The Investment Time Required Of An Artist Is Much Longer Today!

Fri Jul 01 2022
Peter Åstedt

On one of the boards, I’m working on we got into a discussion about how to help DIY artists. Today many artists are DIY much longer than they were twenty years ago. Mainly because the technology today provides a lot of what the midsize record labels were providing in form of knowledge and opportunities. Twenty years ago, it was a tough question to get  distribution, something that today you can get just a click away and reach the whole planet in very little time.

This led to that more of the development is now dependent on the artist. What you can see on the market is also a rise of new people working as consultants to bring in the knowledge that is lost from the midsize labels to the artist. In fact, what the midsize label was providing in form of knowledge and marketing is now available to be bought in the form of a consultant.

This is though not in phase with the development with the DIY artists. They still hear that you should have been signed and developed where they are now, but the truth is that they probably have to develop themselves for at least a couple of years.

Word Poopers

Fri Jun 24 2022
Peter Åstedt

In Swedish we have the word “Ord bajsare”, I don’t know if it can be translated to English, in total translation it means word pooper or word shitter. The expression is about someone that uses a lot of nice words but in reality, has no meaning.

The most famous word poppers are of course politicians. Especially when they are creating projects that have no real function or are useless. To be able to keep these projects alive they create PDFs:s with just words that are pointless like reaching Agenda 2020, or the new metaverse. Most of the time you see this through by that they are not getting anywhere. It never tells you what the project is doing.

Like this that just came by my inbox “is creating an open and fair decentralized network to connect credible and verified promoters”. Que?

So, what you say is that you connect promoters, to be honest, you can get this sentence down to two words: connect promoters. What it all shows is that this project has no info, so they become word poopers to fill out the press release with something.

Why Social Media Numbers Don’t Really Count

Fri Jun 17 2022
Peter Åstedt

On Cashbox Radio where I work as a playlist programmer as well as a co-owner and Station Manager, one of the ways we choose songs is through Submithub. Submithub is a service where you pay to get your song reviewed by bloggers, playlists, or influencers with the chance of being heard and played. In there you can give an elevator pitch. In many cases nowadays the artist writes how many people they have on social media, so if I chose the song, they would share a post on their social media that our station is playing the song.

I just saw an email like that where the artist wrote “If you share our song we will be sure to promote your platform to our 2,100+ followers on Instagram!”

I can see it’s tempting for many of these outlets to just go on the followers of an artist. The problem is that social media is not really a working tool in the music industry. What? Did I just write that, yes, I did! Right now, after the pandemic and when we open again the proof that social media is not a very good channel to push your music out. Live is still the biggest outlet by far.

We Don’t Write The Soundtrack To Our Lives, Just The Background Elevator Music

Fri Jun 10 2022
Peter Åstedt

I was in a meeting with a new artist in one of the showcase festivals I recently visited. Yes, the ones that follow me on social media had seen that I generally do a showcase festival a week, traveling around the globe to just restart my network that is lighting up again after the pandemic.

So here I was again, having a meeting with an artist. The artist had done their homework and presented their career and what they wanted to do, so far so good. They had pretty good plans and did understand the problem they would face doing different things to get their career going. I gave some of my tips of what I thought would be good things to do. I didn’t have a chance to listen to their music before the meeting, but afterwards they sent me links to their new unreleased stuff to listen to it.

Here starts the problem. The music they sent was really not good. If it was just the production you maybe just could have told them to re-record the stuff, but here it was down to the level that the song was not even well written.

The Two Biggest Artist Killers

Fri Jun 03 2022
Peter Åstedt

Right now, there is a kind of chaos in the industry. After COVID now is the time to restart artist projects and at the same time, new artist projects can start. I guess now I can talk about the two things that really kill an artist's career.

Let's start with the first one. You see them quite often since you feel for them. A bunch of new artists that are promoting themselves very intensive. They do everything right by showing up at every conference. They set meetings, and have a business plan. Their social media is on point, and the look and even grants are in place. They just forgot one thing; you need good songs. You can do everything right, but in the end, the songs have to be good. That is the only thing you really can’t paint over or just fake.

There is of course a solution to this, and that is to buy the songs from a songwriter. The feeling I have gotten over the years is that these people that do everything themselves and do it well, also want to control and write the songs, so it usually never goes well when you start to propose that you might want to buy some good songs.

When Are The Industry People Getting Paid?

Fri May 27 2022
Peter Åstedt

I was writing a column not long ago about how you should network right now. I had a thing in the back of my mind when I wrote that on a trend that is starting to develop. The conferences and showcase festivals have made it really easy to access people. In reality, though you are accessing valuable time. Most people even speakers don’t really get paid to be at conferences or showcases. If you are at the top, you get your flights and hotels covered and at best your food paid. You do this to further build your network  and you need it so you really don’t do this to make money. In most cases, you lose money to be on them if you just count costs. The payment is that you get greater contacts and can make money out of that, but that is a far way down the road.

Since you are at these conferences probably paying in some way or another you need to get your bang for the buck. You need to get meetings with people that can take your company forward and you need more of it now than ever as we open up again for the comeback of the live industry after the pandemic. You want meetings with people who are at the same level as you  and that can take you forward.

Network While You Can

Fri May 20 2022
Peter Åstedt

I remember the board meeting the first year I was getting my network together. This is over fifteen years ago, so the concept was new to go around and attend different events to build up a strong network to get your music out into the world. Before this, you mainly just built networks yearly at Midem in Cannes, France and that was it. As well,  there was a hierarchy that was sometimes very hard to break through.

You Can’t Paint Over Bad Music

Fri May 13 2022
Peter Åstedt

I don’t know if it’s a trend right now, but I get in suggestions to check out acts that have very strange stage shows. And not just a strange show, also strange styles like experimental folk triphop. I like when you do something new, but the rule is still do something new but  it has to be good or to say excellent.

It’s like baking a cake, you can go safe and bake a strawberry cake. Nothing really can go wrong with a  recipe that has been here for generations and everybody likes it. Then go for to be different and put in a layer of mustard and soya sauce. No, you don’t need to try it, will be awful. Same here in music, you can put in a layer with blueberry to make it different, you need to understand what really would elevate that strawberry cake. To do that you need to know how to make a strawberry cake from the beginning.

A Change Of Local Heroes Is A Must For The Future Music Industry!

Fri May 06 2022
Peter Åstedt

It’s pretty clear that today we are talking about the music industry from a local view and a global view. The national view is fading out with accelerated speed. Only large countries like the USA will have a national industry but it will be also put down to the state level. Canada will also be divided into smaller territories.

The national level is just too small to survive on. The industry today with all its tools for global marketing makes it possible to be global. You have to start locally of course to build a fanbase, but the next level, the national level is soon unnecessary. When I speak to many frontline export offices they have already started to change their operations to fit this new change in the music industry. Gone are the initiatives that you want to sell your artists to another country, in our collaborations and exchange of knowledge and network.

It's all good that we already are doing these changes since it will help us in many ways to get to a more sustainable music industry along with the touring. The problem I see is that the local scene is not ready at all for this big change.

I Am In Search of a New Artist!

Fri Apr 29 2022
Peter Åstedt

As we begin to leave the chaos of the pandemic and COVID behind us, of course now we have the economical and sustainable problems it created.

It feels like a new start. Everything seems to be starting over. Same with me.  Sure, the artists I work with are still here, but they have their careers and are doing fine. The fresh start though offers me an opportunity to find a new artist that I could breakthrough in the world. I’m also excited about the new networks and places I know where I have a big chance as a manager to make a difference in a career and make the perfect storm.

What do I look for? I will be totally honest here and tell you the things that I’m looking for when I choose to start working with an artist. Not always all criteria are met but most of them must be fulfilled to be able to take advantage of the opportunity I can provide for their career.

No, I Won’t Discuss Your Music!

Fri Apr 22 2022
Peter Åstedt

Sorry I really don’t have time to sit down and discuss the music of an artist that I have no interest in. I know that you have put all your heart and soul into your music. To tell you the truth, I don’t even sit down and talk music with artists that I’m a bit interested in. In most cases I don’t even discuss music with artists I work deeply with as a manager. Why not you ask?

The same reason the artist never discusses what I’m doing. They expect me to give them results in PR, bookings, development and opportunities. It’s not that we sit down and discuss how I fulfill these requests either. I also don’t really want to. They wouldn’t understand half of the meetings and logistics that I’m doing to create their career. In reality, I don’t understand either how they create their songs or what went into them.

It’s Hard To Be Different

Fri Apr 08 2022
Peter Åstedt

The most common approach I receive nowadays with what I consider demo level recordings are:
“I want to create music that is different from others, I don't want to be a mainstream artist. I do music for fun, not money.”

I guess everyone that does music wants to be unique. I don’t think that anyone really sets out to copy another artist. When a style of course is successful, you have several artists that sound and look the same, but I still think that it’s more inspirational than these artists stealing. I don’t think an artist just sets out doing music to copy another artist, to be a total copycat, if so then you can be a tribute band, then you can even play your idol's hits.

The Blind Leading The Blind

Fri Apr 01 2022
Peter Åstedt

I was checking out a service that would give artists coaching and help with their careers. I was checking it out TO see who the coaches are. Two out of five are people that really don’t know anything about the music industry. People that haven’t taken any artist anywhere. They run a record label in their bedroom. Both of them are also failed musicians.

Sure, I don’t know everything. There are things I’m not good at or the perfect person to ask. This thought makes me angry to fool artist with info that has the same truth as a Donald Trump speech to pair up new artists with people that has second to no knowledge. This is like you taking a person that failed the exam and now putting them in as a teacher.

And I get more and more of this lately.  Several times I get students fresh out from the University of music that has none to nothing in knowledge and you just ask them who their teacher was and you find out that the bad guitar player that did everything wrong now teaches these kids his knowledge. No wonder they don’t know a thing after three years of education. And the little education they got has passed its best before date ten years ago.

It’s Good If You Know Some Musicology

Fri Mar 25 2022
Peter Åstedt

Recently I have bumped into really enthusiastic people that want to work in the music industry. They claim to love music, and I think they really do. After getting to know them better you just feel that there is something wrong. They pick the wrong songs; a lot of the decisions are more in the vein that they like the artist and can’t hear that this song from this artist is not that much of a hit.

I know when I played football there is a word in Swedish called “bollkänsla” which translated means that you have a good ability to control a ball. Something I really don’t have. I loved to play football, but I was mainly just kicking the ball and was more like the average player in my age group. I got more and more of that feeling that it is the same in music, let’s take it under musicology.

Record Deal? I Want A Record Deal!

Fri Mar 18 2022
Peter Åstedt

“Sorry for bombarding you with demo emails.” This was the first line in an email I got in from an artist that kept on writing that he or she (the artist name really doesn’t give it away) had written fifteen songs in different styles, love songs, ballads, pop songs, and dance love pop songs. Strange styles to write songs in, but hey, who am I to judge?

Then it was a new link to a song on SoundCloud. The song sounds like you just bought a beat online somewhere and then you wrote a really bad poem to a dead mummy. Yes, the song is about a dead mummy, I shit you not. Clearly, the music wasn’t up to any standards. Nowadays it doesn’t need to be in any standards to be given out either. In one way if the Soundcloud link wasn’t private it had still been given out. That it was a bad song and not that interesting, it’s the rest of the letter. Directly after the link, they jump to this:
I wish to acquire a record deal. There are three types of deals that interest me:             

-          The 360 Deal     

-          The Single Deal Recording Contract; and         

-          The Major Label Deal        

Don’t Make It More Work When You Present New Material!

Fri Mar 11 2022
Peter Åstedt

It seems like people left their brains at home after COVID. As all of the business starts to open up the crazy recordings are coming in like a full flood. Artists have been sitting and keeping recordings to release to be able to get live shows so right now you get a big bunch of them. I have written tips about it before how to send stuff. It’s time to do it again after having been through several emails that clearly show that the people behind them haven’t thought twice or done their homework.

The first one was from a band that hadn’t released their song yet. They had put it on Bandcamp on a secret link, put in the video that would have premiered three days later. The problem here is that I can listen to the song on Bandcamp only. Of course, the link to the video is not working yet and in three days I will certainly have forgotten this email. On Bandcamp, there is no download, just a listening button. My problem here is if I want to play the song on the radio station, I can’t really access it. Here comes the totally dumb part of this email. They write that if I want the song to use on the radio station, I can contact them so I can get downloadable files.

You’re Gonna Need Courage

Fri Mar 04 2022
Peter Åstedt

I just read in a local newspaper about courage. The question they asked five random people in a midsize suburban city, what is the most courageous thing they have ever done. One younger kid said that making a parachute jump was the most courageous he had done. The rest answered that the most courageous thing they have done was move to another city.  And not one of these moves were claiming that it was courageous to move from the capital to this village that is just one and a half hours from the capital.

I was a little baffled. When I was younger than them, I just took a plane and went over from Sweden to NYC just to go on a date with a girl I had just met online. I had also moved around to several cities much further away. I don’t really feel that was courageous at all. Adventure, sure it was but it’s like making a parachute jump; it’s pretty safe. It’s actually much more dangerous driving on the highway to get to the airplane to make that jump.

2022 The Year of Change - What Happens With the Music

Fri Feb 25 2022
Peter Åstedt

Here we have it, the year that everybody will forever remember as the year of change, 2022. I just completed the first showcase festival in Europe, Future Echoes, post-COVID restriction, with a full live schedule. Not an easy task, even after the restrictions are gone the effect of them is still there. This morning I woke up to that Putin had attacked Ukraine Suddenly we now have a full-scale war in Europe. And if this wasn’t enough, you have the most important climate crisis we have ever seen and needs to be addressed with expediency.

It's not looking good right now. At the same time changes are happening with a chain reaction and all these events will form a new world. Of course, this is happening right now, as we have been in lockdown for over two years and forces have been created in many sectors just sitting and waiting for the pandemic to calm down or come to an end.

Scam Artists Will Be Exposed On The Live Stage

Fri Feb 18 2022
Peter Åstedt

The music industry will be in a really bad place fairly soon. I just got another email from a computer analyst company suggesting that I should try to find new artists on Soundcloud since it’s a platform used by artists that don’t want to sign up for distribution.

To be honest, if you as an A&R are only looking for numbers on Soundcloud,  you are not really an A&R, you are just a person that wants to cut percentages into artist money. Today it’s not hard to get distribution, and it’s not expensive either. An artist that releases music and doesn’t want to get it through a distributor to get it onto normal listening devices is probably not even worth pursuing. They are definitely not taking their career for seriously. Soundcloud is a great tool for sharing music if you just want to share the music that you are making. In regards to a career it’s mainly just a promotional tool.

Internet Is Just A Temporary Trend

Fri Feb 11 2022
Peter Åstedt

The year is 1998 and the Swedish Communication Minister Ines Uusman says in one of the biggest newspapers that the Internet is just s trend that will soon die, or like we say in Swedish the internet is just a fly. In reality, she didn’t, the reporter was making a good selling headline. But she is forever associated with it. This is what she really said:
“ I do not dare to have a very definite opinion, but I do not think that people, in the long run, will want to spend as much time, as it actually takes, surfing the net. Sitting and surfing the net takes a whole lot of time. What is it good for? Maybe it's something that has grown up now. Everyone talks about the internet, but maybe it's temporary and then the focus becomes more specified.”

Of course she has been mocked over the past twenty years just like we did with Digital Equipment Corporation founder Ken Olsen’s famous quote in 1977; “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." Today we even carry around our computers in our pockets.