Friday, January 6, 2017

What is sucess?

Got this in the comment section about my manger blog (
"This rant seems a bit weird. Where are the successful acts you represent? Are you really the one to give advice?"

This is a typical thing people talk about. At the same time what is success? I usually tell the story when my mom meet Dee Dee Ramone. Of course Dee Dee was one of my childhood heroes since he played and wrote in Ramones and I was star struck. My mom just thought that he was a funny musician nothing else. A couple of years later I was in a studio and there was an old Swedish artist called Björn Skifs, you might recognize his hit hooked on a feeling from 1974. Here it is:

So I took a picture with him and sent to my mom. And there she was star struck, it was huge that I meet Björn Skifs, so it depends on your vision, what is big? What is successful? For me Ramones is more important then Björn Skifs in my moms world was it the opposit.

Go back to Ramones. Who did the Ramones? Danny Fields, Seymour Stein, Linda Stein, Monte A. Melnic, Arturo Vega? I bet you don’t even know who these people are. Danny Fields is their first manger, well to be really true Tommy the drummer was their first one. Did he get them signed to SIRE. Maybe, what we know is that Linda Stein, back then married to Seymour Stein the founder of SIRE records, was going a lot on CBGB:s and was nagging to get Seymour to sign them. Monte then, well he was their roadie for the whole career, probably the one that was closest to the band the whole time. Then Arturo he was the graphic artist that made all these famous logos and artwork around the Ramones. Seymour usually take credit for signing them. But the whole movement well that was designed by Tommy and Arturo. And I’m really not sure Seymour was that interested in Ramones, if you read the books you get the feeling that this is mainly to make his wife happy.

Yes it’s never going to be one person, it’s a team. Well then if it’s a team I have a lot of artist on my mind that I have working with. Tove Lo, Major Lazer, Millen Colin, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Danzig, Misfits, Silvana Imam, Icona Pop, Little Dragon, Like Swimming, You say France & I Whistle, Tina Turner, Nickelback, Pandora, Red Hot Chilipeppers, even Ramones, the list can go on. And yes it depends on what did I do. I saw a job add 10 years ago with a girl that was seeking jobs in the business and she claimed working with many big bands. When you looked closer what she did was a work on Universal getting the records out to the stores in the right quantities. Yes she had work on Universal 20 years so most artist that are big had head her way. Still did that effect their career, yes in a way, but I guess she was a smaller link in the chain. Same as me and Metallica, where I can admit just was part of the merch team but I have done different things for different bands.

If you start working on a major company sure you will handle big artists. But these mega companies just buy up the things that already are a success. To go out and buy an artist that already has thousands of followers is not that hard. I meet a lot of these people that claims fame just by working with a concept that a team already built up. I’m more interesting in the early part of the career.

I guess what people want is like Stikkan Andersson who was the creator behind ABBA and really the fifth ABBA member or Ash Pournouri who was the manager of Avicci. Well even here it becomes hard. Sure Ash was running around on Midem years ago promoting an artist called Avicci, really no one cared. That is the usual, you get hundreds of these managers running around. But once in a while they get lucky. In this case it was other people that had the connections that got him a break. And since he hasn’t really done any other artists after I guess that was a one off thing.

And the field is quite big of these people. That just got lucky with one artist, or just worked on a position where many famous artist passed by.

To be really honest there is very few that actually could claim such a thing. But my hero Ola Håkansson who developed artists like The Cardigans, E-type and A-teens (I actually worked with one of the members of A-teen, off topic) on Stockholm records. Well he was not alone there he had Alexander Bard who also developed some acts like Army of Lovers, Bodys without Organs. I guess the readers outside Sweden and Russia just shake their heads Army of Lovers, Bodys without Organs who are they? And here we come back to the prospective. I would easy say that Tove Lo is bigger than Army of lovers, but it depends where you are in the world.

Well Håkan started a new company called TEN music group. They have success with Zara Larsson, Icona Pop, Elliphant and more. But wait Icona Pop was actually broken by Atlantic that got them on license deal after they were kicked from Mercury records, since Mercury thought the song “I don’t care, I love it” was not a good song. Yes like I wrote, it’s all about the team. Sony didn’t like Zara Larssons “Lush Life” well TEN proved them wrong as well.

Still its teams doing it so it can be hard talking about who really did stuff that got the artist famous. And that is the tricky part. Many people want to see that it is a just one person. You can read my blog post about the band that signed with an old fart that had done some bands years ago (let say they are still under 1000 listening’s on Spotify), they just took the guy since he had worked with a famous band in the 80:s.  They were writing everywhere that they will work with the guy that broke U2. Well maybe he did but that can just have been very short, and since this was 1979 and he hasn’t done any other bands and was during another era of the industry, I wouldn’t go for that.

I guess people want it simple, it should be that person that breaks the artist, but in reality it’s a large team. And of course some things about timing. But I’m the right person to talk about this since I haven’t done an ABBA?

I have worked in the Music industry for over 25 years. I have been number one in USA, I have got Grammy Awards, MTV Awards. I have spoken on the biggest conferences in the industry like SXSW, Midem. In total I have been speaking in over 25 conferences all over the globe. I’m a board member of SOM (A2IM, WIN for Sweden) and Mbin (Music Business independent network.) I was part of start up to of the biggest conferences in Sweden for music. I have built up several distributions systems. I have place songs in the biggest commercials in the world. I have place songs in the biggest movies. I have worked with the biggest games. Over 8000 artists has been run through my systems. I have supported the new systems like Spotify and Music Dealers. I guess I’m confident enough to say yes in this question I’m the one who can give advice. Usually much better than anyone who had a success in the past. To be honest I’m not so impressed by the work in the old industry. To impress me you need to have a success the past 5 years. And when we go there, well you don’t have many people to choose from.

So yes I can give the advice. And I’m in a process right now to break artists in the new system. Keep an eye out for The Magnettes, Adée, Royal Prospect or other bands that we successfully put on the biggest showcases as part of the new batch of artists that is going on, they might be big, you never know.

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