Spent some time with my music publisher friend, Barbara Vander Linde last week. Conversation was quality and the salads so yummy we didn't touch or check our iPhones the whole time. They weren't even on the table.
It was fun to talk to someone who remembers putting a cassette in a jiffy bag, sending it off via snail mail and getting a thumbs up from Clive. Barbara is still a vital player in music publishing. Disney is lucky to have her. So are her twelve writers. Twelve, a nice manageable number. A number which means each writer will get quality attention and guidance from someone with wisdom and experience.
We reminisced (how could we not) about when every day was a party in the music business and hard working songwriters had a good shot at making a living. The current challenges are not exclusive to songwriters, though. They reach across the desk as well.
There's been a lot of scaling down over the last decade, and it's hard to say where things are going. But one thing's for sure...I feel lucky that I got a chance to go to that party. To have a taste of that cake, dance on the tables and drink from the champagne fountain on Grammy night.
The day before I saw Barbara I had lunch with another friend. (I know, I've been having a lot of lunches lately, but aside from having an appetite at around 1PM, I'm interested in hearing about what's on the minds of my comrades. What their takes are on the new topography, the trend in booty songs and the curious case of Blurred Lines.) This particular friend felt stuck. He was at that party too but he left because he missed a sense of passion. His own included. He missed receiving ample fruits for his labor...getting a workable synch fee when he placed a song in a film. And he also missed a lot of colleagues who had been replaced for younger more affordable ones.
He's in search of something else but he doesn't know what that is yet. That's Ok I told him. Just like someone told me a year ago. Change gives us another chance to do something we always wondered about. Something we always wanted to do but were afraid to try. Now is the time. Now is the time.
A third friend (with whom I did not have lunch) was asked to leave the party (involuntarily) a few years ago and has been in a massive funk until recently. Now he is working as an on-air host at a public radio station. It makes perfect sense that he be talking to the masses. He likes people. People like him. Plus he has a nice speaking voice. He's happy as a clam. Probably happier than he was before he got uninvited to the party. You just never know what can happen next. You just never know.
As for me...I'm hanging in. Picking and choosing the projects I work on and the people I work with. I'm going where the love is. And there is love. So it's not a big ol' cake with buttercream and filling. It's a cookie. Nothing wrong with cookies. I'll keep munching but I'm keeping my heart open for the future.
For those of you who are new to the biz, and never knew it way other way, Enjoy!
For those of us who were at that party: the ones who are still in the mix making a difference, the ones who have moved on to something new and the ones in that scary place of not knowing what's next, this is for you. These are all promising places to be. I really believe that. The ride is not over. So, while we're on the road, I'm sending a shout out to the Voyagers: The Survivors and Thrivers, The Mentors and Re-inventors And the ones in-between the dreams. I'm right there with you...waving from another car.