Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Why isn't there a Grammy for best PR team?

You always get that the artist is the genius around the whole thing. Still, in most cases, they would have been nothing if it wasn't for that perfect PR team.

I hear it all the time, artists coming up to me saying they have done the best song ever and it's produced by some dude you never heard of in your life. Okay, it could be a really good song. But I know so many good songs even brilliant songs that never reach the big audience. No to build that perfect storm that a good song needs to become a classical song, that is down to your PR team.

That is why I'm so surprised that there is no award for the PR team. We can give titles to so many people that really don't mean that much. In many cases that producer Grammy, well without that team it wouldn't go anywhere. And you give to mastering and mixing and even background singers and worst of all so many small genres that don't really count. Yes like my five Grammys on children's music. No, I don't have them on display.

I guess this is the reason why the artist is putting so much money into the recording and not realizing that it doesn't matter if you make the nest recording if no one is able to hear it. “If I only had two dollars left I would spend one dollar on PR." is a famous quote from Bill Gates. For the artist, it seems the motto is if I have two dollars left I pay three to make a recording.

Yes, many times the bragging is that they recorded in Abby Roads Studios. Yes, it is a nice studio and can do great things. Still, If you bring in Eilert Pilarm to record there it doesn't matter.



Before you say something. This guy actually was the artist of the year in UK 1999. He was the most booked artist in Sweden in 2001. He is probably more famous than most of the songs that come out from Abby Road. Yes PR is the killing name in this business. It's not enough to have a fancy studio a good song and a famous producer. It doesn't mean a thing. You will be beaten by a mediocre song badly recorded but a very good and smart PR team.

I usllay ask for the PR team when people present stuff for me. 99% of the time I get a big question mark in the presenter's face.

It's strange that the best PR teams are quite anonymous. Most artists have a lot to thank these teams. In many cases, the artist has no clue who they are and what they have done. I usllay ask them when we bump into them on the Grammy Award, few know the answer.

The new industry that is ongoing I guess Bill Gates will quote "If I had two dollars left, I would spend 1,90 dollars on PR". A lot because in the PR game you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Dropped because of laziness.

One of the showcases I went to, I meet a friend who is doing management in the same style as me. I have helped him in some cases with a specific artist so of course, I asked how it was going around that?

I dropped that artist he explained. I was busting my ass off to get them opportunities and get things going. Still, it felt like they very just in for the ride. and when we got eight on the chart and they didn't even post something around it on facebook I just dropped them.

This is very common. In most cases when I start talking to a manager I have seen for a while I ask if they still have the artist they used to work with. In many cases, they just grew tired of all the work they put down and then they are treated like shit.

Here in our office, we call it "sitting in the sofa method". The artist has no longer any go, they just rely on what you are doing and whatever you are doing they just complain. More or less sit on the sofa like a teenager playing mobile phone games and complain about everything.

But it's not your teenager so after a while you just grow tired and throw them out.

This is the reason I don't trust artists when they tell me that their latest company didn't do anything. In most of the cases, they didn't but the reason for them not to do anything was that the artist was sitting on their asses and did nothing themselves.

And in today's industry, the companies can wait, they don't need to develop the artist, just wait until the right time is there and then take 50% of the share. So an artist that just sits there not even updating the social media or the homepage or nothing, well they get dropped.

And they get dropped in many ways and fashions.




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Monday, June 24, 2019

It's your birthday!

Oh well, it's my birthday. Yaaay so how will I celebrate it?

I will get on a plane and travel for over 16 hours to Taiwan to visit a showcase and conference. What did you think that I would have a party? You know what I actually spent my last four birthdays either alone on a hotel room on this conference or on a plane to it or back from it. Just by myself.

I should point out though that my business friend has always been nice to me and got me out on a dinner. The crew at the conference brought me presents. Also, the hotel always sends up a slice of cake which is nice. Last year I even got my own little bottle of champagne from KLM when I was in the air.

But, no I haven't had a birthday party in years. To the extent that my friends only remember that it is my birthday on facebook. Which means since I'm abroad I need to turn off my roaming since there are too many people I don't know who they are, that says congratulations on social media and clogs the system for me. I usually spend an hour on the hotel taking off messages.

Am I bitter?

No way. This is my choice. I love what I'm doing. It's part of my job. And I take my career seriously. The conference is one of the most important ones. My birthday has to come second. And that is not a problem. I can easily have a party later on this summer when I'm home and invite my friends. I really don't need any birthday presents. And I can have cake if I want to.

This is where you see if artists lose their game. Can they sacrifice such a simple thing as a birthday to do something important for their career? The family vacation? Can they sacrifice their best friends wedding? Their kids birth? Can they go over everything to get to the point they want?

Yes, it's really not hard to be away on your birthday or even Christmas or new years eve if you compare. But I had artist crushing their own career for just their own birthday and the will to be home and celebrate with their friends saying no to an opportunity taking the celebration before the duty. That is the first sign to think about dropping an artist.

In the end, it's not that hard this year. For the first time, my girlfriend is going with me, so I will have someone beside me on this flight. I won't be alone, even if I don't mind.




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Friday, June 21, 2019

Happy Midsummer

It's Midsummer here in Sweden and that means that we will dance around the upside down penis with silly songs. It's called culture you should google it ;-)


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Come on booking agents you not in game any longer!

I'm shit tired to explain how showcasing works for booking agents that send me totally useless bands that have no value whatsoever and still think I would pay more than our headliners. We really really need new educations around the live scene if this is gonna work out.

If the booking agents don't get their shit together ( which they don't) yes I will build my own network (which I did). You really need to learn what is sellable what is drawing attention and what is going on in the world.

Right now I book more from managers then I booking agencies because of the lack of knowledge in the new business. and that actually scares me. We need to install much more good or we will loose the good momentum we are building up.

So rule one. No, I won't book an unknown band because they have good music or are good live. I will ask how you did your promotion in the territory that you enter. And if see you just booking shit places in my territory don't expect me to jump on.

Rule two. Get in your brain that your act is not worth that much money, especially not in the niche countries.

Rule three, be prepared to work some PR to get somewhere that includes some free shows, you really need to invest in the market.



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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Making favours. Or really don't do it.

I had a friend that runs a music company. It's not a record label it's more a company that takes care of recordings and stuff. But we meet during a festival and he was speaking of a band that had used his services and he really liked them. Laso he wanted to get them into a festival in Sweden. I said that our booking team would take a listen to it if he sent it over.

So he did and our team listened and, yes it was pretty good. Not so were dancing in the ceiling but ok to get a small spot on the festival. I got back to my friend and told him that yes the band could get a spot at the festival. He then looped me in with the band telling the great news.

The band just said, OK we want 3000 euro to be there!

Well, you are not the main act, you are on a small spot and your friend just went through quite much to get you in the position. The band still was just that they needed as much paid as the main act on the festival to get there.

The thing is that they are not worth that kind of money. Second, there is more than we let go of a small spot just because we thought their friend was nice.

This is why I don't do favors for bands even though they many times says: If you find something you can book that for us. This is why I need papers on the bands I'm working with. The risk that they burn contacts that I have worked up are too risky.

This band really put my friend in a shit spot. Well, I just told him not to do favors for these pricks again and I guess he learned and would never help a band like that.


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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Nope good music is not enough!

I get from time to time artists that think their music is enough. They always answer the music should speak for it self. It's a nice thought but with the new media, the story is soon more important than the music.
Even if your music is the best since sliced bread you ave somehow get people to hear it for the first time. People doesn't find you automatically, there has to be a way for people to hear it and start talking about it. So you need to get that story anyway.

So being a smart ass is not getting you anywhere. Yes, you will be so tired of telling your story over and over. But it's part of your job. To tell it good is a must.

We are back to that artists sometimes don't understand that they are a product. Lets say i have a Restaurant. I think I cook the best food in the world and I think my food should speak for itself. If you have even seen  Gordon Ramseys kitchen nightmare you have seen so many bad chefs saying just that. And in many of the cases where artists say that their music speaks for itself, they are in the same position.

Ok, let's say I really do the best food in the country. But I treat my customers like shit. I don't have a menu, I don't give them the food they ordered, just because I think so. Then it will not matter if my food is the best, it still just makes people talk shit around my restaurant.

in this business, you are in the hands of the audience and you need to please them and surprise them to make things happen. Just good music is not enough.


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Monday, June 17, 2019

What is best?

If I told you that you can get a gig where 40 of the most influential festivals will see you. But that gig is on the same day as you have a gig in the local venue. The local venue is paid, not much but paid. The other gig would cost you 10 euro to play. Also, it's not booked before like you are stuck in a contract. What would you choose?

Yes, a paid gig is good, pays the rent and so on. But probably won't get you forward since you have played there before. Sure you have an audience on that gig that already likes you but the other gig could present you to a much bigger crowd.

For me, it's kind of easy to take the gig with the festivals. You take the opportunity.
I see so many artists doing this mistake by not attending the whole showcase festival. Instead, they take one day and play fast and then hurry home to take other gigs. Promise that will never work. You are probably just losing money on both events. You lost money by not doing the commitment fully out.

I see many bands with full schedules but it's in the same venues all the time. they are not moving forward and just keep doing the same they have been doing. And telling them to take a chance that would cost them they never dare to do. And that keeps them on the same place until they just quit.

Sometimes a paid gig is not better than taking an opportunity. Not always but think about it if you want that opportunity really bad.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Closing doors

Don't close doors just because you are on your way to open a new one. In the new music industry, you rely on many teams doing things at the same time.

I get the feeling though that many artists want to start from scratch when they start a new project. Suddenly they close as many doors as possible to just put all things on the newly open door.

Yes, I have written on the phenomena before here in the blog. And also written about how a bigger team is necessary.
I guess people mind is much time built up to just focus on one thing. With several teams, you need to stay focus. In short, by shutting them down you take an easy way out.

But it is a big risk. I see too many try to open those doors again when the chosen one just leads to an empty room. Going back and try to open those closed doors can be really painful and many times impossible to open again.



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Thursday, June 13, 2019

You need to know the cycles

Never fails, in June you get all the artist that ask how to get a festival gig this summer.
A lot of the failure by the artists is that they more or less do things on the spot there is not planning for the future. This summers gig was probably booked between October to April or sometimes the lineup is almost ready by January. Right now you can't really do anything. Sure there might be a gig coming up because an artist is canceling but there is really no point of sending stuff to festivals which are in turmoil to get their things going next week.

I just saw my own festival last week when we stopped the intake. The last 48 hours got more result than the whole of March and April. In reality, we already booked most of the acts earlier this spring, so you got a very slim chance to get on if you send in the last 48 hours. In fact now a week later I get emails from people missing the deadline and still wants in.

I guess a good tip-off is to be in time and plan ahead. So many timers when I send out in October to the artists to seek out festivals they merely don't do it. They think it's a long time before the festivals so they have time. Then they forget and in the end, they try to squeeze in everything. Just by stop doing this and know the cycle of everything in the industry. Like when do you apply for grants, when is the application period, when is it best to talk to people, would get your chances to rise with 50%.

Okay so right now is not a good place to try to book an autumn tour, yes I know it's June. No, they are in booking for February and March. So instead of getting down to the beach start to approach the things you need at the beginning of next year.



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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

It's about fans not look.

I got the 100 emails about how do you get your video on Spotify. Or how you make your account official on Instagram or how you get a small blue blip on Twitter.

The answer is pretty easy: GET A F*CKING FANBASE!

All this is premium stuff for people with a fanbase. The problem is that the artist is starring them blind to have these small gadgets since then they seem to be bigger. But it doesn't work. You get that when you reach that level and the only way to reach that level is to get real fans.

So stop doing things that are just putting up makeup on a pig. Start to do the things that matter. Collect the people that actually like your music and wants to hear it.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Stop doing this live!

Stop saying from the stage that you can find your music on all sites! Yes, we are not stupid. We actually calculate that we will find your music online on Spotify, Deezer and Youtube. Only amateurs do this. I never saw artists in arena shows explain for the audience where you find their music, so stop insult the audience intelligence.

Stop listen to poorly educated stage developers. You can easily see when the artist has been through their stage programs. I guess there is ABC they follow.

Like that you should present the band. Nice thing but sooo boring. If you need to that do it in a very smart way. Don't just let the song rolling and you present each member and they do some fills on their instrument just take down a couple of notches of the whole show. Sure you like your band but I really don't care what your bass player is called.

No, don't ask the audience if they are ok, If they feel alright, or something similar. That is probably the first page in that ABC book we need to burn.

My new thing is that I will scream "I won't do what you tell me" next artist that tells me to clap along. I will do that if I like to do that. This though can be done in a nice discrete way. But most amateurs actually ask the audience to clap along. The audience then does it just for the sake of it.

There are millions of better ways to present songs or do a live show. Try to be unique and try new ways. I promise you will be more remembered then you do the ABC book form the self-proclaimed stagecoaches. Get a professional stagecoach that can work miracles they always come up with more unique things, that is why they are professional.


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Monday, June 10, 2019

Overpricing from the beginning

Would you pay 100 Euro for a meal at Mc Donalds? Or do you think its cheap prices on food at airports? My guess is that many artists actually think that. My guess now is that you don't agree.

Its that time of year again when you hold conversations with totally unknown artists that think they can get overpaid to play on a festival when they in reality just should be lucky to even get an offer to play.
Yes, art should cost, the problem here is that this art is too common and has no market value at this point. First, you need to have value to the audience. Artists need to stop listen that they can get paid for everything. It all comes down how many people you can draw.

The organizers need to get people down to the show. I direct actually do marketing your brand. If your brand is strong it will be easy there for the organizer can pay you. If your brand is new it's much harder to do anything. In fact, you are asking the promoter to both pay you and strengthen your brand.

You really need to think of how many people can you get to attend the event before you think you can ask for the same amount as the headliner. Don't overprice yourself already from the start.



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Friday, June 7, 2019

Don't ponder to much!

Most careers are abruptly ended by very poor decisions. When your ball is rolling you just keep on going. 
I guess during touring you get to much time to think. I know my self I spend a lot of time in waiting halls of airports. Suddenly your mind wonders off and you start thinking of what if you just quit it all and just got a nine to five job and lived a normal life. Or why are you doing this, should be nice just do something else. Or if you skipped the artists and just worked the long tail instead? So much easier!
Suddenly you are off focus and start to make bad decisions. Start all over when you are this far would be really stupid. Just hang in and half of the career is won.

But yes it's tempting I would admit.

Still these changes if they are to often will kill your career. It's like when Dee Dee Ramone suddenly should be a rapper. Too much thinking in the wrong direction. The distraction made him lose quite much valuable time to do the right thing.




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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Be prepared!

Be prepared. Shit will happen! Just got a call from one of the bands. Their gear is stuck in Amsterdam where they changed the flight. Really nothing you can do about it. The first show is this afternoon and my guess is that the next flight will be in the evening. 

Here you have to be prepared. Get to the organizer and see if you can borrow some equipment from some other band and then do as best you can do.

You need to have rehearsal a smaller set. Yes, you need to be able to adopt. The most impressive is when bands solve these situations. Like when Dave Grohl fall of the stage in Gothenburg broke his leg. Let them treat him on stage complete the show sitting down. No, it's not optional but you solve the problem.

To many times artist hide behind that, they need this or that. That is just an excuse the real artist will be: the show must go on, and adapt to the situation. That is what separates a real artist from the just wannabe.

Unfortunately, I think not many actually think to reherse worst case scenario. You should be able to upscale and downscale to be successful. Also, be able to take chances that just spontaneously arise.

So my band. Yes, they went and in the end borrowed some stuff. But had to use tree branches as drumsticks. But they did the show and got a story and reputation to keep on going.



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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Oh the irony!

I had a meeting with a social media strategist, that didn't print her email in the presentation so you couldn't reach her.

So I tried to add her on facebook, couldn't do it. Instagram, not my thing. I just sent her an invite on Linkin but guess she won't answer that. the homepage didn't have any relevant info. Not joking this person that is an expert is really not visible.

On the other side if a social media strategist really doesn't use quite simple and logic social media I really doubt that I will have any use for her services.

Sometimes people just outdo themselves.


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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Technology the new A&R?

A couple a years ago I saw this quite often, tomorrow's music industry using technology. Still, some people that are not that involved in the future of the music industry still think that AI and technology will rule what you are listening on. Sorry, we still haven't got a decent algorithm that can predict what I like, just guessing on what I have played.

And right now we can really see how the industry is taking a big leap from the tech side. Suddenly Spotify playlists are insecure. You can't get anything good out of the data. And what we see is a bunch of computer nerd sweating since their business angels are hunting them and they can't seel their companies like they used to do.

No, the computer geeks will end up on the waste bin like the supervisor did when the industry changes once more. Suddenly things outside the digital world become very important. Live entertainment, the experience is the new lead word and that is where the industry is heading.

So I'm a bit jaded walking around on Midem with very tired publishers and record labels that really isn't up to date. In fact, they are as hot as Mc Hammers pants.

The future is already here but it's decided on a totally different playfield. And a bunch of few people is invited. The computer geeks are not.


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Monday, June 3, 2019

The errors you do on showcase festivals!

Here are the most common errors I see artists do when they get to a showcase festival.

Taking it as a gig. The artist just shows up and play their gig. Then leave for the hotel and then head out. This is probably the best way to not get anything done on a showcase festival. The odds that someone will come to the show and see the show and then take the time to contact that artist by looking them up online and trace them. It's a bigger chance to win the lottery, actually 200% more chance to win the lottery. Most artist thinks it is a gig and thinks that they only have to take care of soundcheck and the gig nothing is more wrong.

At least work the room after the show. This is the next mistake. Very few artists work the room after the show. Many of them just go backstage and drink beer and talk to each other. I can at least tell of a hundred band that missed the opportunity I had for them by not showing up the first ten minutes after the show when I wanted to speak to them and book them. Later on, they were forgotten and the spot went to someone else.

Go to the seminars and network. At least 70% never do that. They think it's boring and they rather drink some beer, go out and see some tourist stuff, hang on the beach, sleeping in. You paid serious money to go on the showcase by missing the conference you more or less are paying for an expensive vacation. The vacation part you can do if you are working hard and get booked again to the same city as a normal gig.  In reality, this is not the vacation you network to 3 in the morning get up at 8 and keep on networking. Do that for three to four days. Yes, I had many of many artists complaining that it's hard. You know what I have this tempo almost every week and I'm middle age. Here we have artists in their 20's not coping up what an old man like me is doing.

Your gig is not that important. To many of the artist thinks everything on the showcase is that they do the perfect show on the set. You got that all wrong. It's all about who you have been talking to networking with beforehand. Many of these probably will never show up to the show, still, if they liked you as a person they can imagine what the show was like and that is probably better then your real show. Usually, when they come down to the show they already have made up their mind and it's a formality. Of course, if you do the worst performance that can change their minds, so yes have a good show. Still a lot of shows I attend I already have seen the artist and more or less supporting a business friend.

Hang around and be a nice person. You don't know who you are talking to. many industry people hide behind various titles. So be nice to people, talk to them and try to find the things you might have in common and try to be genuinely friendly and nice. That is the best way to get something, not try to hard sell things.

Thinking that others will do your job. Too many times I just meet the manager, not the artist. Then, later on, I meet the artist with the manager and the artist have no clue who I'm and what I do so they more or less act snotty. Here is the secret for not doing that mistake. Hang on with your manager on the networks. He or she will do the talk, you listen and say hello and just be nice. Then you learn who is who and are not likely to be snotty against a very important person. Yes, you need to be present in this part of the job as well. The manager is try ing to sell a product and if tehy product is there and shine, well that makes the job so much easier. This is only done by a few percentages.

Be prepared. A lot of exposure and chances just happens during the showcase. Suddenly there is a radio person going around doing interviews. And your chance is just there. Or an extra gig suddenly appears. On this big mingle they ask an artist to play a song acoustically in front of the VIP:s. You need to be prepared to just jump in on this. There is no, I don't have my guitar, or even worse you are in the hotel room sleeping or walking on the beach eating ice cream. To get this you need to be down at the conference and just take all the things that are thrown at you. I remember one gig Royal Prospect took on Canadian Music Week. Suddenly the organizer had an outdoor stage and asked them to play. They took it straight away. The gig was not optional. Outdoor without drumkit and semi-acoustic and the wind was blowing. Still, they did it and I managed to get the biggest booker down to the set and he was impressed how they cope with the bad surroundings and just say, If they can do this great here they must be amazing on a real stage. Next month Royal Prospect plays on the biggest festival in the world on the most highlighted stage for newcomers. Just because they said yes to a shit gig and where flexible.

And that leads to being flexible. No everything is not gonna be perfect and that doesn't matter. We look at how you handle crises as well. If you go up and are moody just because it didn't go your way. Then your career could be over. Like the Swedish band, Kent who throws away an international career just to play on small local stages in Sweden just because they fucked up by not being flexible.

Now someone says, well Kent played at Stockholm stadium, that is big. Yes, Stockholm stadium takes 33000 people. Royal Prospect plays on Summerfest, It's a million already here they have beaten Kent by far. No there is no big stages in Sweden. And here comes another error. Don't be afraid to take the chances. Don't say no just because you think you can't make it. Go ahead take the chance that is given to you. I see too many bands telling me when I offer a spot on my festival that they calculate not having the money ( why the hell are they showcasing in the first hand). Or they already have a small gig booked the same week. Try to work that out and just take the bigger opportunity. And no even do someone might say oh let's do it next year. You know what usually they just think that artist is not up for it and the opportunity is actually not coming back.

That leads to stay the whole festival. So many bands are calling is up and say oh we can only play on Wednesday not the weekend since we have a paid gig in our hometown. Of course, the festival agrees on that. Still you are missing out all the networking and get a worse timeslot and in reality, there is no point doing a showcase festival if you can't stay the whole time and squeeze the most out of it. And saying no, well you read below here what happens then.

Yes, this is hard work and I think the most artist is not ready for this kind of work. The ones that are will have a career.




This is the gig that broke Royal Prospect to the big stages. Totally improvised. Look on the drummer using a guitar case as a base drum. A small crowd, but with the right people. This is where the magic happens.

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