Friday, February 28, 2020

Cashbox Radio discover MMB

Soon it's Mastering the Music Business in Romania. One of my favorite festivals. I did a special show on  Cashbox Radio around all the bands. Here it is as a playlist on Spotify and Youtube. See you 17 to 19 of March in Bucharest.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Don't bail out to soon!

-We have done so many free gigs we really need to get paid for this tour.

I was talking to a manager. She had asked me to give some advice on festivals this summer and I had asked for the conditions on the tour. This was a hard-working project. Both the band and the manager had put up both money and time to get things going. But in some many ways, they had spread the cost in different ways and now the shortage of cash was stopping them to get on the tour they needed.

The problem in this case, was that they had spent money on things they really didn’t need to spend that much on. Early in a career you really must be a cheap bastard that no one likes and actually save it for the future. The hard part is to tell when you should spend and when you should not?

I know they had spent quite much on a recording. Here is the general rule if you spend an amount on a recording you just must spend equal amount on marketing to get it out. Most tend to think that marketing is something you get for free. No here is where you really must spend. So, if you get your recording shiny, then put the same shimmer onto your PR. And that is the first thing that came up and bit them. The cost of recording had lowered their budget so they couldn’t take the free gigs that are needed to make the PR to the audience to buy/stream the recording.

Here comes the next mistake. They put over this problem on me. I should be able to bring in gigs that are now paid. The problem is that the recording was the tool that should secure these paid gigs. Now they are just an unknown band with a shiny recording. For a festival, they won’t sell any extra tickets. Even how good they are or how shiny their recording is, they won’t sell anything. People might discover them during the festival but that doesn’t help the festival or the gig place budget. Then they must do a favor and just put them on and hope that the audience then will remember them the next time they put them on. If that is even in their festival or gig place let say they gave them the chance and next year when they sell tickets, they take another bigger festival.

No better to pay for an artist that is selling tickets. So here the offer you can do is having PR money to play for free to just have the chance. The problem is that you can’t do that forever either, so you must have a good plan to do this wisely.

This mistake of trying to get paid to early is I think the most common problem in the business. And I see it from many angles. People think that after volunteer a small bit they can jump straight for a full salary. Or that the job that you are doing for a band suddenly can have a high price tag. And of course, the band that thinks that they could get the same price as their home turf on a new market. The whole thing is an investment and you are in for a long race. Yes you need to spend but do it wisely.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Interview with The Riptide Movement

This is me testing out to do an interview with my equipment. Sounded really good, thanks The Riptide Movement taht did it even though they had a heavy cold. And this was done last year, but with the arrangements of the station, it was broadcasted during February. Here is the playlists on Spotify and Youtube

If you want to hear Cashbox Radio live go here

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Finding Dory in an artist!

I just assume you have seen the movie “Finding Nemo”? Well in it you have the fish called Dory with a very short memory and can easily be distracted by something shiny. I was in a meeting with some industry people the other day and they compared artists with Dory. Not so nice, but unfortunately very accurate.

We where talking about some artist that was not so active. And the solution was to distract them with something shiny. But it must be something unharmful shiny they added. The thing was that the artist is always looking for the next thing. If they’re on a label and it’s not going in full speed (it seldom do, and when it does they complain that it goes too fast) another label comes around and that label works like shiny things for Dory, gets the artist full attention for a little while. So, the dangerous part is that they would go with the new label, but they need a shiny thing to keep going with the old label.

It’s very true. I see a lot of artists sitting on a label doing nothing, in the end, they depart and they find a new label and suddenly all these things they were supposed to do when they just sat on the sofa just adds on. But also, it’s usually very short-lived. Like Dory has a short memory it’s the same with the activity around these artists.

This is the reason I don’t like to take over a project from someone else. The short-lived injection that just ends out in nothing. So, when I’m looking for new artists, and yes, I do, we have some open spots on the company that we need to fill with good things. I look for an artist that has a focus that is, longer then Dory’s memory. The focus has to be there. I feel so many are not focused. They tell you that their career is everything and they really want to work with music full time. Still, they can’t take time off work for an important show. They hare not willing to work hard to find the money to play abroad at an important event. And they always have a hard time to find time to have a meeting with you.

Clearly something is holding the focus. To be in the position I’m in right now I wake up every morning thinking of all the stuff I’m going to work with over the day. Today it has been planning a huge gala on the other side of the world. Putting a playlist for the radio station. Booking a festival for one of the bands. Answering some emails around a license to a film and tv series that I’m involved with and listen to some new artist that had applied to our festival. Shattered no focus? No everything comes back to my career in the music industry. Scattered would be if I spent time looking for furniture for my new summerhouse or thinking of things of another job or worried about my car not matching my 40-year crisis. So yes, you can be scattered but as an artist, everything you do has to come down to your artist career.

Thursday, February 20, 2020


You really don't to be best to make it in the music industry. It's not like running 100 meters on the Olympics it only counts if you are the fastest. Even better if you break the record to be the fastest in the world. In the music industry, it's not like that.

It's not to be the smartest either. You surround you with inspiration and you steal things in a nice way and you will be fine. You really don't have to invent a new instrument. Here you just take things and elevate them a bit.

The big issue is that nothing goes fast in the music industry, nothing. It's always delayed. At the same time, it moves so fast so if you leave it for a year you are totally out. In the whole equation, you need to have stamina. Stick to your guns, and do it well. Soon you start to ruck on that you are on unsteady ground.

You are not in charge when your break will happen or how it will happen. That is all up in the formula to decide. Really no one knows or can decide that. No one, not the majors. No one! The problem is that you think everything will happen soon. Too many people say it's my turn now. I need to make money on my shows and my music. No, it's not your decision. When your brand and music have that value it will happen. Until then you need to have the stamina to keep ongoing to build that value up. Yes, you think that you have done everything to a hundred percent. In reality, it's just ninety percent. You need the stamina to ten percent more. And actually, it might not even be ten percent sometimes not even fifty percent is done.

The biggest problem in the industry is that no one can tell how close you are to that break. If you are one percent or ninety is impossible to say. Here the stamina comes in. If you keep doing what you do with full passion it is a hundred percent that you will break. You just have to keep doing it and not listen to people saying that you can't. Keep on doing what you do and find a way to get just the amount that you need for money. New roads and doors will open. None career looks the same. It's just about the stamina to keep everything up.

What breaks you is that you start to follow what people say. You become the dead fish that follow the stream. If you do what you love yourself you really don't need that persona or follow the crazy taste changes that the industry presents. Of course, this is in the taste directory. Just be stubborn and work against technical things and be not accessible is stupid. This is about the taste, not that you just give out the music on cassette tapes to be as indie as possible, that is just stupid and just gonna give you that you need more stamina then needed.

This goes for everything in the music industry. I'm here on my journey because of my stamina, not because I'm the smartest or the best. I just kept things long enough and the knowledge that I encountered and the doors that got in my way I just entered.

Yes, I have been totally broke! People have told me to get a real job! People have laughed at my creations! People have ignored me! They still do and will keep on doing.
The same people that said that yesterday are today a failure. Sitting on small shitty jobs in my hometown waiting for retirement in their forties and worry about how they should match their socks. They thought it would go fast and bailed out too early. And never took the chances that presented because they thought a new one would come, they thought it was their time.

I have reached the part goal when my father has stopped to ask me when I would get a real job, and just wonder if I can support me financially on my projects (well I have done it for thirty years).

Everything that counts here is that you keep up what you truly believe in. If you really want to be on that stage. You can be on that stage. the road there won't be the road you thought. Just keep on going and enjoy the ride. You just need the stamina and not play too safe.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Self-sabotage and the damager.

-We had a discussion and feel that posting on social media is not our thing. We more like to be a secret band and people post more about us!

The band I worked with had one of those famous meetings. The ones when they sit in the rehearsal room picking up things from some random dude, like the clerk at the local music store, that gave them some tipoff that is totally insane.

Yes it sounds like a cool idea to be this secret band. In reality its a career suicide. Why is it attractive? The main reason is that the band is lazy and really doesn't have the stamina to keep things up and alive. Then this stupid idea sounds really attractive.

As a manager, I can fight this idea. Then, of course, I'm the idiot that doesn't get this new cool thing. Or I can let them try it and slow down their career with a couple of years. And then its always a possibility that they quit.

The problem is also that I will lose sponsors that realize that doing that kind of trick is pointless. And it will be really tough to get them back when suddenly some random dude will tell the band that posting things all the time is the right method. And suddenly they are doing the opposite what they said from the beginning.

I don't know how many careers that are going down the drain of fatal small decision that are discussions in different places of boredom like touring, studios and rehearsal rooms. And you get them a lot. Here are two other famous ones.

- Oh! No one is released during the Xmas holidays. No pr person is willing to help so I will release on my own with no pr at Xmas eve as a gift for my fans!

- No I rather stay at home rehearsal and write songs then play on that showcase and make new connections.

I don't know, but it seems like a mechanism to sabotage your own career. The plunge is too scary so instead, you just take this crazy idea. I just got the feeling that is the case, self-sabotage. Of course, people have released on Xmas before, why you don't know it is because it's almost never successful since most people are on holiday. Sam by staying home writing songs, those artists never leave the rehearsal room and never get anything done. Maybe it's the fear of success taht is creeping on.

Then you have the other side when the manager just goes on any trend that comes around and adapts it for a month or two making the artist waste time on building stuff that never comes to use. I think it was Nikky Sixx that came up with the expression "we don't have a manager we have damager". Yes, history is full of these fatal mistakes as well. Like why have dinosaurs with sombreros on the front cover of Ramone's last album? Threat the Police in the south of USA in front of the record label president? Or how many were not just following when all managers saw that mid-tempo songs worked best on Spotify and ordered everybody to do the same formula?

Here the band has to be creative and do something new, prove it to work to get the manager on the right track. Same here is the manager fast enough to adapt or does it take to long so its time to change?

In the end the best is if everyone is on the same page. Not easy, but in the most successful careers, it is what seems to work.

Friday, February 14, 2020

New station manager!

So it's Valentine's day. No! I'm stuck in front of the computer and fixing things for the release of the new radio station where I'm now station manger. Suddenly Bryan Adams is playing "Heaven". Here it is Valentine's day! And on the other side, my girlfriend is in the other room doing invoices for the company. Both work in the music industry both in our own companies.

Complaining, hell no! I wouldn't have it another way. If I wanted a romantic dinner or anything else I have the freedom to shut everything off and just do that. This is a lifestyle. I'm still in front of the computer is because I have so much fun. I have had skype and messenger phonecalls from around the world today. I got on a couple of new cool jobs that will bring me around the globe again. I don't care that it's soon the weekend. I long for Monday since then  I can start all the things I like again.

Yes working in the music industry is a jungle, really welcome to the jungle. Many don't survive. It's really a lifestyle.

Well now I need to get things going on the new station should work fine by mid of March when we start to promote. If you want to prelisten we are already up at then you can hear all our small mistakes that are in trimming. The station is also on the blog page in the top right corner. Love has to wait!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

This is the reason why you don’t get an answer.

We got a mail to our festival the other day. First with the totally wrong name on the festival. Sure, that can happen in all your cut and paste. Then the letter continues by asking questions that obvious is on our homepage, things like which dates the festival is, what kind of genre do we prefer, how much do we pay for each band. I mean why should I go through the process answering questions like this for a band that we probably are not interested in booking?

So, I just write back a link where all the info around our application process is. And told them that our real name is this.

To be honest, I think we are pretty good to answer these emails. We actually get thousands of just mails from bands/bookers/pr people just sending out from different mailing lists not knowing where and to whom they are sending. It’s part of the game, and that is why I guess 99% are just deleting the emails and don’t answer them. We try at least to give you the right info even though we know it’s just another mass mail out.

Then now two days later the artist goes on to our Facebook page writing nasty things just because we answered back with some info.  This is the reason why so many have stopped writing back. Now we must deal with an artist that is not even in the closest chance to be booked being annoying in our official channels. Yes, it’s much easier to just delete the mails.

This is also, the reason why you never give feedback to anyone sending in a song. Most people probably would be thankful and nice but this small group of idiots that would start to mess up things or start to answer back that you are wrong. You have really no time to give feedback in the first place. Now you are in a position that you should defend your opinions.

So, when you are annoyed that you never get any answers. Here are some tip-offs. Try to be personal. We all hate those mass emails, yes, they are easy and convenient to send out. But you rarely get answers on them.  Okay, it will be quite massive to be personal, but it’s the only way to get a response. I have an e-mail list of over 300 supervisors around the world. Yes, it would be darn easy to just make a send out with a generic email. But I spend two days sending the info as the generic email but add two personal sentences at the top.

But how will I be personal with all these 300 have I meet them all? Many I have met but even if I meet them it’s very few I know that well. Instead, I also spend time going to their homepages or social media and check for updates. You pick up that they just moved or a reason success placement almost anything and you do a nice comment on that. Like: I saw that you just moved office, how is the new place?

You will directly stand out. It’s hard to ignore when a thing like that comes in. Then you also have to get that when they answer back: Thanks, the new place is really great. That it’s not an opening to have a long chat around the music that you sent in. You know they have seen it. So after the answer just put it down until they contact you. Though in many cases I get back other things like, The new office is great, listened to your music do you have more songs with this artist? Then, of course, you are in to send some more.

Yes, this is painstaking to do. At the same time, you also get info. Maybe your contact has left the company and has a new position. Voila, you get in the new person in the first company and hunt after your old contact with the new company that now has a better position. You can also find out other things Like if a festival has changed style, it has a new theme. Information that is good to know.
I wish it could be less time consuming, but some a-holes have made it into what it’s easier to just delete emails.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A festival needs curation! Bigger is not better!

I just got an mail from a band that has played one of the bigger showcase festivals in Europe. Before playing at that festival it was a mark that this artist was going somewhere. I meet the booker from that festival last year at another festival talking about an act that really goes well all over Europe and with easy should make the lineup. The booker had a problem though that only around 20% was curated the rest was bought up by export offices. So, it was hard to even get a band that should be on there.  And when I got the link of this artist today, I can really see it. This artist has no value right now. It is not interesting in any way for the festivals. And has no real leverage right now. A typical buy-in for an export office.

And I see export offices with a large amount of money just buy in spots at the festivals. I have seen these artists and they not even ready. In the end, it really lowers the value of the festival. Sure, it takes time for the brand of the festival to fade away, but when it really starts to happen it goes fast. Midem is a great example. A must go in the 90:s and was so powerful you couldn’t ignore it. Suddenly because of really bad decisions in curation, the festival became nothing.

Midem tries hard to turn it around and there are some good things happening but the brand is now almost acquainted to be a place where old publishers that still trade photos and cd:s and drink wine. It’s not, I know that (not all of the participants, in some cases accurate though) since I was there last year, but most of the people I meet in the industry has that vision still. The struggle to reverse that trend is hard.

And I see this problem in several of the big showcase festivals. The curation is really bad, almost non-existing. A large buy up from export offices from very small undeveloped countries thinking that they enter a marketplace where they can export. They are buying a spot trying to shine in the festival brand. This affects the showcases brand and several now seem to be heading the same way as the trust of the numbers on Spotify, straight down the drain. I just saw an offer to pay and play on one handled by amateur organizations in Sweden for a big festival in Europe. The lineup will be not even close to good. The value is definitely gone and in the end, the reputation for the festival is fading away. The real industry people are also talking, that playing on these festivals was before a certain way to get booking now it’s just an expensive adventure.

Then I can also see the point of the festival. Here comes someone with not ready artists but pays half the festival expenses. Showcase is really not a goldmine. The money is really needed. So, at the expense of the quality, you have to do it. And I know everybody is doing that. The feeling I get right now is that it’s has gone over proportion. Two of the biggest ones in Europe is now just "pay and play". What's needed is that at least half is curated or even a bit more.

My reaction is to more or less try to avoid the bigger ones and head for the smaller ones. Many times, better curation. The big favor also is that the smaller ones have much better chances to do business. I rather do really good business than just saying that I sipped drinks at the biggest festival. For those who know if you just attend the big ones you are not important enough for the real industry people. When I write this, I’m on my way to MENT, a good festival with the right size.

And the artist that sent the mail. Yes, the fact that they bragged about playing that showcase festival made me suspicious and probably looked on their stuff with critical eyes. And I just make a mark not to see that show and also take out some festival names out of my band's bio pages.Bigger is not better in this case.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Cashbox Radio discover MENT Festival 2020

If you missed it on Cashbox Radio our special show around MENT festival. Here you have the pod/playlist version both on Spotify and Youtube, I would recommend Youtube since that contains all songs and you can see all the lovely videos.