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.

You Have To Listen To Others As Well

Fri Feb 04 2022
Peter Åstedt

I received an email from an artist that I don’t really like musically. Maybe someone else thinks they are good it’s just not my taste of music. I just wonder who that someone else is, frankly, in my opinion, they are quite boring. I’m a nice person though, or at least I think I’m a nice person, so when I got the email I was like, ok it’s probably not good but hey let’s take a listen to them.

I opened the email and in the text there was every error you could possibly do when you send something out. They had added the song as an mp3 file in the mail. There was this story that made no sense about the artist. No release date was there. Nothing around the song and no contact information in order to reply to the email.

The Day the Swedish Music Wonder Is Dead

Fri Jan 28 2022
Peter Åstedt

Right now, there is more money in the music industry than ever! Yes, it’s true right now there is money floating around inside the industry than ever. It’s so much that several financial people consider it a financial bubble. So where is it you ask if you work as a musician or in a record company?

Of course, this is floating around in IT companies. In the past years, it has become trendy to invest in IT companies that contain music. Of course, the majority of these companies are start-ups with really no clear or good business structure. Let’s take a look at the second Swedish music wonder.

The first Swedish music wonder was in the 80’s 90’s and beginning in 2000. Here you have many songwriters and artists that made Sweden famous as a creative country with good musicians and songwriters. You have a bunch of cool artists that you know are Swedish beyond ABBA like The Hives, The Cardigans, Eagle Eye Cherry, Avicii, Europe, Ace of Base, Roxette, Ghost, In Flames the list just goes on and on. But at the end of the 90’s, the Swedish government made a decision that would change this wave into what is called the second Swedish music wonder.

Are Artists Cattle?

Fri Jan 14 2022
Peter Åstedt

Artists are Cattle! I guess that is what Alfred Hitchcock would say around today's music industry. He once said that actors are cattle. Or what he really said was - Fundamentally, actors are a race apart. This group is divided into two sections: first, those who have talent and have never received any recognition for it, and, second, those who have received recognition without having any talent. Either way, they're cattle.

When asked if he ever said that actors are cattle he replied, I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.

The problem I have today is that the music industry is really treating the artist like cattle. No, I’m talking about the evil record labels, publishers, or agents whatever has been up to artists to call the players in the music industry. Whatever you have to say about the music industry in the past they still cared about artists. Not all of them and of course there were disputes. I’m talking about the new music industry that has emerged in the past ten years. The digital music industry.

How To Calculate Your Value

Fri Jan 07 2022
Peter Åstedt

The pandemic is still continuing to affect us all. We probably must live with it for several years and have more or less adapted to new rules and regulations. This of course has affected a lot of live establishments, festivals, and other things in the live industry. I guess it’s a bit early to start thinking of major tours and gigs again. That is not the phenomenon I would like to write about. I want to tell you how people value things wrong.

As an artist, you have a value, of course, but the value is also very subjective. You think you can get well paid for a show because you know how much time you have spent writing and rehearsing the show. The problem is that a person that runs a gig place or festival is mainly calculating your value by how many people that will buy a ticket or get into the place and consume food and drinks. It doesn’t matter if you have a great fan base in your home city and actually get some payment for a show. As soon as that fans base is not showing up your value is back again to zero. I meet too many people thinking that your value follows along with your name. It’s not, not even with big stars.

The End Of The Year!

Fri Dec 24 2021
Peter Åstedt

This is my last column for 2021. Another year that was mostly spent on COVID, but also there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We got back a bit to live shows in the Autumn and it’s getting better. We still have to cope with COVID and that will keep on going, so we just have to deal with the uncertainty.

This year doesn’t really have that much happening. It blurs together with 2020 like just another year. Now though at the end of the year, it seems like things are starting to get ready. People start to get ready for the new world. The changes we have talked about are now occuring and I just feel strongly that in January everything will kick into gear.

Skip The X-Mas Song

Fri Dec 17 2021
Peter Åstedt

Let’s go down to if it’s really worth it to make a Xmas song. If you make a mega-hit like Mariah Carey's “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and then the world plays the shit out of the song every December each year, yes you probably will laugh when you go to the bank. The problem I see is how many songs that never get any recognition.

I was driving in my car today. Last year one of my favorite stations decided to just play X-mas music the whole of December. It was awful so I turned that station off and forgot about the station until March when I released that they had stopped the X-mas music. Maybe they understood the problem with their decision because this year, they are just playing X-Mas songs here and there. There are people that just love X-mas and want to have X-mas music, and the glitter and the decorations and just love it so much that they can have it all year round, but I am guessing they are pretty few and far between. It’s probably the same people that eat hard bread with ketchup, there are people doing that, but luckily, they are few and far between as well.

Nothing Will Be Perfect!

Fri Dec 10 2021
Peter Åstedt

Nothing will be perfect! This is just the reality and if the reality doesn’t really is for you, don’t even enter the show business. It’s much easier to take a 9-5 job at a normal office and just work there. You going to get the same things every day and you will be safe.

Recently, I have been meeting too many people in the position to try to make everything perfect in a situation where you really can’t provide those situations. I was traveling and next to me was a couple with a child. Somehow, they had ordered a meal on the flight but were complaining that the meal wasn’t delivered fast enough. The whole flight was delayed because of another delayed flight and some trouble with the passport systems but that didn’t matter to the couple. The staff was working really hard to just get this flight going. And to be honest I was just happy to avoid being stuck for several hours in a boring airport. I would gladly just skip the meal just to get back.  Instead, they were harassing the flight crew with stupid questions when the meal would arrive like that would make it faster.

Peter Astedt Explains It Has To Be Good!

Fri Dec 03 2021
Peter Åstedt

I have just played fifteen songs that have come in one way or another in my different roles as editor, playlist maker, radio DJ, and festival curator. The problem I have is that none of the songs had that quality to make it any further. To be honest they all were in the demo stage in the songwriting process. They were recorded ok, not professionally but ok recorded.

In the end, it’s just not good enough. These songs can never find it’s way to a bigger audience. The craftsmanship is not there. It’s not enough that your mother and a couple of your friends find the songs well.

And here is the biggest mistake that artists are doing right now. They read about all the tips and tricks that industry professionals (just like me) are giving away for free on all different channels all the time. The problem is that we are all talking about when a song is good. When it’s a hidden gem that could with the right marketing reach a bigger audience. The biggest problem is that 97 % of all songs that are given out don’t have that quality. And for these songs, it would be like putting make-up on a pig to follow the instructions that these professionals are giving.

Putting the Online Events In The Past

Fri Nov 26 2021
Peter Åstedt

Soon we can put all the online events in the past. I just decided that after the New Year, if I am to be at an online event, then it has to be very special for me.  Even the worst in real-life events are better than the online versions.

I was just invited to another online conference. The problem now is that so many companies are doing these that it is making it so hard to reach info and sometimes it just becomes annoying. Just a simple thing to find the login page was a twenty-minute waste of time. When I went to the organizer's homepage there was no log-in for the conference part. Of course, they were streaming fifty bands that I have no interest in whatsoever to watch a show online at this point.  I’m barely watching shows with my favorite bands because the shows are not interesting enough to see on a screen. They are made to be seen live and in person. To see an unknown artist with totally new songs in an environment where you can’t get any interaction with an audience, sorry but it doesn’t work for me.

I’m Not Allowed to Write a Bad Song?

Fri Nov 19 2021
Peter Åstedt

I was teaching at a music school a couple of years ago, talking about the importance of a good song. I told the students that whatever I told them was a tipoff on how to market their songs but it will not work if the song is not good. All I was saying was calculated by the fact that the song had to be great. One kid raised his hand and asked “I’m I not allowed to write a bad song?”

Is the Future No Real Artists?

Fri Nov 12 2021
Peter Åstedt

This week you could possibly read that the Swedish pop star Zara Larsson had made a seven-figure amount on online merch on the platform Roblox. She commented that “it’s perfect, more environmentally friendly, and a new way to make money. Imagine how many flights it would take to reach four million people? Or how many trucks it would take to bring a pink lake house with me everywhere? And then having a couple of hundred people on a payroll, who also need accommodation and food and somewhere to sleep. Going online saves so much in carbon emissions." She stated to BBC.

She started on Roblox during the pandemic in May and held a virtual concert for 1.6 million people in Roblox but the money comes from her selling merch to avatars in the game. You can buy sunglasses and shirts and other stuff to dress your avatar with.

Can I Contact You?

Fri Nov 05 2021
Peter Åstedt

It seems like people don’t understand that making a career as an artist is the same as getting a business going. We go back to my favorite subject that I should open a restaurant.

Imagine that you hear about a new restaurant that should be really good and you want to get a reservation to eat there in a couple of days. You go to the restaurant's homepage and there you have the menu, some pictures of what it looks like, but it’s missing the address where it’s located and there are no contact details or instructions on how you book a table?

There are links to social media everywhere, but it seems kind of strange to send a message on Facebook or Instagram to book a table if it doesn’t clearly say so. And you don’t know really who is behind the social media accounts it could be their PR agency. After looking through you find info at address in one of the corners and you send it to that address.

How Technology Or Trends Are Dictating How The Artists Write Songs

Fri Oct 29 2021
Peter Åstedt

It’s interesting to see how technology or trends are dictating how the artists write songs. The past year's songs have been very long. The majority has been close or over four minutes. Sometimes even though the radio usually doesn’t take long songs people have released up to five to six minutes. Why you ask is it a trend? Not really it was that many believed that to keep the listener you needed to make a longer song.  If they finally got in there and listened to your song, then you should keep them as long as possible. Also, short songs were always under scrutiny by Spotify.

Am I Allowed to Tell An Artist Their Music Sucks?

Fri Oct 22 2021
Peter Åstedt

For inspiration to o write this column today, I just randomly went through my recent emails. This is just of one of the many I receive on a regular basis, but many of them have the same theme.  Since so many make the same mistakes, I thought I would use this one as an example so I will hide whoever sent it and any other personal information.

- My name is “insert artist name here*-  I'm one half of *bandname*, Indie Folk duo.
My new single "*single name*" comes out on October 20th, and I'd love to send it over to you to check out prior to its release.  Getting in touch with anyone at your publication about my music would be beyond a dream.