Are You Hunting An For an Investor For Your Music?

Fri Jan 15 2021
Peter Åstedt

“The papers said Ed always played from the heart
He got an agent and a roadie named Bart
They made a record and it went in the charts
The sky was the limit

Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open” catches the dream very well and it is one of my favorite songs. It’s about and artist rise and fall and the lines above here is the essential dream of the music industry.

Someone said that the music industry is selling a dream; we make smoke and mirrors to keep that dream still true. The question now is when will this dream change? The dream will always be there, that a lot of people will enjoy my art. But the rules have changed.

In the dark middle-ages when we didn’t have cell phones or internet, yes I’m talking the 80’s and early 90’s.  Recording a record was expensive. To get a good sound you needed to be in a professional studio with the right equipment. The record label put up money for artwork, a producer, pressing, and recording. An album was an achievement.

This Is The Turning Point

Fri Jan 08 2021
Peter Åstedt

This is the turning point.

I just felt this holiday just passed with little notice. The quarantine just made me stay at home and keep on working on my projects. The only difference was that I left social media and the mailbox with an out of office reply. Even with pandemic still raging,  it has just left me with more work than ever. The major part of the workload is also for preparing when we are getting back to seeing each other, and resuming our time on the road.

No, not going back to normal. We are not getting back to normal. Like when 9/11 happened nothing went back to normal it was a new normal. To be honest 9/11 was a small impact in comparison to something that results in a lock down for the whole world. It is a new normal we will now be facing. What we are lacking is meeting people and interaction so that will come automatically when we resume our post-pandemic roles, it’s just with what restrictions and safety precautions? This is one of the turning points in history, we will talk about before and after 2020.

Here’s to a Better 2021

Fri Jan 01 2021
Peter Åstedt

This is my New Year's column. Is there anything good to talk about in 2020? This will be remembered as one of the worst years anyway. I could just fill the whole page with all the stuff that was not good. Nearly all conferences were turned from social events to pale online copies with not as much value. All the time I have been missing out on new artists and especially friends that I would have shared moments with that are lost.

No, I won’t do that. This is what you feel but if you look at the whole thing you can really see it from another angle. You really can’t move forward by doing the same things over and over again. I look at 2020 as the break we probably needed. Not that we needed people to die, but I guess that is the only way we get governments and officials to react to serious problems. I guess we can just cynically laugh that COVID-19 is not as deadly as Ebola, the Black Death or the Spanish Flu. ( a fact we will not know until this is finally over)

I’m the Grinch of Christmas Music

Fri Dec 25 2020
Peter Åstedt

Yes, it’s Christmas Day when this goes on. Although in Sweden, we celebrate Christmas the day before. This day it’s the big homecoming day when you go back to your little shit city and meet all your old friends in the local shitty bar since they are also home and has nothing to do. Yes, it’s usually a pretty drunk evening. That won’t happen this year though for obvious reasons!

Still, I celebrate that from today onwards Christmas is over. Suddenly, I get back more than half of all my favorite radio stations that have been jammed with shitty Christmas music. No, I’m really not a big fan of Christmas music. All this has led to the fact I have become a collector of Christmas music that is obnoxious. Things you really can’t play in a crowd of people since there will be always someone offended. Okay, the truth is 2020 that is hard to find a topic that people are not offended by.

Consultants Are the New Management Role

Fri Dec 18 2020
Peter Åstedt

I heard from a whining artist the other day that managers only took a percentage of what the artist earned. The artist was angry since he got an offer that he could pay for management services and as usual though he became screwed.

I have seen more and more managers actually turning into more of a consultant. Even more and more of them call themselves consultants. In my opinion, that is also where the management role is going to be, and here are the reasons why.

Yes, in the old days the management role was just a percentage. At the same time, this is quite long time ago and the industry has changed. This is mainly in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s people born in those years are now middle-aged. Back then the artist made money. Touring was a substantial part of the income. Getting a percentage of that and merch sales could make you a living, not a big a living but an income. Same with record sales. The sales came hand in hand with the release that also could be sold and get some monetary value. This was more the 70’s and 80’s, in the 90’s it started to change.

Internet Killed The Nerdiness!

Fri Dec 11 2020
Peter Åstedt

If you know me, you know I am the king of nerdiness. I was out in Stockholm and went into a second-hand store that carries used vinyl, CDs, and Comic books. No, I more or less sighed over the CDs. As a collector’s item, they really are dead. Vinyls, no I’m not a vinyl freak. I guess running a distribution service for over twenty years with vinyls I am pretty bored with the format. Still, it’s a collector's item and there were a couple of strange guys going through the boxes of different vinyls. No, I’m collecting comics, only white men in their 40:s are collecting those I guess the kids of today don’t really know what a comic book is they just think that is a merch item that went with the movie.

In front of me in the queue line was an older guy that wanted to sell some old comics. Usually, they are quite expensive. If you had a pretty good copy of Donald Duck from the 50’s it was worth money. The prices have gone down lately. The old man was unhappy with the price, so I overheard the conversation and after he left talked a bit to the owner about why the comics have gone down.

Which Artists Will Survive COVID-19?

Fri Dec 04 2020
Peter Åstedt

I have been talking to many festivals organizers over the past weeks. Mainly I wanted to ask if they are going to try to do them in the summer of 2021 or push them to 2022 or just close altogether. That has been the debate the whole time which bars, gig venues and festivals will survive. The other discussion is which artists will survive has not been covered much in the media but has been discussed behind the scenes activelu in the industry.

Many festivals are taking the same line-up with them from 2020 until 2021. Now of course if they move to 2022, that line-up is not that current. Even if you have the line-up from last year who knows which artists will still be active.

The Biggest Destroyer Of Careers Are Artists Themselves!

Fri Nov 27 2020
Peter Åstedt

It just comes in waves. Suddenly you have a couple of artists just destroying their careers. The methods are quite varied and there is not a shortage of intriguing ways that they do it. The funny thing is these mistakes are always blamed on the industry itself. Also many times the artist totally ignores advice and does things anyways, blames the industry, and then just does exactly as the advice says and then acts like they invented sliced bread. I guess my list could be be very long. I just will take the ones that happened in the past two weeks have been discussed in different managers forums around the internet.

I Need Some Action!

Fri Nov 20 2020
Peter Åstedt

Last story I wrote was about numbers. I said there that numbers are different than statistics. I have a problem also with statistics in one way. You can get things out of statistics so don’t discard them, use all the tools to collect whatever facts are out there. Still have one thing in your mind. Statistics are only available on action taken.

There won’t be any statistics if you don’t do anything. More or less no action, zero statistics. Or even just a small bit of action the data that comes in will be too little to draw any conclusions. And of course, if you cheat then your data will be not correct either.

I think many people today are not using the data that is actually out there. You should monitor a release and see what is getting any tractions. Most of the time I mainly see artists just count interviews or anything where they can pose and be a star counting. They never check if that interview is read or even lead to some new people getting to the music. That is so easy today, but yes vanity and ego is still big in many ways.

Fans or Just Numbers?

Fri Nov 13 2020
Peter Åstedt

You know what? Your song might not be a flop just because it doesn’t have any numbers. The numbers just show how much marketing that has been done. The numbers don’t tell you if the song is good or bad. The numbers just tell you how many that listened to it and that doesn’t even tell how long they spent of their time listening to the song.

We have a problem in the music industry because too many people believe that they can find the next thing strictly by the numbers. Not statistics, you can actually get info from statistics. Only information on things that are not the future (yet). I have seen new programs that can predict a little bit of how songs will perform in the future from the statistics, but just if nothing major happens.

Do You Think It’s The Right Timing For It?

Fri Nov 06 2020
Peter Åstedt

If I only got a cent for each time I get that question I would have bought a nice flat in the center of London, maybe next to the Queen. No, it’s never the right time or the perfect setting for doing anything. Life would be very easy if it was that way.

I have met so many artists that just sit and wait for the right opportunity and the right place and time/ I have never seen any of these artists succeed or make a career either. I guess your worst enemy is that you think you should do everything in the right order in the right place and suddenly everything will be fine and you will be a superstar.

No, those moments don’t really exist. Hey, you say you read about them in a book about some artists the other week or in a blog post. Yes, there is a right place and time, but they never happen by chance. These moments will happen in a successful artist’s career and you will remember them later. The problem is that you never speak about all the other mistakes you did along the way, you just talk about that moment in interviews and books not what led up to that moment.

The Social Dilemma, Artists Stop Using Social Media!

Fri Oct 30 2020
Peter Åstedt

A new documentary that people should check out is about how social media is disrupting even democracy. And to quote the message that the Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff says in the movie “Social media should be forbidden”.

If there is anything right now that is killing the music, it’s social media! I have been wondering why I don’t get new songs? Okay, I’m over 35 and that means that your musical taste is set. I’m working in the industry, so I’m used to getting new music submitted to me since it’s part of my daily business. So if I can't find new music how can a normal fan have any chance of finding it?

Before I never had any challenges finding new music. Since the lockdown on COVID, I realized that all the new good music came from outside. Everything I discovered was through showcase festivals where people had curated line-up’s where I could go around like a smorgasbord and just discover new artists. In addition, I had a lot of great people that are creating new things and work really hard that could tip me off about great new artists and music they had found for me to just access.

I Want To Have My Music In A Movie (Do It Yourself vs a Publisher)

Fri Oct 23 2020
Peter Åstedt

(Part Four of Four)

Another topic to discuss is that people think it’s hard to place songs. After hundreds of placements, I can tell you that it’s not. Still, there is some stuff you need to consider.

Yes, it’s hard to be friends with supervisors and ad-agencies. If you want to be close to them you don’t have the time to be an artist. You need to spend your time between NYC, Los Angeles, and London and make sure you are invited to cool parties to meet all of them to find the latest leads. On top of that, you only have your songs. Okay that is maybe around 50 of them but supervisors need big catalogues of different music and they need it now, so you don’t have the time to write all the things they ask for even when you do get the leads.

I Want To Have My Music In A Movie (Understanding the Process) (Part Three of Four)

Fri Oct 16 2020
Peter Åstedt

Many times, I get the feeling that artists think that I can nag a music supervisor into giving me a placement. That is impossible. Sure, of course, the more people that know about the song the better the chances are. Still, if it is the wrong song it is the wrong song.

A placement is all about supplying the right song in the right place at the right price. So even if you just released this great single, I can’t get a supervisor to take it just because it fits your release plan. They might even want the single that you released three years ago since that fits. Then you just have to go with that or say no. The only time I can be of any assistance is if I have a song that is kind of similar to the one they have chosen but are not really satisfied with it for various reasons.

I Want To Have My Music In A Movie (Know the Rights) (Part Two of Four)

Fri Oct 09 2020
Peter Åstedt

One problem I have is that the artist usually just comes up to me and says that they want me to place their music. It’s not that easy. If I going to approach supervisors, I really need to know all the rights and have those cleared. If I just borrow your song and try to place it, that would be like to borrowing your car. Sure, if I loaned it to a person that you admire like a famous movie star, maybe you wouldn’t mind. Still, I don’t think you would be totally happy that I just borrowed out your car to anyone.

You also want me to borrow out my own car to you. At the same time, why should I do that? Placing a song into production is a lot of work. Just doing it just to be friendly can be total professional suicide in the business.

I Want to Have My Music in a Movie - The Placement That Went Wrong!

Fri Oct 02 2020
Peter Åstedt

(Part One of Four)

I got a request for placement on an old song from one of the supervisors I work with often. This song is from a band that is no longer exists. We create a deal that we can place the song anyway. Still, it was probably over five years ago someone requested something around the songs from their catalogue.

She had a lead on to someone that needed the song. But it was locked on YouTube through the aggregator to the song. This one was so old that back in the days we let the artist upload themselves to aggregators. The reason why we don’t let that happen now is pretty clear in what happened here.

She asked me if I knew the company that was blocking it as it was not the usual ones, so I had no clue. I then went back to the leader of the band and asked if he knew.

Social Media Gives Away Your Knowledge

Fri Sep 25 2020
Peter Åstedt

Since I hold a couple of gateways in various areas, I receive a lot of requests on social media. Most people are,of course, people I never have met in real life. There are fake accounts so the first thing you research is to find out if the person is actually real. If we have friends in common it is a sign that the person is real, not just one common friend but a couple.

Now these common friends also give away a hint of what level you are on in the industry. Almost like a fortune teller, I can read what you want and what will happen with your friend’s request. I have been playing with my staff here in the office to see if my theory is right and so far, I have been better than the fortune teller machine Zoltar in the movie “Big”.

One example is when an unknown artist is making a friend’s request. You can see that they are new to the industry, there are few friends and the ones they have are the usual local heroes in the area they are from. I usually say yes, and my guess is that that in the first 48 hours I will get a message with a question about sending a song for me to listen to.

If You Had An Opportunity To Sit Down With An Industry Executive What Is The One Question You Would Ask?

Fri Sep 18 2020
Peter Åstedt

A Facebook friend of mine asked this question: Artists, if you had an opportunity to sit down with an industry executive what is the one question you would ask?

It is kind of interesting what the artist would answer. My guess is, of course, they will be aggressive and start accusing this person because they haven’t succeeded yet. Like that would be this person’s fault? Okay, in the old industry there was gatekeepers. That is long gone, everything is really open. The fact is that nowadays it’s not hard to sit down and discuss with even the biggest industry executive what the goals are and how to achieve them.

The Headless Chicken Game!

Fri Sep 11 2020
Peter Åstedt

"Another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust…"

Yes, you can hear me humming that Queen song when I bump into artists or industry professionals that play the headless chicken game. This phrase was invented by an intern many years ago around the behavior of a couple of artists that had screwed him over.

“They just run around like a headless chicken screwing everyone or screwing each other!” he screamed in frustration. And the whole office just laughed out loud. We all knew what he meant; we all knew the behavior he was trying to describe. After that, it became known as “the headless chicken game.”

So, what it is when a person just runs around and tries to use everyone they meet as a steppingstone? At the same time, they try to be friends with everyone. They don’t understand that connections in this business are all about trust, networking, loyalty and friendships. So if they try to climb the ladder on several different places, the end result will be that everything crashes down around them.

The Format Is Not Your Enemy, It’s Free To Break The Rules But You Need To Know Why

Fri Sep 04 2020
Peter Åstedt

Many artists follow all the rules and advice that are given to them at conferences, online or in workshops, etc. One rule seems though seems hard for them to understand: format.

Format is how the general audience listens and how music presented to them. You have every artistic right and freedom to not follow these format rules. You need to be aware that you are excluding yourself from a lot of listeners. No, you cannot change people. Either you change for them or you accept a smaller range of audiences. Either way is the right way for you, it's your choice. Right now, however, we have too many people that have chosen to leave formats and then doing PR and efforts that are in a format world, and then complaining that they don’t get the same chance as other artists and that the world is too shallow.