I sat in a meeting with quite a few indie labels. It was a crash course on a new play listing tool. Of course, some of the labels started to ask questions about how you pitch to playlists around the world. Because Sweden was not big enough. Also, they complained that it was very hard to get any results.
The labels that really did this, I actually usually receive their press releases since I also work with media and radio. I can easily say that all of their press releases are not in the standard to be brought outside Sweden. They don't contain the right info or the right assets. Of course, they don't get any attention to sending a shitty press release around the world. It doesn't really make any sense. Reality struck me that they don't have any success in Sweden but they are still blaming the Swedish press and radio for not covering their music and releases. Going abroad will not make it any easier!
That is not what is actually failing. It's the number one fail that 99.9% of the artist do wrong. If you would like to have a chance to be successful you need this!
A good song!
Yup, here is the truth. 99.9% of the music that comes in is shit. No, it's not that I'm snobbish or anything like that. Things that I would call decent in my A&R job is at this level fantastic. These songs should never have been given out. Given out is, okay, never promoted actually. When you promote a song you are up against the best of the best. Your song has to be as good as U2 songs. It has to be as hit worthy as Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran. And compared with both Beatles and Queen. 99.9% is not up to par.
This is the bottom line; your song has to be good. Unfortunately, today's artists are testing music straight out. It's like the inventor of the bulletproof vest, just put it on themselves and tried the first test with bullets with themselves in the vest. You see before the artists tested the songs first on the audience. They cut parts, checked how they reacted, and so on. That gave them the blueprint to go to the studio and record something that was already tested. Then they took that out and promoted it.
Today it seems you go out and party, come home write a song while drunk, record it while drunk, and then the week after give it out on Spotify and then promote it.
If that was a terrible song it would be ok. A song has to be great or really bad. Everything that is just ok is the worst thing. It has not place in this enormous brown wave of shit that is poured over us. The songs that come to my desk here are 95% just ok. You can listen to them but lose interest in 25 seconds. In today's attention world you need to be able to keep the audience for at least two minutes. And that is hard.
Problem is that the artists today have a hard time to take any criticism. When you do it live and they start to throw tomatoes you can just stand there calling for your mother to come and help you. Today's artists are mainly after that the intakes on radio and press should just answer that they love the song. They don't even understand that the worst we can say is that the song is ok.
So to have a chance to be successful you need a good song. Yes, you need to rewrite, you need to write with others, and in some cases, you might not be good enough, then you buy the songs from the people that are experts on songwriting. Trying to break with a crappy song has never worked.
And don't go to the people I mentioned, in the beginning, the reason why these small labels are giving out such crappy stuff is that they usually are failed artists and can't really see a good song if it painted itself purple and jumped on their desk screaming "a good song is here". They still think they are misunderstood. In reality, they really don't have the ear to hear a good song. That you need training for. So don't go to your closest friends and mom and dad to ask if the song is good. Go to someone you suspect would hate your music. That day that person likes the song you have it.
Discover Sensation https://musichelp.se/discover-sensation/
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.