Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Fans or Just Numbers?

 You know what? Your song might not be a flop just because it doesn’t have any numbers. The numbers just show how much marketing that has been done. The numbers don’t tell you if the song is good or bad. The numbers just tell you how many that listened to it and that doesn’t even tell how long they spent of their time listening to the song.

We have a problem in the music industry because too many people believe that they can find the next thing strictly by the numbers. Not statistics, you can actually get info from statistics. Only information on things that are not the future (yet). I have seen new programs that can predict a little bit of how songs will perform in the future from the statistics, but just if nothing major happens.

The problem is the number crunching. People just go on Spotify and see that “wow! This has 12 million listings!” and automatically think it is a hit. To be honest you can easily get those numbers with a crappy song and put it into the right channels to get the numbers up. The problem is that the fans are not actual fans, they are just people getting shot in a drive-by music shooting in the different digital outlets. A victim of how someone managed to fool the algorithm to place the song in front of you and you click on it just to listen the first 20 seconds and realize that it is so bad you just want to turn it off. Switch the channel to something else and forget about the song. The problem is that mistake is now a figure in the listing’s statistics for that song. Another way to lure the algorithms is to share it with another victim of bad music.

So now you think I will tell you that it was better before. Not really, this has been this way for too many years. Before this was done by blowing up your sales in cheating ways. An artist in Sweden for example sold his new single for one cent in the ice cream trucks. Then reported the sales.  One way to cheat the algorithms. At the same time Virgin used housewives in the 70’s and the 80’s. Gave them money to go down to buy the records they wanted in the charts. The phenomena is not new in any way. The problem here is that now it’s so easy and cheap that any average Joe can do it online because now suddenly it’s easier to cheat the numbers than actually have a real career.

The truth then was exposed when the artist went on tour. Suddenly even the most streamed artist in the world could only get 500 people to a show in a major city. A good marker was if an artist could draw an audience on a live show if they really had any fans or just numbers. Now during COVID this function is off. There are no measurements at all. There are no live shows and no real audiences. This has never happened before and the reactions I see right now are very strange. Okay a lot more PR is done for each new release. The cheating is now through the roof. At the same time, nothing new comes out from all the noise. No new artists are on the horizon. It’s mainly the old that we already had and are trusted that get any attention. If anything the noise is so loud so even that AC/DC has released a new single which people never thought would happen since members have died and so on. Still, the noise was so loud that they were drowned. It passed me I found out by mistake that there was a new single out.

I was recently checking the numbers. The song has been out for less than a month and has just passed 6 million streams. That is what an average Joe rapper from Hackensack can cheat up to in a week. Okay and the song will climb on if it gets traction. But my guess is that if they manage to tour again the song will reach quite high numbers. Like I wrote at the beginning of this article, it’s all about marketing, the problem right now is that the number one tool is shut down (live performances) and we don’t know for how long or when it things will be able to return to some sort of normal.

One thing I will be thrilled to see is what happens when COVID is over and how will live appearances change the top lists.

Here is the original article from Cashbox Canada



Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Biggest Destroyer Of Careers Are Artists Themselves!

 It just comes in waves. Suddenly you have a couple of artists just destroying their careers. The methods are quite varied and there is not a shortage of intriguing ways that they do it. The funny thing is these mistakes are always blamed on the industry itself. Also many times the artist totally ignores advice and does things anyways, blames the industry, and then just does exactly as the advice says and then acts like they invented sliced bread. I guess my list could be be very long. I just will take the ones that happened in the past two weeks have been discussed in different managers forums around the internet.

I want to be special and change my artist name!
This happens from time to time. When things are going slow then suddenly the artist wants to change the name. Like rebranding everything from scratch. That is a good way to just put years of work just into the trash. Also, they usually also want to use strange things in spelling. Like a band I had years ago they spelled Ness and should promptly have a Ñess. Yes, you guessed it. A search of this is impossible. And that doesn’t really help anything for the whole situation. So, on some sites, they are Ness and some Ñess. Some search engines won’t understand if you search with the right spelling. A good way to destroy your career is doing shit like this to make it harder for people to find your music. Stay even away from small apostrophes that can mess things up. I saw three cases of this week, just saying.

Being rude and messing with the staff!
Just because you haven’t got your statement, you don’t email everyone on the record label threatening to go to court if you don’t get your statement right now. On top of that, you start to mess with all the people you have befriended on the label on Facebook when you didn’t get an answer in the first thirty minutes, even people that have nothing to do with accounting. I don’t know if we have more narcissistic people thinking that the universe is revolving around them? And this artist then thinks everything is alright when they get what they asked for. No instead, they just put themselves on the bottom list of people you want to help. Sure, you should get your statement, but an error can happen and give people at least some time to answer things. Especially now when people are working at home and might not be able to access everything right then. I had four cases this week of artists that begged for services from me that has acted this way and of course, I’m not interested to give them anything. In one case I even said no to big money just because I didn’t want to have anything with that a-hole again.

Blame the organizer for your own faults!
It seems the world is full of small Donald Trumps. The worst thing you can do is blame the organizers. Okay, they can do errors but if they try to fix that. Still, most of the errors are on yourself. Most of the times these people gave you a chance, an opportunity, it’s not right to blame them when you couldn’t handle what they gave them. I have seen too many artists getting airplay and just ignore it, at least four times this week. Artists talking shit that their career didn’t explode on a certain event and because of that, the event is shit, two times this week. In both cases, the artist actually didn’t do anything about the event. They just got there played. Did no networking. Was rude to the staff and got drunk. Suddenly that is the organizer's fault that nothing happened. You can be sure though that these things are talked about in the inner circles. I had at least five warnings about artists that act this way just this week.

My career is going to be better if I change my manager!
Oh, boy, don’t get me started on this one. Bands that just get a manager and expect them to fix everything and do nothing. Now during the pandemic, I see so many artists that suddenly should change the manager since they are not doing enough. Like they could, seems like the artist forgot that there is a pandemic going on and the COVID-19 situation is also affecting managers. So for not having much action at all right now, they have to start to post things and get some jobs done. Then they think they are working hard and why do you need a manager then? Instead of doing things to further their career, they spend their time hunting for a new manager. In the end, they are just jumping networks or became dropped. Then they try to use the old connections that the manager introduced them to in the first place.

The list can probably go on and on, but these just happened in one way or another I might get back on this in the future.

There are too many artists that lose their careers on simple mistakes and the industry is not forgiving of those things.

This blog was originally posted on Cashbox Magazine Canada





Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Do You Think It’s The Right Timing For It?

 If I only got a cent for each time I get that question I would have bought a nice flat in the center of London, maybe next to the Queen. No, it’s never the right time or the perfect setting for doing anything. Life would be very easy if it was that way.

I have met so many artists that just sit and wait for the right opportunity and the right place and time/ I have never seen any of these artists succeed or make a career either. I guess your worst enemy is that you think you should do everything in the right order in the right place and suddenly everything will be fine and you will be a superstar.

No, those moments don’t really exist. Hey, you say you read about them in a book about some artists the other week or in a blog post. Yes, there is a right place and time, but they never happen by chance. These moments will happen in a successful artist’s career and you will remember them later. The problem is that you never speak about all the other mistakes you did along the way, you just talk about that moment in interviews and books not what led up to that moment.

When asked if it’s the right time or the right thing to do I just answer – how long is a string. I can only say that if you get an opportunity and not jump on it for most parts it will be a mistake. Yes, it will be safer not knowing and sitting home and wait for the perfect opportunity. After a while though saying no to everything less and fewer opportunities will come by. In the end, you might be so afraid to take the chance that you even say no just for safety waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Right now you can read my column in Cashbox Magazine Canada and Record World. I can easily say when the opportunity arose that I could write for them. I can remember the day when suddenly Sandy Graham, Editor in Chief said that my text was so important that she would like to feature my blogs in the magazine.

Yes, I could easily have said no. Hey I don’t have English as my native language. I might never be as good as anyone that has English as their first language. At the time I was also in a big project where I also did a lot of editing for films, so it was not that I had a lot of time on my hands. No, the offer was not in the right time for the opportunity. Here though I did a choice. Just go for it. What can happen? Someone complains that my language is not colorful enough? Does it matter if I have a thing that is important to say? Sandy thought my text was important enough. No just go for it. And now you are reading this text a couple of years later and the readership numbers are high.

And out of that the opportunity it has led to so many other opportunities that would never have happened if I just had said no. Now I can say that it was the perfect opportunity because I have the bigger story. But that was created later but taking the first jump at the opportunity.

So why do I write this? Mainly because I just made another decision. An opportunity that I want to follow. And no, it’s definitely not a perfect opportunity, it’s just that I think I have my career because I would rather say yes than no to new things.

So, what was the decision? Oh that is that my posts now will move from my personal blog to Cashbox and Record World Magazine. You can now on follow me there and the post in my blog is just mirrors of what is going on there. The opportunity is to promote that more.

So is it ever the right timing for it? That is up to you to find out – but learn to say yes instead of no – you never know where these opportunities will lead you.

Here is the original Cashbox Canada article




Monday, November 23, 2020

No stats without action!

Last story I wrote was about numbers. I said there that numbers are different than statistics. I have a problem also with statistics in one way. You can get things out of statistics so don’t discard them, use all the tools to collect whatever facts are out there. Still have one thing in your mind. Statistics are only available on action taken.

There won’t be any statistics if you don’t do anything. More or less no action, zero statistics. Or even just a small bit of action the data that comes in will be too little to draw any conclusions. And of course, if you cheat then your data will be not correct either.

I think many people today are not using the data that is actually out there. You should monitor a release and see what is getting any tractions. Most of the time I mainly see artists just count interviews or anything where they can pose and be a star counting. They never check if that interview is read or even lead to some new people getting to the music. That is so easy today, but yes vanity and ego is still big in many ways.

Another thing is that the artists are too fast to quit the marketing,  giving up before reaching something. It seems they are mainly releasing a song just to be able to make a Facebook and Instagram post about it.

Then we have the big thing around statistics. Statistics can never say if a song is a hit or not beforehand. Since it’s only monitoring things in the past it has a very hard time predicting what is going on. If I have a song that is one year old and only has a couple of thousand streams the statistics will be quite boring. If I know though that my song will be used in the next blockbuster movie in the USA as the lead theme next summer I know it will be exposed to millions of people.

Here the statistics would tell us that this song is useless but with my other information the song is glowing hot and many people would jump on that train. This is why statistics really can’t predict that much of the future - just the past. In reality, a song might just be a hit if millions of people would have a chance to hear it. Possibly also not be a hit if millions of people hear it. Of course, the exposure makes a possibility for people to discover the song and like it. If the song is bland and not that attractive there still will be people attracted to the song but not so many would be picked up by the exposure.

Here the statistics can come in handy. Even if you get exposure to millions of people, how do you keep those that really liked your music? You can see in the statistics where they came from and you can try to get them to follow your channels.

The problem I have today is that people are talking like statistics can predict a future. Even with my music in that movie that is nothing certain. The movie itself might flop then fewer people will listen to it. The song is placed in a way that it’s just in the background and not that prominent. Nothing is certain until it has happened. The only thing you can rely on is that you need to do quite many things and sign up to get your data to be able to get something out of it. At the same time doing a lot of things with your music is the only way for many people to listen to it. It’s in the actions, not the statistics.

The original story on Cashbox Canada



Thursday, November 5, 2020

The social dilemma, artists stop using social media!

 A new documentary that people should see about how social media is disrupting even democracy. And I just take that message that the Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff says in the movie “Social media should be forbidden”.

Is it anything right now that is killing the music, it’s social media! I have been wondering why I don’t get new songs? Okay, I’m over 35 and that means that your musical taste is set. I’m working in the industry, so I’m used to getting new music to me since it’s part of my business. So if I can't find new music how can a normal fan get it? 

Before I always found new music. Since the lockdown on Covid I realized that all these new good music came from outside. Everything I discovered was through showcase festivals where people had curated line-up’s where I could go around like a smorgasbord and just discover new things. On top of that a lot of great people that create new things and work really hard that could tip me off on great new artists and music they had found for me to just access.

During Covid I almost found nothing. Yes, I have been on several online events of showcase festivals. Many great done and you could see some new artists. The problem is that you are in front of a screen where messages pop up every second minute. The algorithms don’t like that I stay on the same spot for a longer period of time. Then it reacts by giving me the advice to see something new. Suddenly I see messages that somebody totally unknown posted a video on Tiktok. Why give me that advice? I don’t even use Tiktok in that way, it’s like Twitter – who cares about 60-sec video? Only people with attention problems same as Twitter, mainly for people that can only write a sentence and has a mind of a goldfish.

So why didn’t the system sends it to me? I didn’t want me to be bored seeing a live concert online. To be totally honest, the great events put together by great people were totally destroyed by social media.

It’s not just all that. I also miss all the chit chat you do with people that like music and comes with really great tip-offs of new things. I haven’t had a conversation like that since March and now it starts to take its toll. I REALLY DON’T FIND ANY GOOD MUSIC!

The algorithms can’t predict what my feelings are unless I don’t start to click on suicide links. So they can’t guess what I’m up for. If I spend yesterday just listening to Queen I don’t need another link to Queen music. I did that because I did a special show around them. It was work. Now the algorithms are bombarding me with Queen music or bad copies of Queen music. Not a good way to discover new music.

Also, the algorithms are best at giving me crappy music as well. Right now, we just handed over the keys to new discoveries to anyone that likes to cheat. So that dude that really is mediocre but has some money now can easily just cheat it’s way up with his music into a lot of places. This creates something I warned about already fifteen years ago. The brown wave! A wave of just not thought through mediocre music. On top of that, you have the platforms with music nagging on to the artist that they should release music at a faster pace. Soon musicians are releasing a song as a Facebook post.

That can never be any quality! Even Lenorado Da Vinci who was a genius couldn't paint a new Mona Lisa each week. Sure, he could do a decent drawing each week, but never a masterpiece. Why on hell do the platforms think that an artist today should be able to perform that? Even worse now since the artist also becomes interrupted by stupid messages that pop up when the algorithm thinks that the artist is bored but instead tries to find inspiration! That would be like having some ugly little orc sitting next to Leonardo Da Vinci and poke him in the arm while trying to paint Mona Lisa.

So here is the problem. You musicians out there. STOP using social media the way you do it now. The only thing you are going to be is an influencer that also can do mediocre songs from time to time. You will not be a musician; you will be an influencer. Unfortunately, an influencer is just a person doing content for a big machine, not art, just cheap fast content. The art we do right now is like calling Mc Donald's fine dining.

What is happening to me right now is that I’m fed with music that I already know and like and discovers nothing. I know there is plenty of great things out there that I should and need to hear, but everything is blocked by evil algorithms that just wait for people to pay them to show who pays the most. Okay if I paid and got to choose between the crap and the good. No, they just give me something and think that is alright. We don't need new outlets like Deezer or Spotify, Youtube, Tiktok. We badly need an outlet that shows us good music. Not having quantity instead of quality. Can someone please build that?

Now someone just say stop complaining and do something. I did! I started Cashbox radio where the algorithm can’t influence. The problem is that I’m robbed of my outlet to find new good music for the station because of a virus. I’m just waiting though, soon this channel will be open again, and hopefully, we can provide people with good music again.

I asked around and many people felt the same as me. No good music has coming theri way for along time.  My suggestion is kind of selfish, stop hanging on social media, go to Cashbox radio and we will present you with some new music among with music that you like and know. Finding tracks you have forgotten. Cashbox has the slogan: Radio as it used to be. We should have A way of escaping a bad algorithm choice. Use the app and then put your phone away so you can hear it not see the screen where the evil orcs are trying to get you to change to something new. That is my contribution to the situation. 

As soon as Covid is over, we just going to get more and more things rolling. And I will work more and more to get music out from the static social media.



Saturday, October 31, 2020

Do you think it’s the right timing for it?

 Do you think it’s the right timing for it?

If I only got a cent for each time, I get that question I would have bought a nice flat in the center of London, maybe next to the Queen. No, it’s never the right time or the perfect setting for doing anything. Life would be very easy if it was that way.

I have meet many artists that just sit and wait for the right opportunity on the right place. I have never seen any of these artists succeed or make a career either. I guess your worst enemy is that you think you should do everything in the right order in the right place and suddenly everything will be fine and you will be a superstar.

No, those moments don’t really exist. Hey, you say you read about them in a book about some artists the other week or in a blog post. Yes, there is a right place and time, but they never happen by chance. These moments will happen in a successful artist career and you will remember them later. The problem is that you never speak about all the other mistakes you did along the way you just talk about that moment in interviews and books not what lead up to that moment.

When asked if it’s the right time or the right thing to do I just answer – how long is a string. I can only say that if you get an opportunity and not jump on it for most parts it will be a mistake. Yes, it will be safer not knowing and sitting home and wait for the perfect opportunity. After a while though saying no to everything less and fewer opportunities will come by. In the end, you might be so afraid to take the chance that you even say no just for safety to the perfect opportunity.

Right now you read my column in Cashbox Magazine Canada and Record World. I can easily say when the opportunity arose that I could write for them. I can really the day when suddenly Sandy the chief editor said that my text was so important that she would like to feature them in the magazine.

Yes, I could easily say no. Hey I don’t have English as my native language. I’m might never be as good as anyone that has English as their first language. At the time I was also in a big project where I also did a lot of editing for films, so it was not that I had a lot of time on my hands. No, the offer was not in the right opportunity. Here though I did a choice. Just go for it. What can happen? Someone complains that my language is not colorful enough? Does it matter if I have a thing that is important to say? Sandy thought my text was important enough. No just go for it. And now you are reading this text a couple of years later.

And out of that the opportunity it has led to so many other opportunities that would never have happened if I just had said no. Now I can say that it was the perfect opportunity because I have the story. But It wasn’t that is created later.

So why do I write this, mainly because I just took another decision. An opportunity that I want to follow. And no, it’s definitely not a perfect opportunity, it’s just that I think I have my career because I rather say yes than no to new things.

So, what was the decision. Oh, that is that my posts now will move from my personal blog to Cashbox and Record World Magazine. You will now on follow me there and the post in my blog is just mirrors of what is going on there. The opportunity is to promote that more.



Thursday, October 29, 2020

I need some action.

 Last post I wrote was about numbers. I said there that numbers are different than statistics. I have a problem also with statistics in one way. You can get things out of statistics so don’t discard them use all the tools to collect whatever fact that is out there. Still have one thing in your mind.

Statistics are only available on action taken. There won’t be any statistics if you don’t do anything. More or less no action, zero statistics. Or even just a small bit of action the data that comes in will be too little to draw any conclusions. And of course, if you cheat your data will be not correct either.

I think many today are not using the data that is actually out there. You should monitor a release and see what is getting any tractions Most of the time I mainly see artists just count interviews or anything where they can pose and be a star counting. They newer check if that interview is read or even lead to some new people getting to the music. That is so easy today, but yes vain is still big in many ways.

Another thing is that the artists are too fast to quit the marketing giving up reaching something. It seems they are mainly releasing a song just to be able to make a Facebook and Instagram post about it.

Then we have the big thing around statistics. Statistics can never say if a song is a hit or not beforehand. Since it’s only monitoring things in the past it has a very hard time predicting what is going on. If I have a song that is one year old and only has a couple of thousand streams the statistics will be quite boring. If I know though that my song will be used in the next blockbuster movie in the USA as the lead theme next summer I know it will be exposed to millions of people.

Here the statistics would tell us that this song is useless but with my other information the song is glowing hot and many people would jump on that train. This is why statistics really can’t predict that much of the future just the past. In reality, a song might just be a hit if millions of people would have a chance to hear it. Possibly also not be a hit if millions of people hear it. Of course, the exposure makes a possibility for people to discover the song and liked it. If the song is bland and not that attractive there still will be people attracted to the song but not so many would be picked up by the exposure.

Here the statistics could come in handy. Even if you get exposure to millions of people. How do you keep those that really liked your music? You can see in the statistics where they came from and you can try to get them to follow your channels.

The problem I have today is that people are talking like statistics can predict a future. Even with my music in that movie that is nothing certain. The movie itself might flop then fewer people will listen to it. The song is placed in a way that it’s just in the background and not that prominent. Nothing is certain until it has happened. The only thing you can rely on is that you need to do quite many things and sign up to get your data to be able to get something out of it. At the same time doing a lot of things with your music is the only way for many people to listen to it. It’s in the actions, not the statistics.



Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fans or just numbers?

 You know what, your song might not be a flop just because it doesn’t have any numbers. The numbers just show how much marketing that has been done. The numbers don’t tell you if the song is good or bad. The numbers just tell you how many people that started it, don’t even tell how long they spent the time to listen to the song.

We have a problem in the music industry because too many people believe that they can find the next thing by numbers. Not statistics, you can actually get info from statistics. Only information on things that have been not the future, yet. I have seen new programs that can predict a bit of how songs will perform in the future from the statistics, but just if nothing major happens.

The problem is the number crunching. People just go in on Spotify and see that wow this has 12 million listings and automatically think it is a hit. To be honest you can easily get those numbers with a crappy song and put it in the right channels to get the numbers. The problem is that the fans are not fans they are just people getting shot in a drive-by music shooting in the different digital outlets. A victim of that someone managed to fool the algorithm to place the song in front of you and you click on it just to listen the first 20 seconds and realize this is so bad I just want o turn it off. Switch the channel to something else and forget about the song. The problem is that mistake is now a figure in the listing’s statistics for that song. Another way to lure the algorithms to show it to another victim of bad music.

So now you think I will tell you that it was better before. Not really this has been this way too many years. Before this was done by blowing up your sales in cheating ways. An artist in Sweden for example sold his new single for one cent in the ice cream trucks. Then reported the sales. One way to cheat the algorithms. At the same time Virgin used housewives in the 70: s and the 80: s. Gave them money to go down to buy the records they wanted in the charts. The phenomena are not new in any way. The problem here is that now it’s so easy and cheap that every average joe can do it online suddenly it’s easier to cheat than actually having a real career.

The thing usually then was exposed when the artist went on tour. Suddenly even the most streamed artist in the world could only get 500 people to a show in a major city. A good marker was if an artist could draw an audience on a live show if they really had any fans or just numbers. Now during Covid this function is off. There are no measurements at all. There are no live shows and no real audience. This has never happened before and the reactions I see right now is very strange. Okey a lot more PR is done for each release. The cheating is mainly through the roof. At the same time, nothing new comes out from the noise. No new artists are on the horizon. It’s mainly the old that we already had and are trusted that gets any attention. If any the noise is so loud so even that AC/DC gave out a new single witch people never thought it would since members have died and so on. Still, the noise was so loud that they were drowned. It passed me I found out by mistake that there was a new single out.

I just looked at the numbers. The song has been out in a month and has just passed 6 million streams. That is what an average joe rapper from Hackensack can cheat up to in a week. Okey the song will climb on if it gets traction. But my guess is that if they manage to tour again the song will reach quite much. Like I wrote in the beginning it’s all about marketing, the problem right now is that the number one tool is shut down and we don’t know for how long.

One thing I will be thrilled to see is what happens when Covid is over and how will the live change the top lists.



Thursday, October 8, 2020

Mind the gap!

 So, it happens again. It is funny how I see this happening from time to time with cycles. This time I’m a bit concerned since it’s worse than before.

I’m talking about the gap between amateur artists and the professional industry. Time to time the knowledge and the information seem to just be for a couple of few people at the really top of the industry. Usually, also information is critical for an artist's career. I remember the last time I really saw this was when Spotify started to hit off in 2009. All info pointed out that we where going into streaming. The artist was still on the level of printing CD:s and barely understood download.

Oh I also need to clarify that when I talk amateur that contains quite many people that runs smaller independent labels, and a lot of people that just work locally in one country.

I remember also the shit you had to take when you explained to all these people that what they were doing was yesterday's news. They were laughing at me and made fun when you spoke on panels. Of course the same people then after being out of the loop then adapted and came closer to the reality and after five years they stopped laughing at panels about what you were speaking about.

The tragic part here is that is the time where we started to develop the new stuff. So what was new for them was starting to be kind of old to us.

Right now, I feel that is happening again. I looked into the situation and I guess it has to do with several things. Most of the time it's triggered by a crisis. Yes, if you remember there was an economic crisis around the time Spotify came around. These crises tend to make people getting laid off and change their normal behavior. Suddenly they can do arts again and suddenly we have doubled the people that want to have a career in music. Of course, the opportunities are usually less when the crises hit so the timing is not that perfect.

Now we have the COVID and suddenly you have all these people that want or need to change their career. The problem is that the industry has just begun a new journey that we are looking for. At the same time there people were in the industry like six years ago. All this just gets me artists that think that they can get a career on Spotify streams. That really doesn’t understand how social media is working in the new world.

What I see this time it’s going deeper? I can see the local record labels are in the same low knowledge as the artists. Even a lot of the people on the bigger labels have been switch out and have really not the knowledge left. And this is a basic knowledge of how contracts, rights, and other things work so it’s not really any strange things. It’s things you need to know to be able to work or continue working in this business.

Of course for the people that are designing the new industry, this is a golden opportunity. My worries are that we will lose quite much of the business because people are going nowhere and in the end, they just will quit and end up in a fast-food joint somewhere. The whole place also crawls with prophets that really has no knowledge whatsoever. For an artist, it’s really hard to separate who is who. I just hope that the gap isn’t growing bigger. If so then we won’t have any platforms to grow new artists that can make a career fast enough.



Tuesday, October 6, 2020

I want to have my music in a movie. (do it yourself vs publisher).

 Another thing that comes up is that people think it’s hard to place songs. After hundreds of placements I can tell you that it’s not. Still, there is some stuff you need to think of.

Yes, it’s hard to be friends with supervisors and ad-agencies. If you want to be close to them you don’t have the time to be an artist. You need to put your time between, NYC, Los Angeles, and London and make sure you invited to cool parties all meet all of them to find the latest leads. On top of that, you only have your songs. Okay that is maybe a 50 of them but supervisors need big catalogs of different music and they need it now, so you don’t have the time to write all the things they ask for.

Luckily there are people doing this for a living. There are sites and companies and stuff you can contact that will pick up your music and work for you. Don’t think though that you are special, they just need a catalog, but if your stuff works you have their attention. Especially if all the rights and other things are in line (see my earlier blogs around this). Also, supervisors tend to not like to fool around with artists that more like to discuss the deeper meaning of a song. They want it done and move forward.

I meet an artist two years ago. She was very cocky that she had signed with a big publisher. The biggest one in my country she added. She was in full belief that this company would place her. I talked to her just a couple a weeks ago when she asked me to place her songs. I just added that what was wrong with the publisher she had? They hadn’t placed anything so now she thought I could do it. The problem here is that I can’t go out and place someone else properties. She was still on the publisher so it’s their job and rights to do it. In this case, my guess the songs are wrong they are all about her not finding Mr right or about broken love. Another problem they were co-written with like six other people (look on my earlier blogs around that) so not that easy to clear. There are too many of broken love songs so I think it’s kind of hard to place this.

Anyway, I also know that the publisher she is with, they are famous for not placing anything. Sure they promise all the artists they work hard and they tell them that they do a lot of placements. And they don’t lie, the do that but only with a handful of very famous hits that they have.

The case is with many of the bigger publishers they have huge catalog and in there they have household name songs. Let’s pretend I’m doing a full-length movie and I really think “Welcome to the jungle” with Guns 'n' Roses would be perfect. The cost to get that song cleared is insane. If my movie is a blockbuster and I have the time and almost unlimited budget I have to go to the bigger publishers that own that song. But that is me seeking up them. This is the problem with the bigger publishers, they mainly wait by the phone and get calls about famous songs they have. Seldom I see these people getting anything new out. Another problem also is that their catalogs are hundreds of thousands of songs, most of the placement people don’t even know you are in there. And by the way license "Welcome to the jungle" is almost impossible whatever budget you have.

Most of the time it’s much better to go to the sites where you can upload your songs or talk to people to work with your songs on commission. The publishers will always say that this can lead to that your song is pitched twice. Over my twenty-five year career with a lot of placement it has happened once, and that was not even an issue. What is more, an issue that some of these sites are exclusive and take the rights of your songs. So you are looking for people that work with your songs non-exclusive on commission. There are many of them and several good ones. To actually get something placed it’s better to have fifty people working for you then just like the publishers one to three people sitting by the phone.

I meet a lot of artists that have uploaded on sites but never get placed. Another trick is also to tell what your song is good for. Is it good to drive the car to, is it about friendship, money, or other things they look for often!” Tell them and that suddenly they might take notice around your song and once it’s placed usually it’s placed more. I think though the biggest problem is that your song is not good enough to be placed. That is usually the biggest problem.

So why won’t I list all the sites where I have my music? Stop you have to do some work yourself! Your songs will not be placed by you sitting on your ass. I was kind enough to tell you about the pitfalls. Looking for the right companies is part of your job. My guess there are sites listing these as well, or I actually know one.

This part is a part that can be done by the artist themselves. Here people just think it’s easy to fool them that it is hard. The main problem is that people are lazy and want everything served. The other thing is to have a song that actually works to the pictures and be at the right time in the right place. 



Thursday, October 1, 2020

I want to have my music in a movie. (the right place at the right time).

 Many times, I get the feeling that artists think that I can nag in a placement. That is impossible. Sure, of course, the more people that know about the song the better chance. Still, if it is the wrong song it is the wrong song.

A placement is all about having the right tune in the right place at the right price. So even if you just released this great single, I can’t get a supervisor to take it just it fits your release plan. If they want the single that you released three years ago since that fits. Then you just have to go with that or say no. The only time I can be in help if I have a song that is kind of similar to the one the choice but are not really satisfied with it.

I get still many artists thinking that you should spend a lot of time trying to sell their song. The system more works that you upload plenty of songs and when the supervisor comes with a request you are good at pinpoint a couple of songs that would fit the brief. A big no-no is to try to send in songs that don’t fit the brief. If the brief says a song for a scene that is in the summer and you should feel happy, no Reggie tunes need to be a pop song. By sending in a sunshine reggae song would kill the trust that the supervisor has for you. If you do that mistake over and over well, they will stop sending you briefs. In those cases, it’s actually better to tell them that you don’t have it. The supervisor like usually that honesty more. Okay, not if you tell that on every brief.

Also, brief is not the whole business. Much is that they already have been served with songs and like yours. You will never see the brief, you just have to say yes or no to be in a Netflix episode, number 45 of this tv series. Many think that we are getting a choice sitting with the director and producer discussing witch song they should take, especially the new single of yours. Never happens.

No everything goes superfast. You get the call they want this song for this price, and they need to know if it can be totally cleared in one hour (many times asking that it should have been done yesterday). And this can be like midnight your time. It’s yes or no. If you start to withhold things they will just move on. Usually, they have a couple of options and if one doesn’t answer fast enough they move on.

Another thing is that even if they say yes, that is not certain that it will be in the production. I usually advise artists to make the shoutout when it has broadcasted. Several times things have been taken out in the last minute and replaced, even song I got paid for.

So how do you know it’s the right song? You really don’t so try to write a song that fits in is as easy as making a hit. Also, if the company looks for a song is it mainly because they can’t buy that feeling in a song from a production company. There is a difference between a song that you mean something. My tip is that write the feeling you have, if that fits in a placement, good for you. You were at the right time in the right place. If you just want placements, then you are a person that makes music for production companies. They expect you to pump out five new songs a day, with or without inspiration.



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I want to have my music in a movie. (know the rights).

 One problem I usually that the artist just comes up to me and says that they want me to place their music. It’s not that easy. If I going to approach supervisors, I really need to know all the rights and have those cleared. If I just borrow your song and try to place it, that would be like to borrow away your car. Sure, if I borrowed it to a person that you admire like a famous movie star, maybe you wouldn’t mind. Still, I don’t think you would be totally happy that I just borrowed out your car to anyone.

More you want me to borrow out my own car. At the same time, why should I do that? Placing a song into production is kind of a lot of work. Just doing it just to be friendly can be total suicide in the business.

It all comes down to rights. There are two rights to a song. The master and the composition. To be able to place a song (more or less borrow out the rights for money) I need to be in full control over these rights. That doesn’t mean that I need to own the rights, just that I have some paper that says that I can place this song and keep it going. In most cases why should I do this massive job if I didn’t earn any money myself?

For the master rights. Here is the recording. If you record the same song twice in different studios it’s two masters with two different master rights. Here I need to be sure that the master is yours. Too many times I find out that the song then was given out by a small record label. Yes, then it could be their property. What is common is that the artist has used samples. Have those samples been cleared? Just because you download it from the internet makes it that you can use it. Even if you download it and pay for it, be sure that this sample now belongs to you and you have the right to use it.

Then you have the composition. This is the writing of the song. So even if you have recorded the song twice in different studios both songs have just one composition right. Still, that right can be divided. Let’s say that you wrote the song with your best friend. During the recording, the producer added stuff and you got a professional songwriter to add to the song. If they are all part of the composition ( the things you register at your PRO) they also have a part in the saying of a placement. That means that even if you are really happy to be placed in the new Scooby-Doo movie it might don’t mean that the producer finds that appealing and even if the producer just owns 2% of the composition it still has it’s an opinion and the song is not cleared. If you then make things even harder. Then the professional songwriter is signed to a publisher. Then the publisher owns that part that they wrote in. 

So even you think this is your song, it’s not. And to be working with supervisors and placement they want everything cleared beforehand. Everything in placement goes fast (I will get to that in the next blogpost). There is no time to go back and check with people that they are okay with each thing.

What you do then is different ways. I can have a song that is not cleared. Then I more or less sit and wait for someone to call me and tell their interest. Then I can tell them that they have to wait for two days while I go around to all people and ask for their permission. Usually never works, but if you have a really famous song and people are very keen on it, yes it might work.

Another way is to pre-clear everything I get papers from everybody that they are ok with that we say yes to things for them. Then I can say yes direct when someone is calling.

If that happens then I can also send out the song in systems where your pre-clear things ahead of time, that is the most efficient way to do things. At the same time, you will lose some control over your work. So you can’t be too fussy about placement.

In the end of it. If you want a professional to place your music you need to be able to handle over some rights. You don’t just go out there and suggest music to supervisors. There is a whole thing around rights that need to be checked out. If you don’t have all this cleared don’t go out there and try to borrow out something that might not be yours.



Friday, September 25, 2020

I want to have my music in a movie. (make the right music)

I went through the goals of several artists on a showcase festival, I virtually visited last week. Many wrote the headline of this blog post. There so many myths around how to get into a movie, tv-series, commercial, etc. I don’t know how many panels I have seen in the subject either. So, I decided once and for all explain a bit how it works. I will also get into the traps and why your music is not suitable to be placed. I should know since I have placed music in over a hundred films tv-series and commercials.

First have the right music. I get a lot of artists saying that their music is so movielike or cinematic. What they actually are talking about is that their music is dreamy, has a lot of strings, and is very moody. Sorry, that is not what the creators on movies, tv-series and commercial looks for. All these background strings that set the mood of the movie are done by a conductor and a string orchestra or bought as library music. Mainly because the music must move with the pictures it’s almost done by a writer to the scenes. Also, there are libraries with this kind of music. When we did a police thriller we just called and got access to a database with just music for police thrillers. Over 10 000 songs that we just could test out and if it fitted, we just ordered that song from the library that was right. The likelihood that they will use just your new single as a background is kind of unlikely.

Taken away most of the things that are sound in the background. It leaves us with a movie use around five to six normal songs. Mainly in the end credits and some in montage scenes etc. Same with TV-series. Maybe one or two in each episode. Usually for a long scene with no talk, like a party or a traveling part. These songs are very much after a theme. My estimation is that 80% of them are happy tunes or contains a word that fits, like money, explore, together, happy, etc. It’s not that often they use songs that are sad, dark, etc. It happens but not very often, the strings that they can buy cheaper are more powerful. Most of my placements are also that the song has a bit of a strange rhythm.

Another thing is that people don’t really get is that your song will probably not be heard that much in a placement. We all remember that song that was almost as big as the movie. Of course, “My Heart Will Go On” with Celine Dion on the movie “Titanic”. The truth is that they used more songs in the movie, and you don’t remember those? Same with Roxette's megahit “It must have been love” in “Pretty Woman”. Same here do you remember the other songs played in those two movies?

Why do you not remember them? Both the megahits are placed in the movie in the right scene. It’s the peak of drama and the movie creator has used the songs to vision a sequence with no talking just music. In “Pretty Woman” in the beginning, it should have been actors talking but they thought that the breakup part went stronger when it was just sequenced with pictures, and they used more of the song.

To end up like that happens every ten years. First, you need just to be taken out to be placed. Just that is hard then also that they use your song in a strong emotional scene, most of the time it’s more of a happy scene. Then on top of that, the movie needs to become a megahit. It is a bigger chance to win the lottery. Most of the time the songs are in the end credits. Or very hidden. We got a song placed in a TV-series a couple of months ago. I had to see the scene four times before I understood where the music was. And there was no way I could tell that it was our song. It was played on a radio in the background. Yes, it was there but no viewer would ever know it was there.

Thinking that your music would be discovered by placement is kind of hard. Yes, if it becomes a hit, but very few movies become hits. You are probably also better off with a normal pop song then an ambient song that you think should work in the background.

It's more to just have the song in the right scene. I will go deeper into how to place a song in the next blog post.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The placement that went wrong!

I got a request for placement on an old song from one of the supervisors I work a lot with. This song is from a band that is no longer exists. We draw a deal that we can place the song anyway. Still, it was probably over five years ago someone requested something around them.

She had a lead on to someone that needed the song. But it was locked on YouTube through the aggregator to the song. This one was so old that back in the days we let the artist upload themselves to aggregators. The reason why we don’t let that happen now is pretty clear in what happens here.

She asked me if I knew the company that was blocking, it was not the usual ones, so I had no clue. I then went back to the leader of the band and asked if he knew.

The problem with this band was all the time that they never understood the music industry. Everything went around that it should be cool names, getting a record contract, being flashy. The band that takes a picture that they are outside the office of Universal. I told them for years that they had to learn how the industry worked before they could get a record deal. But no, half of the management job was to explain why they couldn’t get a record deal. It was several reasons, not just one. Still, it always came back that they didn’t have success because they didn’t have a record label. Oh well, I can always get you a record label that is not hard. Is just to negotiate without having anything special to offer is that you just get a deal, nothing really in the deal.  

After a year of nagging I just went to a friend that had one of by the time biggest record labels in Sweden. Got them a fair deal. Not the best deal, but totally fair. The first thing leader of the band did was trying to get to my record label friend direct. Suddenly he had the record label guy so why need a manager? The second thing he does I open his mouth and just tell the record label owner that they should invest 10 000 dollars on a video that their best friend would shoot. To the point is that his friend barely had done any videos and was certainly not a name. This was also the time when YouTube was still small so a video was really nothing anyone would put money in. The budgets were around 100 dollars if you had a budget.

The record label came back to me and was just astonished how stupid they were. I had to explain to them to not speak to the band speak to me and I had to deal with the stupid part from the band. This was also because the leader was phoning the inhouse producer several times a day just sitting and chat about nothing just to sound cool in front of his musician's friends.

So, it continued for a couple a month until they realized that being on the label just meant they had to work harder and actually start to focus on their career. That just broke up the band. The leader then called me and asked if he started a new band I had the rights as a manager for that too? I told him, no of course not. But he didn’t ask me if I would like to do it? He was just satisfied that he could move on with a new project. Okey the answer would have been no to the new band anyway.

Then he just went for all contacts that had passed through the former band with his new project. Of course, everybody knew that he was a pain in the ass so they called me see if I still was the barrier against all stupidity, when I was not they more or less dumped the project.

When I reached out for this old song I knew what kind of thing he would do. I got the question on an SMS. He answered ten minutes later with a question of what an aggregator was. So, I had to explain that. Then it just went silent. No more answers.

I had to go back to my supervisor that I didn’t know the name of the aggregator. They didn’t have time to wait they had already waited too long. I suggested another song with another band kind of similar and the supervisor would check that instead.

Five days later the guy answer with: What’s the company name that is interested?

Ok, like I would ever tell an artist that! I know that you would run to the supervisor try to sell the song through him, don’t knowing that the song is on a deal from us anyway. It would mess up the whole situation and the supervisor would be stuck with a maniac calling her all the time if she had sold a song. Or try to sell another song that doesn’t fit from his new band. Things like that are why supervisors don’t want to deal directly with and artist that has to little knowledge.

And just the stupidity to wait five days to answer on a deal? If you know the business, you need to answer before they had a question. I just told him that he was too late and just make a note to myself never try to sell anything with him again.

The tragic part of the whole story that this artist goes around and portrays he is the nicest guy in the world. He is trying to collect money for nurses. He is a spokesman for several non-profit organizations and so on. I guess the music industry’s Mr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

And today I got the message that the supervisor went along with my tipoff and placed the other song.



Thursday, September 17, 2020

Social media gives away your knowledge.

Since I hold a couple of gateways to different things, I get a lot of requests on social media. Most people are of course people I never have met in real life. There are fake accounts so the first thing you look after if the person is real. If we have common friends is a sign that the person is real, not just one common friend but a couple.

Now these common friends also give away a bit what level you are on in the industry. Almost like a fortune teller, I can read what you want and what will happen with your friend’s request. I have been playing with my staff here in the office to see if my theory is right and so far, I have been better than the fortune teller machine Zoltar in the movie “Big”.

One example is when an unknown artist is making a friend’s request. You can see that they are new to the industry, there are few friends and the ones they have is usual local heroes in the area they are from. I usually say yes, and my guess is that that in the first 48 hours I will get a message with a question that they can send a song for me to listen to.

The fun part is that since they are an artist I just go into their accounts and check out what they have so when the question comes, I have usually already seen and heard it. It only takes a couple of minutes. I like those in one way. The problem is usually that they demand a lot of feedback which I really don’t have time to answer on. Unfortunately, my work time is limited to helping you with your new song that is already released.

Then you have a certain area. You get friend’s requests from local industry professionals and you can easily see that all the friends are from an area or a specific country. These usually just say hello and hope that they will meet me on some convention later that are held in their area. The strange part is that they never offer their services or do an exchange thing?

Then you have the bragger. These are usually older people ask for friendship and immediately start boosting about names they have worked with. The main problem with these is that the names they are throwing around are generally not in the industry any longer, a lot of “has been”. The question comes down to that they seek a job or something that we can hire them for. The problem here is that the friend's list gives away that your “best before” date is long overdue and several of the same friends have done the exact same request.

Then you have the spies. The ones that just make a friend’s request. You can see that they hold quite many interesting contacts. These usually just never send you a message. Instead, they are in for keeping an eye on what you are launching and what you are telling. This is the reason why I stopped telling who I meet or when. The only time I do that is if something is already made a decision on and I want to brag.  During on showcase festival, we made the whole page crazy by taking pictures with big companies and posting them on social media and everybody though we did deal with them.

Another cringy one is the artist that runs around like a headless chicken befriending everyone and ask for favors. There you can see that they end up with a list of who is who along with the shady people in the industry. In those cases, I more or less just avoid them. In the end, they will never make it.

This is of course just for fun. The list, later on, can grow and can reveal when a person is getting to a place where they are an influencer in the industry. Still in many cases, if your friends are only bearded men that plays the flute, I know what level you are on. 

Yes, everything can be read in the numbers on the internet.  Still, we can’t seem to get an accurate top chart?


Thursday, September 10, 2020

If you had an opportunity to sit down with an industry executive what is the one question you would ask?

 This week has been so much stupidity that I think I just want to shoot myself. But you must think on the bright side. Use it in your blog and explain the stupidity. So yes, I got a lot of new stories to write.

We start with a Facebook friend of mine asked this question: Artists, if you had an opportunity to sit down with an industry executive what is the one question you would ask?

Kind of interesting what the artist would answer. Of course, this was not a stupid question the stupidity in my life will come later in other chapters. My guess was of course they will be aggressive and start accusing this person because they haven’t succeeded yet. Like that would be this person’s fault? Okey in the old industry there was gatekeepers. That is long gone, everything is really open. The fact is that nowadays it’s not hard to sit down and discuss with even the biggest industry executive.

I stole some of the questions here and try to give my answer on them. I guess you can say I’m one of those industry executives, of course not the biggest one. The biggest one is only hired to build up the company. Most of the time these people are heads over just a company that doesn’t really matter what it is. They recruited from any type of business since it’s all the same, their job is for the company to make more money. Of course, the artist they work for matters, that is like a product that is important for a company. Nowadays though few of them are in the process of choosing the product when they take it it’s already popular. Let’s go back to the questions.

-          I would ask him/her how do they plan on competing and staying relevant in the age of streaming services becoming the modern era record labels.

Good question. The major record labels are NOT developing artists, some smaller do, the big ones are mainly taking on artists that are flashing through social media channels or apps like TikTok. Their job is to develop that artist with a fanbase to get more revenue and of course they take a percentage out of that revenue. The problem the majors have is that these careers and platforms change so rapidly that the careers is only available for around a year. Another problem is that the money is not that big and a lot of cheating so most artist on the platforms is not signing up with the label since they can’t afford to share that percentage. This is though much safer to earn some money on an artist for a year then develop an artist for five years and then might get slightly higher revenue. For the companies, this is a safer way to go.

That they are relevant, that can be discussed? But yes they still give sweet deals to a big artist like Talyor Swift, so they won’t disappear in that kind of sense. The streaming services are not acting like record labels, they tried early in their things but realized that they can’t predict anything anyway and all their attempts fail. A reason modern attempt was trying to break Ava Max through Spotify, she has the numbers, but not the fans.

-         -  I would ask, why don't they give back to up and coming artist, who is extremely talented, but don't have a way, or the knowledge to capitalize on their gift.

I guess we already took this one. It’s too much of a risk!

-          - What are you guys actually looking for right now?

I guess I got that one there as well, an artist that already has a fanbase they can capitalize on.

-          - How do I get paid if I am not in charge of Production or Producing my own Material.

Then you are a boyband that is hired as an actor is hired in a movie. You get a salary. If you do your own material, you own it you can then license parts of it to get a better reach. The days when companies invested in recordings and stuff is way over.

-          Get you a lawyer that knows something about the music industry let him ask a question.

That is really the wrong thing. I have met many lawyers that have no clue how the new music business works. Better to let them see the papers when you have them on the table. They are usually good to intemperate the law. Most of them are really lousy to be updated or even have the knowledge inside the industry.

There were more good questions but I will stop there and might come back to them another day.



There were more good questions but I will stop there and might come back to them another day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The headless chicken game!

Another one bites the dust

And another one gone, and another one gone

Another one bites the dust….

Yes, you can hear me like crone that Queen song when I bump into artists or industry professionals that play the headless chicken game. This phrase was invented by an intern many years ago around the behavior of a couple of artists that had screw him over.

“They just run around like headless chicken screwing everyone or screwing each other” he screamed in frustration. And the whole office just laughs out loud.

We all knew what he meant; we all knew the behavior he was trying to set words on. After that, it became the headless chicken game.

So, what it is when a person just runs around and try to use everyone they meet as a steppingstone. At the same time, they try to be friends with everyone. They don’t understand that a lot in this business is about trust and network and friendships. So try to climb the ladder on several different places will be the end result that everything crashes down.

I just bumped into a fresh case of this. A person that I invited to my former festival. This person really doesn’t have anything in the industry to brag about. I merely just gave the person a chance. As soon they got into the festival the person just went for the CEO and started to just groom him. Thinking that the higher up you are the better it is. The problem here is that the CEO is as bright and good as Basil Fawlty. Of course, with that when we left the festival, we took all network with me and just left the person with the CEO. Suddenly all the opportunities that this person usually got were gone.

So, what to do? Well then, the person runs to the next one asking for favors. And this one thought it was ok since the person was in my network. Not long after they realized that this person had gone above them and was now grooming their sponsor. That lead of course them coming back to me asking about the loyalty of this person. I just told them what had happened, and they realized it was not good to have this person in their network.

All doors closed at the same time. The person was suddenly banned from quite much and really didn’t understand why or how.

Same with an artist that was trying to have a manager. As soon the manager gave him a contact, he just grabbed the contact and tried to squeeze the new contact to be him, the new manager. He then did the mistake by playing on the club that the old manager booked of course making the new manager kind of pissed off. Of course, the audience that the artist promised to the old manager was the work of the new manger that really didn’t want to promote the old mangers club. The artist just saw it as another gig. In reality, he pissed off both mangers and the career was kind of over.

No, you shouldn’t run around like a headless chicken and try every opportunity there is. Quite many carers both for artist and industry people have gone down the drain because of that. Don’t forget who brought you in.