Art & technology - Mungo Jerry

Mungo Jerry, aka Ray Dorset, chats about the need for songwriters and composers to embrace technology rather than shun it...

Paul Nichols headshot
  • By Paul Nichols
  • 29 Dec 2014
  • min read
When I had my first hit, In the Summertime, back in 1970 it took me by complete surprise. I hadn’t set my sights on becoming a fully-fledged member of the music business even though I had been playing and singing in bands since the age of 10. In fact, I remember I had to ask my boss for time off work to perform on Top of the Pops!

Since then, the role of the songwriter has undergone so many changes, yet in other ways it has stayed exactly the same – it’s just a matter of perspective. What has dramatically changed is the ways in which songwriters and composers can generate an income from their work. In comparison to the number of songwriters around today, there are very few who can actually earn a generous living from their craft.

This is because the music industry has altered almost beyond recognition and the value of music has become drastically reduced. It may all seem like doom and gloom for songwriters and composers, and it’s certainly important to remember that music is an art form whose business model has been destroyed by the advent and subsequent misuse of technology. But we must remember that when art and technology work together in a positive manner, the results can be mind-blowing. There are more radio, TV and online channels dedicated to all kinds of music than ever before, and there are probably more on the way.

I think that too much damage has already been inflicted on the old business model, which used to generate its main revenue from recordings and publishing rights. We need to understand how the new business works, and songwriters and composers must explore innovative ways to earn from their important work. There is so much they can do to exploit their music by utilising the full power of web and social media – it’s incredible. All music-makers should learn the ins and outs of this new technology to empower them to do it themselves and cut out the middleman. It’s a new way for songwriters to take control, and I’m right behind it.