You really don't need to be the best to make it in the music industry. It's not like running 100 meters in the Olympics where it only counts if you are the fastest. Even better, if you break the record to be the fastest in the world. In the music industry, it's not like that.
It's not to be the smartest either. You surround yourself with inspiration and you steal things in a nice way and you will be fine. You really don't have to invent a new instrument. Here you just take things and elevate them a bit and make them your own.
The big issue is that nothing goes fast in the music industry, nothing. It's always delayed. At the same time, it moves so fast so if you leave it for a year you are totally out. In the whole equation, you need to have stamina. Stick to your guns, and do it well.
You are not in charge when your break will happen or how it will happen. That is all up to the formula and pure luck to decide. Really no one knows or can decide that. No one, not the majors. No one! The problem is that you think everything will happen fast. Too many people say “it's my turn now. I need to make money on my shows and my music.” No, it's not your decision. When your brand and music have that value it will happen. Until then you need to have the stamina to keep going on to build that value up. Yes, you think that you have done everything a hundred percent. In reality, it's just ninety percent. You need the stamina to go ten percent more. And actually, it might not even be ten percent sometimes not even fifty percent is done.
The biggest problem in the industry is that no one can tell how close you are to that break. If you are one percent or ninety, it is impossible to say. Here is where the stamina comes in. If you keep doing what you do with full passion it is a hundred percent sure that you will break. You just have to keep doing it and not listen to people saying that you can't. Keep on doing what you do and find a way to get just the amount that you need for money. New roads and doors will open. No one career looks the same. It's just about the stamina to keep everything up and running.
What breaks you is that you start to listen to what people say. You become the dead fish that follows the stream. If you do what you love yourself you really don't need that persona or follow the crazy taste changes that the industry presents. Of course, this is in the taste directory. Just be stubborn and work against technical things and be not accessible is stupid. This is about the taste, not that you just give out the music on cassette tapes to be as indie as possible, that is just stupid and just gonna give you that you need more stamina then needed.
This goes for everything in the music industry. I'm here on my journey because of my stamina, not because I'm the smartest or the best. I just kept things going long enough and the knowledge that I encountered and the doors that got in my way I just entered.
Yes, I have been totally broke! People have told me to get a real job! People have laughed at my creations! People have ignored me! They still do and will keep on doing so.
The same people that said that yesterday are today a failure themselves. Sitting on small, shitty jobs in my hometown waiting for retirement in their forties and worry about how they should match their socks. They thought it would go fast and bailed out too early. And never took the chances that were to them presented because they thought a new and better one would come, they thought it was their time.
I have reached that goal when my father had stopped asking when I would get a real job, and just wonder if I can support myself financially on my projects (well I have done it for thirty years).
The only thing that truly that counts here is that you keep up what you truly believe in. If you really want to be on that stage. You can be on that stage. The road there won't be the road you thought. Just keep on going and enjoy the ride. You just need the stamina and not play too safe.
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.