Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The wrong answer!

A bit of a continue on yesterdays blog post. I give someone an advice. You really have a conversation about it for at least an hour. Let's take an example.

A band that I work with comes up with the brilliant idea that they should dress up in monkey suits on stage. Funny thing but I have a hard time seeing that they can perform these deep songs about the political landscape of today in monkey suits. Also, the heat of the lamp and the movement on stage would make these suits almost impossible to have on stage. Just the smell inside them after three tour dates would make this a really bad idea. And how hard is it to play the instruments locked in a gorilla suit? After an hour killing this idea and smash it to pieces I think the artist has got that this is not a good idea at all.

Then two days later the artist comes back and had a meeting with the rest of the band and they think it's a really good idea anyway. Of course, they see my insights but they can live with that they smell like apeshit after three gigs. And the songs might stuck anyway with the audience. So they ask you what you think about the idea.

You are back to square one. It's not a game to prove anything. It's still a bad idea. What should I say? I just give the same reasons once more. If you ask for advice use the feedback, don't try to over prove me. If you want to do a stupid mistake, go ahead be my guest.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Use the critism!

I have seen several managers write about this on Facebook several times so I guess it's kind of usual. You get in an artist that sends you music and wants your help and ask for your thoughts and criticism.

Just that is kind of rude. I mean you just sent me music out of the blue and want me to listen to it and then afterward also put in some free work to give back to you about my knowledge. You know what, I'm actually such a decent an nice person that I would do that. Yes, it will be around 40 minutes of free work, but yes you sent your music I will try to be nice back.

So I listen to the music that is just average pop that has no soul and nothing that attracts me. When I write back I actually tell you that you have to work on your songwriting and also on your social media since I looked on that at the same time when I was listing.

Here you go ballistic and tells me that the song is not average. It's really good. And your Instagram is actually kind of pimped.

If you ask for criticism take that one, don't trust to argue or try to convince me that you are right. Sure my opinion is just an opinion, still it's important enough for you to send me your music. I answer that back.

Then it comes, what should I do to make it better?

Hey wait here I'm not your employed manager. I really can't spend more free time on a project I don't like and really has nothing to do with. I just hate this kind of favors. Worse I just had this conversation with one of Swedens biggest publishers. Taking criticism is part of the damn fucking job don't argue with it.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Is this a good deal?

Okay, so I tell you to build me a house. You will work full time to build the house, you can build it as you like on my piece of land, I will provide you with the material for it, well at least the material I can afford. If I like the house I will pay you for your job. Sounds like a good deal?

No? Why? You like building houses and be creative. I give you free material?

Still no? So what is wrong?

Oh, you want a security that you will get paid when you have finished building my house? Okay but if I don't like it I don't really want to pay if it's ugly or so. Of course, I trust your building capacity. You have built several nice houses. But I'm not sure anyway. I think it's a good deal.

Oh, you want security to get some paid for your work you do?

I guess no one would agree on that deal up there. Still this deal I get from artists almost every month. I offer to work with their music they produce for a stake in the rights. I will put in long hours with really no chance to even get paid. But I like the music so I'm willing to put that up. But I want a small security so if it goes right I get some paid by getting some percentage of the rights to the music that I work with. Then the artist tells you, well if you get something you can get paid from that amount.

That is the ultimate insult. Yes, you can work for free, building a house on my property and if I like it I might pay you.

I get something like a record deal or a placement then I would get some money if you like that placement or deal. I might work my ass off for months to get a placement in and then you can just say no since you don't like the brand.

Never offer anyone to work for free and get something if something happens. That just means you don't trust my building experience. And that just get me to not want to work with you.

Friday, February 23, 2018

It' s an ungrateful world

It' s an ungrateful world is a translation of a Swedish proverb. And that is what you feel so many times. I had a band a couple of years ago that really wanted to play on one of the biggest festivals in Sweden. The problem was that they were not really that big and was not close to being picked by the festival. Still, they nagged about it for two years that they wanted to play on this festival.

One day I had meeting with a friend and out of the blue, he gave me an opportunity to pick a band for his stage that he had on the festival. It was not really free, I had to do some favors in other stuff for him. Still here was the opportunity to get the band into the festival.

Even though it was a friend I also knew that it was not totally controversial that he picked one of my bands for his stage. I knew he would get some shit talk from other people at the festival, still, he did do it and booked my band.

I went back to the band with the good news that, yes they were at the festival this year. Of course, the band was thrilled. I had to stop them from posting it on their webpage. Of course, the festival was not announcing them in their first round so we had to wait.

Then the ungrateful began. The band was complaining that they were not announced fast enough. Since they were very small we knew they would come late, and we told them that. Still, they thought we should press on the festival to get it out faster. Not a good idea so we just let that idea pass.

Then two months before the festival they announced it. Actually in pretty good time. Then we got the stage and the time. Of course, since we were not a priority band we got a slot four in the afternoon. Actually, we should just be glad to even get a spot at all. The band complained that it was an early time and on a small stage. Couldn't we talk to the festival to get a later time and a better spot?

My friend put his ass on the line to just get them in there, of course, I can't ask for more. In the end, the band played at the spot they got, but was really rude about it and didn't promote the gig since they didn't like the spot. The gig didn't go that well. It could have if they weren't acting like a spoiled child.

If someone does you a favor don't try to push it. And I never did that band a favor again.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Live at Heart

Today we announce the first names on Live at Heart 2018. So get into their homepage and have a look.

It will be a great new start for Live at Heart and it will have many changes. And I'm a big part of the whole process. It's really fun and really creative.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Spotify dosen't care about artists.

Now everyone will say, I just told you that one. In reality, it is several people speaking to me on the same subject, but it comes down to one thing many artists see Spotify like a promo channel and it's not.

The truth is that Spotify actually makes it hard to promote to them on purpose. Their goal is to get songs to grow organically. In real life songs that people really like will be surfing up in their system.
Of course, the record labels always think that their stuff is the best so they try to influence Spotify to get them to get their own songs a better chance. Still, much of the information that Spotify goes on is actually information that comes from other sources. Remember they have bought up a bunch of companies that collected data to tell which artist gonna be the next thing. Of course, Spotify goes on that as well.

So there is no "I just speak to this person and you will be on all the playlists on Spotify". We just found out that they will stop making favors for the major companies as well and the lowest start for a campaign is 50 000 Swedish crowns so that also won't contain a shortcut. Pay to get on strange playlists is a certain way to kill your Spotify chances.

Having Spotify as your target is by that totally stupid. Spotify comes when you deserve it. When your fans start to go into Spotify and search for your name and REALLY listen to your songs, the system will bring your songs to the top. The problem usually is that you are not doing that great song and don't spend the time to get people to listen to it, to learn what they really like.

The playlists are like empty streams. It's just numbers and the industry just starts taking them as just numbers nothing to be so excited about if they come from added playlists. I would be rather excited with high numbers and no adds on playlists.

It's not like radio in the old days when you actually talked to someone and they took a chance and played the song. In Spotify, they have algorithms and statistics what people really like, and what they really listen to. So the best is to get back to your fans and present good music and communicate with them. These are the people, the users, Spotify cares about, not artists.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Be prepared!

It's quite funny how an artist can nag you to get things to happen. Like, we need a show in the city and everytime you speak to them they just nag around that nothing else. Then you finally get that show that they need and you get back to them.

Suddenly I need a promo picture, a biography, graphics for poster and a tech rider for the club that is gonna have them. With almost 100% certainty, nothing of that is ready. All members of the band are running around like headless chickens and send me different versions, some updated some not. The pictures will be in the wrong format and no one knows where the person who did the eps for the logo went off.

The most annoying thing here that I always tell the band when they start nag that has your shit together. It never happens. It's like you can't move anything as long as you have something to nag about.

After two days (one day after deadline) the things arrive, not in best condition but ok. we get this to the booker and everything is fine. Then a week before the show you find out that the band has done nothing on social. No event page on Facebook no updates on Songkick. No sponsored messages, nothing. The answer then is, ohh do we need to do that? Nothing gets done even if its so in front of them if you don't tell them. Suddenly they do it but with such limited time, ut get a very limited effect.

And this I get when they release something, get a show, going on tour etc. The assets around them are never there. Maybe one asset like the promo picture is taken, but then it's not on the homepage to get for the press.

Be prepared, start does these assets when you start to nag, pretend it's gonna happen before it happens just to have everything ready. Don't update just one thing, update the whole chain.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Strain at a gnat and swallow a camel!

I just learned a new thing. I love this with the blog that you learn so many new things. There is a saying in Swedish and I found out the English version of it. "strain at a gnat and swallow a camel".

And that is just what I want to write about. Too many are worried about small things that don't matter in the long run. the most famous one was a band that I had that was arguing what kind of stage clothes they would wear on their first world tour. They were almost fistfighting over the whole thing. What never occurred was that they had never had a European tour, not even a Swedish tour. In fact, their music has just been played once on the radio when this happened.

Okay, that was a really bright one. Most of the time they are more settle but at the same time quite the same. Right now we quite often get artists that think that since they got over 100 000 streams would be booked to the bigger festivals. What they haven't thought of is that the last year only did three gigs and that their Facebook numbers are under 2000 people and the Instagram under a 1000 and they don't have a Twitter and haven't updated the banner on Youtube since they were there the first time.

And then you have the artist that gets upset that someone spelled his name a bit wrong in an interview. That it's a tiny little blog and not Rolling Stone Magazine well doesn't matter. Also, the ones that argue around a small guitar sound on a song that is 7 minutes long and complains that this guitar sound could be the thing that it won't make it to the radio. that the song is just a long epos with strange noises and barely no lyrics, well that is not important.

I guess I bumped into it every day in some way. It's easy to go crazy on the microscopic things but won't see the whole picture. Stop shoegazing and see the world, but maybe you can't see the forest for all the trees.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Really! I should help you?

Lately, I have got so many emails from industry people that think I will help their acts to get into showcase festivals or help them out on showcase festivals they are booked on. Of course, they think I should do it for free and just as a favor since we know each other on facebook.

You know what, I use to do that and it never leads to anything. I still do that but I expect that you are are getting me something more, yes I need a return favor or payment in the deal. Not that I will get it later or something, I need it right now.

And most of these people have no clue what is out there or have the knowledge to help me back. I have just taken off my two board positions jobs since the labels and industry people of Sweden are so behind and really doesn't give me anything. I have built up an international network for twenty years and I won't give that for free to a Swedish nobody that could destroy it in minutes by doing the wrong mistakes.

I have said it a couple of times that I would stop helping the export situation in Sweden, and now I'm finally at the gate where I leave these behind and just go on my international network. The ones I keep are the ones that give something back and help me out with other tasks. The rest you are on your own until you have some currency to trade with.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

They treat you like dirt!

One of the signs that you are getting somewhere is that people treat you like shit. They smile and give you hugs but then when you have gone around the corner they stab you in the back.

I was part of a bigger job the past month and yesterday they had a big show off and a press release around the whole thing. They, of course, didn't invite me or even tell about my work in the project. No instead they took what I had contributed with and let a more inexperienced person tell the things I contributed with.

First I was really pissed. I even was on this press seminar, and to hear your own work be read by someone other as their own is not that fun. Then I started to question why do that? Then I realized I'm too much of a threat for them. They had even taken out my past out of the biography. In the end, I don't even know if my name was there.

This is one of the things I really hate is to be ignored and right now it happens a lot since I have quite too much success with my projects. To explain what they do is. You take an artist on a world tour get them high rewards around the globe and really makes a success, and then they give the prize to the local guy that put out a single and played on the square in the summer. To compare.

Later on, they say oh, yes you did something and try to pretend that they didn't know what you achieved. Mainly just they are afraid of you. The thing is that then when you grow your band even bigger they come back and lick your ass with a lot of phony awards try to make it up. Still, when you are at that point you are too big to be ignored. When you are in this stage you are on the way to the big stuff. You just have to swallow your pride and move on.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Seminars that tells you nothing.

I have been on quite many seminars about really nothing. Right now is the big trend to tell me things around social media that I can't do. It's always from some social media company telling you tips and tricks that you can do on social media.

The first they start with is to show you what Beyoncé did on her last campaign. No shit sherlock can you do that, what is the price tag? Of course with the budgets, we have for our artists there's just starting out the things Beyonce do is not even in our reach.

Sure many things are quite simple. The thing is there are some lectures that talks about the easy nice things you can do almost for free or a little budget. Then you have the ones that talks like getting your own damn filter on snapchat are something a small band even could do.

The funniest things are it never fails when I look up these companies own social media numbers they are often much lower than my own blog. I guess next time I would demand to get Beyonce there to tell me the things she has done. It seems like a bit of the same chance that it will happen then I will learn from this.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It takes years to build network!

I don't know how many new people that want to get in the industry every year. I would guess 5% is still there after 5 years. Many end up on some service function in the office many go out to never be seen again.

The mistake they do is to count in that it goes fast. I have now worked 30 years in the industry. That is my whole adult life. It has been up and downs. The most important change of network.

It's the network these new ones miscalculate or the time to get them. My first network took 10 years to build up. Today very few are still around. Since the network built on physical sales and distribution, they were wiped out around the year 2002.

Then I build a new network, quite Indie also a lot of testing and new innovations. And that took 10 years. And to be honest most of them are also gone now.

I'm in my next 10 year round. I don't know who will be around in this new wipe out. The few people that been around all periods are surviving. But they are around 10% of the network of today.
For example, the students that come out think wow I got an education and know how the basics work and I had an internship at a music company is a safe ground. No, you have to do the first 10 years then a wipeout (wipeout is technical changes that happen every 10 years). Then you start to be something.

Many calculate that this goes faster. But there is no way. You have to do certain errors to learn to calculate the situation. You also have to adapt, sitting on one post won't do anything.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Damager.

I usually speak good about to have a manager. It great having someone doing tasks and stuff and hopefully gives new opportunities to your career. But it's not always that good.

The past week I have been meeting managers that really just destroy for their artists. Mainly managers that are too pushy. Also, demanding things that are really not relevant and are quite frankly rude in their approach.

I just had a conversation with a manager that was bragging and pushing to get a deal. Of course, he used the old thing, that he had several other interested and couldn't wait. I managed to get out of him who the other was and one of them was a friends company. The funny part was that we had been discussing this band a week earlier and my friend told me they had applied but he had turned them down since he didn't like the manager.

Another manager contacted me for a PR job in Sweden. All she had to tell was that I should get them a record deal in the Nordics with the PR I was supposed to do. Here is a major problem no one gets a record deal from a bit of PR. Then the PR must be very very good and cover quite unique things. The more I spoke with her to more I really got how inexperienced she was. There was no clue what so ever what she was talking about, all same old cliches were used.

These bands might be good but the reflection of their management can be very devastating. In this case, I meet both the artists in other things and they both praised how much these managers got them done. They had no clue how much that was probably taken away from them with the pushy attitude and inexperience nonsense.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Update is very important

Update people. Yes, you really need to update your team. I think I wrote about this a while ago but it's so important I can do it again.

This is really not my strong side either. I try to set up schedules so I can update teams I work with on regular basis. I know through I can be better on it.

Also updating is a really good way to remind people. The art is to do it at the right time. If you update too many people doesn't pay attention to the message. If it is too seldom people start to forget about you.
And update with news what you have done. No one likes messages where you ask what they have done for you lately. Or if you can check that they have done their job properly.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

See the whole picture

If I could paint just the mouth of Mona Lisa as good as Leonardo Da Vinci did, it's still not the Mona Lisa.In The Mona Lisa, there are details that are really important. But it's the painting as a whole that makes it a piece of art.

When it comes to developing bands you have to look at the whole picture. I know it's tempting to start looking into details.

What's the point of having a really nice front cover of the album if the music on the album sucks?
I just spoke to a band and they were arguing what their backdrop should look like. My question was how many tour dates they had and the sizes of the stages.
- We don't have any shows booked, but as soon we have the backdrop we will start to book.
The backdrop detail that really doesn't matter, now almost became the downfall of the band in disagreement.

Just a great guitar solo won't make a song. The best microphone in the world won't change that the singer can't sing.

It's always the whole picture. You need to get things along the way when you really need it. Not let the things be the scapegoat to continue one. In many cases start practicing to get better and then add the details so the whole picture gets strong and a piece of art.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Pay to play

Showcasing gets more and more complicated since it becomes more and more vital for artists that really want a career. The festivals provide the gateway to a more and more international global market.
So far it has been quite fair. The best discoveries have been invited and you had special stages for organizations (bookers, export offices, record labels etc).

Now I can see a rising trend to buy into festivals. Last year one of the bigger one in Europe didn't even have application almost all stages were bought by organizations.
The problem with this is that the organizations in many cases demand to have their own picking of bands. The organizations also have an agenda and are not always pick the best and choose more political.

Okay, many are going to showcase festivals to meet people in the business and not so much seeing bands. Still, I can see the quality going really down on some festivals.  Even to the point I just took one off my schedule.  The lineup is so corporate there is no point scouting there any longer.
Also, I can see like two camps forming in the festivals. The camp with paying artists that very often doesn't reach the standard. And then the second camp with extremely good bands running over these paid options. It's becoming a problem.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Wrong aim

I was talking to a manager during a showcase that was complaining about that his band never got out anything from showcase festivals.

He was taking his band to this festival and complained that he didn't get a record contract. I asked if he got something. Yes, a booking agency got interested and signed the band. He kept complaining that the booking agency didn't get his band a tour fast enough and had kicked them. He now wanted to go back to a smaller showcase festival in the same country. I wondered if that was wise since I know the Booker and they are the best in that genre and the festival is perfect to be discovered. So why try a smaller one?

Later that night I meet the organizer of the smaller festival and talked about it. Then the organizer told me that they got paid to have that band and told me that they always paid well to get this band into festivals. Their country's export gave money for that.

We later saw the band. And it really sucked. A mediocre shit band. Of course, they could brag about many festivals, they paid their way in. Of course, the results were not that good. The product was not ready at all.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Better Networking

I'm on my way back from MENT a showcase festival in Slovenia. Of course, I come back with several opportunities for the artists I work with. Right now I think the smaller showcase festivals are the best to get a bigger network. And where the future music industry is happening.

What I don't get is people that attend these festivals and complain that nothing happens. Sure if you only play and not mingle around. I guess you can manage to get nothing to happens. But then you have missed the purpose of showcase festivals.

Also if you are aiming totally wrong. You might think that you get nothing out of it. No, the biggest festivals won't book you just because you play.

Friday, February 2, 2018

50 000 views

It is a milestone I guess. At least for me. Getting 50 000 views in shorter of 3 years. It started as a experiment to show that you can build a blogg as an artist. My blog is much smaller in topic but it has readers. For an artist it should be easier. I like though what I have achieved. The posts has it own life. I start with on subject and end up in something totally different.

I have done quite many experiments over the two years but get a hang of some of the stuff now.

This is written on the runway for my airplane to lift off to the MENT conference in Slovenia. A new adventure, new friends and more network. I also just got the news that I was mentioned in Rolling Stone Magazine. Always something new and I hope you follow me to my next goal of 100 000 views.

PS don't miss Adée new single "Wasted on you" out today on Spotify.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Don't promise to much!

I just got some emails from band applying for different things and what is common with them, they promise to much.

One is comparing with the most successful band in Sweden the last 20 years. A bit humble that they are at least equal to this band. Sure I understand that they take some shortcuts in this case. Still, you promise too much. Now I'm expecting that you are at this stage as the big band, and I know that you are not. And I will start to compare and find out the lousy sides instead of the good ones.

It's no point to write that you are the best band in the world since you are not. Same with that they describe their live show like a good energy with exceptional good lyrics and a unique sound. If you claim such things you need to have that. In this case, there is no proof what so ever. Okay if send along live video clips where I can see the energy, I'm fine. Right now the problem is when they talk about an energy-filled show it might stand up to my criteria since I have seen quite many shows and have very high expectations. same with great lyrics. I just heard one song, and no the lyrics are mediocre. Sure when you created something you have these big thoughts, but let other people say these words.Unique sound, oh if I got a dollar for every time I hear that phrase I would have stopped working and bought my self an island and sitting on the beach doing nothing. And like, in this case, the sound is very mediocre.

Is this a problem with just DIY or "demo" bands. Hell no, I'm sitting with a catalog from a big booking company in Sweden. One of their bands I know pretty well and I consider them quite crappy and really has done nothing. In the catalog, it says that they have been "seen" in different big newspapers and tv stations in Sweden. The thing I that I know that since I'm the one who placed them there and they were just mentioned as one out of 10 bands that were going to a showcase festival. Of course, they are not lying, but they write it as they had full coverage around it which was not true. Same with some other things where I know they got coverage since they are close friends with the editor of that newspaper. This is the thing of the music industry you blow things up. But you have to think twice before you really do it, and how you do it.