Songwriter exposes Nashville lies

Craig BickhardtAs a songwriter Craig Bickhardt has had about as much commercial success as a person could hope for. His songs have been recorded by top artists in several genres, including cuts by Alison Krauss, Tony Rice, David Wilcox, Martina McBride, B. B. King, Ray Charles, Art Garfunkel, and many more.

On his songwriting blog, Ninety Mile Wind, Craig recently wrote a post discussing what he feels are the five biggest lies propagated in Nashville these days. Here are a couple of his comments I found interesting.

The first has to do with illegal downloading. The lie is…

It’s the illegal downloading, stupid

Craig discusses just how much it should cost to produce a quality CD. He thinks the reason the labels are hurting has nothing to do with illegal downloading, and everything to do with bloated expenses and the poor quality of the music being produced.

If you want a great CD look to the indie labels, which incidentally, are booming and profiting because they don’t operate on bloated budgets designed to keep the suits well-fed while the artists do all the work. The Indies are mostly in it for the art. Read the blogs and the comments and you’ll find that most consumers are still buying the music they love and they have no problem paying for mp3s. But they do have a problem with paying twice what they ought to pay for crappy CDs,

That sure makes one appreciate the nature of our indigenous bluegrass labels. They operate more like indie labels for sure, smaller budgets, and I’ve meet many of the bluegrass label heads and staffers, they do genuinely love the music. Thanks guys!

Here’s another lie Craig aims to dispel, as it applies to songwriters.

You must live in Nashville

He says it’s not necessary that a songwriter be located in Nashville to be successful, or even to collaborate with other songwriters. In fact, he says living in Nashville may be more of a hinderance than a help in many ways.

I get regular emails and comments from writers who say that Nashville is ruining their writing. They can’t be spontaneous, it’s all done by committee, they fear being criticized for writing anything too artistic, and they must collaborate with artists, many of whom are not songwriters, never will be songwriters, and only show up for the money.

If you’d like to read his full comments, and find out the other three lies he’s exposing, read his post 5 Lies You’ll Hear In Nashville.

And if you’re a songwriter, I would suggest you check Craig’s blog regularly. He posts some good stuff.

  • Jon Weisberger

    Interesting stuff, but maybe a little over-emphatic and simplistic. For one thing, if you talk to the folks who actually run them, there’s some disagreement over whether indie labels are “booming.” Similarly, while some writers may be complaining that living in Nashville is ruining their writing, I don’t think you’ll hear that from guys like Ronnie Bowman, Chris Stapleton and Jim Lauderdale; no, you don’t have to live in Nashville to write, but you don’t have to move away to write, either – and there are quite a few writers who don’t live here who come to co-write, including some bluegrass favorites. Bickhardt’s not all wrong, by any means, but he’s hardly all right, either.