I can just assume you have seen the movie “Finding Nemo”? Well in it you have the fish called Dory has a very short memory and can easily be distracted by something shiny. I was in a meeting with some industry people the other day and they compared artists with Dory. Not so nice, but unfortunately very accurate.
We were talking about some artist that was not very active. And the solution was to distract them with something shiny. But it must be something not harmful and shiny, they added. The thing is that the artist is always looking for the next thing. If they’re on a label and it’s not moving in full speed (it seldom does, and when it does they complain that it is going too fast) another label comes around and that label works like shiny things for Dory, gets the artist full attention for a little while. So, the dangerous part is that they would possibly go with the new label, but they need a shiny thing to keep going with the old label.
It’s very true. I see a lot of artists sitting on a label doing nothing, in the end, they depart and they find a new label and suddenly all these things they were supposed to do when they just sat on the sofa just adds on to the ever-growing list. But also, it’s usually very short-lived. Like Dory has a short memory, it’s the same with the activity around these artists.
That is the reason I don’t like to take over a project from someone else. The short-lived injection that just ends up with nothing. So, when I’m looking for new artists, (and yes I do) we have some open spots on the company that we need to fill with good talent. I look for an artist that has a focus that is longer then Dory’s memory. The focus has to be there. I feel so many are not focused. They tell you that their career is everything and they really want to work with music full time. Still, they can’t take time off work for an important show. They are not willing to work hard to find the money to play abroad at an important event. And they always have a hard time to find time in their schedule to have a meeting with you.
Clearly something is holding their focus. To be in the position I’m in right now I wake up every morning thinking of all the stuff I’m going to work on over the day. Today, it has been planning a huge gala on the other side of the world. Putting a playlist together for the Cashbox radio. Booking a festival for one of the bands. Answering some emails around a license to a film and tv series that I’m involved with and listen to some new artists that have applied to our festival.
Shattered? no focus? No, everything comes back to my career in the music industry. Scattered would be if I spent time looking for furniture for my new summerhouse or thinking of things of another job or worried about my car not matching my 40-year age crisis. So yes, you can be scattered but as an artist, everything you do has to come down to your music and your career.
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.