Monday, July 31, 2017

It’s never perfect, so don’t say no.

It’s when an artist says no to opportunities you start to wonder as an A&R. I just spoke to my friend who books a showcase festival in the UK. He had a band that he wanted to give more gigs during the festival but said they didn’t want to perform more than one time a night. After that, he tried to give that empty premium slot to another band but they didn't want to get to the festival one day earlier to take the extra show.

When you see that as an A&R you know this band will not go anywhere. You never know who would be on that show they just said no to. It could be an investor, a festival booker, a super fan or some completely another offering.

When you start to say no just because of comfort, in reality, says no to an audience. And in the end, you will say no to so much audience that it will be no audience left for you.

One of the worst shows I ever had was with You Say France & I Whistle in NYC. It was an extra show in an evening in a kind of unknown place, not really in the center of the festival either. Later the same evening we had a rooftop gig with one of our sponsors. A really cool gig with a lot of good people. The group HAIM was actually opening up for You Say France & I Whistle, still they were unknown back then, actually their first NYC gig.

Still, they were professional and did this first gig. They had a TV team following them doing a program about their experience in NYC. We had some discussion to just say no to it and just bring the team to the rooftop party which will be so much cooler. Still, you take your chances.

The gig was the worst. The sound at that place sucked bad time, and the sound engineer was not the best and over feeding the sound. The guitarist broke a string, and worst it was only six people showing up. Not that good to be filmed. But the band did the show.

Then they did the rooftop and it was marvelous. The TV team got their picture there.

In the end though. The rooftop actually never gave anything more. Sure it was a great gig. The people that were there were already fans of the band, that gig didn’t make it any more than we already got.
The disaster gig then? Well, all these six people were very important and gave back very much. If we have canceled that gig almost 50% of our chances that was brought to us would have been wiped out.

That is that you know if you start to say no to things because of your comfort or disbelief or not perfect then you know that artist will never make it. And yes we actually test that with new bands that we sign. And yes it happens that they fail and get kicked since we know they will not make it.

Friday, July 28, 2017

EP is not a good format.

I just had a discussion with one of my artists around an EP and felt I have this conversation so many times that I should write about it.

So my artist has recorded three new songs and wanted to release it at the beginning of the autumn. Of course, recording of three songs has to do with limited time and resources. She doesn't have time to record a whole album and when she is in the studio is not worth it to record one song it’s more efficient to do three or four.

Back in the 80:s and 90:s this was the common reason for the EP. Mainly it was a budget thing. An album was too much but the artist had time and money to stay in the studio for a weekend and record a couple of songs.

In the 80:s you already had the single with two sides and also the bit longer format where you could put in 2 songs each side. So the EP was born as a marketing tool as we know it. Sometimes these EP:s was treated like real releases between albums so they could be stand alone sometimes. (to be clear sure it's EP:s before this, but they way we maket changed inthe 80:s)

In the 90:s they tried to experiment with it. There were several different packaging to support it. Still, a CD is 74 minutes so the format was not really that good, you left a lot of space on the format itself. The recording cost and time weight it up and you also saw that they loved to put in sing-along versions and remixes on to this ep:s. Making the EP many times five to six songs long even if it just where one original song there.

So the Ep format is still in the artist mind. It should have died in the 90:s but is still going on. And I see a lot of artist doing the ep format (not with remixes and stuff) on the distribution. But like I said to my artist the format sucks in the digital world.

Spotify doesn’t know albums is something that is told over and over again. And yes the digital era is really single driven. It’s not unusual to see an artist with 3 million streams on one song and the rest is under a hundred thousand. It’s THE song who gets the attention.

This affects the marketing. If you market an EP then it’s three up to six songs. Still the systems today are done so it will only listen to the first of these songs. Radio only takes one song and many of the blogs won’t review anything if it isn’t a whole album. So in practice even if you release five songs you actually only market one and the other four will be treated like nonexistent. You are wasting these songs. Also the marketing in the 80:s and 90:s where fast and was done over one week. Today’s marketing can be several months long for just one song.

The solution is to release all songs as singles. This makes the marketing can go for a longer period of time. Also, each song gets the shining it actually deserves. Then if a song fails you can easily get in with a new one faster. You can make them all go together by using similar artwork and videos to the songs so people see that they come from the same session. At the same time, you have more to write about on social media and keeping your brand alive. And with the consumer behavior, we see the singles are much better than an EP. The consumers look on one song but won’t explore the rest of the songs.

The Ep is really not any good it’s a format that should have been lost years ago. Only Time would be if you doing a vinyl in an ep format. Well, I'm not that keen on Vinyl but that is another story.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Never apologize

Yes, we are in the demo week on the blog. Taking out issues that we see from the demos we got in. Since I had several friends over drinking beer listening on demos I also got the most comments on what they thought failed in the presentation or music.

You just look strange when someone is writing: This is not our best song we have better ones.
Why the hell don’t you send the better ones? I guess the answer would be that they are not recorded Fun fact is that all artist whenever you talk to then yesterday’s song they wrote was the best one in the world and the song you are promoting that was written six months ago is really not that good any longer, even though it was the best song in the world back then.

Back to the point, never apologize for what you send in or the presentation. In most cases, we overlook that if you don’t point it out, but when you point at it with your whole hand we lose interest in the whole thing.

At the same time when we are talking about apologizing. The other way around is not good either. We got this message in one of the demos around the artist:

All about me we can take in an interview, I believe in my music and it speaks for itself.

That was all that was written. That just gets you to off on the artist.
Don’t apologize and don’t be too cocky and don’t send it in if you are not satisfied with the work.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Who did you played with?

Yes we are in the demo week in the blog. Taking out issues that we see from the demos we got in. Since I had several friends over drinking beer listening on demos I also got the most comments on what they thought failed in the presentation or music.

This you get a lot, bands they artist has played with. This is kind irrelevant information. I mean The Magnettes played on Summerfest, but I want write about all the other bands that played on the festival. Like The Magnettes shared stage with Bob Dylan, The Chainsmokers and Wille Nelson. Sure they played there too but have no effect. Even that Red Hot Chili Peppers came down and saw them would make it to the bio. It’s good for social media but not in the bio.
Here is The Magnettes hanging out with Chad from Red Hot Chili Peppers and David from Summerfest

It’s even worse when the band start to point out bands that you really don’t know who it is. Yes most of you would know Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bob Dylan. These are household names. But even if you think that this band from your hometown is kind of big it’s not big enough. Even the artist that came number five in idol is not good enough or if they have been in eurovison. So only household names.

This also counts for if you were back singer to bigger artists or hired musician for a bigger artist. This won’t affect your career or make you a better musician. Rather that you look upon it that maybe this is your normal occupation and your own career comes in second place. This counts also saying taht you have been study on some musical school, it's good but not any good info for us.

The only time it’s relevant is if you are supporting big name on a big tour. That can be a good thing. Still watch out for it since that would direct lead the A&R:s looking on your Facebook and Instagram band check your numbers. Sayings like: Well they support Iron Maiden on this tour and only have 5000 followers’ ion Facebook that is not that good.

Let the past be the past and tell us what you are planning to do, that is much more interesting.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Don’t send released tracks.

Yes we are in the demo week in the blog. Taking out issues that we see from the demos we got in. Since I had several friends over drinking beer listening on demos I also got the most comments on what they thought failed in the presentation or music.

This was the thing that really got a lot of the A&R: s angry. Out of 50 demos actually 49 of them sent released tracks. Only one had a hidden track.

A released track is a released track; we really can’t work with it. Of course it’s not the end of the world if the track is released, but many possibilities’ has just gone out the window. We got four letters where they planned to release the track two weeks later. Of course we read this one month lat4er and we could go out and see where their track has gone. Usually nowhere!

So what is the hurry? This mistake is just pissing on your own music and don’t let it get a chance. Even with you releasing the music it takes much longer than two weeks to do marketing and other stuff. All this si that you want to get your latest stuff out to your buddy’s, we know. Still you can do it in so many cooler ways then post the shit straight up on Spotify.

One of the A&R:s played me a unreleased song of a kind of famous artist that would be released in November.  Of course it was more fun hearing it now then him sending me a link with the track on release in November. I felt special to hear the song before everybody else. And this is what you should do with your friends as well. Let them hear the new song on a secret link on soundcloud, I actually think that is more effective then be able to say the song is on Spotify. No one really care about that one.

So what happened to the release tracks? Soon the A&R: s heard the name of the band they went straight to Spotify and checked the numbers. I know it’s stupid to do that but that is what they do. And they direct discovered that nothing really had passed 10 000 streams. Witch meant that no one had put any marketing behind it, so why should they put marketing behind it.

Yes by sending a unreleased track they don’t know they outcome. Then they have a bigger chance to say yes, now we got a bigger chance to say no. So always send tracks that are unreleased, never release a track before six month has passed.

Monday, July 24, 2017

I don’t care what you old bass players name is.

Yes, we are in the demo week on the blog. Taking out issues that we see from the demos we got in. Since I had several friends over drinking beer listening on demos I also got the most comments on what they thought failed in the presentation or music.

One thing that we really saw when we listened to demos the other day is big of non-information that artists send in their mail.

Several of them contain stories like John, Peter and Tomas meet and formed the band 2010. Then In 2012 Johan left and was replaced by Anna. They released an Ep and then Anna left and was replaced by Camilla. Now we recording a new song and looking for a drummer to join us.

This information is really not relevant to us. We don’t care if you changed members and who it was. It better to just write the band started 2010. The part that you look for a drummer is also very common but not information that we want to know. Actually, it’s pretty bad information to give out. We are more looking on that you are not in your full swing and actually search for a component to make the setting whole. This means that we really can’t work fully with it. It’s actually better to not talk about it at all.

We also noted that many never wrote what they wanted? They mainly just sent off an email with their past bio and some links to songs. Don’t tell us anything about what they were expecting from us if we went to work with them. This is a huge mistake; it’s like showing up on a working place asking for employment and say that you can do anything. Sure in some case where you want to start from the real bottom, but even then it’s not that smart. It better walking in says, hey you want someone to do this and then explain what you can contribute with.

Don’t try to invent styles. We just laugh. Use your imagination to the songs not about describing it with words like This is like Elvis has a baby with Amphex Twins and then sold it to a cousin in Mumfords and Sons.

And also don’t promise it’s the best voice or guitar in the world. Out of 50 demos we got 22 best of something. Just that makes them not best. Actually, in these cases, they were far from the best.

So what do want to read about? Well the future, upcoming gigs, things you want to do that we should be a part of.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Demo listning

Tonight I invited the A&R on Rehn Music Group to go through demos, and drink beer. I guess if your demo comes up a bit later it might get more attention. You never know.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CD or streaming services

I just read a post around the thing of releasing you music on CD and don’t be on the streaming services. Of course this discussion is on a blog for independent artists in USA. I see the same discussion ten years ago in Sweden. And the answer is, forget about the CD it is a dead format. Sure you could get out so much more money out of a CD. It was totally overpriced and the audience went for the piracy as a revolt against that. The streaming services were a savior back then.

The interesting part of the whole thing is that we now are discussion how the different streaming services and attention networks work against each other. Latest one is the death of radio where smaller number of people is actually listening and it won’t effect people to dig into more of an artist. I saw this already ten years ago, where the radio would play a song but it actually didn’t affect the numbers of sales. With the new technology we can really see how little radio makes an impact.
I guess we are talking about old formats and like to stick to them. Radio was a good format in the 70:s and 80:s, CD:s was good in the 90:s but from 2000 the digital ways took over and here is where it’s done.

So is it just Spotify? You know what? Hell no we just got proof that Spotify is as little as radio on the path to make impact to people. We are just starting to look on the digital world in a totally new sense and the answer is that is not just on channel it’s a big mix of different things that will make the effect.

Monday, July 17, 2017

It’s a difference to be a superstar then an indie band.

When I discuss PR plans and strategy’s with artists this always comes up. The artists want the same benefits and stuff as a superstar, but make the same effort as an indie band.

What they seems to miss is that is totally different paths to get to different goals. You really have to be clear where you want to go. No you really can’t mix the paths.

What people don’t really get is that they believe that the road is to be an indie band and then move up to be a superstar. Sure it happens, but in most cases the paths never cross. The marketing are really different so you have to be really clear what the goal is and how to get there.

The worst is when they start to mix the paths, thinking that you can get the results of a superstar of the budget of an indie release. Thinking they get the same freedom as an indie artist as a superstar.
Both paths has their really great moments but you have to be clear witch to take.

Friday, July 14, 2017

You can't make gold out of cowshit!

I’m a member on a channel where you post music industry related jobs on Facebook. Time to time you get these really strange things where a musician by mistake gets in. Usually, the problem with these people is that they really don’t know how it really works and their efforts become kind of desperate since in the most cases the lack of info could be replaced by talent but not the opposite around. This came in today… everything in red is my comment on it.

Right now I'm searching for my band ********,

I checked the band. The numbers are okay. 7000 facebook followers (well every post only get around 2 to 3 likes so the engagement is really really low). Youtube has around 20 000 spins on the video. Well, these numbers are easy to buy so I checked Soundcloud. Around 100 plays on Soundcloud, yes here you can easily see the real figures. Then they have released some stuff on Spotify. All songs around 28 000 streams, the worst is the latest single where the songs has 17447 and 17473 streams. Never that a b-side the same amount of stream as that the a side. Here you have clear evidence that this band streams themselves and boost other figures. So I started a song, and yes here is the real problem. No real talent sounds like billions of other bands that want to be Foo Fighters. So when you read the rest of the letter have in mind that it’s impossible to do what they ask.

someone who can act as a "manager" on a project basis.

This is like trying to have a drummer as a project and still want the drummer to be full time. A manager is very close to the band and has to plan things years ahead. To have it on a project basis is just plain stupid. Okay I can understand that no one wants to work for free on this band they are too unknown to make any money

We have been working since 2014 on our Debut album, which has now been recorded, mixed and mastered with own money.

This is not what you want to hear. As an industry professional you want to be part of the process to minimize errors done by amateurs. They released an Ep 2013…it took them 4 years to get to something new. , es they have released some live ep and then a single 2014 and 2016. But that’s it. Especially in times where you have to be release stuff almost on a week’s basis.

We have previously released our first EP and some singles and videos via my own company, ****.

Okay so you have opened up your own company. Well stick to that. What should this manger do?

What we need is now "shopping around" the album to A&Rs, companies, booking agents, the media, etc. to build a team and collaborate for the expansion of the band through, for example, licensing from the album, buyons and dyes.

STOOOOP! You are talking different ways. Either you shop with A&R:s, but my suggestion is not to have recorded the stuff just doing demos. But then you should not do the other stuff. Booking agents, they can’t be “shopped”, when you make enough money on each show, they contact you. Before that they are pretty useless. Sure there are mangers that takes in bands as favors, but that is much bigger names and also that they have something to go on. The media, well this you only go on if you going to release the stuff yourself.  So make a decision go by your own company or seek out a company? Doing both at the same time is very contra productive. License the album, for god sake this mainly is done if the band has a track record. You would be lucky just to get anyone interested in this.

I therefore seek a hungry and committed individual or team who is or is good at getting contacts, writing sales texts, and having good communication skills to track leads over the phone and to book meetings to help me build my team and create good teamwork .

Getting contacts? Well today there is no problem to reach anyone. There are things like facebook, linked in, twitter, Skype, WhatsApp, email and even their phones are online. I will tell you why you don’t get an answer (since I think you have tried but not got one thinking it was the wrong way), your band haven’t got to the level where someone would make money on it and then they just don’t replay. But having someone collect these contacts just to collect them is plain stupid.
Write good sales texts, also here if the band is good enough and the story is good, you can just write, a really short mail telling the highlights give the links and it will work. No sales text in the world can cover up that the music actually sucks.
Track leads? What leads, you really think that if someone answer you that then you can book a meeting like a sales person and meet the label and try to sell in the band. It never happens that way. That is just annoying and most people will never take meetings just because it is annoying. Meeting is when you have something that you will do together and there is an interest. Teams are not built in this way stop acting like it is a sales book from the 80:s. Even the commercials for toothpaste has stop doing this.

What I offer is my own knowledge with my own contact network, my own commitment and drive, and of course payment on a monthly or project basis.

Your knowledge, hmm I guess the value of zero is zero. Your contacts, well you just seek someone to give you contacts so I guess you don’t have any. Your commitment, yes you are committed but in the totally wrong way. Start with getting a better band, better songs and stop faking numbers and get back when that is done. Use that salary to get on some courses to learn the basics.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

In the music industry all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

I have been around in several other businesses but never seen so many hypocrites like it is in the music industry.

Most artists like to be leftwing. They did article that where more to the right on the political scale in USA and it was very few, one of the few examples was Johnny Ramone. Most of the artists liked to be left wing.

At the same time most artists are small business owners, so in reality they should actually be more right in their political view, at least in Sweden. Okay many of them really don’t understand that they are a small company, or they make so much money that they just don’t care about politics at all laughing to the bank.

But I guess it’s part of the whole thing of being Mr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in the music industry. They write songs for the public, so they want to identify with them. Still they aim for being richer then Kardashian.

I bumped into a festival once that claimed that they were almost non profit, cared about the small people. Had lectures about how we could do a better society and so on.

That same festival is famous for using new kids in the business for free and then fire them. They had put money on the side so when they went bankrupt they just got the losses to the vendors and companies around them, just to make another festival with the money that they really owned to others. To be quite honest they were really the worst scum there is. Still they thought they were almost better then Jesus to be good to people. I guess the expression from John Steinbecks Animal farm comes good here. All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Another festival took money from the local government for years to make their festival that never really went around. In reality the government paid these people to run a festival (yes I know this only happens in Sweden). Then they wanted to be really left wing and feminists so they went out and criticize the government in some smaller thing. Of course the politicians then withdraw the money. In the end they saved the festival so the politicians gave them money for one more year. What do they do? Well they book only friends and boyfriends to the ones that are in the board, giving the money to them having a festival for their friends. Still claiming that they do a great job for the community. Yes the mantra is still there All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

We have a left wing artist in Sweden that is in the board for how the money should be distributed to artists. Guess witch band got a big shunk of money, of course her own band.

I’m not that surprised, the thing that annoys me is that many of these artists are so equal and for the people until the money comes to the table. Then they become more greedy then Uncle Scrooge.

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Don’t chew too much.

I just helped a band to get into a showcase festival. The festival was not that keen on having them since they are pretty new and really don’t have the status or knowledge to be part of it. Still I have seen them live and know they are good enough for a small stage. So I nagged a bit with the booker and got them on.

You think that the band would be grateful? Well yes but also they want more. I just got an e-mail asking me (which has nothing to do with this, I just talked to this person to get them on) if they could play on Saturday instead of Thursday, and not only that on a better time in the evening.
They really don’t see that they are only in on a slim thread. In fact they should not be there at all. So start demanding stuff is really not a good idea. Especially not this.

Still it’s a phenomenon I’m very familiar with. When I have booked speakers it’s the same problem. The ones that you just barely get on are the ones that have a lot of demands. The big ones where you really could go along with hard demands is usually very calm and easy to work with.

My friend who runs a label was on the same idea the other day. He was firing a couple of artists but before he had the chance to do it one of them called up and complained about “nothing happens” “ are you right for me” and so on. My friend just said:

- Well we can just tear the contract; I don’t have a problem with that.

The artist went silent. You can just hear that the artist wanted him to fight around it. The truth was that the artist was in the low level, not a level to make demands.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Do the nagging in the right way.

I should say that a nagging artist is really the first you kick in a scenario of taking off bands. Still nagging is needed to get things done. People are busy and sometimes a reminder is great. The art of nagging is really something to be learned.

Don’t do it too often. I just had an idiot writing about an error on a site. Since it was the weekend no one is there to fix it. We answered in the weekend that we should look into it. So sending a message 11:30 am with the message “whats happening?” is just unprofessional. Make no sense what so ever to write that message. Yes its 48 hours since you wrote the first one but during a weekend you should be glad to just get an answer.

Then I got a message from another client that just asked about when we should do a send out. Totally right, we haven’t done anything for a while so I just put that in my calendar. That was a right way of nagging.

The ones who do it wrong is the one that think that we will drop everything just for your problem, small as big. And think that if I nag enough it will get things done. It might but at the same time you lose so much goodwill it’s not worth it.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

End of my touring

I write this on the plane from USA to Sweden. Almost two weeks of Pr touring with The Magnettes and a small off tour to Taiwan and GMA has been done.

It has been very successful. Alot of updates with contacts also many new ones. The cool part is the excitement over the industry that is ongoing.

Now we are heading back and will continue to promote and play with The Magnettes in Sweden and Europe. I guess I will have short vacation this summer. If none.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

We don't care about your socialmedia numbers

Then he said it! We don't care about your socialmedia numbers. With a right campaign they will be fixed you don't need to have them beforehand.

I was on a panel where a guy from the most powerful and most frontrunning company in the world was talking.

I have been waiting for this to happen. We have for awhile seen that the numbers is not telling so much of the status just about the past. And just a portion of the past.

For example one of my bands has over 7 millions streams on Spotify. That is really good. If you trust the numbers they should be a safe horse to bet on. Well the case is that these numbers are from when they toured and had hired a special company to work towards to get streams. Also back then it was easier to get to Spotify visit them and then get on playlists. In reality these numbers just shows the past. The future is not given away with these numbers.

I have seen companies going on with this in the past five years thinking that the numbers will spill to other parts, or you can predict the next big band from the numbers (well you can, but then you are too late when the numbers is going perfect on all channels they don't need you, you are to late). All of these companies has fail miserably.

So when a person just looks on your socialmedia numbers and judge only on that (it's very easy to do, trust me) they are really not good on things.

I can take a example. I friend of mine is developing a band with almost no social numbers. It has its explanation. The band has just released a single by the self. Not well promoted or we'll done, but you have to start to learn.
But the single did one thing. Got the attention of my friend. Now for the next single she will put in her knowledge. She is really good so the expectations is higher. Yesterday day she told me that she got the band on a opening slot on a big concert that is TV broadcasted.

This band with the lousy numbers will do better than my band with good ones. These opportunities will provide that the numbers goes up, maybe very fast.
It's the opportunities around that are interesting and that is never in the numbers. The numbers shows the past.

Then you say that the companies that are watching the numbers now will find my friends band. Yes they might. Still to keep the figures going it depends if my friend can pull off some more stunts to get them good opportunities (I know she will, she is awesome but not all are that so it's nothing that the numbers can say).
Also even if the see the numbers go up what say that this band will get these number readers any rights to their music. They might trust their manager doing it. No number crunching will never be a business.

In the future like in the old days, the knowledge of what is coming is the key to read it. But so far we really can't read the future through the numbers, they just shows the past.