Fri Jul 09, 2021

Right now, when I do my send-outs, I get an auto-reply from people that say they are on vacation. Especially in Sweden where it seems like we are shutting down the whole country during July. Yes, having five weeks vacation in a row in the summer is a must if you live in Sweden. Not for me though, I work in the music industry.

The music industry is one of the most competitive industries in the world. Same level as being a sports star. You can’t just take a year off for a vacation as a football player. Neither can artists or the people in the music industry. Not the real people, Yes, of course, there are people working for organizations and other office jobs that “work” with music. I don’t really consider them as working in the industry. Same as you are working in an insurance company and insure cars; you really don’t work in the car industry. Same here, if you work in an office like planning PR campaigns and royalty reports, you really just have an office job where music happens to be the product. Then you also work nine to five and have a vacation. The rest of us that work in the field, don’t. We have the power but we also don’t have the benefits.

I’m not complaining, it’s a choice I took. And to be honest today I took four hours of vacation since a friend came by on his vacation. Okay, now I have to gain these hours back now in the evening. Still, it is my choice. If I would have five weeks vacation, I would have a normal job which I would hate, and just live for those five weeks. So, the first Monday when my friends are going back to the work after their vacation, I just tell them the fun I will have for the rest of the year.

Why I’m writing this is that there are now discussions around this problem. A problem with many other problems. Like it’s hard to have children if you are a musician. I guess it can be hard to run anything having small kids, any start-up that can be hard. Now, this is even harder since it’s much more competitive than the normal start-up.

I like the idea that the industry should have the benefits that many other takes for granted that we must give up. At the same time, I know if I take vacation, someone will take over the position, that has ugly as it is. Most people that survive in the music industry have an addiction relationship to music and they are more or less living their hobby, passion, and dream at once. Of course, you really don’t want to have a vacation from what you love the most. At the same time, we burn people faster than a steam engine.

Can you get maternity leave as an artist on the rise and then jump back again? Right now, I don’t think so. How could we change it so it would be possible? I guess we can if we found a system. Other areas have done it so why not this area? It’s an interesting conversation, one of many good conversations I’m looking forward to discussing with people live when we now start up again. Still, I didn’t have any vacation during COVID, I was busier than ever.

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.