Friday, July 3, 2020

This is the worst song ever!

Yes, you who wrote another song around Covid -19. No there is NOBODY who wants to hear your feelings around Covid -19, sorry. Writing in the intro text that the song is about that is just begging the intake on anything to just put it in the trashcan.

In the past days, I have already got fifteen of them. And most is a smelly cat* or smelly dog* crying how lonely they are. Yes, I know that you should be writing stuff about things that you really know. The problem here is that everybody has their own version on Covid -19. And they are so busy that they won't take in what you are singing about. In the truth, we really don't want to be reminded about it either. So my suggestion goes back and writes a happy tune seeing and meet people because that is what people are longing for. Another song that we should come together and break walls, stand up be courageous, been there done that.

If you are a small artist it is even worse because so many famous artists have got together and already done this. And to be honest the famous ones can't even make this a hit anyway. You need to be first. Like Bob Geldof when he did "Do they know it's Christmas" well after that many tried to do the same thing. Okay America with USA for Africa made it a good second, but who remembers the Swedish Hardrock initiative, or Band Aid II or all the others doing the same thing?

Too many are just dead fishes following the stream. If everybody is doing live streaming then they all jump on. Same with topics and release plans. The most amazing is that the artist that always claim to be one of a kind or special in one way are the ones taht are the hardest to convince that you need to get out of that box to be able to get something new. Like everything else, you need to create and be there from the beginning to be able to get something out of it.

So every new thing that comes around in sites, it's only, in the beginning, you have a chance to be there. Like Tik Tok if you think now it's new you are out of your mind. Now it's over, the artists on Tik Tok is already gone and done. We are chasing the next thing.

But the majority of the artists are in that way they are slow they are still on the playlist things on Spotify not realizing that Youtube just got Googel play into Youtube music and slowly like a giant prepare to crush the green bug. Will it happen? We have to wait and see. My guess though is that many "famous" artists disappear. Their fame is just a base on an algorithm on a certain platform.

To be famous in a real way, you have to break out of that box. Try things and fail and then learn from them. It takes time and you have to be doing it over and over. So forget that Covid 19 song and that you are gonna live stream it. That is almost half a year ago.


*Smelly cat or dog is an expression on our A&R teams for bad sing and songwriters, a cat is a sad girl on guitar and a dog is a sad guy on guitar. Hailing from the TV series "Friends" where Phoebe got a hit with the song smelly cat 


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Don't underestimate the people you pass on your way up.

When I do consult missions with different artists, I usually get claims and dreams from them that are from the past. Things that are no longer relevant. I usually say that the audience that is really young and update is in front run the people inside the music industry that are on conferences are one or two years behind what is really happening. People that are working in the industry and not going to conferences are usually four to five years behind. Artists are around ten years behind. The general public many times over twenty years behind. Of course, this is individual, and all is about how interested you are.

So, what do I mean by being after? I had a conversation with a friend that I the general public, he is middle age and fairly interested in music. One of the artists I work with just had released a new album and he asked when the CD was out. I explained that you didn't do CD: s any longer. But in his world when he was a young witch is in the 90: s the release is not real until you have a physical copy. On top of that, he also claimed that the big artists like Taylor Swift released her music on CD!

And they do that! Big artists have such a big fanbase they even release cassettes or minidiscs, but it's in small quantity and it's just to satisfy that part of the audience that is even beyond twenty years. Still this I can see in artists over thirty just using Facebook, they always ask about releasing on CD, but since CD is really out they also go back and try to do vinyl since it has a better and warm sound. Vinyl has that if you have done the recording in that way. Unfortunately, these people have a budget recording done on a computer with extremely poor mics and with a sound engineer that is totally used to work to get the music on to the digital channels. In the end, the vinyl will sound crappier than the song on Youtube. No, the pressing is because the artist is still in the world that if the product is not in something that you can hold in your hand, then it's not finished.

It's about dreams, I guess. If your dream and picture in your head have been to hold a printed record in your hand, exactly like your childhood artist-hero. You haven't fulfilled your dream buy just putting your new song on Soundcloud.

Here we have the newer generation the artist that is twenty-five and up. The ones that are laughing reading the text above. Their goal is to get the song on Spotify and get many streams. If your song has a hundred million streams, you’re a star. This is proven wrong time after time and the industry in the front has already left this number-crunching because of the new statistic tools. But the artist is still there, looking at how their idols during 2010 just went online and got a million streams the first day. That it was all cheating and that it was just one platform they don't want to hear. When you work with them the only thing that matter is how many streams they get. They are also very centred around Spotify. That you can compare numbers against Youtube or that Apple is already bigger than Spotify in USA goes by deaf ears.

I had a funny conversation with a young punk band. First, I was commenting on that their music sounded like in the beginning in the 90: s. They were very flattered because they really embraced all those punk bands from that era. I explained that those band had developed the punk sound from the late seventies. And they need to update their sound to today instead of trying to sound like some 50-year-old dude that is still up there doing punk songs from the 90: s. 
Nope, they wanted the whole package. The next goal was to play on CBGB: s. I just had to explain that CBGB: s had closed several years ago. It was like killing their dream. They had seen themselves going into CBGB: s and play. I just had to tell them that the early punk bands didn't play on CBGB: s because it was cool. It was the only place they could have a gig on. Then they made the whole thing cool. When I spoke about CBGB: s with these bands like Ramones, Television and Blondie they were looking out and wanted to go beyond CBGB: s. 

This is part of the problem I have when I consult. In many cases, the dreams can't be matched. Today you as an artist must create the new CBGB: s if it's online or in the physical world. The problem is to have clear goals since the industry is changing very quickly. Right now, for some of us, it looks like Spotify has been there forever it just ten years. Ten years ago, we had MySpace and you think that is old. 

Jumping trends though never work. Right now, everybody is talking TikTok. At the same time, we see the stars of Snapchat dying. Also, each platform contains its generation. Facebook is for people over forty. Instagram for people over 25. TikTok for people just become a teenager. Then you have Twitter which is only if you are famous in some other field. So, jump from your fanbase at Facebook to TikTok, nah it won't work.

It's all about the dreams that you have in your head. The older you get the older the dream becomes, or should I say expectations. In reality have the dreams it's what keeps you going. Still have in mind that the things that you create will be someone else's dream. This crappy gig place or festival might later become legendary. No CBGB: s or Woodstock was not cool when it started, it has built its legacy.

So, to be able to make it you need to see the smaller outlets as the next thing. That blog, that radio station might be big in a year or two. Don’t just aim for the big shows or the big outlets, that is already done and are reserved for the big ones. Don't underestimate the people you pass on your way up. And don't just do the things that you think is cool. It's a big chance that what you think is cool is already out.




Friday, June 26, 2020

The mega festivals are over!

Another message from a tech firm that promises me that I can find the next 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.

In another email, I got a tip-off about a new sing-songwriter that just got picked up by a bigger label. And the numbers were not that special, but they were in the range where a label would pick up and start to try to market a new good artist. Still, I need this inside information to know to have an eye on this artist. It will be another year before she will enter the numbers game and if it will light up on the tech firms list and by then it's too late for me as a whatever I work as a manager, booker, or recordable. the reason the number is there is because of the work someone else already did.

Another thing is how these numbers should go over to real fans? I just read about an artist I know pretty well. Hasn't done anything really bigger. Given out some songs on a major label where we can see that they have boosted some Spotify numbers with some kind of suspect major record labels playlists like Topsify. Around 16 000 followers on Facebook and 130 000 followers on Instagram. 
Ok numbers, but with a closer look, the average Instagram post har around 7000 likes her twitter has around 30 likes on each post. Then she has gone over to the big new thing TikTok where she has a staggering over 2 million viewers, each post is around 200 000 views. There are people watching this. My knowledge though as a booker knows that she wouldn't even draw 100 people inside Stockholm. she is not a name that the bookers fight around or even talk about. 

The tech company thinks then I can see this on their stats. But you can't. Yes, you can see on Spotify she has the most listeners still in Stockholm even tough the audience on TikTok is not from Sweden. Has she bought the numbers? Not really, maybe her label has put in some extra boost ( looks like it) for TikTok not so much buying instead getting her on different lists and asking people to follow.

Here comes the crucial thing. People that follow really don't convert to fans. that just click of a button that says it's it interesting for me. We know this from the live industry that these numbers seldom can be converted. In the Eurovision song contest, they have taken several YouTubers, Spotify phenomena, and such to try to break them. This is prime time TV in Sweden. Still, most just don't even make it to the final round. The staggering numbers on social media won't even vote for the artists even though it's free. It's to much work. Imagine then to get someone out of their home to be so terminated to see you live. Yes, a much harder work. at the some time a must if you are going to access the big money from your fans, the live industry is 51% of the money going around in the music industry.

Or wait, it was. We don't know what is going to happen after Corona. One vision I  see several times and is quite keen on is that the mega festivals time is over. These are not environmentally friendly (if it's not set one construction that is already there like Summerfest) and is not good for artists. One effect from the corona will probably be that smaller venues get together to get touring for the artists. Likely these venues have an audience that is regulars, and the booker of the venue will be the tastemaker. Then the numbers really don't count, it will still be a person that promotes the stuff to the audience on a small scale, the way it used to be.

No, I deleted the email about the help I could get help to see an artist's stats. The stats don't tell me if they are good live, or even can do a live show. Just singing in the camera on TikTok will not make a big career. And I think Covid 19 just killed most of the fake artists as well. Suddenly a network of real people not bots is the way you need.

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Monday, June 22, 2020

If you would like to have a chance to be successful you need this!

I sat in a meeting with quite many indie labels. It was a crash course on a new playlisting tool. Of course, some of the labels started to ask questions about how you pitched 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 get 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 my guess is that they don't have any success in Sweden but still blaming the Swedish press and radio for not cover their music and releases. Going abroad will not make it 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!

Yup, here is the truth. 99,9% of the music that comes in is shit. No, it's not that I'm snobbish or anything like that. Things that I would call decent in my A&R job is at this level fantastic. These songs should never have been given out. Given out is, okay, never promoted more to say. When you promote a song you are up against the best of the best. Your song has to be as good as U2 songs. It has to be as hit worthy as Talyor Swift or Ed Sheeran. And your things are compared with both Beatles and Queen. 99,9% is not.

This is the bottom line, your song has to be good. Unfortunately, today's artists are testing music straight out. It's like the inventor of the bulletproof west just put it on themselves and tried the first test with bullets with themselves in the west. You see before the artists tested the songs first on the audience. They cut parts, checked how they reacted, and so on. That gave them the blueprint to go to the studio and record something that was already tested. Then they took that out and promoted it.

Today it seems you go out and party, come home write a song while drunk, record it while drunk, and then the week after giving it out on Spotify and then promote it.

If that was a terrible song it would be ok. A song has to be great or really bad. Everything that is just ok is the worst thing. It has not peace in this enormous brown wave of shit that is poured over us. The songs that come to my desk here is 95% just ok. You can listen to them but lose interest in 25 seconds. In today's attention world you need to be able to keep the audience for at least two minutes. And that is hard.

Problem is that the artist today have a hard time to take on criticism. When you do it live and they start to throw tomatoes you can just stand there calling for your mother to come and help you. Today's artists are mainly after that the intakes on radio and press just should answer that they love the song. They don't even understand that the worst we can say is that the song is ok.

So to have a chance to be successful you need a good song. Yes, you need to rewrite, you need to write with others, and in some cases, you might not bee good enough, then you buy the songs from the people that are experts on songwriting. Trying to break with a crappy song has never worked, will not work either.

And don't go to the people I mentioned, in the beginning, the reason why these small labels are giving out such crappy stuff is that they usually are failed artists and can't really see a good song if it painted itself purple and jumped on their desk screaming "a good song is here". They still think they are misunderstood. In reality, they really don't have the ear to get a good song. That you need training for. So don't go to your closest friends and mom and dad to ask if the song is good. Go to someone you suspect would hate your music. That day that person likes the song you have it.




Friday, June 12, 2020

Why the industry is not answering.

I read a great article on a site that sells email lists. They wrote that they got a lot of complaints that their lists didn’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 into the 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 adopt your things. So instead of sending 1000 emails in one hour, you are down to be able to send 30 emails a day if you are working good.

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.

We got the news that it is possible again to give concerts, with smaller capacity. So we started to plan a July-tour in Sweden.

Because of the situation, ***** will go solo.

We would love to perform at your place. We want to listen how you work with live bands or artists. ***** has an own ticket system, so we can work this way too.

Please let us know if you have availability in July.

And hope we can work something out.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

*** e presskit ***

*** Youtube link ***  [3/11/2012]

Kind regards

***

First, as I wrote. It came on Facebook, the person that handles the social media for the festival is not the booker. It’s not even interesting for this person to send this along. Why I saw it is that I was in there looking for something else. Since it clearly says a lot of instructions on how to reach the festival team on the homepage we can directly see that she hasn’t even been inside.

It’s a festival. She assumes it’s a gig place. Just that should be avoided by a quick look on the Facebook page.

The festival is held in September. She is asking for dates in July! Also easy checked on the Facebook page and the homepage.

She got the news that you could do smaller capacity shows? That is more than I know. Sweden has not opened up like several others and is still in 50 person capacity. And it looks like we will keep that over July as well.

She wants to discuss how we work with artists. We really don’t have time to discuss that even with the artists we book. Anything that says that I need to explain or discuss things is a big no no.

Having an own ticket system. I really don’t see the point. If we where a venue we would have a ticketing system. As a festival, we have that already. And to be honest there are so many ticketing systems out there so getting one is as easy as getting spam mails. Another question that arises is if we used the artist ticketing system how safe is that we ever got the money that we sold for?

Then in the end. Sending a YouTube link of a show done eight years ago is kind of strange. I would like to have something that is closer in time and something on the solo act since this link goes to a full house concert.

Why not writing this back to her? No, then you get a full email with excuses and other stuff. We are not paid to clean up the booking agents’ mistakes. Already here we don’t have any possibilities. We don’t have a show in July, and we are not opened up for more than 50 people and that can change if a second wave would happen. Finally, we are not interested to work with a booker that is not knowing anything around our event and having an error in each sentence they write. We just have to explain everything over and over again, things that already are presented on our homepage.

Instead, you just don’t answer. Leaving the person to make the same mistakes over and over again. Meet them later on a music business conference where they complain that it is so hard to get an answer from the music industry.

More and more also people are just talking to professionals that they know can deliver what they need. They don’t need the fuss.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Artists are the scumbags of the musicindustry!

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, 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" not answering on things and didn't want to take meetings. Still, she thought it was the Corona lockdown that made 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 of 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.

- He just dumped me! Artists are the scumbags of the music industry! She kept going. Not even my worst boyfriends have dumped me in this way, with just a short note in an email. Like five years I have put in my heart and soul into his project and his music. And suddenly it's not worth a shit! Not a call. Just a damn e-mail like "this is not your fault, it's me that is wrong".

I knew exactly what she was talking about. You put in so much energy, free work and you're to build opportunity for a person and their art. In the end, it becomes like a relationship so when it ends in this way, yes, it feels like a breakup from a normal relationship. And I have been talking to a lot of mangers that felt exactly this, but it's never really discussed openly in the industry. Instead, the artist just moves along and the manger is just left there. I guess that is why usually parents manage, its harder to just cut them off, oh wait no Beyonce even sued her dad!

Two weeks later I got a message from the artist. He had been working on a new release and now wonder if I could help him with things to spread the word around his music. Before I have done that to help my manager friend. She would do the same work for my artist in her part of the world it's like you exchange favors. Here was more can you work for free since you have done it before. Clearly, the artists never understood that the contact is through the manger and swapping services. I had no desire at all to do free work for an artist that just dumped probably the only good person that they had in theri team with just a crappy email. In the end, what was in it for me? The shady part was also that the artist was not mentioning that they had left the manger. He just continued on like nothing had happened. So if I didn't know the situation I might have just done him a favor thinking that I was helping my manger college. I wrote back to him to take the quest through his manger and I could see what could be done. What I got back was just a - Ok thank you!
Nothing that he didn't work with the manager any longer, nothing. More it looked like he was still working with the manager. 

Of course in the network, we all let know to each other that this artist was going around trying to get free services. He approached several people. Just that they should do him a favor, several of these are working also as PR people he had could be smart enough to try to hire them, since that was what the manager had sometimes invested in, with her own cash. I guess the artist never understood that. Then the release happened, of course, the release was a disaster. Even if the manager only managed to get some small stuff (mainly because the artists wasn't good enough, and also didn't fulfill all assets), you could easily see that with the small things gone it was really down to nothing.

Then in one of the digital showcases that were ongoing this spring, I got the artist in a private chat. He was still asking if I could do some favors to get future gigs and PR and Spotify. I asked if the new release went well (of course I had seen it didn't). He complained that the new person that he got was not good enough and with that, he revealed that he didn't work with my manager friend any longer. I asked why just to be curious. He felt that it didn't go as fast as he wanted and that he needed new blood.

He was acting like a person that just bought a new house and want to make a new style. Throw everything old away and just buy new stuff. It's nice but after a month even the new becomes old. And that good sofa you throw away, you just miss it.

This is the reason why the more you work in the industry the more you lean not working with artists. I just got a tipoff from a very experienced and successful person in the industry. She just said, Peter tell your friend to work with companies instead, artists just come and goes and you put into much time and to gets payout is so uncertain if not impossible. 99 % is just waste of time.

I guess it's true. The problem we have is that the gap between these successful companies and the artists needs to be bridged otherwise the companies don't have anything. At the same coin, artists need to understand that it's not just switching outfit switching managers. And not act like scumbags in certain cases.

It takes two to tango! The scumbags are everywhere. But when people talk about the evil music industry, this side never almost never discussed. 







Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The technical shortcuts you should avoid!

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.

2011 we had a band opening up for our band in New York it was their first NYC gig I think even their first gig out of the state. Really nice people, and now they are famous as HAIM. Took though at least four years after I saw them on in the media.

The new technological things are tempting to use. Right now, everybody is talking TikTok, and yes, they produce a couple of stars. So did Myspace also and Snapchat. Still these new ones are easy since they are relatively easy to cheat on. And cheating is not going to get you a career. There is no way Doja Cat will be as big as the Beatles. My guess Doja Cat is gone in five years.

Why? She came through TikTok, cheating we don’t know it was a new medium and she maybe was really good on it. The Beatles came with “She loves you” after spending two years playing live in Hamburg Germany. They played over 250 nights in the seedy seaport city, and venues often demanded they play four or five hours a night. The shows were not glamorous. That made them live experts and when they got their hit. They knew how to get the audience to listen and also how to make everything work.

Today the average mumble rapper is giving out songs then cheat by buying streams to get to the top chat. Suddenly they get their 15 minutes in the spotlight. They have no live training, no media knowledge and everything they have done can be traced by social media. It is all over before it’s over. You can’t build a sustainable career on these premises. 

But all artists just carve that everything goes that fast. Witch is impossible. Even with a world hit, you cannot be booked to all festivals. There is no way you can schedule that many concerts. To just handle the first success, you are doomed to be out for three years to cover them all. Also, that is hard work if you haven’t toured before and are through upon a big stage there is really no chance that you would do that stage justice. 

These years that you need to do is called the dog years. You need to learn for a small audience when and the technical difficulties to handle the big stages. That is why tv shows like the voice or x-factor seldom work. Here they put them on the big stage directly and then they go back to the small ones. There is no build-up by knowledge on how to handle your fans or audience.

Right now, I see so many artists just looking for shortcuts in the form of platforms or bad tv formats thinking they can build a career. Cheating is a part of that. Yes, Spotify we know that you can stop cheaters. The likelihood that an unsigned criminal rapper for a suburb in Stockholm has 7 songs on the top fifty charts outdoing Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande's new hit with two songs and Drake is not just plausible. And not that guy has never done a live show and will probably never be able to make it.
No, the shortcuts will not make you a star. The digital things are just new tools that replaced the fan clubs.