“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side ” –Hunters S. Thompson.
I’ve been doing this for over 40 years, and even after all that time I still sometimes find it hard to take rejection, but I have to say it gets easier after a thousand reruns. It is so easy to get a little over confident in this business when everything is going right, but get a little negative feedback and the confidence goes right out the window.
Rejection is a hard thing to take at anytime, but as Songwriters/ Producers/ Mixing Engineers we have to deal with it much more than the average guy.
Confidence can be a good thing if you know how to not take it to arrogance. Always remember that there are always better people than you. We can always learn something from someone who has been doing it less than us. I remember walking into a studio a few years back and hearing this track written by a guy that was half my age and realizing he had a major hit on his hands, what happened to “paying your dues”?
Criticism – Take people’s criticism and learn from it. If someone doesn’t like what you have done thank them for it, this is the only way we can learn and improve. Sure there are guys who just love to put people down when in reality they are just disappointed with their own talent or lack there of, you can normally spot these people a mile off. But most people want to help and there might be something you can learn from improving what you first submit.
The music industry is full of opinions and critics. Not everyone is going to like everything you present to them. That is why it is important to learn how to deal with rejection. Here are a couple of points to consider:
Never show that you are upset, to the person declining your music. The reason for the rejection might just be that they aren’t looking for an artist like you. They may want a different genre or a different styling. Sometimes it is just that you have brown hair or you are a man and they need a female singer. Put on a good front. Be a good sport. This is so important because they may like your next project or your revise and if you make a big deal about how upset the negative response made you, count on it, they will rarely give you a second chance, there are too many good artists out there with good attitudes.
Never take negative responses as a sign to stop singing, playing or writing music. Rather, take the rejection as a learning tool. When you evaluate your music and improve on the work it makes a better musician out of you. Many times new songwriters or singers and musicians present their work way too early in the creative process. Maybe your work is just not a finished product.
Don’t get discouraged. Try to keep you head up, not everyone is truthful either. Maybe they have a reason for putting your talent or music down. Some people do this when they are jealous of others.
Tenacity – I know many good writers that submit over a hundred songs a year to publishers. Most of these guys will probably expect to have 7 songs cut a year.. As long as its a great song and the production is still current the song will still have legs and could get cut at any time. We see it time and time again, where a writer starts feeling despondent and all of a sudden they become the writer who gets cut after cut after cut.
Ironically, Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He was eventually accepted by another school, a school which he dropped out of to pursue directing. In 2002, Spielberg finally completed his BA.
60 years ago, Decca’s Dick Rowe turned down the Fab Four, so heading an unenviable club of talent-spotters who passed up their biggest chance.
“Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr Epstein.” With that airy dismissal of the Beatles, directed 60 years ago this month at the group’s manager Brian Epstein, Dick Rowe of Decca made himself unwittingly but enduringly synonymous with catastrophic commercial miss-judgments.