I have been spending a lot of time on online conferences again. Last year I did over 30 of them and now they are becoming frequent again. But online conferences will never replace the real meetings at an “in-person" conference. One thing has really stood out though during these times. The online world is a much harder place for the artist to connect and get anything done.
Too many of the people I meet at these conferences are doing two serious mistakes. Mistakes I personally also do, so it’s a human thing. Either they contact everyone they just see at the conference, more or less just asking the person if they have an opportunity for them. A hard question since I haven’t checked you out or know what you are doing. The other mistake is just hanging around and really not presenting yourself to anybody. You feel that you don’t have anything to offer so you mainly just sit there and wait for the persons that contact everybody to show up. In the end, the match between these two is non-existent.
This is the backside of online conferences. My best thing has been talking to people finding them interesting and in the end, we find common ground and do some business. This process can take years of meetings and at the end of it, it’s about the chemistry between you and the other person. You have to like the person that you are working with. This element is taken away totally in the online conference world. Here it’s just what you offer and what the other person demands. It’s very easy to get lost in figures or the latest release.
When the conferences were in person you sometimes just found an artist, saw their show and hit them up, and had a good time. You got a relationship going. When you went back and saw the numbers of that artist it didn’t matter too much what they were, you rather wanted to help this person out since they were doing something you liked on stage and were a genuinely nice human being. In the digital world that chit-chat is lost and the first you look at is the YouTube or Spotify numbers and if they are low you just think I will grab it later when it rolls.
It will never roll. Things get rolling because of that meeting where the numbers don’t really matter.
Instead, I’m inundated with different online videos with concerts I will never listen to or see. I hardly see a whole concert with my favorite band Ramones. To ask me to watch a whole concert with an unknown artist that I might like is out of the question. The online conferences for artists are just like a giant playlist of nothing. So why am I’m on online conferences? Because I can talk to people I already know. Be updated on new stuff around people that I already know about their careers. Yes, I also poke around and look at new artists. Play them on my radio show. Still, I can’t feel any of the magic I could experience when we meet in person and I can help you get your whole career going.
I can just imagine this as an artist. I really feel for them. I just hope COVID goes away and we get back to at least interact with people in real-time.
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.