Fri May 15, 2020

I just came out of a meeting for record labels. Yes, record labels have organization meetings just like all other business organizations. I have been a member for the past 25 years, so it was fun meeting people that actually do the same things like yourself and really indulge in record label nerd talks. Before the meeting, I met up with another label that used to be active in this local organization but now is in the bigger worldwide organization.

She just said “I don’t care any longer about the local chapter. It’s really too low a quality of members to be even taken seriously as working in the music business. In reality, they are worse than the artist themselves at their job. It is mainly a junkyard of people that are employed by organizations to give out music in a really bad way. My belief is that the artist would do it much better themselves then being pampered by these bogus so-called record labels."

And now as I write this popping up on my social media feed is a supervision company marketing that suddenly you can also add your song for distribution on their platform. I guess placements didn’t go that well? And then a company where you can create songs and collaborations with others just added on that you can also publish songs with them. I don't think you would feel okay that your real estate provider worked out of a hot-dog stand?

Yes, there are too many people and companies that just offer a bad version of what a real record label should be able to offer. Sure you can use any of the public distribution services for DIY artists. They are not great. If your goal is to have the song on Spotify that works fine. It’s not for professional releases with real marketing but you can say to your friends that you are on Spotify. But to be middle hand for those sites? That is not okay!

Releasing today is not to get the song on to Spotify. That is easy. The hard part is the PR part where you have to work against the social media bubble to try to break into new bubbles and have every algorithm against you at the same time. That is the reason why no one is not discovering your music when you put it up there. It has nothing to do witch way it came in. It's about how you market it. No marketing and the chances of being discovered even to the lowest playlist is almost zero.

Here is the service a real record label actually can provide. If it is a real label! Right now I see too many people acting like middle hands for artists to even do the simplest of stuff. Like a government organization opening up a record label for artists that uses their rehearsal rooms, using a DIY distributor. What is the point? You fool the artist thinking that they got a record deal? In reality, you just move their files to someone else that distributes it to Spotify. Then the artist thinks you are great just because they are on Spotify. In reality, you just broke every chance to market the stuff.

The organization has no clue about marketing. Nor has the supervision company or the collaboration company. I can’t imagine they have staff working with all the strange songs that are in the making all the time. They don’t have any intention to even spend money on any marketing. Instead, it’s just another of these 99 % of the 40,000 tracks that are uploaded to Spotify each day. Good questions would be how are handling things like ISRC codes or even simple matters like information around who wrote the song for publishing rights. Things that actually are crucial for you as an artist to get paid!

Back to the meeting with the local chapter I was visiting. It was horrifying when you looked around to see who was actually claiming they were a record label. 60% were artists that were representing themselves, and none of them are successful and probably would need the advice from a real label around song quality, PR, and other necessary information. 35% were those middlemen that are failed musicians that now work for organizations claiming to be a record label. Then you had three real labels, run by older people. In reality, their prime time was over 20 years ago. One was asking what TikTok was, just saying. I saw only one “real” label in the meeting that knew what they were talking about.

No there was no good time to chat about the industry. The knowledge was not there. The real people had moved on to the worldwide organization. I guess real record labels are at the point of extinction. There are a few ones left and if you work with them, they are great. But they operate on a much higher high level.

Like the plastic destroying the oceans the bogus ones are spreading everywhere, fooling artists to use a service to go to another service and the DIY can’t really promote either. In the end, the artist is stuck with a bad deal with no one telling them what they are doing wrong or how to improve their situation.

Like the fish in the sea that will be gone because of humanity’s pollution, the artists and talent will die by fake hopes to get their music heard.

Contact Peter@: (personal email) (Station Manager)

Discover Sensation

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.