Monday, January 21, 2019

Spending time on stupid details.

Ohh how do you get your stuff up on this social media channel? Or how do I get videos on to Spotify, I see people having that.

You get these questions all the time. It's different channels depending on what is hot for the moment. Still, it's useless to follow these trends and stuff. If you are a big artist you will get these tryouts like having videos on Spotify. They won't do it for the artist that has 10 000 streams two songs out and self-released.

Many times the artist is just chasing these stuff because it should look cool. In reality, it won't affect the career or the fans in anything. You will not be a big artist just because you can link your records on Facebook or that it is a confirmed account on Twitter.

All this time that you spend on these small details that don't matter yo0u miss the time to get real fans. A fan doesn't care about these details, they care if they can find your stuff or not and if you are in the normal channels they do.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Make you stand out!

You need to create something to stand out. If you are in a room (a normal room with people) can they tell you are a musician? Does your project have a logo?

It's not necessary but it's convenient to have these kinds of things. And most of the time they are created in a hurry just because we need them now. So here is my tip-off to start thinking and create this stuff.

As you can see in most pictures with me on a panel I usually wear a t-shirt. yes, I'm a t-shirt guy and you only see me in a suite on the Grammy award. Still even if wasn't a t-shirt guy I would do this. The shirts I have is with the clean logo of with Live at Heart or Musichelp the two companies I work for.

This means everytime people take pictures and post them my logo is shining through. So do you have your logo on your instrument case?

Don't wear your merch on stage though, but on panels or interviews or stuff where you not given the chance to keep up with your stage look.

I don't know how many times people have come up to me seeing the logo and start chatting around interesting stuff just because they could figure out who I am.

But you need to be consistent. And it takes years to build that into the mind of people. And the logo has to follow a certain pattern so it keeps being recognized by people even if you tweak it now and then.

I just went into and searched fora picture of me. This got up first and do you know what, yes there is the logo of Live at Heart. The other two...well Live at Heart NF (Evan Murry) and then Lou Plaia from ReverbNation. It's in NYC this autumn.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Songwriting crisis?

Sweden is one of the leading countries in the world on songwriting is nothing new. One of the problem over the past years is that the view of the songwriting has overshadowed the mean of developing the artist. Right now many of these talented songwriters have to start their own artist projects to get their songs out. Problem is though that they are the good one writing songs, pretty horrible to perform songs live and being an artist.

I thought the world actually would get tired of "the swedish" sound years ago. We dominated so hard during the millennium it should have been a backlash. That never came and I just have to say that the writers have been good to navigate and be updating the sound all the time.

I was in meetings with several labels and publishers though in Sweden this week. And right now they were tired of the Swedish sound and was seeking something new. Is it trouble in paradize?
Maybe, they pointed out that the schools in Sweden mainly produced the same of students so they sounded quite much the same. That sounds they thought was boring and they are looking for something new.

Okay, this is inside Sweden so it could be a flexion inside our own industry. Maybe a movement of the next hot sound from Sweden. Or can it be that the rest of the world feel the same, the end of the Swedish sound?

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Know what people do!

I guess this has been up before. But it was so obvious today.

I got a demo submission from an artist wanting me to spread her music and get her gigs. That is two different roles in the industry. And really none is my thing. Sure I book thing here and there because I have to. But I rather see someone really good doing that.
Spread the music, yes a PR firm but same here yes I do some because I have too. But it's not what I'm really working with.

In this case, it was a 14-year-old girl. And in that age, you don't see the difference it's understandble and I'm more impressed that she has sought around and had a huge drive to want to work with music. So I actually went in and checked her stuff out and put in some likes and good feedback.

Then an hour later I got a new mail from another person.
- I have this really cool band that needs to be heard and get gigs! Can you help?

And here it a rock band with 30-year-old guys doing the same mistake. In fact, the 14-year-old girl had done more than this band in her career.

It's not like just going out there and book gigs or getting your music played. It's a real struggle. So the expectations are a bit too high in many cases that we could perform some sort of miracle. And this is all over the place even a major label can't just do it like that. It's equally hard for them. It's all hard work, more hard work than you imagine.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Right splits!

My friend Daniel Johansson who is a researcher on the music industry wrote something quite interesting on his facebook today:

Drake's "Nice For What" has 21 songwriters, "In My Feelings" has 16. The average amount of songwriters on top 25 songs in the US 2018 was 6.5. The only song that has an alone composer is Ed Sheeran with "Perfect". Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode" has 30 registered songwriters (all are listed under Credits on Spotify).

In the discussion, it all comes up that of course many of the people that take part in the rights is also managers, labels and stuff. And it's not that new, I remember when the industry look that it was 15 writers on a Beyonce song.

Of course, it doesn't say how much each person has, it can be as low as 0,5 % in a song. And it can be 29 persons having 1% each and the last person has 70%.
Still, it's kind of normal in the bigger industry that this happens.

But it's here I get in trouble. For me, it's pretty clear and understand it. Over the years I have done some pretty good changes out from the ordinary things around contracts. The åprobelm I usually have is old people that teach at schools and government institutions.

If I gave an artist a deal where I should have split parts in the song as manager and they showed that contract to their teacher, the teacher would go ballistic. A big problem that we have right now is that many people that teach in the schools and in the institutions really don't have a knowledge of what is going on. Their knowledge is from mainly the 80:s and the 90:s then they were laid off in 2000 and are still counting that the industry works the same.

I bump into this quite often that artists go to some old person they trust and get information that is totally wrong about what it really looks like. Or start going to a school and mix all things up in their head and make a mess of their whole career.

The fact is there are no standard things any longer. You have to go on your sense what is right or what is wrong. If you give out songs on a label that only works in the Nordic why should you give away the rights for the world?
At the same time why hold a label back with just the Nordics if they are putting money into PR around the globe?

Everything has to be discussed case for case.

Also, check where the knowledge comes from. If a person goes on 20 international fairs around the globe and you still think a producer that still are in school and never visited any industry events, knows more. I guess you deserve to have your career dropped.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

You think you look professional, but the errors shine through.

This is a hard thing to escape. It's in the details you see a lot of mistakes. The time you see this is when an artist takes steps between levels in their careers and are new to certain standards and use either old or too new standards.

It comes with things the artist think is professional. Things they expect or have heard you should do. Like that big stars usually have in their raiders that the gig place should just have blue m&m:s in the dressing room in the rider. they don't know why, but since this big artist has it well then I'm at that level too, so put in blue m&m:s there.

Of course, the artist far away to just have extensive rider so putting in just blue m&m:s in it just makes it amateurish. Okay, I will tell the reason why they do that. Is not that they like the blue m&m:s best, or that they want to be big egos. It's a way to check if they have read their rider closely. if the blue m&m:s are there then they know the rest is there so tehy don't need to check everything again. That is why they put in "a trap" in the rider.

In a big production yes it has a function. For the local artist just getting a gig that is just stupid. Here it just screams that the artist thinks too much about themselves or that they just don't know and has followed some advice from someone that really don't know why and think it is a coll things to put stuff like that on the rider.

The problem is that is so many ways to give these small things away. And advice is just to keep to the things you know and stop listening to other artists that just things are cool.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Artist friendly!

Time to time I get artists that are disappointed on the blog because they think I'm mean to artists. I usually ask them what they want me to write about? It's almost always that I should give them practical tipoffs or post looking from their angle of the industry.

The artist angle is though so very common. Every artist blog is just that. Also, I'm not an artist, so me writing about your struggle would be not correct at all.

I guess many are after that I should tell them about a magical page with a golden button that just kickstarts any career. Sure there are good places that I can make tipoff on. I do it inside the blogs all the time. I guess they want me to do readers digest and just take out the important parts in one post.

The problem is that every career is unique. These tipoff for everyone will be hard to keep up or totally wrong, a blog on that would be Aris Take. A nice blog but just around things for the masses. And quite frankly I guess Ari more famous for that then his music?

Still, I will try to write a post a week that more tends to go against the artist side, a smart tip or two that is hands on. To find these look for the tag artist friendly in my tags and you will find them and escape my usually nagging.

Also this year I will go harder against the industry. Time to reveal some really bad apples that you thought was good.

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Try to keep the team togheter.

I got an angry tip-off from a manager to not work with a certain band. He got to be the manager in May last year for this band and got laid off in Dec. I can understand him, he did some good stuff and started to get things moving. Then suddenly the band dump him for a manager he introduced.
The manager was that the new manager should help out in diffrent territorier, instead, she took over the whole project.

In this case, i also know the band so i asked why they dumped the old manager. They felt that the new manager was better and just felt the old one took up to much space. They needed something fresh.
I also know the new manager. She was counting on the movement that the band was on to continue. The momentum was created by The old manager.

A very stupid mistake. Now the old one is telling everyone not to work with the band. So his network is gone. And in many cases, you are more close to the manager then a band. The view in the industry is that band comes and goes and industry people stay. Many will follow his advice and stay away from the band.

Yes, the grass is greener on the other side but since the new manager count on the work that the old manager was doing nothing will happen. In the end, their closest things will be stopped and the momentum gone and in the end, they will start to fire the new manager as well.
What they should have done is keept the old manager. Keept all as one as a team. If you jump around the network wont grow you just hope that the new person has such a large network to get things going.

To kick someone should just be done in extreme cases. In most cases, people will leave in a friendly tone anyway. Then you keep all the networks and you build a team. A team has many diffrent skills and you need them all. If you just needed one star in the team Zlatan Ibrahimović is playing in would always win.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Grow your fanbase.

It can seem to be hard to do that. In some cases, it just happens. And in those cases, the artist has that drive to keep the fans updated. Nowadays there are so many tools that can aid you in the quest. Here are three ideas I just throw out for you to use.

Look back on The old days. There the fans even created fanzines around their artists. Those were more alive then the home pages that took over. Today I hardly see even fan letters or fan pages for even very big names. I guess getting that done and treat certain fans with inside info could lead to a bigger fanbase.

Of course, touring is coming back. Live is the ultimate way to meet and grow a fanbase. Here you can take The help of the new tools and pinpoint fans to make them help to get to their town. This is also an old thing that was used before called street teams that worked very well in The 90s.

Even have a Q&A live on Facebook could get fans from just fan to superfan. Yes, you have to be persistent and also allow you to have just a small number of fans in The beginning.

Everything here is just to get The fans to be seen. That is all you have to do to turn them to superfans.

A Journey starts with a step. A fanbase with a fan.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What are music companies looking for?

This one will really hurt for some artists. What do we really wish for in an artist as a music company? If we could choose what would we look like perfect to develop?

Good to know is that you never get all perfect.

I spoke to some colleagues around this and it all boiled down to this:

Age, you don't want them to be too young because parents are a pain in the ass. Many times the kid is just a substitute for their own failed careers and usually, they are not familiar with what the industry looks like today and really are a bigger barrier for the kid to move forward. So 18 to 20. Why so young? You calculate it takes 10 years to break an artist. If you take a person that is 30 it will break at 40. Also after the age of 25 people start to have things that keep them back. Things like their own apartment, a partner, mortgage, probably a steady job that takes time. Suddenly the rough introduction tour is not that appealing. of course, you can do it as an older person but the obstacles are not smaller with age.

Good work ethic is important. Mainly that they have a good work ethic in the right areas. Too many either just sat on the sofa waiting for others to get the job done. On the other side, there were some artists running around like headless chicken and swirled into the management world or the record label part. Suddenly they were doing deals and stuff that really didn't work out that was actually the area the record label or management control. The part they should focus on is the fans, A area that very often is forgotten. An artist that worked hard to get new fans and entertain the ones they have was very looked after by the industry people.

Motivation was also an important part. All of the people I spoke to told the same story. In the beginning, all the artist told them that this is what they really are focused on. When it came to the real thing many failed. To take a gig when it was your best friend birthday or on your family vacation proved to often that many things went before their careers. Sometimes even the work as a truck driver was prioritized before important gigs.

Good songs were not that important. You can always buy them or get a good writing team. Then of course if they are able to write good tunes themselfs that is a big plus. But the skills to working with other produceras and writers was more important.

Good live was important, but all thoght that they could be trained and built up.

So this is why the industry look for young talents around 20 that are very motivated. To be 35 with a good song is not any convincing in this game.

Of course, this is what we wish for. Usually never happens. At the same time, I see artists have the same unrealistic dreams around the industry. Suddenly a music company just shovels in money and make you famous in six months and you become filthy rich.

Well, we can always dream :)

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Monday, January 7, 2019

2009 and 2019 years when it all change?

Yes, 2009 was really a change year. The depression was an all-time low. A new company opened its doors called Spotify. Still many organizations were laying off people. In some cases good layoffs. Many useless people got fired and old people quit. We streamlined the industry and created new ways.

I feel the same way now. I was sending out a mail to industry people around a request working with an artist. I haven't done that in a while (usually I do it in personal ways) so I went through the list to look at the names. The list was over 1500 people. Mainly, people, I have met during the last five years. 

I was looking through the list to take off people I know not any longer worked on their position or even in The music industry. In there I took off a hundred. Then I went through all people if the actually could offer anything that was a benefit for this case. in practical they could get something done that I can't do. Here 95% of the Swedish industry was taken off. The few left, I sent a personal mail. 

Then I took off old people that really have no updates on what is going on.
After all takeoffs, I was down to 600 out of 1500. After send out I got also many automatic replies telling me that people had left their chairs or left the industry.

Then I got some answers from people that really didn't know what was going on. Things like we can put in them into sync for both master and publishing. Or old dudes that thought that just because they worked on a major we should just go for it.

Down and all it was just 350 in that address book that was interesting and updated enough to be for any use. And that was the same in 2009. It's so written on the wall that a new change has begun. Maybe even bigger than 2009.

Lika a good friend use to say "many are called, few selected“.

Friday, January 4, 2019

A good song is not enough.

I was in negotiation with a record label around an artist contract. In the end, when everything was done I remembered that they hadn't listened to the new demos.

- The songs will be good, they have always been good with this artist. What do you think of the new songs?, said the label.
- They are great especially these four new ones. I answered.
- Then we trust you.

And most of the time that is what it is. It's the future plans, what songs have been and all the old stuff that will bring down the deal, not a good song.

Yes, your song has to be good. But in this new world even if your songs suck, but your story is right they can always buy a song from a songwriter collective. It's not like before when they wanted the artist to be the songwriter. Now it's more divided, you are an artist or a songwriter. Most of the time you are both but the songs are written in teams so you don't have to be excellent on it. There is always an excellent team waiting to help you out.

So when an artist writes that they have a good song. That is nice, but not that I will stay awake around it. Today the internet is flooded with good songs that are going nowhere. mainly because you can't listen to all good songs, even if you find a system that will sort the good ones out from all the shit that is also uploaded.

You need so much more.

One shot is not enough!

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Thursday, January 3, 2019

You need to be ready

Was listening on the winter talks on Swedish radio. This episode was with Mikey Dee the drummer from Motorhead who happens to be Swedish.

A good episode, the ending was really wise. he was talking about all these idol programs that he was thankful that he had done his career in slow motion forward. To be thrown out there on a big stage is hard for any good artist. It's usllay impossible. You need to see your career in a longer perspective.

And I can only agree. Too many artists think they will get their career in full bloom in just one year. Just find that right person, play on that tv program. In many cases, they don't even know what this magical moment will be.

The magical moment is actually a chain reaction of several star moments that come into a supernova. many times people are to busy to get to the supernova to enjoy the star moments. and everything is in the eyes of the beholder.

So your label took you to the biggest festival in your own country and let you play in front of industry people in Los Angeles and gave you a gold record? All in one year. Would that be a success and a good job? No, the artist left the label saying they were not doing a good job.

Your manager brought you two European tours. Playing on the biggest festival in the world. Got you to play shows on a world tour on all continents. Get you a record deal and play on the biggest Tv shows.  All in two years. Would that be a success and a good job? No, the artist complained that they were not going where they should and left.

The part in these stories is that the artists are not ready. They want to jump the steps and do it very fast. I was checking some applications on our web. And there was an artist complaining that it was hard to do an application and wanted to send the songs straight into our mailbox.

No, this artist is not ready to send the songs in the mailbox. I wonder if the artist was up against real applications where you don't get a second chance. Like the artist that was taken out to a showcase in Los Angeles and after two songs in the set of 35 minutes he just said, Seems like no one is listening so I quit now. He went off the stage and we had to prepare the next band to play longer. The sad part was that an industry people came five minutes later that wanted to do something with him. When he heard what happened he just said,
- He is not ready!
And left the bar.

I haven't heard anything around this artist anymore either. He was not ready, that was totally right. If he had been ready he had just kept going and got that opportunity. Here he blew it off. So you need to be ready for the moment.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

What is 2019 gonna hold!

I have been reading many blogs from the music industry and what they think will dominate the industry next year. And there are many good suggestions. Like the positions of Chinese streaming services going forward ( of course, streaming is just about numbers so more people you have more you get) as well as India, and Brazil. Markets that might take over the playlists.

One person in a very high up company said we will see the start of the downfall of playlists. They are to scattered and people don't want to have a playlist where 95% of the content is unknown to them. This will form more lists that are mainstream.

Spotify survival against Youtube music and Apple is also interesting since the market right now says that the Apple streams are more likely to be real than the other two competitors.

AI is coming stronger. It's not a dream its reality. Still, will it find new good artist for me as a listener? No, it will just sort in my own private library.

A lot of blockchains is still there but it seems like there is to many of them right now.

And then they also namedropped several new companies in the music sector.

But what have it all in common? Nothing of this is really caring about the artists. These companies are mainly building stuff for a vast majority to use. Fine with that but it won't help an artist career? You don't win a formula one race by giving the driver a bunch of nuts and bolts and vague dream of putting the car together.

And this is what I see. Right now we are just building tools for the industry. Sure I will use these tools, but the manual for these tools are hidden in algorithms that no one can see.

The ones that build companies that take artist careers forward and not build on mass systems (yes no one is breaking through Spotify, Reverbnation, Bandcamp etc) and can master these systems and get a top ride in several of them at the same time. Now we are talking. That is what is going on.

And it's actually starting to be that way. There is a whole new world and system ongoing, but far away from the eyes of the stock market and the tech guys. In the end, music is about feelings and that is mainly handled down between people, not computers. I think we will start to see these networks rise during 2019.

I got the same feeling in 2009 when Spotify came around. it was liberty to get rid of old grumpy men. Today Spotify is that old grumpy man. same with the people that made that liberation. Time to change team again.

This is why old men die!

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