Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The record deal make it go backwards.

We should get a record deal! Said the band. Oboy here we go again was my first thought.
I usually ask back what should the record labels do? So far I really never got a good answer. The myth is strong in this case. The record label mythical will fix your career and you get more fans can tour etc. It would take you forward.

And it was true, twenty years ago when they controlled the gateways. Yes, there was a structure then and you needed them to get your music out. Today to get your music out you can upload it yourself with the same effect as them.

Today the gateways are free. You have the same power as a record label to reach people. They are up against the same hard work as you do. So how do they solve that? Money!

Yes, you need Pr money in this new world. And if you are a world artist like Kate Perry the record labels would put a lot of money on your career and do a lot of jobs. 

But you are not Kate Perry so that will not happen. Instead, you are more trapped than ever.
Since you are so small what most labels provide nowadays is problems. Suddenly a bunch of people wants to have their say around your songs, your look, your career. On top of that they don't contribute to anything it's mainly just talking. And all this talk and thinking will slow you down.

Most of the time a record deal is a step backward, not a step forward.

So should we just don't work with labels?

No, you need them, but you are on them too early just because you think they build your career. You need to build your career yourself until they approach you with a deal. When they approach they will have things to contribute with, and then it's a step forward.
I guess the error is that when and where you seek them out.
Before you seek them out to develop you.
Now, you develop and they come around when you reached a certain level.
Then comes the problem. When you reached that level do you really need them? Or would it be a step backward?

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Genre shitmusic. We are not a genre, we play what we like!

Well, when people say that I put in them in the undefined shit genre. There you have the artists that are just artsy fartsy and think it's a good reason to be in their own genre.

In fact, when you listen to these band they usually fit in a specific genre better than a band that says they fit pop. They are afraid that the genre would lock them up. Instead, it's this thought of freedom that locks them up in the genre shitmusic
You are free to play a folk song on a metal concert. One of Sweden’s most famous punk bands did that and was very successful. Still, you are mainly metal so the genre would be that anyway.
If you change the style on every song you play you are in the vaudeville genre, so you are still in a genre.

You will be placed in a box whatever you like it or not. No point of fighting it. It's a way for people to describe what you sound like, it's not stopping you to play what you want to play.
So pick one of the main genres is probably gonna get you more freedom then saying that you don't fit in any genre.

Most artists that still claim to be so special that no genre applies to them usually sound the same so many that work in the industry knows what I mean by the shitgenre.
Here they play every song as different as possible. The strange part is that that make them sound like the others who do the same. In fact, they are so many that it is a genre to say you're not fitting a genre.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Don't make it harder then it is.

I got a call from an artist friend the other day.
- Hey, Peter, I was thinking of something. You never hear any longer songs on the radio. The longest song I have heard was around 4:30. I have recorded a new single that is 8 minutes. That should stand out for the listening team on the radio!

- Sorry to say that radio has an unofficial rule that not to play songs over five minutes. And there is your reason why you don't hear longer songs. Also, the reason why it's called radio edit on songs.

- Still, if it is that way, not many send in long songs and I would stand out?

- No, they probably get long songs all the time but it's an easy decision to just take them off. In reality, they would probably sort out your song just to see the length.

- But my song is really great so if they hear it, they would do an exemption.

- They hardly did exemptions even for the Beatles so even if they played it they would fade it out around 4 min in.

- But the best part is around 6 min. Maybe I can tell them to start around 2:30 in the song?

- Or do a radio edit with the good part?

- No that destroy my artistic feeling of the whole song.

- Well if people hear the radio edit they might look up the longer version online.

- Still, I don't like the idea. Isn't better to just tell them in the letter?

- They get over 200 songs a week and your song doesn't fit the format and you demand them to do special things to play it? You just make it hard for them.

- I want my artistic freedom.

- You have that. Is just that you need to know what rules are there and when and where you can break them. I just say that in this case, you break them in the wrong way.

- I still feel they should give my song a chance.

- The rule is there since they know that length kills the listeners and won't fit the rest of the program. To play your song they have to move a section in the show.

- They should listen to all music that comes in.

- They do but you breaking rules will give them a easy decision to say no. But go ahead and send it in.

- It feels like they are not giving it the chance it deserves.

- No you are not giving you music the chance it deserves. You know the rules, just adapt to them and do awesome things inside the rule system. Yes it's harder but when you do it right it will be noticed. Just break the rules just because is just rude and not artistic.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The small details

The small details that give it all away. So many think they have the perfect show when these things give it away on a showcase that you aren't ready.

First, you think you would have the perfect sound and keep line check on your gig time and the audience has to listen to half a song. The pro-ready just keep on going and starts the show and keep going, and fix the errors during the gig.

Second, between the songs the whole band stops and start doing things with their amplifier, guitars and god knows. Then an awkward silence is there and the entertainment stops. The pro let the show go on. One entertains while the other do their shit.

Three, the talk between the songs sucks. This is one of the easiest things to notice when an artist is not ready. They do things like present the band, or say "how are you tonight" or "this is our latest written song and it's about..."  worst is when they start to excuse the song because they have never played it live. Excuse yourself or your music is never ok.

Then also leave the damn guitar ringing in feedback when they go off is so damn amateurish.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The rules of export.

So you gonna export your music? Here are some things to have in mind when you calculate a export success.
First of all export is about coming back. Doing a trip once to a country is like thinking your career should only be one gig.  Unfortunately many see the trip as a exciting adventure and some vacation. Adventurous it can be but you are here to work and network to get your second opportunity in the country you export to.
There is really no time to sightseeing,  and if it is well you should promote by taking new promo pictures or even shoot a simpler video.

There is also a timelimit for it, if you haven't been back in a year the thing was not that successful. Same here it's like calculate that you should do a gig every third year in your homecountry.

A good start is to go to the country and check with out any concerts first so you have a small network to invite when you get your first promo gig. Then when you do your gig you expand. On top of that you expand. This is why you really can't do all in once. You need to be focused on certain territorys at different times.

Don't forget also to update the contacts you got during your visits during the rest of the year.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Reise, Reise...

I'm on a plane to Japan, yesterday I was in Canada a week before that in the USA. It's my third year with heavy traveling. My third year of heavy investment to build a network to be able to promote and bring artists to the world.

Many still think that a record label is a way to get out there. Or a booker or just a manager. To tell the truth, if you had all these three lined up and all very excited and put all their resources on you, yes you can make it.

The problem is that is a bigger chance that you win 40 million on a lottery (which would make it possible to do it more easily).

Over the years when I have been working these things I have seen so many of these companies not be able to do a shit, even though they have names and are important. Most of the time is that they can do stuff in their territories. Still, you need the bigger coordinator.

So all this work all these years is to build up a very strong coordinator that no one has seen before. A coordinator that can reach the whole world.

Usually, my projects run for three to five years. So I'm at the end of the system and is now in the making of the first case. It's exciting.

Monday, October 22, 2018

The export offices are usually not export ready

A thing that usually is true is that real export successes never had anything with that country's export office. I have done quite many follow-ups on bands that had success versus bands that have been hard promoted by export offices and the results are striking.

Is it that the offices are bad on picking artists? No, the artist can be ok, usually not export ready though, but the real problem the artists are handled by a company that is not export ready.

Yes here is the problem. Only a company (manager, record label, Publisher) that is not export ready would go to an export office. The other companies are already out there on the right level exporting.

I can see that clearly. Usually, when I invite companies that used a country export we get trouble that the company is too amateurish to bring in. I cut off at least three of these on Live at Heart this year.

Also they the export offices is very keen on doing things to set up people at the wrong level. There is no point in setting up meetings with the biggest booking agencies with the smallest newcome manager. It never works out. And sending totally rookies to the world's largest showcase festival is not smart either.
And most of the events they hold is more quantity than quality.

One big problem is the following up. You often hear that someone got signed. Well, that is good, still, it has to get somewhere that it became an export.

So should we just get rid of these offices? No, they have a function but it needs to be more precise and they have to learn how real export is done it's not just about selling. It's also about importing.

Also, the festivals have to be better to not just take their money and teach them to be able to match on the level they are on, which is so many times lower then they and their customers think.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Don't do surgery on yourself.

If you buy a new car would you learn all about it? I mean I hardly read the manual (witch just prove I'm a damn stupid stubborn white guy).
Or if you buy a brand new Nord keyboard would the first thing be to pick it apart to understand how it works?

I often write it's better to do things than just sitting around. At the same time in some cases, it just goes into a frenzy. Yes, you need to understand how to use the car or they Nord Keyboard and it functions. Same with most of the systems in the music industry. You understand how to use them, not pick them apart.

In the quest for the independent artist, some go too long and try to pick the whole system apart. The other day it was an artist that wanted to know which databases and servers their song passed to get to Spotify. Or how the different payment system works on Itunes.

In many of these cases, they overdo the quest and in that process destroy vital functions. In a way when you have picked the keyboard to pieces and put it back together som functions stopped working so you now have a broken keyboard.

Tthe reality is you have to choose. Either you work with music, compose, record and be an artist. Or you want to pick all apart be an industry professional. Being both is like to try to do surgery on your self, you can do it, but not good.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Unlikable cunts

One of the memes I saw a couple a days ago was:
I think a lot of folks assume they are hated for their sexuality/race/gender when they, in reality, is just unlikable cunts.

You can easily translate this to the music industry:
I think a lot of folks assume they lack of success is because of men/hidden power structures/lack of channels to be heard/ when they, in reality, is just writing and producing crappy songs.

I just get approached so many times with people just assuming that the product is perfect just because they think that, their friends or their mom. When in reality the reason you won't get that festival booking, radio rotation or following and music don't pay off is that the song is crap.

Here is my dilemma. Should I tell them that the song is pure crap? In reality, it's only my opinion. On the other hand in most of these cases, it would be the majority of the industry that agrees with me since when it's really crap it's kind of easy to distinguish.
It's pretty obvious the cases when people try really hard and still fail in kind of easy takeouts like being booked or getting the bigger chances that it's down to the product.

Second is also that they are either surrounded by yes sayers or just don't listen to people that tell them that the song sucks so my tip-off would just get me in the line of people who don't get the music/are old/is part of the hidden structure agenda.

Also, we have created a society where things like this are not ok to say. We should all be winners.

Another thing is that they usually have a kind of weak mental health. Nothing wrong with that. But definitely, you don't want to be the jerk to send this person in a deep depression by crushing their work. At the same time, you just prolong the agony. It's a fact the person is doing crap songs.

I meet these people in panels when you give advice that builds on that you have a good product. Just there the advice just becomes useless since the criteria are not there. If you then try to go back you get the attitude that yes the product is perfect your advice is not good enough.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Don't trust old people.

And here we go again. Some old dude that worked on a record label during early 2000 finds a totally hopeless case and can't stop nagging about it.

What is it with these people? It seems they missed a lot of a information these years they were off from the industry working for the government or a school since they were chosen not good enough to stay in the business, but now are back.

You can hear me say, don't trust anyone over 40 in the music industry, they are too old.

In too many cases it is so damn correct. In too many cases they just come dragging with something that the cat puked up. The rest of the industry has already seen this band and just don't want to deal with them.

Then the jack ass starts to get the hopeless case favors that will just prolong the ultimate end.

We need some kind of diploma system. Just because you worked in the industry you really don't know it today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

It's a job not a tourist trip!

I wanna go out party! The warrior cry of any band going on tour to a big city.
Suddenly the thing that you are there to work is just out of the window.
If you pay a lot to get to a place your there to work not do touristy stuff, still that is what many do as a mistake.

The band comes in and get shit drunk and won't get up to get meetings. And are still hangover when they should play their gig.

In a way, the rock n roll myth comes in. People actually think that the stars that become stars do this kind of things. In reality, no, the new industry is so much harder and stars that would do that won't survive.

Same as just miss things for shopping or other things. You're there on a job and if you aren't able to squeeze the fun stuff in, well then it will have to happen on your own vacation.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The new useless industry people.

I was seeking out a girl from the industry. She is involved in several boards inside some of the music industry. Also, she is in a government program where she gets paid to get to several festivals around Europe to promote female producers.
I wanted a meeting with her to get some female producers into a project we have. For three festivals during the past four months, I have sought her to get a meeting. At all three times, she hasn't been able to attend the festivals. Her name is there but she never visits the actual event.

This last event I also bumped into another person that is on the same board as her. This person just sighed and said that this woman had only been on one meeting out of ten. And when she is there she leaves early for something else. Then I meet another that was involved in one of her other projects. Same here, she was very little there and also contribute with very little.

Then the person dropped the bomb. This girl was voted in just because she was a woman. In the wave of meetoo, they got her in since she claimed to be part of the movement. She was mainly voted in just as a woman, not for her knowledge. Now she was mainly taking up space in boards really not making any use for anyone.

I got back and did some research on certain projects. She voted in her friends bands in most of the government sponsored things she was part of. Still you can easily see that they hadn't participated in any of the events. In reality they took up space for someone else that might could have benefitted this. They voted in women that later didn't use the opportunity.

These things really make me angry. And I seem to bump into them more and more. People with an agenda to get space and power but when they got it has no interest do something with it. Just stay there with the title.

I don't know if it is incompetence and when they get higher in the organizations realise that they don't have the knowledge or if it is that they just doesn't care.

In early days people like that was kicked out naturally. Now they get to stay because of gender.

Friday, October 12, 2018

You release your songs to early.

In an interesting interview with Steve Van Zandt. Much right as well one of the big issues with streaming and that you can release something almost instantly is that most of the releases are not finished. They are on the stadium of the demo, not in the quality of recording more about the development of the song.

In the Beatles era, they had the chance to test songs on audience live over and over. After that producers and record label people also said their stuff, then they recorded. Right now many use the release as a testing ground where they almost never go back and finish the product.

I see what Steve sees that we are heading back to the live stage. A ground where you can see directly in the eyes of the audience what is going on. My guess is that we soon will have more bootleg live recordings that will be classical in the future.

It is a new world we are adapting to.

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

When are you what you say?

When are you what you say? My friend Boyan hit on the spot for this post.
Today anyone can just print a business card and become a manager, booker, record label. Still, you are just a manager, managing your own band or a booker that just done two gigs or a record label just giving out two songs on SoundCloud.

So we all know success is part of the equation. At the same time, you must start somewhere.

I remember when I had my record label and was very nervous to meet the big established labels. Today I see the same labels as quite amateurish and most laugh at their attempt to build up stuff.
But I bet my ass they still see me still like the small label guy.

I the beginning I felt I hadn't had enough experience to call my company a record label. But after my first cd, it was a milestone. And back then it was, today it's so easy to give out something that giving out is not counting.

So I have some hold points to measure, not if you are what you are, more witch level.
You live on your work as a label, manager or booker. That is a very pro level.
You are focused. Over a period of time you have given the project 100%. That is prospect level.

Everything under is mainly hobby. And boy do I see so many people with no focus at all. Today's problem it's very hard to see this on just one meeting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Stay focused

I saw a post of an artist I know. The third project he starts up this month. Okay, he seems to have fun but on a meeting with me two months ago he told that all the focus was on one of the band.

Here I can easily see that he is overall the place and more or less open up new projects. A restless soul like that has trouble to be focused. Of course then if one project goes some better he will focus a bit more on that.

Projects go up and down so that focus won't last that long. And as I usually write it's a marathon race, not a sprinter race. Being this not focused is a good indication to not waste time on any of these projects.
By the way, this is not just for artists, it's for all in the industry.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

You can't run from your past.

I got a call from an artist on the distro side, I know I don't work there anymore. Still the artist had my number and in some cases, I can help.

- I want to take down my first album.
- Sure we can do that. Is there a special reason?
- I come with a new album in two months and I feel the first album is really not me. The new stuff is so much better.

This feeling is very dangerous. Of course, the artist always feels that the last thing they did is the best. Unfortunately, it's very rare that it is the best. In fact, the audience is in charge of judging that.

So take everything old down every time you release new is just asking to crash your career.

I mean your life is full of things that maybe you are not so proud of. And yes it would be really nice to just be able to go back and erase them. At the same time, these are the things that is you and it will not work to erase them.

And so many of your favorite songs that would be erased by artist if it was possible in the real industry to do this. Many classical hits is probably hated by the artist themselves. They can't be taken off because in the real industry to many other is involved in the process and owns part of copyrights.

So try to take things off is the most stupid thing you can do. Also if you succeed they will reappear and then you can't control them. Also it's impossible to control what the audience should think.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

The artist worst enemy, is the artist themselves.

 - I don't get why people stop come back to me after I have to give them a new price?
The quote is from an artist on Facebook. An artist that the whole business have learnt is a pain in the ass to work with, she needs a haggle longer the guy at the bazaar to book her. Of course, now the most experienced people have stopped booking her because they know and don't have time for it.

Someone said, "the artists worst enemy is the artist themselves". In so many cases it's true. You can see many very talented people just walking around having different collaborations all the time but never keep them. After a while, you get a feeling around these people to stay away.

The main problem is that they seek out people to solve a problem, for example, booking. When the new person starts to book they start to interfere. The booking are not cool enough. They should be paid more. Why can't the person not book to the biggest festival in Sweden? And when it comes to the easy obvious ones the artist take themselves and brag that they are doing better themselves.

Of course, people then leave. And the artist seeks out a new one. In the end, practically everybody knows and the artist has a hard time to find a new person. Also even if the new person try the rumor has spread even to the people they are approaching.

Ruin your own career like this is more common than you think.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Advice or confirmation?

People seek me out quite often to get some sort of advice. Suddenly you are feeling that they are trying to take the advice and fit it in to their confirmation.

What they want is confirmation of something they think work in a certain way but when my advice goes in a totally wrong direction it becomes lika a argumentation.

In the end they will do the thing they thought instead of following the advice I gave.

By the years I have become better to read what they want so when I notice it's just a confirmation I just go along. I know they will come back later when their plan didn't work out. My hope then is that they will have a more open mind.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


I meet my international friends more then my friends at home. In some cases I meet the same person three weeks in a row on different places around the globe.

I guess with my special interest to just a small part of the business I can really indulge in all the talk around just that topic. I can get how people that build model railroad feels when they go to conventions and meet other and just go deep in the subject.

So will I have a overdose of musicindustry. Or even grow tired of it?

It's one of the fears I have, still I enjoy every minute of it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Michelin Guide to showcase festivals!

I should set up a Michelin Guide for showcase festivals. I guess though that I would have trouble to judge the one I work for.
Still if I just keept it to certain criteria like size, number of artists and so on. But I would still miss the interesting part how much business is done. And that part is the thing people wants to know.

There is always something on a showcase festival. Even if it's very small. Actually my best things has been on really small ones. I guess it's always what you need for the moment as well your attitude.

Still let me think about it. It would be fun to just do the guide. Just what kind of criteria that is needed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The manager graveyard.

You can spot them for miles. The enthusiastic manager that just got into the game and has signed its first band and now promoting the shit out that in every way they can. Of course, you don't want to take off their happiness but running around like a headless chicken won't really take you anywhere. It's all a long long game it's not a sprinter race it's a marathon.

These people just last in 2 to 3 years then they are burnt out. The rule is that the first project you work on will not succeed. It's very rare, and the same with bands. Check with any famous artist and ask if it was their first band. I only know two that said done that and that is the bass player in Weezer and Topper in The Clash.

There is too much to learn to make it on the first one. The obstacles are too high but with knowledge, you can get over them and in the end but that never happens with the first round of artist (yes these managers usually have like three artists they sign, witch none is up to actually make it).

The problem is that they didn't get that chance to learn properly and don't hang in. In the end, they need money and get to work on the government programs (in sweden you have this massive graveyard of these careers). In some cases they just pass down all the error they did in these programs.

In this case yes, I write about you, I know many of these people read the blog. And yes you didn't keep the work going and tried a quick way and now a government lackey.

Also, many of them become bitter tastemakers in different variations.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Motivation Speakers

I don't know I'm in a split here between if motivation speakers are good or not. Of course, a really good motivational speech can really deliver some reactions and get the audience in a good spirit. at the same time, most of the people doing these speeches actually don't have that kind of success. I had quite many getting to me to get on my festival conferences and in most cases, they failed in the normal way but got something else.

And that is like most of the people that work in the music industry. Almost anyone is a failed musician. You played in a band and then happened to stay and do work for the record label/booker/publisher etc and that is also a way to stay to work with music.

Also, motivation is just not all. in the end, it has to be good for people to consume it. Even with the most positive drive and enthusiasm you can't get to the bigger things if you're not good. So when the speaker is like "you can do it" and there is mainly people in the room whos product really is not up to date, well I don't know if that is so good.

So I try to see these inspirations speakers before I book them. The hard part is that no one is actually booking any of them to their conferences.