Davey the Fat Boy wrote:You could point to a lot of forks in the road that got us to this place. The moment when Dylan and the Beatles convinced every artist after them that they could (and should) write their own songs was the flash point. This had the effect of A) lowering the collective standards around what a good song was, B) forced most professional songwriters out of the business, C) made the remaining pro songwriters more desperate and less willing to take chances, and D) brought on the era of "studio soundscaping" to largely hide the lack of songs.
There's no shortage of songs/records that seem to back up your version of history; there's also no shortage of terrific songs written by musicians/singers who wouldn't have thought of writing their own songs had the Beatles/Dylan not done it, and no shortage of uninspired hackwork by the Brill Building guys and their ilk. This development may have changed "the collective standards around what a good song was," but that was something that was in constant flux even before The Beatles. (I doubt that the Gershwin Brothers would have recognized Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman as peers, for example.)
And "forced most professional songwriters out of the business"? Name three. As far as I can tell most of those people kept right on writin', and getting their songs recorded, and often getting them and on the radio/charts. For every Beatles, there were probably four or five Hermans Hermits's who were happy for whatever help they good get.
And "made the remaining pro songwriters more desperate and less willing to take chances"? Again... how much less desperate and MORE willing to take chances were they pre-Beatles/Dylan? The likes of Goffin/King, Mann/Weil, Barry/Greenwich, Greenfield/Sedaka etc. (not to forget their Brit counterparts) were very, very competitive; even with a Number 1 record on the charts, they'd be worrying too much about the next one to fully enjoy their success. I don't see how their lives (and livelihoods) changed all that dramatically with the advent of new competition, other than possibly making them step up their game. Certainly at least two of those songwriting teams I mentioned got more ambitious with their work, not less.