Trust and loyalty is a very important lesson to learn in the music industry. Many don’t really understand this theory. Even the worst of the mob were less hard in this area.
My guess is that over 70% of all careers are probably gone because of someone breaching these rules.
There is a test of younger children that is very cute, but interestingly you can find these homemade videos on YouTube search after “don’t eat the candy challenge”. In short, what they do is put a four-year-old in front of some candy. They tell the kid to not eat the candy and they will get more candy in return. The scientist though said to the kid that you can have the candy but if you wait until later you will get a whole bag of the same candy. Then they measure how far you are as a child in consequences. Some kids weren’t so far so they eat the candy and were not rewarded, some have matured more and waited and got a bigger reward.
My guess is that the kids that had not matured actually became artists. All of them. I have no proof but I have a good hunch.
Why? The most complaining I get from other professionals about artists is that they are not loyal and not trustworthy. That seems to be the biggest problem. Such a big problem that many turn in the whole thing to sell services then invest in artists careers. When you just sell things you get paid directly, a bit like taking the candy directly in this case though you are promised to be rewarded with a whole house made out of candy, not just a bag. And we all know that is not true, just an artist's fantasies, so you can with good conscience just eat the candy since you know you are getting another one when the artist needs the next service.
I just spoke with an artist a couple of weeks ago about some shows. They were thinking of taking a free show that they used to get before. The thing here is back then the gig place also provided hotel and meals. I knew though that the hit of COVID made changes and that they now can’t provide the artist anything. Nothing they talked about or communicated, I just heard it from the booker that was the way they were saving the budget to survive. I felt it was really bad to cheat the artist that way so when my friend called I told him what they planned to do and gave her the advice to not book that free show. I knew though that they needed the dates so I told her that I could speak to some gig places that I knew would pay something, not much but something, but it would take two weeks. No hurry though the tour is in the Autumn.
Then two weeks later I saw that the gig place announced them. Instead of waiting for the better deal they just took the deal that they know they will screw them over! I asked why? The answer was that it was good that they at least had a show that date and I could still book the others so they were safe.
I don’t really think so. I should book things and spend a lot of time to get them and they still go for the cheap trick? I just said no.
In the long run they made a big mistake. I had some real opportunities next year that I was planning to throw in if they showed up on these less paid gigs that I was supposed to book. Suddenly they just have one booked gig where they know they will get screwed on instead of over seven where three gigs were well paid.
This is the reality in many cases. The grass is greener on the other side, but you have to have in mind that doors close very silently in this business.
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 scheduled for September 16-18, 2021.