I am writing this in the airport on my way to Bucharest, Romania to the showcase festival Mastering the Music Business. This is my first live attendance at an event in just over a year and a half and it feels strange to be on a airport again.
I'm really glad to be going and given the opportunity to make it happen. I'm still amazed how the global entertainment industry is still in hard lockdown. While I sit in the terminal you can just see clearly how the politicians just count us as something extra that is not important; the theory being music, especially live music, is just something you can be without and not an essential part of life. If I would go forward with an event in Sweden right now, I'm only allowed to have 50 people in the audience, seated with 1.5 meters apart, if you serve alcohol. Currently, right in front of me, are at least 80 people crammed in the bar drinking alcohol. If I put a girl with a guitar in there would it suddenly be considered unsafe?
Now we are crammed in a totally full to capacity plane. If I stand up and sang a song would all these people get COVID?
Yes, somehow certain business is collateral damage and some can just go on pretending that it's safe but the show has to go on. The music industry is really the one of the hardest hit and the lowest in rank. For the people who work in this business it feels like It's music in itself that spread COVID. I get it, music is easy to just cut out, it’s a luxury that we don’t need right? (Tell that to the Afghani people when the Taliban forbid music and dancing, hey you don't need it.)
Here is where the politicians need to transport themselves and try to imagine the music industry people who use these areas to make a living. What the politicians sees as necessary can be almost anything. Reminder to musicians: when politicians need your music for their campaigns be sure to add an extra 200% fee for COVID losses.
I'm not gonna be whiny about it. It's not every day you have to learn how to navigate in a pandemic, to be fair no one really has done it to this scale. But you have seen other catastrophes when politicians have stepped up and took a lead, made hard decisions but they were a good leaders. Here it seems like they all failed? Or does the whole world just have weak leaders nowadays?
We can now see a light at the end of the tunnel (and now there is at least a tunnel!) Due to remarkable scientists who created the vaccine that fast I'm able to do this trip. I wonder though how the weak politicians are going to clean up the mess that the world will be in when we come out of the other side.
But now I will focus my thoughts and energy on to the future. I'm on my way into the new world to meet friends and colleagues that I haven't seen for at least two to three years. I bet I'm gonna hear some crazy stories and I will have a great time.
For now I will appreciate that we are on the right track for the first time in a long 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. 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/