The Mega Festivals Are Over!

Fri Jul 10
Peter Åstedt

Another message from a tech firm that promises me that I can find the next big artists by looking at different numbers on different outlets. Outlets, well they seem more just stats from social media and streaming platforms. As I have written before that is just 25% of the artist's career. It really doesn't give any accurate picture of what is really going on.

Sure, you can get some sales figures from these numbers, at least some pinpoint, but not what is coming, just the past. When the numbers start to reach critical levels someone has already discovered this artist and that is why you have you have those numbers.

If You Would Like To Have A Chance To Be Successful You Need This!

Fri Jul 03
Peter Åstedt

I sat in a meeting with quite a few indie labels. It was a crash course on a new play listing tool. Of course, some of the labels started to ask questions about how you pitch to playlists around the world. Because Sweden was not big enough. Also, they complained that it was very hard to get any results.

The labels that really did this, I actually usually receive their press releases since I also work with media and radio. I can easily say that all of their press releases are not in the standard to be brought outside Sweden. They don't contain the right info or the right assets. Of course, they don't get any attention to sending a shitty press release around the world. It doesn't really make any sense. Reality struck me  that they don't have any success in Sweden but they are still blaming the Swedish press and radio for not covering their music and releases. Going abroad will not make it any easier!

That is not what is actually failing. It's the number one fail that 99.9% of the artist do wrong. If you would like to have a chance to be successful you need this!

A good song!

Why One Manager Thinks Artists Are The Scumbags Of The Music Industry

Fri Jun 26
Peter Åstedt

I got a call from a manager that I know on messenger. We usually talk once a week and especially now in the Corona lockdown.

“He dumped me,” was the first thing she said. “After five years he just dumped me!”

I knew exactly who it was, it was her favorite artist that she had been working with for five years. She had told me that the artist had been a bit "off" lately not answering on things and didn't want to take meetings. Still, she thought it was the Corona lockdown that was making the artists depressed.

Now she told me that suddenly she was disconnected as manager from the artist Spotify account, she thought it was odd, but since they weren't releasing anything right now she didn't think much about it. Then she was thrown out as admin on the Facebook page then she knew something was up.

Then she got a short email from the artist saying that he was thinking of releasing in another way now and taking care of his own business.

The Technical Shortcuts You Should Avoid!

Fri Jun 19
Peter Åstedt

Yes, every time you see a new superstar they just appear. Or it seems like it. Most of the time they have been around for years. In the industry, you usually hear about the next star a year ahead. Before it was usually three years ahead, but things are going faster without internets no borders. Still, it never happens overnight, and it never happens as fast as you think.

Just a couple of examples. I had a meeting with Avicii:s manger at least two years before he even became big on the DJ market. After he became big there it took at least two to three years before he went on to the normal big pop market. My guess is that I knew the name at least five years before the coolest mainstream started to recognize him.

Halsey, we got from out American record label they where friends with Haley’s manager and they told us she was going somewhere. She just released Badlands and was going well. I guess the mainstream here in Sweden really does not know her yet.

Why The Industry is Not Answering

Fri Jun 12
Peter Åstedt

I read a great article on a site that sells email lists. They wrote that they get a lot of complaints that their lists don’t work. People didn’t get answers they sent to over 1000 emails and only got two answers. The site explained that you really need to check out the blog, radio station, record label, etc before you send it to them. Not just send an email. Yes, this takes time. It’s quite easy to just put emails into an email list and just send a generic e-mail. The problem is that it never fits everyone. The generic email almost never fits anyone.

You have to go into each site to see what’s it all about and adapt your email content. So instead of sending 1000 emails in one hour, you are down to be able to send maybe 30 emails a day if you are working efficiently.

Why don’t people answer? Here is a mail that came into one of the festivals we work with. On Facebook not even on the official email that goes to the bookers.

Dear,

Hope you're ok.

We contacted you before, last year, about a concert of ******** from USA, blues, bluesrock.

You Must Love the Fools

Fri Jun 05
Peter Åstedt

Right now I get up to ten friend requests on Facebook every day. No, I don't count the girls with scanty clothing that always are home alone who are looking for a male companion. Those are the ones who are just listening to bad Britney pop and have bad music taste my girlfriend tells me so I erase those. I don't want people with bad music taste in my feed. The ones that are adding me are real people. It's not that I'm popular either. I guess I'm listed somewhere.

Anyway, part of these is what I call drive-by shooters. People that just add you and then five minutes later send you a song to listen to. Just reminded me; I got one of those girls with fewer clothes playing ukelele the other day, oh well back to the subject, they send you a song but never tell you what to do with it. Okay, listen to it but what then? I have never encountered any of them that have ever been any good.

This Is Why You Really Can't Release DIY

Fri May 29
Peter Åstedt

I'm currently working with The Magnettes new single "American" and I just see all the logistics that show a DIY artist really can't release on their own. It's not even possible with them even knowing what is needed. In fact outlets most are actually out there available for free to grab. But they can't really access all these channels needed.

Sure, there are plenty of outlets for the DIY artist to reach ie Spotify and some other platforms. Why I mention Spotify is the fact that the general DIY artist just cares about Spotify and really nothing else. They think as long it's on Spotify it will somehow get discovered .

There are almost 40 000 releases uploaded to Spotify every day. So just start with that you need to have the knowledge to release on a Friday which is the official release day. Just this week I have seen at least twenty DIY artists upload and release on other days of the week. Sometimes even on holidays, like someone would take more notice on a holiday? Just that simple mistake can make the DIY release  just go wrong.

The IQ And EQ In The Music

Fri May 22
Peter Åstedt

Just to have a high IQ is not always a good thing. I was just watching a game show on TV and the contestant  was in MENSA (a club for people with high IQ) and had a high IQ. Lost on the first question on how many legs a spider has. IQ shows how good you are on logical things. It doesn’t  really say if you are smart or successful.

Also, this contestant, you really felt that she was not someone you really wanted to have a conversation with. What she was lacking was quite a lot is EQ. Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them, and how to work cooperatively with them.  So, having one of these is good but you can perform badly on other things. Like you are super smart but friendly like a venomous snake. Or you get along with all people but not really see when people take advantage of you.

The Bogus Record Labels Are As Necessary As A Fish Needing A Bicycle

Fri May 15
Peter Åstedt

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."

Say No to Play for Free

Fri May 08
Peter Åstedt

You always get artists complaining that people think they should play for free on parties, pubs and other things. Usually, with the saying, it’s good for promotional for you. I have seen artists ranting long things around how stupid people are, and that they are worth being paid, etc.

At the same time, I get this all the time. Okay, I’m ranting about it right now. And the reason for that is because I had several people talking to me about this problem that are professional people in the business. Right now since there is a lockdown and releasing music seems to be the only way to get something done it just comes in double than usual.

Just as annoying as people asking for an artist to play for free. As a professional, it’s equally annoying with an artist that thinks I should do them favors for free. I just got this message:
I’m releasing a new single next week. Though if you know some good outlets that I should send it to?

To Release a Song You Need a Vision

Fri May 01
Peter Åstedt

Releasing a song/album is really like making a movie but on a smaller scale.

In a movie production, the director’s job is to get the whole team to embrace his/her vision. Of course, they take advice from different experts like the lighting director that comes with suggestions and then the director makes that part of the vision. In the background, you have the producers that do the financial decisions. The vision cannot go over budget. Still, in the end, the director’s job is to make the vision clear.

In music, that job is the artist's job. Sometimes they know, like an actor, they can direct a movie. But not any actor can be a director. Same in music in many ways, artists might not be suitable to make these decisions. Still, in the part that you release DIY, you are forced to be the director that makes decisions.

Don’t Shag The Producer!

Fri Apr 24
Peter Åstedt

Or any of the band members either! Sure, people meet at the job but there is a reason that bigger firms have rules that it’s forbidden to have relationships between employees. Ok, the music industry doesn’t have that but you should see it that way anyways.

I had an artist that was produced by her boyfriend. They did not meet on the job. They had been a couple for a long time so it became kind of natural that they started doing some music together. He naturally produced her first EP and album. Things were going quite well and a record label came onboard. They were very enthusiastic but felt the music had to step up. “Why don’t hire a good producer?”

She got stuck between a rock and a hard place. Go home and tell her boyfriend that his producer career wouldn’t be moving forward with her career? Or that he wasn’t good enough? It just became mission impossible. Every time the subject came up at the record label meetings she avoided the topic. The record label just took it that as she was a diva and didn’t see their new super-producer as cool enough. After a couple of meetings, the record label was not so enthusiastic about their new signing any longer.

I’m Seeking an Artist That Wants to Break Big! (Part 3)

Fri Apr 17
Peter Åstedt

If you missed it here are the links for Part 1 and Part 2 for this series:
cashboxcanada.ca/features-music/im-seeking-artist-wants-break-big-part-1/3890
cashboxcanada.ca/features-music/im-seeking-artist-wants-break-big-part-2/3896

Here is Part 3 what I need to break an artist worldwide. If you have read part one and part two here on Cashbox and you think I’m mean to artists, well you are not up for the task so stop reading and go back to your normal daily job, you are like Harry, Harry doesn't mind, if he doesn't  make the scene. He's got a daytime job, he's doing alright!

You need charisma. (Not really, we can work on that as well.) Yes, you will be someone else. But know who artists really are. Dolly Parton is not Dolly Parton. And the girl next door will never break big like Dolly Parton. Still, I have the knowledge where to find all the people to get these things right. Sometimes an artist is a persona, quite often really.

I’m Seeking an Artist That Wants to Break Big! (Part 2)

Fri Apr 10
Peter Åstedt

Here is the next round of what I need to break you big. You read Part 1 in Cashbox Canada last week, if you didn’t catch it you can find it here:
cashboxcanada.ca/features-music/im-seeking-artist-wants-break-big-part-1/3890

 In Part 1, I stated the fact that we need good songs. But we can get them if you can't write them. You need to fit the team, do what we tell you and don't really question it. The money issue....and now over to the patience.

I’m Seeking an Artist That Wants to Break Big! (Part 1)

Fri Apr 03
Peter Åstedt

After 30 years working with major stars (yes, I worked with four of the twenty most streamed songs worldwide) and with small upcoming acts (I have started two of the biggest showcase conferences in Scandinavia). I know how to make an artist successful and get them to be a major star.

The problem is not how to know how to do it. The problem is to be able find the raw material to mold an artist to become that star. In many cases right now the industry just takes chances. Throw out a hundred artists and then see what sticks and how long we can take them and then dump them when they get tired. That is not how you build a new Michael Jackson or Queen. And the industry knows that. The fact is that the new industry has a hard time to find the material, because it’s trying to hold for a longer race. 

What do I look for then? In three story episodes,  I will try to explain that. Because I just can see that hundreds of artists right now think they are the ones I’m looking for. But like Carly Simon sang, You’re so vain. Here is the criteria.

If You Ain´t First, You´re Last

Fri Mar 27
Peter Åstedt

Why do everything just halfway? What’s the point of going to a just one day on a four-day conference? Why just write a perfect song and then record it on an 8 track recorder with the worst possible sound? Or not having an ok song and then enter Abbey Road and think they will fix the problem.

If you can’t afford the whole thing. Either don’t do it or put everything on the same level. I don’t  know how many times I have had an artist approaching me with a recording for 10,000 dollars and I ask how much you will spend on PR? And they have spent all their budget on their recording.

Or artists that take all their money going on a showcase festival and can only stay there the one night they play with no one else to pick up the contacts. And they spent all their money so they can’t even follow up any opportunity the festival actually gives them.

Too many don’t really get things done in full. They cut corners and think it will work. And, it’s actually doing the full job is the things that actually get you somewhere, the half-done job is just a waste of money.

It’s the End of the World as We Know It – Not the End of the World

Fri Mar 20
Peter Åstedt

For all of us, the news and writing around the Corona Virus (Covid-19)  seems overwhelming right now. And yes, I wrote about it when SXSW closed. The truth is that no one really knows what is going to happen. And it might not be as bad as you think.

This will be like 9/11 - ‘a before and after’ Covid-19.  9/11 affected a lot of security and border issues, Covid-19 will directly affect the music industry like nothing really before.  Record labels, studios, and publishers will be fine. Here it is the live industry that will get hit the hardest. The live sector is still the biggest part of the music industry, over fifty percent in most parts of the world. Also, this sector hasn’t had problems like this ever before. Just that we closed smaller gig places. That hasn’t affected the big companies, Covid-19  has now just affected everyone big time.

Don't Bail Out Too Soon

Fri Mar 13
Peter Åstedt

We have done so many free gigs we really need to get paid for this tour.

I was talking to a manager. She had asked me to give some advice on festivals this summer and I had asked for the conditions on the tour. This was a hard-working project. Both the band and the manager had put up both money and time to get things going. But in so many ways, they had spread the cost in different ways and now the shortage of cash was stopping them to get on the tour they needed.

The problem, in this case, was that they had spent money on things they really didn’t need to spend that much on. Early in a career you really must be a cheap bastard that no one likes and actually save it for the future. The hard part is to be able to tell when you should spend and when you should not?

Self-Sabotage and the Damager

Fri Mar 06
Peter Åstedt

“We had a discussion and feel that posting on social media is not our thing.”

“We like more to be a secret band and then people will post more about us!”

The band I worked with had one of these famous meetings. The ones where they sit in the rehearsal room picking up things from some random dude, like the clerk at the local music store, gave them some tipoff that is totally insane.

Yes, it sounds like a cool idea to be this secret band. In reality, it’s career suicide. Why is it attractive? The main reason is that the band is lazy and really doesn't have the stamina to keep things up and alive. Then this stupid idea sounds really attractive.

As a manager, I can fight this idea. Then, of course, I'm the idiot that doesn't get this new cool thing. Or I can let them try it and slow down their career by a couple of years. And then it’s always a possibility that they quit.

Peter Åstedt How Swede It Is!

Fri Mar 06, 2020
The Last Surviving Peter Astedt Band Pic
The Last Surviving Peter Astedt Band Pic

You may not know the name Peter Åstedt but if you’ve been to a major music festival anywhere on the planet in the last 10 years or so, chances are real good you’ve seen him there, doing his usual networking, connecting and introducing his colleagues to each other.

“I probably attend close to 50 musical festival events a year around the globe as a panellist and ambassador for my birth country,” Åstedt said from his home in Sweden. 

The amiable Åstedt is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and his unassuming approach to his interactions with his associates and panel mates is a large part of his success.