Self-Sabotage and the Damager
Fri Mar 06, 2020

“We had a discussion and feel that posting on social media is not our thing.”

“We like more to be a secret band and then people will post more about us!”

The band I worked with had one of these famous meetings. The ones where they sit in the rehearsal room picking up things from some random dude, like the clerk at the local music store, gave them some tipoff that is totally insane.

Yes, it sounds like a cool idea to be this secret band. In reality, it’s career suicide. Why is it attractive? The main reason is that the band is lazy and really doesn't have the stamina to keep things up and alive. Then this stupid idea sounds really attractive.

As a manager, I can fight this idea. Then, of course, I'm the idiot that doesn't get this new cool thing. Or I can let them try it and slow down their career by a couple of years. And then it’s always a possibility that they quit.

The problem is also that I will lose sponsors that realize that doing that kind of trick is pointless. And it will be really tough to get them back when suddenly some random dude will tell the band that posting things all the time is the right method. And suddenly they are doing the opposite what they said from the beginning.

I don't know how many careers that are going down the drain because of a fatal small decision that involves discussions in different places of boredom like touring, studios and rehearsal rooms. And you get this happening a lot. Here are two other famous ones.

“Oh! No one is releasing during the Christmas holidays. No pr person is willing to help so I will release on my own with no pr on Christmas Eve as a gift for my fans!”

“No, I would rather stay at home, rehearse and write new songs than play on that showcase and make new connections.”

I don't know, but it seems like a mechanism to sabotage your own career. The plunge is too scary so instead, you just take this crazy idea. I just get the feeling that is the case, self-sabotage. Of course, people have released on Christmas before, why you don't know this is because it's almost never successful since most people are on holiday and radio charts are frozen with Christmas music. So by staying home writing songs, those artists never leave the rehearsal room and never get anything done. Maybe it's the fear of success that is creeping on.

Then you have the other side when the manager just goes on any trend that comes around and adapts it for a month or two making the artist waste time on building stuff that never comes to use. I think it was Nikky Sixx that came up with the expression "we don't have a manager we have damager". Yes, history is full of these fatal mistakes as well. Like why have dinosaurs with sombreros on the front cover of Ramone's last album? Threat the Police in the south of the USA in front of the record label president? Or how many were not just following when all managers saw that mid-tempo songs worked best on Spotify and ordered everybody to do the same formula?

Here the band has to be creative and do something new, prove it to work to get the manager on the right track. So is the manager fast enough to adapt or does it take too long so it’s time to change?

In the end, the best is if everyone is on the same page. Not easy, but in the most successful careers, it is what seems to work.

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 SuperBowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham.