During the pandemic, we have opened up too many digital meeting points so now everybody thinks they can export music. People are throwing around words like “export ready” and think they know what they are talking about.
Sorry, I can already tell you that most of these people have no clue what they are talking about. Just because they got a meeting online with a dude on the other side of the world, they think they are ready to send anything, anywhere.
Most of them also act like parents to the artists. Tell an A&R that the artist will have their parents along and they get a grim look on their face. You know that whatever you say to the parent they still think their kid is the best that hit the music industry since Elvis Presley. Their kid is unique and just great. What you actually see is a kid that can sing ok but has no other talent whatsoever. Same here with the exporters. They come up with hopeless cases with no songs that can play ok but don’t even how to conduct a soundcheck in the right manner.
It’s not about the music. Like all the times before we expect all the time that the music should be great or even beyond great. If it’s not, then you already know that they can’t really be an expert to export music. All countries have their own mediocre idol stars so that spot is already taken. It’s about a lot of other things. How the mentality of the artist is. Too many of these so-called export people just pamper with the artist so they are just full-blown divas before they even have reached past the country’s border.
In some cases, it has also gotten too far. The artist has already an audience in their home country and is not willing to step down the ladder of the standard of the gig place and a must to hunt new audiences in a new country.
Too many just see export as a nice vacation trip while you have to look at it as one of the hardest work you can ever do inside the music industry, especially if you have a new artist with a not-so-big fanbase back at home.
Then you have the people that are just bringing their friends. The hopeless artist that gets chance by chance and blows it just because an organization or an export office has too much money and just pays to get the crappy artist in with favors and connections.
In most cases, the live show is also not ready at all. Too many of these bands might get an audience reacting to their show in their hometown since the audience is local and mostly their friends. Out here on the export route, you need to stand out. You need to be good on stage. Not good in a way that you cover yourself with slime or bring up a popcorn machine. Not just that you can do a decent fast line check, know how to handle the audience, and not be occupied to change instruments between every song will get you a bit on the way. Overall, the whole set must be fantastic.
Sorry, not until you have very large networks yourself and know how these networks work with each other and you have an artist that is really hungry to get exported and knows how to do a really great live show and have more than perfect songs. Then you can export! Until then can we stop painful export tryouts, please!
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 futureechoes.se.