part of the production and/or marketing processes (perception of lies by omission).
It's simply useful to have artists who are both important for the music and good stage personalities. It gives you a clear marketable brand, without faking (em. added). But it's not necessarily the best for music.
There I think is a good bit of the problem, as far as public perception goes (I'll probably never understand how people get so wound up over these people, though). An image that tries to encompass a person's values, and how much of the creative efforts they are showing off are genuinely theirs, but that does not resemble their actual values, nor their actual work put into the process, creates a perception of that person being complicit in the creation and maintenance of a lie (their image), and thus faking it. It's also not entirely false, but there is almost never full knowledge, nor any intent at all, on the part of the celebrity in question (they get to be the perpetrator and the victim, the media at large gets to be McCoy, and I'm not sure who gets to be the judge who was the mom in the Lost Boys).

I'd say a lot of the problem here is using a kid, or young impressionable people in general. That's bad, but I don't think it is related to the superficiality of her role in the process. There are lots of more involved artists, or athletes for example, who burn through and out just as badly. Janis Joplin ended up far worse than Britney.
I'll go for that.

1Of course I got no further than, "same room," and immediately thought of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, who would typically work in separate rooms, way back when.
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biodomino
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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby biodomino » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:51 am UTC

My issue with the pop music industry and all this contention is that, frankly, talented performers are practically a dime a dozen. There's no end of people who could be a Brittney Spears, a Justin Bieber, etc., with similar opportunities. They are honestly just not THAT valuable. It's the songwriters, and generally moreso the composition than the lyrics, that really defines the success of the music, so it strikes me as a totally fair criticism that they get so little of the glory and money. Even when these performers do write their own music, these are only very rarely the hits that gain them their popularity or sustain them. That's why there are so many one-hit wonders out there. A performer is generally very lucky to come up with a really good composition. Monkeys and typewriters and all that.

Personally I have the utmost respect for bands/individuals that write and perform their own music successfully, but otherwise I think composers should be given at least as much credit as the performers.

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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby uncivlengr » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:51 am UTC

We're still talking about pop music right? Why do the writers in particular deserve so much credit for looping three chords and creating a few hooks? Or hey, why not just sample some catchy riff from a song written 30 years ago and change the lyrics, as a large portion of new pop music seems to do?

The kind of music we're discussing is largely fluff pumped out by people (ie, these precious writers) that know the formula to creating catchy accessible music to be mass-marketed. If anyone deserves more credit than the performers themselves, it's the marketing team.

Either way, the people behind the scenes might be paid more or less, but they're never going to get the "glory", as you put it - pop music exists because they can market the performer, not just showcase their employee of the month.
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biodomino
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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby biodomino » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:23 am UTC

Why do the writers in particular deserve so much credit for looping three chords and creating a few hooks?


If it were so simple, there would be a lot more "hits." It's much harder to write a successful piece than perform it.

Either way, the people behind the scenes might be paid more or less, but they're never going to get the "glory", as you put it - pop music exists because they can market the performer, not just showcase their employee of the month.


The point is that they COULD be quite easily if they were publicized the same way.

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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:43 am UTC

If it were so simple, there would be a lot more "hits." It's much harder to write a successful piece than perform it.


I think that's debatable, there may be a certain limit to how many current hits there can be.
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uncivlengr
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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby uncivlengr » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:13 am UTC

biodomino wrote:If it were so simple, there would be a lot more "hits." It's much harder to write a successful piece than perform it.
By that logic, if performing was so simple, there should be a lot more pop stars - even if you didn't neglect to quality "more", you're crediting one particular aspect of the industry for its success, which is the very thing you originally seemed to be arguing against.

biodomino wrote:The point is that they COULD be quite easily if they were publicized the same way.
Not really - the demographic that wants to see the flashy pop star getting out of the limosine and some trendy club isn't going to care about some guy that sat in an office somewhere writing their (incredibly unoriginal) "hits". The very nature of pop music is simply not going to allow that sort of focus, and people who care more about the effort put into creating music aren't going to look to the super pop stars for that sort of thing.
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biodomino
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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby biodomino » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:15 am UTC

Code: Select all

I think that's debatable, there may be a certain limit to how many current hits there can be.


Eh, if you keep your ear to the ground and actually listen to the would-be up-and-comers, their compositions are generally of a decidedly lesser quality than what constitutes a hit, by whichever standard you use.

By that logic, if performing was so simple, there should be a lot more pop stars - even if you didn't neglect to quality "more", you're crediting one particular aspect of the industry for its success, which is the very thing you originally seemed to be arguing against.


There can only be as many pop stars as there are hits to perform, so no, that logic doesn't apply.

Not really - the demographic that wants to see the flashy pop star getting out of the limosine and some trendy club isn't going to care about some guy that sat in an office somewhere writing their (incredibly unoriginal) "hits". The very nature of pop music is simply not going to allow that sort of focus, and people who care more about the effort put into creating music aren't going to look to the super pop stars for that sort of thing.


Again, this is predominantly a matter of publicity. Whatever name or face is idolized, branded, and marketed as the one responsible for "great thing X" is going to get the attention (that's why an article like this is even relevant- many people honestly don't realize that the songs they like aren't actually written by the artists they think they like). If all music were introduced by the composer and songwriter rather than the performer, people would generally place more emphasis on that person. When they searched for new music that they hoped to enjoy, they would search by the name given, and much more readily attribute their enjoyment of the music to the person who wrote it. It's true that the industry chooses the performers because of their accessibility and physical appearance, particularly with youth, but this is only considered a necessity within the ecosystem of the market.

These are pretty fundamental psychological truths. Is it realistic to brand music by composer in this climate? I don't know. Certainly there hasn't been much success with it yet, but they may be for lack of trying. There have been performers who more readily defer to the composer (e.g., when Norah Jones won a Grammy for "Don't Know Why," the composer accepted the award with her). Mostly record labels are responsible for the trend, and my guess is that these attribution errors work in their favor. Media and industry create the wants of the demographic more than the other way around, particularly in popular music, is my main point, I guess.

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Sizik
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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby Sizik » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:12 pm UTC

biodomino wrote:
I think that's debatable, there may be a certain limit to how many current hits there can be.


Eh, if you keep your ear to the ground and actually listen to the would-be up-and-comers, their compositions are generally of a decidedly lesser quality than what constitutes a hit, by whichever standard you use.


IMO, that's usually because they make the music they want to make/play, not music that will sell (i.e. become a hit), or that they don't have the experience to know what'll sell. See this article.
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Re: Britney doesn't write own songs, songwriter says "Duh"

Postby uncivlengr » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:29 pm UTC

biodomino wrote:
By that logic, if performing was so simple, there should be a lot more pop stars - even if you didn't neglect to quality "more", you're crediting one particular aspect of the industry for its success, which is the very thing you originally seemed to be arguing against.


There can only be as many pop stars as there are hits to perform, so no, that logic doesn't apply.
Maybe there can only be as many hits as there are pop stars to perform them - Given that multiple "hits" come from the same artists, it's more likely that there's an abundance of "hits" than that there's an abundance of pop stars.

That's only rhetorical, though, because neither would seem to govern the success of pop music - moderately talented artists performing mediocre music wouldn't be that appealing if there weren't some other aspects at play, and that's what you're ignoring.

biodomino wrote:Again, this is predominantly a matter of publicity.
Which is all that pop music strives for - in the end, they want to be able to market a pretty face or some flashy dance moves along with the song. That's not going to be as effective (ie, not as popular) if they're trying to sell the image of a 40 year old man to teenage kids.

...and even if they could, why do you insist that they should? In the OP, the songwriter seems perfectly happy being credited as the writer, and leaving Britney Spears to the performance. Where are the writers crying for all the "glory" that pop star performers endure? If you were already getting well paid to write mediocre fluff for an international superstar, would you really want to add getting cameras stuck up your skirt to your job description?
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