Since I hold a couple of gateways in various areas, I receive a lot of requests on social media. Most people are,of course, people I never have met in real life. There are fake accounts so the first thing you research is to find out if the person is actually real. If we have friends in common it is a sign that the person is real, not just one common friend but a couple.
Now these common friends also give away a hint of what level you are on in the industry. Almost like a fortune teller, I can read what you want and what will happen with your friend’s request. I have been playing with my staff here in the office to see if my theory is right and so far, I have been better than the fortune teller machine Zoltar in the movie “Big”.
One example is when an unknown artist is making a friend’s request. You can see that they are new to the industry, there are few friends and the ones they have are the usual local heroes in the area they are from. I usually say yes, and my guess is that that in the first 48 hours I will get a message with a question about sending a song for me to listen to.
The fun part is that since they are an artist I just go into their accounts and check out what they have so when the question comes, I have usually already seen and heard their music. It only takes a couple of minutes. I like those in one way. The problem is usually that they demand a lot of feedback which I really don’t have time to answer. Unfortunately, my work time is limited to helping you with your new song that is already released.
Then you have another area. You get friend requests from local industry professionals and you can easily see that all the associated friends are from an area or a specific country. These usually just say hello and hope that they will meet me on some convention later that will be held in their area. The strange part is that they never offer their services or discuss an exchange of knowledge opportunity?
Then you have the braggers. These are usually older people asking for a “friendship” and immediately start name dropping about the people they have worked with. The main problem with these ones is the fact that the names they are throwing around are generally not in the industry any longer, a lot of “has beens”. The question comes around to that they are seeking a job or something that we can hire them for. The problem here is that the friend's list gives away that your “best before” date is long overdue and several of the same friends have done the exact same request.
Then you have the spies. The ones that just make a friend’s request. You can see that they hold various interesting contacts. These usually just never send you a message. Instead, they are in for keeping an eye on what you are launching, what you are posting and what you are currently working on. This is the reason why I have stopped telling who I meet or when and keep my new contacts confidential. The only time I do that is if something is already in the works and I want to brag or promote. During a showcase festival, we made the whole page crazy by taking pictures with big companies and posting them on social media and everybody though we did deal with them.
Another cringe-worthy thing that happens is the artist that runs around like a headless chicken, befriending everyone and asking for favors. There you can see that they end up with a list of who is who along with the shady people in the industry. In those cases, I more or less just avoid them. In the end, they will never make it.
The list, later on, can grow and can reveal when a person is getting to a place where they are an influencer in the industry. Still in many cases, if your friends are only bearded men that play the flute, I know what level you are on.
Yes, everything can be read in the numbers on the internet. Still, we can’t seem to get an accurate top chart?
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 February 18-20, 2021.