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.

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.