Despite George Orwell’s foresight, the United States turn into a totalitarian society in the year 1984, and 2001 came and went without the interstellar space travels envisioned by Arthur C. Clark. In the second installment of the movie franchise “Back to the Future” this year (2015) we were supposed to see kids riding around on hover boards and wearing self-lacing tennis shoes. That didn’t happen … yet.
Trying to write music today that will be relevant or just liked at some future date also has its problems.
Even if a new song is recognized by a publisher as a sure-fire hit, it could take a year or longer before it’s recorded and released for the general public’s consumption. That’s why songwriters are advised not to copy what’s playing on the radio today, but to try to think about what may be on the air next year.
For example, a few years ago when patriotic songs about military service were all the rage, I was attending a meeting in Nashville. At that time, we were told not to pitch similar songs to publishers because they were already looking ahead to the next trends.
On the other hand, you never know when everyone’s feeling a little retro and an old genre will come back into style.
Of course, these days, artists don’t have to go the traditional route. YouTube, which is not the biggest music provider, has shortened the release time for new music considerably. You could conceivably write a song in the morning, make a video of it that afternoon, upload it that same evening and have it go viral overnight.
But a traditional CD release is still a long process with little guarantee of what the popular tastes will be when a project finally sees the light of day.
It’s probably still best to heed the tried and true advice. Stick to writing the best song possible right now, because attempting to time the popular musical taste is like trying to time the stock market gyrations.
It’s a fool’s errand.