Are The Online Conferences Like Cheap Dating Services?

Fri Apr 16 2021
Peter Åstedt

During the COVID, many have tried to take their conferences online. It’s a supplement to having a conference since COVID stopped us all from meeting personally. Of course, it’s not that hard to get people to sign up for an online conference. Especially if it’s for free. The problem is to get people to interact in a positive way.

How is that? Usually, I come back from a conference with at least a hundred new business cards! I love chatting and hanging around with people. With an online event it looks more and more like a cheap version of a dating service. When I’m at these conferences there is no small talk. Let’s pretend you are at a bar see someone that you like, and you want to make contact with this person. You wouldn’t just walk right up and tell the person that you are the best partner that has ever existed, and you now wonder what the person can do for you.

Online dating is kind of that in its worst form. Here you mainly go on a small piece of information that the other person has pimped up to get attention like a peacock. More or less you can guess that information is not really anything like reality, but hey that is what you are choosing from.

You Don’t Discuss The Future You Create It

Fri Apr 09, 2021

Take a chance, if you want to have a future in the music industry!

If you aint’ first, your last! – Ricky Bobby.

That sums it all. Right now, the music industry is going through big changes, bigger than ever before. Like when Napster came around, when we went from vinyl to CD, from buying to streaming music. It has always been the ones that take chances that are the winners.  

Scott Cohen who started the distribution service The Orchard with Richard Gottehrer said in a panel we arranged, said when he had the idea of digital distribution, no one believed in him and was thrilled when Richard came along who was a big industry person, In reality, Scott had no clue if this would work. Later we had Richard on another panel and he remembered that he was insecure around digital distribution but he thought that Scott was young and probably knew what he was doing.

Invest In Music Is The New Hype!

Fri Apr 02 2021
Peter Åstedt

I just read about a new company again that has what they think a brilliant idea that has you in music in the new blockchain technology. This is actually the fourth this week I read about. I just see a big hype right now that will rip off artists and make the music industry look like a shitty amateur camp.

Get Your Story Right

Fri Mar 26 2021
Peter Åstedt

I recently saw an interview with the Swedish megastar Zara Larsson. It was some famous magazine that was getting the grand tour of her apartment. Then she was in various Swedish media coverage saying that she had been smoking a lot of weed lately but has now stopped doing that.  Strange thing is I first noticed that we haven’t heard from Zara for long while. I looked in both interviews but none said anything about new music.

Then just days later I saw an ad for her new album “Postergirl”. Of course Zara Larsson has great, smart teams working around her to get her exposure. The two interview looks like they are just taken out of the blue, that she just one day felt like showing off her apartment for a magazine or doing a “dark” confession. The truth is that in today’s media world the fact that you release new music is not good enough news.

Agencies Needs To Shape Up

Fri Mar 19 2021
Peter Åstedt

Okay in Sweden the booking scene is kind of strange. It’s not working as the rest of the world since the agencies are often the promoters and also the bookers. Still, I can easily see what happens here might eventually happen to the rest of the world.

Of course, the COVID situation has left most of these companies in a tailspin. We don’t know how many they really laid off. And like the rest of the world,  some have jumped off and started new secret companies not yet to be seen in the light. What has been very evident is that the artist has been changing companies like crazy. The agencies have been more or less competing to get newsletters out with their latest signings. Still, it’s the same old artist-changing agency that probably won’t survive anyway when the whole system and network changes in a couple of months.

Just A Slick Production Won’t Help Today

Fri Mar 12 2021
Peter Åstedt

Back in the days before the internet when the music industry sold plastic discs at high prices, you could get away with just a slick production. To produce a good album in the 70/80 and 90’s there was a different set of rules. First of all, it was very few releases. Mainly because it was expensive to get the music out. It was pressing, mastering, recording, photographs, or, and much more. In the end, an album could have the same budget as a small independent movie. Of course with that risk, you also needed to be very sure what to pick. You had to choose carefully with songs that should be on there and if they were good.

Back in the days these were called demos. A quick, dirty recording of just how the song really sounded. Mainly it showed if the song was a good song. You always knew there would be a producer that would change the sound and the final recording. I remember in the studio when I was hanging and learning about my first recording session, there was a sign on it that said “You can’t make gold out of cowshit”. Closest I guess would be “You can’t polish a turd”.

I Am Missing the Special Bond with the Artists

Fri Mar 05 2021
Peter Åstedt

I have been spending a lot of time on online conferences again. Last year I did over 30 of them and now they are becoming frequent again. But online conferences will never replace the real meetings at an “in-person" conference. One thing has really stood out though during these times. The online world is a much harder place for the artist to connect and get anything done.

Too many of the people I meet at these conferences are doing two serious mistakes. Mistakes I personally also do, so it’s a human thing. Either they contact everyone they just see at the conference, more or less just asking the person if they have an opportunity for them. A hard question since I haven’t checked you out or know what you are doing. The other mistake is just hanging around and really not presenting yourself to anybody. You feel that you don’t have anything to offer  so you mainly just sit there and wait for the persons that contact everybody to show up. In the end, the match between these two is non-existent.

Don’t Fear The Mistakes. Just Do The Right Ones.

Fri Feb 26 2021
Peter Åstedt

One of the bands I work with once said, “Better to do something than do nothing at all”. Another quote is the circus owner Phineas T. Barnum that said, “There's no such thing as bad publicity”. Of course, in the worst situations, there is bad publicity and doing things totally wrong. In most cases, it’s not. And I feel many withhold themselves just by being afraid making a mistake.

Doing nothing is really safe, I can admit that. Progression wise though it’s pure stupidity. Without taking chances you are not going further. My biggest successes have been through mistakes. Also, a lot of knowledge comes from making mistakes. There is a difference between making mistakes and making mistakes.

I sent out a newsletter today. It was very fast because I had just two hours between two different quite important panels and today was the last day we could get the letter out before we got new numbers to send to in our mailing system. Of course, I had to put things together in no time. No chance to double-check. Not even the links and spelling were just through the spelling program.

Rethink The Strategy - What The Artist Needs To Learn!

Fri Feb 19 2021
Peter Åstedt

I just saw a local government that is supporting local artists doing another meet-up. This time it was that their local artists should learn social media. It’s nice for the artist that they get a chance to learn something around the business. Still, it won’t help their career. Social media today is so advanced that the normal artist really can’t be their own social media manager. This course will just get them some small tip-offs and people think that they can do it on their own.

Instead, if they were serious about it, they should hire a social media manager. The artist will have enough problems to keep up with all that content that should be produced then be able to follow up on the information they got from that government sponsor meeting. In the end, the information they get is old by the time that meeting is over. To handle social media today you need to follow the trends and be active all the time to find out about the new functions and what is working. That is a professional's job. Either the artist must choose from being an artist or a social media manager. There is a reason even small businesses hire a social media manager.

Do You Really Own Your Fanbase?

Fri Feb 12 2021
Peter Åstedt

Let me guess if you are an artist, you don’t have a homepage. Or your homepage is not updated! How can I tell? In the past few days, I have been adding independent artists to both my festival Future Echoes and our radio station Cashbox Radio. And I’m usually surprised when an artist really has a homepage. If it’s updated with the latest, I’m really impressed. Most do not this and it had made my work so hard.

You don’t need a homepage some artist tell you. We have our social media, that is where the fans are hanging out.

There is a problem with this. You actually own a website and you decide how it should be presented and also have the opportunity to collect the fans there. The ugly truth with social media is that you don’t own your followers, they are actually owned by Facebook, Tiktok, and other multi-national companies. They just let you have access to your own fans for a little bit. In reality, they actually let you pay to reach your own followers by paid messages. Think about it, a post in these networks only reaches around 10% of your fanbase, if you pay you can reach more.

A Good Picture Says It All!

Fri Feb 05 2021
A Good Picture Says It All!

I guess many of us that work in the music industry are failed musician. My first band was not even a band. We were incredibly young and started a band even though we could not play any instruments. Instead, we played air instruments to our favorite songs. Cute yes, but there is one thing here. The first thing we did before we even rehearsed with our air instruments, was to take a band picture. To be honest to get the right location and background and pose took so long that we missed our first rehearsal and we had to get home before curfew. And the second rehearsal we looked at the pictures and the girl that sang was not pleased because the guys in the band looked better than her. In the third rehearsal, we went to take new pictures.

I have just gone through 100 applications for my new festival, Future Echoes. I started to see a trend. Many of the pictures were blurry or out of focus. Another thing was that the artist was not in the whole picture. It was like a gallery of modern art. A place where you really don’t know what the art is, or if you are staring at the radiator and no art at all.

The Problem With Social Media Porn

Fri Jan 29 2021
Peter Åstedt

I read another column from “mainstream media” as a pillage Trump voter would call it. They just saw a chance right now to get rid of one of their biggest competitors. Social media has taken over what people read. They don’t read normal newspapers instead they scroll through social media posts and there the algorithms feed them whatever makes them tick. If you are totally hooked on cat pictures you will get cat pictures. You will probably almost never discover something new you like instead you will fall into the rabbit hole of cat pictures.

The Most Creative People In the Music Industry Are Not Just the Artists!

Fri Jan 22 2021
Peter Åstedt

For the past weeks I have been on several seminars involving artists and their creativity. It seems like many feel that they are not productive and have writer's block. As well, a lot of anxiety is discussed during  these seminars.

That is ok, but I’m a bit tired watching the whole industry treating the artists as a creative genius and the sole person treated as a creative genius. To be kind of frank, the artist's creativity is often very unlimited and free, it’s should not stop there. It seems like we never talk about those people that have to be creative afterward. These people have to be triple creative with the material they get in. I’m talking about the team around artists like PR agents, managers, producers and consultants.

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.