The songwriters' dilemma?

Added on Wednesday 6 Jan 2010

Was thinking yesterday about songwriting, about my awareness of different musical genres and about how best to be a songwriter in the future.

Here's the picture; when young you write and play the music that is 'yours'; it's obvious; it's what excites you; it's what your friends like. I.e., it's 1977 you like punk, you join a band and you play punk music and you write punk songs. Another generation grows up listening to dance or electronica or grunge or whatever - again if it's your music - that's what you play and write.

You get older - you still play music - your tastes change and you latch on to different forms of music that excite you; what you write and play changes accordingly. You get older still - and for whatever reason the notion of a particular type of music beng 'yours' diminishes. i.e., you don't have the emotional and cultural ties to a particular form of music you did when you were a teenager.

Now, assuming you are not writing music entirely in response to what you think the market wants; how should you respond to this change?

Do you put out CDs that contain a host of different genres - because you just write music intuitively - and don't worry about the style of the songs you write. Or do you decide to narrow your focus because you know nobody is interested in the jack of all musical genres (so to speak) - and intuition tells you that to do so would probably mean the end of playing and writing (no audience would be a good reason to stop)? Is it dishonest to decide instead to concentrate on a particular genre of music? Or is that the only reasonable response?

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