This is my New Year's column. Is there anything good to talk about in 2020? This will be remembered as one of the worst years anyway. I could just fill the whole page with all the stuff that was not good. Nearly all conferences were turned from social events to pale online copies with not as much value. All the time I have been missing out on new artists and especially friends that I would have shared moments with that are lost.
No, I won’t do that. This is what you feel but if you look at the whole thing you can really see it from another angle. You really can’t move forward by doing the same things over and over again. I look at 2020 as the break we probably needed. Not that we needed people to die, but I guess that is the only way we get governments and officials to react to serious problems. I guess we can just cynically laugh that COVID-19 is not as deadly as Ebola, the Black Death or the Spanish Flu. ( a fact we will not know until this is finally over)
I guess seriousness is needed to get a break like this. Because all these changes will lead to something better. At least that is how I see it. If we just take a look at the music industry and see the way things are there. This is the first major stop for the live industry. The live industry has just been going on and going on. Companies have just become bigger and bigger. The tours are larger and larger. And people that actually made money out of it fewer and fewer.
2020 just broke that spell. Okay, no it is not nice to lose your job. Look at it that you now have an opportunity to start something new. Something new that is perhaps better. My guess is that the big festivals and the big multi-corporations uddenly will get competition from smaller ones driven by something other than money. I just think that really is what the music industry wants and needs right now. Opportunities for new people to show new music and new art in a new way. If COVID-19 never would have hit, we still would be in the hamster wheel.
Also, we were shown that we really need people. We can’t replace human interaction with digital stuff. The listening platforms are not the solution to the music industry. We can’t get that through digital solutions we really need the human touch in the way we make music as well as see live shows.
I guess in In the future we will look at this through different eyes because now we know this can be taken away from us. Yes, if you told me in 2019 that we would shut down the world, not travel, not go to any social gatherings for a year, I would have just laughed at you telling you that the economic driving forces behind all this would not let that happen, so it was impossible. Totally wrong, and that will now be a lesson learned and an eye-opener.
Yes, 2020 sucked, but you will see that it was the accelerator we needed to build up a better and stronger world. That is what I liked about 2020. I just wished it could have been done by not hurting people and with so many deaths.
So here’s to a better 2021, let's build a better world.
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. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes scheduled for September 16-18, 2021.