To be an artist is like running a business. Any business; it’s not anything special just because it’s about music though many want you to believe that. As an artist you will face the same obstacles as any entrepreneur that starts a restaurant or landscaping you name it, you are all in the same boat.
With that in mind, I just can’t understand why people try to make it so magical. If you start a restaurant where the food is mediocre, but you are in a place where a lot of people pass by. Yes, you will make the restaurant go round. It won’t be famous; people won’t talk about it, but it fulfills its purpose. I guess this will be like a the troubadour in the music industry. Yes, you play at different places, but you play old hits in the corner. Nothing wrong with it but people won’t talk about it in that kind of sense. You get your money but there are thousands of these people playing what people want to hear as entertainment.
You want to be something that people talk about. Here you have the Michelin stars restaurants. They might have a theme; everything is in the details, everything is perfect. The service is perfect. And the food is the star that you will remember for a lifetime. This is the same as you are a being a big star. The show is perfect into the smallest detail and of course the songs are brilliant. In these cases, you can’t jump any step. To get to have a Michelin star restaurant you got to work for it. It doesn’t happen overnight. I also have a hard time seeing a chef coming straight out of school just go out get their own place and then open a restaurant and get three stars in the same year. Why do people think that is how it happens in the music industry? Sorry to break illusions, it’s the same here. The people on the big stages have worked hard and long to be there. If you try to shortcut, you won’t have the position for any longer time. The whole magic formula is that a person is very dedicated and very talented.
Funny part with the music industry is also people think there is a secret magic button. Like a person, if you meet that person, they will just build that career for you. As a chef you might meet Gordon Ramsey and he might get you a starting job in his restaurants. You can work your way up and become head chef and after that you can get your own place and take what you have learned and be successful. In the music industry it’s like you meet Gordon Ramsey and he would just give you his best restaurant for you to just handle and then take over to be yours.
Yes, I guess you are smiling, but people just don’t understand to be an artist is that you need to work on your own. It’s a business, it’s not easy. Hiding behind the words that it’s too hard is not an option. You need to just as anybody else would be driving a company to work harder than all the people that are just employees. You are the one that must take chances. Also, the person that needs to handle the situation when the chances misfire. It will misfire, it’s impossible to have a straight career. You will struggle.
…and no, having a lot of streams on Spotify won’t get you anywhere. You need to work hard for your success.
Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. As well he recently worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes https://futureechoes.se/ scheduled for September 16-18, 2021.