I am always amazed at how stupid you can ever be in this business. Just got a message on social media about our festival from a random dude with Hello, and then a link to a page. You can see the page is booking agency. Just by curiosity, I went out there to look. The page holds around a hundred lookalike artists.
First of all, a festival normally is not looking for a look-a-like artist or impersonator. They probably have access to the real deal if the artist is still alive. This is more for cheap weddings, birthday parties and boat cruises, still usually the standards of these bands are better than this. Obviously, nothing appealing for the festival. I just sent the dude back a link to the application site, the worst thing would be that he applied with a hundred utterly bad look-a-like acts.
Then I directly get a message back, what fee can we get? I just wanted to write back, for real if you pay me 1000 euros, I will consider having mercy on one of your acts. I didn’t of course; I used the standard answer, I didn’t reply at all.
Then you get the next one that has issues with sound-checks at the festival. First, the artists haven’t even applied yet, this is the booking guy checking if they could have longer time for his artist. Come on! We get over 3000 applications with no problem to have 20 minutes changeover with line check. If your artist is Dolly Parton or Bruce Springsteen and want an hour sound-check I would actually try to fix that. Here we are talking about an artist with less than a thousand listings on Spotify and non whatsoever presence in the industry. And to be fair, I worked with Dolly Parton and she only used ten minutes for sound-check, and she actually did it herself on a big arena stage. The sound was perfect. Dolly is a true professional.
In reality, this booker is worried about things that will never happen. If this is a problem, I am sure not will choose this artist if they apply. Even with how good they are I won’t be able to convince any of my guest bookers to use them since they are not professional enough to enter a stage in twenty minutes. How would this artist manage to handle themselves when they meet much bigger obstacles out in the real world? A question like this just shows they are not ready to play anywhere.
Things like this are a tip-off at what level you are in the industry. It makes my job a bit easier though I shouldn’t complain. With things like this, I don’t even need to listen to the artist to say no. And my job is to say no more often than I say yes. But I do say yes as well.
What has happened in the industry with digitalization is that you can read through the crap talk much easier and with expediency. You have several places to go to see what level the artist you are dealing with has no media. It was not like in the nineties when you just put stories full of lies that the artist sold gold in their own home territory, and they played on full arenas when the reality was that they had not even had an album out and just played the local bar.
What bothers me is that digitalization has brought in so many of the crap talkers to just send messages in different media and eat up valuable time. Do your homework before you approach any outlet.
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 https://futureechoes.se/ scheduled for September 16-18, 2021.