Thank you for being a fan!
March 26th, 2010
Webster's Dictionary (the actual book, not some online version) defines the word 'fan' as, "an enthusiastic devotee of some particular diversion." Ask any recording artist and they will tell you -- true fans are the lifeblood of music.
A great song is an emotional 'message in a bottle' from the artist to the fan. Both the artist and the fan benefit from this communication. From listening to Joni Mitchell's "Blue" album, I got as close as I will ever get to understanding the unfathomable depths of a woman's emotions. Over the years, I've bought at least five copies of the album and attended her concert in Memphis. So we both benefitted from her album; though as a rabid fan I would say I got the best of the bargain.
Over the years I have written countless times about the cultural, sociological and financial value of a great song. But after reading Steve Walbridge's article "You Are Hereby Sentenced to One Year of Reality," (Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Elmore Magazine) I was reminded that real fans are why great songs exist and survive. Without someone who will take the time to open the bottle and read the message in our songs, we would all be lost at sea.
Walbridge talks about phoning in sick to work so he could travel to New York and scour the record bins for great music. That is what fans are about! I am not an advocate of ditching work, but I am saying that for real fans, great music will get you through those times of having no money better than having money will get you through times without great music.
These real fans are everywhere: they're the person at the water cooler who gives you his or her detailed critique of the latest and greatest music that you've never even heard of; they're the kid who spent every cent he made last summer on old vinyl record albums recorded before he was born; they're the acid-jazz guy who clerks at the little record shop who is so far out on the edge that you personally doubt his sanity! As music creators we owe all these folks a tremendous debt of gratitude.
We know how easy it is to steal music nowadays. As President of the Songwriters Guild I have spent years attacking the people who have been decimating the songwriting profession by disrespecting the music with their theft. But in all those years I don't remember ever stopping to say thanks to the true fans.
So I am hereby extending a huge collective "THANKS!" from all the songwriters at the Songwriters Guild to all of the fans out there who love and nurture the music. You know that the people who create the music are trying to share their feelings and hopes and dreams with you. You have 'opened our message' by supporting our art with your purchase of music. We want you to know how much that means to us.