Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Don't panic stay calm

I can't really complain we are doing pretty fine in the Covid 19 crisis. So many are suffering so much more. But I can easily see how artists are going bananas over things that are really not in help for them.

Think that you can pick up the money that you lost on live concerts by asking your fans to stream your music more. I see a lot of these posts about "support your local artist" and a link to Spotify. First of all Spotify ahs a limit on how many times you can get paid for a song streamed from one account. How many it is is a bit uncertain. before it was ten times but with the new cheating discovery, they lowered the number quite drastically. Rumour says it's three.
So it can be very contra-productive to ask fans to start playing your lastest song on Spotify.
Also what is streamed now will be paid out much later. So to calculate that you can get this money to cover your lost live show in April is wishful thinking. Besides that the streaming hasn't gone up if you look at the numbers that have been presented from the countries hottest the hardest like Italy, they remain around the same. This is more of an annoying behavior.

Stop doing streamed concerts. Sorry, it's already overdone. Even Facebook seems to have reprogrammed their algorithms to not get more spread on live streaming it looks like. I have seen quite many of these shows and they are utterly boring. To be able to do it right it will cost you a lot of money and technical stuff to do it. Try not to be a dead fish following the stream.

I also see a lot of artis5t doing crazy stuff. like playing live on an empty square.  Things that are cool to do, if they did it in normal times now they just do it because something needs to happen. Most people are in their bubble now and really don't respond that well to crazy things. This you can do in normal times. Being a smartass right now? You should do this all the times not just right now.

Update things! We got bombarded of artist that has to much time on there hands and suddenly want to fix things that have been laying around for ages. I just saw that Spotify had out that they can't verify accounts as fast as usual. Sorry, if you are lazy enough to haven't done this before. your career is not important enough. Don't then overwhelm companies that already are in a struggle with shit stuff just because you have the time.

So what can you do? Start to be creative. Time to stay at home write songs. Do new stuff. Plan what to do when things are over. Make those lyric videos that you should use later. Start to plan the new homepage. Right now is not a time to be seen or heard. that will be a perfect opportunity later but if you are going to withstand the whole wave of opportunity you need to have things prepared. Not you lost bio or stuff, new material.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Keep calm, move forward.

Got another mail about a live streaming concert. Sure a good idea it's just that EVERYBODY is doing the same thing. Another problem is that most live streams I have seen are not really thought through. It's mainly from the rehearsal room and looks like you are peaking into the artist rehearsal session.

I don't think it's time to draw up new projects. Like the artist I spoke to yesterday, they were doing a new Youtube channel and was aiming also to get some placements. Projects like this will take time. A channel takes a year at least to get some recognition. same with a placement. Even if you got lucky to be placed this week, the money doesn't come around until in the autumn.

Stick to your old projects. Yes, your live shows are off. Time to write new material. Get some new photos, update all your existing social media channels. Don't go around and think someone will do things for you. Right now everybody knows as little as you do. Back to your things, where you are in control.

Stay way though from writing tunes about Corona. Already it's overdone. Yes, I know the isolation could be an inspiration and many people are going through the same as you. At the same time, this is what 90% of the artist will write about and you are already a bit tired of the Corona newsfeed. My tip-off here is to write about something completely different or be smart enough to write about it but not straight forward.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Interview with Ömer Akay

An interview with one of the driving forces of the bigger indie labels in Sweden. We are going through how they find artists, what makes them tick and how the climate in the music industry has changed. Listen to Ömer Akay from Despotz. Both on Spotify and Youtube.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

If you ain´t first, you´re last.

Why do everything just half? What’s the point of going to a just one day on a four-day conference? Why just write a perfect song and then record it on 8 track recorder with the wort possible sound? Or having not an ok song and then enter Abby Road and think they will fix the problem.

If you can’t afford the whole thing. Either don’t do it or put everything on the same level. I don’t know how many times I have gotten an artist approaching me with a recording for 10 000 dollars and I ask how much you will spend on PR? And they have spent all their budget on their recording.
Or artist that take all their money going on a showcase festival and can only stay there the night they play with no one else to pick up the contacts. And they spent all their money so they can’t even follow up any opportunity the festival actually gives them.

Too many don’t really get things done in full. They cut corners and think it will work. And, it’s actually doing the full job is the things that actually get you somewhere, the half-done job is just a waste of money.

Most are just waste money and time mainly because they don’t really want a career; they are in for the hobby fun. The problem for professionals is to try to separate these hobby people. And they are doing their best to disguise themselves, so it won’t be easy.  All the time I meet artists claiming they put in as fulltime and will go any lengths to get somewhere. I guess this is the first lie in so many cases.

To win a formula one race, you need to go full throttle. You can be a bit slow and just take it easy and then try to win the whole thing. Of course, you can’t go full throttle through the chicane then you crash. And you can’t go full speed and then stop and wait for a couple of moments to eat a burger. Most important you are NOT winning the race by yourself. Without the pitstop team and sponsors you really NOTHING.

Here a thing like this seems very obvious. In the music industry, it just seems lost. The most simple matter is hidden under that music is special and it’s about feelings and passion. No, it’s not. The formula one driver has a passion for driving and probably has done a hell of a lot of things to get to even race on that track. Stop pretending that we are special in any way. This is there act the same thing. If you are going to be at the top. You have want to be at the top. You really can’t do it halfway.

So, in the end I just quote Talladega Nights: If you ain´t first, you´re last.

Can we bring in the one that really wants something for a change? Not just the sing songwriter that feels that blue is not my color?

Friday, March 20, 2020

Tired of the non artists complaining!

What really makes me cringe is when people take advantage of the disaster itself. When filming the movie Fitzcarraldo the director Werner Herzog tells in interviews later that a crew member got seriously wounded during the shoot in the jungle. The whole crew was running around and try to aid the hurt guy. The main actor Klaus Kinski though calls on Werner and when he gets to him he shows that he is hurt to by a splinter in the finger. Werner explained it later that Klaus probably felt that the limelight was not on him.

I get the same feeling when artists scream out online about their canceled shows. The funny part is that the ones that really scream out almost don't have a career and really not have much to lose. The ones that really getting struck about this are kind of quiet and then they come with some solutions with smart things like online concerts and other stuff. Yes, that is why they are successful and not the others. They solve the problem.

Sure it's not easy to lose stuff and the situation is not good. Still, the ones that really will loose on it, like the staff at the restaurant, the people in the ticket office, technicians and so on I don't see them complaining like the amateur artists that playing like a Shakespeare drama online how bad it is for them. And yes for the others it's theri real job, it actually affects them and I see so many coming up with good ideas and solutions to fight back. It's very impressive.

What's not impressive is the DIY artists. Right now it goes around a letter telling us that Spotify founders should make a fund for the artists since they got the wealth of their music. Here again, signed with a majority of non-artist. Sorry Spotify made it through around ten percent of artists on the platform. And those are not in that crisis for the moment. They probably will care more about their poor employees that they have that will lose money on their canceled tours. I really don't feel that Madonna is in any financial danger closes some dates. I feel though for the festivals, venues and the workers who should have hosted it. Those are suffering.

And maybe with time, this will change. The first to scream is the one that was really not in and barely doing it. They fall off first. And that what we see now. The other ones might start to tell their story later. Those I will listen to

It's like many years ago there was a big fire killing many young people. The days after the fire suddenly some half unknown artists started to do a song where he donated some of the percentages of the sales to the victim's family. The feeling that you got was more that he wanted to resurrect his career and make a couple of bucks out of the disaster. This kind of thing really makes me cringe.

It's like in the disaster the silent ones are the most hurt, the screaming ones are hurt, but not as bad since they are able to scream. Right now there will be people that need more help than the average DIY artist. I feel this crisis will be a divider of the ones that are just wannabees and the real artists. The real artist will adapt the other ones you find later working in government programs.

And in the end, there are more important places that are suffering during this crisis. The hospital personal are really hard-working heroes. All people that keep functions in society going, they are amazing. I just cringe around these attention wannabees. And like someone said, yes price under herer is a bit high.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I'm seeking a artist that want to break big! Round three!

Here is the final round what I need to break and artist in the world. If you have read part one and part two and thinks I’m mean to artists, well you are not up for the task so stop reading and go back to your normal daily job, you are like Harry, Harry doesn't mind, if he doesn't, make the scene. He's got a daytime job, he's doing alright!

You need charisma. Not really, we can work on that as well. Yes, you will be someone else. But know what most artists are. Dolly Parton is not Dolly Parton. And the girl next door will never break big like Dolly. Still, I have all the knowledge where to find all the people to get these things right. Sometimes an artist is a persona, quite often really.
On the whole, it’s more important that you stick your guns then think that you need something special. To many bails out to early on either style of faith in the project. That is the biggest risk in building a career. People just doubt and try to take some stupid shortcut.

What I really not need is anybody that just should be mediocre and try to fit in. I need someone that doesn’t take themselves to seriously. I need someone that can burn all bridges to be on that stage. A person that wants that audience. A person that can take handle the tools I have to use. The trail won’t be the same that everybody else takes. No, this one will be a new one. The truth is that is all artist careers, a new thing. Ramones was not entering a cool club when they entered CBGB:S, they made the place cool.

Finally, you need humor. It will be hard, but a lot of fun. Many of my old clients come back years after and just tell about all the memories they got from the journey we did. That though comes afterward.

So when can we start? Tomorrow I can get things going. My problem is how you are going to show that you actually have everything I have been writing about in these three episodes.

Why I’m the right person? Ask yourself if any of the people that you know in the industry actually are invited to one conference a week just to speak about their knowledge? That is 52 conferences in a year! Do they have a network that is spread to all the continents around the world? Has been on boards in all different unions in the music industry? If the answer is yes, stick that person. In 99% of the cases, it’s a no. I have been around and just seen it all. Built a network that now is ready to do a big thing. I’m looking who wants to tag along. Listen to the advice and not try to invent the wheel again. A career is an input from so many sources it's never brainchild of an artist. Sorry to have made that illusion to crash. How successful is where these sources come from.

I’m not here to make a boy/girl band that comes around the break and then goes out on solo things.  No, I’m here to make one final stable career. I have all the tools I just need to find the right material. I never thought that an easy task was so hard.

So if you are up for it you know where to find me!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

It’s end of the world as we know it.

I guess the writing around Corona is too much. And yes, I wrote around it when SXSW closed. The truth is that no one really knows what is going to happen. And it might not be as bad as you think.
There will be like 9/11 a before and after Corona. 9/11 affected a lot of security and border issues, Corona will directly affect the music industry like nothing really before it has. Record labels, studios, and publishers will be fine. Here it is the live industry that will get the big hit. The live sector is still the biggest part of the music industry over fifty percent in most parts of the world. Also, this sector hasn’t had so many problems before. Just that we closed smaller gig places. That hasn’t affected the big companies, Corona has just affected them big time.

The government says they will help companies with different things. Even with that said the hotels, theme parks, and other things are huge giants even compare to the biggest booking agency. You must calculate them as small companies and they will have the hardest time. We can see a lot of structures in the live industry going to change even with government involvement.

Right now, it’s very hard to predict who everything will unfold. It depends if this state of emergency is on its peak and how long it will be going. The longer the bigger effects. Just this week the companies started to squirm a bit and that is just a week. We don’t know if these companies are living on the edge and a break in the income is breaking them after a week or do, they have a stash of cash to survive in six months?

These are the guesses that I think might actually happen.

First, don’t look at it as a disaster. Music will not die. In Italy, they sing from the balconies. What can change is the structure. When structures change opportunities will arise. Look at this as a giant opportunity. Go with the flow.

The big live company’s power might be over. Their big arenas might shutdown and contracts for these might be up in the air since they might change hands of ownership if they can’t come back after the crisis. One scenario is also that their staff that they need to fire on the big concert arenas might find new work and not coming back which could make them lose contracts. Here are opportunities when it goes back to grab things if you want to move into that section. One of those things could be that people that are laid off start new companies that have an inbuilt knowledge to take over the arenas.

The live industry will lose people because they must minimize their structure. That will free a lot of new people that are quite trained that will do their own thing and hopefully that will divide the market into smaller sections. Witch is a good thing for musicians and artists. Maybe bar personal that were working there now sees an opportunity to open their own establishment when the crises will open up for new renting contracts and a structure of smaller places in the beginning.

People will change their habits. Suddenly they will consume other things. During this time, they might find new tv-series to watch and other ways to communicate that will be holding on. These will be new channels to put your music in. Maybe smaller establishments will be cooler because people want to have a good time but closer to home. We might see a new wave of clubs to perform at?
Smaller venues will come back first. People might think this is charming and start going there instead of the mass things. New things will arrive. Old festivals and institutions might go bust and in that new things will rise and that is always a new opportunity.

The only thing we can predict is that it will be changes. A before and after the Corona outbreak for sure.

For me it’s business as usual. Instead of the meetings and live things around the world I got my opportunity to really start the radio station Cashbox Radio in full force this week. Everything bad has something good with it. It's the end of the world as we know it, not the end of the world.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

I'm seeking a artist that want to break big! Round two!

Here is the next round of this, what I need to break you big. In the first episode, I took up that we need good songs. But we can get them if you can't write to them. You need to fit the team, do what we tell you and don't really question it. The money issue....and now over to the patience.

I need you to be motivated. if you are just in to be recognized in your local grocery store. We are not on the same planet. Get yourself a spot in any docu-soap. No, you need to be passionate about it. This is a lifestyle not a phase in your life. You need to wake and think about how you can get your music out there. That is not the question you should ask me. I do my job and that will get your music out. You still have to come up with things yourself. I really don't need an artist that sits on the sofa and just wait for the opportunity to just jump in from the balcony dancing around and paint themself purple screaming "I'm a great opportunity".

I need you to believe in me. Don’t be like Dory in Finding Nemo and just look anything shiny along the way. Don’t be to upset when we move along from that nice producer you liked. We are on our way to the next step just looking forward not looking back. We will have time to look back later. Yes, you need to sign a contract with me. If that scares you and you need some trial period or anything you are not up for the task, next, please!!

You don’t need to change things either. The network I have can’t be taken over by you. No, just because they are nice to you, they won’t be your friend and that you can do this by yourself. This is built on thirty years’ experience. Yes, you can take it over if you do that but then you are a manager, not an artist. Your job is just to be nice even if there are a-holes that I present you to and you don’t agree with what they say. You will be fine, I can sort the shit talk, you can’t I promise you that.

Just because I take you on this journey, I’m not your babysitter. You must fix problems. I don’t care that you don’t have a case for your guitar for the flights. You just have to fix that. No, I don’t want to beg you to fix it either. You fix it straight away. If I say we have a gig in London in a month you don’t tell me that weekend you have an anniversary with your partner and you have trouble getting out of work earlier. You just fix those things. The question is what flight I take and if we should go on some meetings while we there and if you are needed for some introductions. No, you are not in London to buy clothes, take selfies to your Instagram account, you are there to work. If you are good at it you will be able to do both, but you need to work hard.

Work hard, yes this is not the trip for the fainted hearted. I have done it before. Yes, I have been fighting with guards, been thrown out. Almost crash-landed with my flight. Been utterly sick on tour. Been on gunpoint of crazy bar owners, chased by the police. Even meet the guy with a hook of a hand on Motorheads tour bus. I have been there done that. Let’s go on the ride. And at last, no there is no free time. I even work when I travel so, should you! Are you afraid yet? …if not there is more.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

I'm seeking a artist that want to break big!

After 30 years working with major stars (yes, I worked with four of the twenty most streamed songs worldwide) and with small upcoming acts (I have started two of the biggest showcase conferences in Scandinavia). I know how to get an artist successful and get them to be a top star.

The problem is not how to know how to do it. The problem is to find the raw material to mold an artist to become that. In many cases right now the industry just takes chances. Throw out a hundred artists and then see what sticks and how long we can take them and then dump them when they get tired. That is not how you build a new Michael Jackson or Queen. And the industry knows that. The fact is that the new industry has a hard time to find the material, much because it’s going to hold for a longer race. 

What do I look for then? In three episodes I will try to explain that. Because I just can see that hundreds of artists right now think they are the ones I’m looking for. But like Carly Simon sang, You’re so vain. Here are the criteria.

You need really good songs. Yes, you do, but if you don’t (which most artists actually don’t have). We fix that and get the right writing team for you. Here so many artists will fell off. The first half thinks they actually so good songs that are not needed. Still no not all of them are even close to the big songwriters. That is, the way it is. You really must write a lot to become that good songwriter. The most artist just writes fifteen songs and then head into the studio. The other half is ok to write songs with others. Of course, just established ones. They straight want to get into the studio with Max Martin. You are not ready for that either you need to start at your own level. I would put you together with experienced songwriters but new ones. The ones that are not discovered yet. Why? The price tag is too much for a very established one. Also, you are also learning while we are doing it and I won't pay extra for your learning time with Max Martin he doesn't have time for that. Britney Spears probably never heard about Max Martin when he wrote "Oops I didn’t again" for her. What I need is an artist open enough to get to know new people that can come along on the ride, and not are your old friends that you have written with before.

I need an artist that can fit the team. Out with the diva things where “I'm the star” no, I’m not here to babysit an idiot. You have to listen. I’m the one that has the knowledge and been around. You've got the brawn I've got the brains, let's make a lot of money, like some pop star said. If I say I need a song that is 3:30 don’t show up with a five minutes long epos. It’s not what I need, and I really don’t have to explain my work. I just need the song.

Oh, you wonder why 3:30 not 5, easy radio has a hard time to play over 4 minutes. It has nothing to do with your artistic integrity. It’s that I must adapt to the reality of my PR people. I can put your epos on the b-side, no worries. But if that gives you hard feelings get out of here!

You need to be in for the long run. Success doesn’t happen for six months. You must be able to spend at least five full years with me. Yes, my rule in five years. I really know what I’m doing so just shut up and tag along and we will be fine. I know every step and the steps you are longing for is in year three and when you hit year three those are not your longing any longer, they will be on year four. You will be in sync of what you are longing for in year five and that is where you break to the big audience. Before that, we will do things that you find kind of strange. Like, play obscure festivals in India. Play in small venues and festivals etc.

Money, yes you need that. You don’t have to be a millionaire or paying me a hell of a lot of money. I will take the risk and work for percentage; stupid I know but I can take the risk. You need your money for the traveling and the stuff that I will throw in front of you. No, you don’t need rich parents. I won’t be on stupid expensive things. You need to have a steady income. You need work where your boss is okay that you will go away from time to time to other things. That is all. This one is really hard, sounds easy but it’s not. Your boss finds it cute the first time you want time off then it will be harder and harder. And this should just be a job nothing that you hang yourself upon. So the excuse I don’t have the money to do this is not okay. You are not just for the task. Believe me, I have been there. I lived out of noodles from Tokyo for three years just to be on the spot I’m in right now.

Okay now to next one, have patience….so to test that the nest episode comes next time.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Cancellation of SXSW

I just read that SXSW canceled their event this year. A massive decision that involves a lot of money. 355.9 million dollars to be exact. It’s hard to predict how this will affect the whole festival. At the same time how it will affect other events. Here in Sweden, they are thinking of closing concerts that are above a certain capacity. I don’t know the capacity, but rumors say over 5000 people.

These things can disrupt a lot of things also the consuming pattern. People will change their plans and make others and do other discoveries. I guess I have written it before that every ten years it is a big change. And all the time I couldn’t guess what it would be. This time its globalization. The environment question and that we are so globalized going everywhere is creating a new pattern.

How it will look like is also impossible to tell. The effects usually go in very strange ways.

Like now all the people that would have been on SXSW, might need a new meeting point. Or will the virus keep hanging in so long that everything will be pushed to next year?

A professional guess is that the money will talk. Right now, they can do this but canceling big events the whole spring and summer would kill so many businesses that it would create a global financial depression. They come up with some crappy fast produced vaccine and suddenly it’s business as usual. The question is if the recession happens can we stop it.

For music usually, financial depressions are good for business. Yes, I look onto this very cynical. Music is thriving in a bad political climate and during hardship. That brings out good songs with meaning and passion. You just hope it doesn’t kill anyone just to get good music.

Maybe also this could run to smaller events. I skipped SXSW this year to go to a smaller conference. Much because I would do more business at a small conference. It’s part of the new plan I have for my festival touring. In this case, it was a good decision, but I feel for my friends at SXSW. This is not a good situation for them. The thing is that smaller seems to be better in this new global economy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

How to get signed to a label

I don’t know how many times I will write about this. I feel like a parrot, but since I still encounter the problem so frequently, I can write about it again.
No, your goal should not be to be signed by record label. Unfortunately, I meet so many bands that their sole goal is that they want to get signed by record label. The problem today is that record labels really don’t invest in new artists. They don’t have to. With the new tools, they can follow you and when it hit off, they just go for it. The major complaint I get from record labels is that it’s more expensive to sign artists today since they are further in their careers.
Another thing that has become a reality is that labels more just want to build a catalogue. If you have a large catalog even if a song just draws one dollar a year if you have a million songs with one dollar it is still making a million dollars. This is the reason why the headline last week was that they majors actually get a one million dollar each hour out of streaming. My guess is that 95% of that is back catalog that they have bought in. Not many of the new things they they had developed are part of that number. And you have to think that Taylor Swift is actually a DIY artist and not counting.

The backside of that, of course, is that they don’t want to invest. And they don’t need to. Either they own a studio and make you record there. Really not much cost for them. Or they just put that cost over on your side and force you to come with a ready product. And the cost of recording nowadays can be very low.  And since the song really doesn’t matter if they go that high with the song, they really don’t spend money on marketing either until the song starts to move. More or less they threw it against the wall and see if it sticks. Many of the new contracts I have seen is the artist is signed for giving out 10 to 20 singles in one year. It’s impossible to do proper marketing on a project like that. The singles will interrupt each other. This is a good sign that the label just hunts catalog and will try the stick to the wall tactic. Most of the time if it sticks it’s actually work done by the artist or their management. That is free labor for them.

Yes, management is the new risktaker. Here you find people believe in the artist and their music. Their job is to build it up. The problem right now is when you build it so far that the labels come around, you already have built up a venture that is generating money so split that income with a label that mainly wants to build catalog is not that lucrative. Lately, we have seen many of the bigger new stars just saying no to the label at this point. Also, the managers have become more aware that if they put these things over to the label the whole enterprise might just fade away because it’s built upon the management contacts, not the labels contacts.

The problem is that just this week I had over five conversations with mangers that getting crazy about artist nagging that they should be signed. It’s like the artist thinks that the signing makes things magically happening. I usually just say, they get signed with my label if it’s just the name and paper. Then it crawls out that they want to be signed to a major label that invests in them. That is just like believing in Santa Claus. Since all your numbers are out there, there is a good reason why the major hasn’t knocked on your door. The hard-cold fact is that you are not ready yet and haven’t done the homework. Now it’s more the label finds you; you don’t find the label. Especially not a deal where it says they going to spend money on you, then you really must have a good steady cash flow. In fact, if a label really wanted to invest it’s much safer to build a boyband that they control everything. But in the same way why should they? It’s a lot of work and risk and with the tools of today, they don’t need it.

Right now, many labels go for older artists that had hits twenty years ago. Why? Because it’s safe. Their songs will be streamed somewhat because they are a name. And it builds the catalog. An upcoming artist with mediocre numbers, they can easily see is just a cost.

My guess the main reason why the artist is nagging around it is that they are tried to take the cost for their own career. Yes, today it takes a longer time and you must have the stamina. Don’t waste your budget on one nice video. It’s better to do ten low budget ones. Yes, it’s not that flashy but you know what if you just in for the flashy and be famous you have an easier job to be a Youtuber. The ones that will make it are the ones that keep pushing their thing and just finds the money. The 80:s will not be back when the labels signed mediocre artists for tax cuts. You need to be in this business because you want to work with music and entertain people.