Do you stream music on the internet? Is this the way of the future when it comes to giving the public what they want and getting artists paid?
70, 20, 10. I hate to boil music down to numbers, but a YouTube musician Jonathan Mann has a songwriting theory that’s too compelling to ignore. Basically, since 2009, he’s been writing a song a day. That’s around 1000 tracks. Of course, not all of them are good, which is what Mann’s “70, 20, 10″ theory is all about. According to him, seventy percent of these tracks are destined to suck or be mediocre. But the remaining thirty percent have go to be pretty good. If he’s right, he’s written at least 100 great songs.
What tracks actually comprise that thirty percent is something worth debating, though. I’d love to see a case study where people have to agree on which of his songs are actually quality.
This whole project has built into the album above, Song A Day: The Album. It’s some of Jonathan’s most prized musical possessions, and many of them were reworked in the studio with a full band that was financed with a very successful Kickstarter project.
Of course, I’m not a fan of every song, but that’s gamble one takes when listening to Mann. I could repeat tracks like “I Hate Being Alone” for hours. But if I were Mann, I would have thrown “Sweaty Girlfriend” into the trash bin a long, long time ago. Does that mean I have better taste, though? Maybe it only means I’m more self-conscious, which is my problem, not his.
This isn’t just a set of songs. It’s culmination of learned lessons in the creative process. If you’re going to make a great song, it may mean writing twenty terrible ones first. Mann’s album and YouTube channel are a raw, unadulterated look into the creative process. It’s not often that we get this clear of a look at it. According to man, he has no plans to quit his songwriting gauntlet, and there’s no reason to–especially if there’s always gonna be that ten percent that will blow expectations away.