Thursday, April 23, 2020

Don’t shag the producer!

Or any of the band members either! Sure, people meet at the job but there is a reason for bigger firms that it’s forbidden to have relationships between employees. Ok, the music industry doesn’t have that but you should see it that way.

I had an artist that was produced by her boyfriend. It was not meet on the job. They had been a couple for a long time so it became kind of natural that they start doing some music together. He naturally produced her first ep and album. Things were going quite well and a record label came onboard. They were very enthusiastic but felt the music had to step up. Why don’t hire a good producer?

She got stuck between a rock and a hard place. Go home and tell her boyfriend that his producer career wouldn’t get on with her career? Or that he wasn’t good enough? It just became mission impossible. Every time the subject comes on at the record label meetings she was avoiding the topic. The record label just took that as she was a diva and didn’t see their new super-producer as cool enough. After a couple of meetings, the record label was not so enthusiastic about their new signing any longer.

The recording happened anyway. Don’t really know how she broke the ice? Her demand though became really strange. The whole recording session she needed to bring her boyfriend with her to the studio. Okay, I don’t know if he thought she would shag the new producer. At the same time, the producer found himself in an awkward position where he now should produce new songs with the old producer sitting on the sofa next to him watching every move.

The production came through. The record label was losing even more interest in the project, so the song was more laying on the shelf. Then six months later the artist came with the super idea (she thought) that her boyfriend could make some arrangements in the production that was done. Make it up in style.

The worst idea ever and the record label just saw that they would be stuck with this mediocre producer stuck to a good artist. There was no way her songs or productions would go any better she had reached her peak. And letting the boyfriend go in and change in the production and get the other producer to go on with that. Not even a solution. In the end, they just released the song with no marketing what so ever and dropped the artist.

Another artist I know that did the thing to become involved with every producer. Releasing her record was like having five angry ex-boyfriends working against the release. Any delay they could do they would do it. In the end, we just had to tell her to stop dating the producers.
Then suddenly every demo that she did in was not in the usual quality. The artist was talented, not writing songs, but finding guys that where good producers and songwriters and literary shag them to get a good product. She couldn’t write anything herself.
Latest I saw something from her she had a great looking video for a really poor song. My friend told me she was shagging the photographer nowadays.

And yes, we all know the famous breakups around artist and their relationships. Lady Gaga and her first producer. Yoko Ono and The Beatles. Dave Stewart and Shakespeare sisters.
The final advice, do like the big companies, stay away from relationships in the professional world of music.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

To release a song you need a vision.

Releasing a song/album is really like making a movie but on a smaller scale. In movie production, the director’s job is to get the whole team into his/her vision. Of course, they take advice from different experts like the lightning director that comes with suggestions and then the director makes out of that is part of the vision. In the background, you have the producers that do the financial decisions. The vision cannot go over budget. Still, in the end, the director’s job is to make the vision clear.
In music, that job is the artist's job. Sometimes they know, like an actor can direct a movie. But not any actor can be a director. Same in music in many ways’ artists might not be suitable to make these decisions. Still, in the part that you release DIY, you are forced to be the director that takes decisions.
When I went to film school, I was a scriptwriter, still, we did some classes with directors to understand their work. And one of the most talked of things was that a director should not seek advice and then always do the other way. If the light engineer gave a suggestion you needed quite good reasons and concrete arguments about why that is not fitting the vision. Just run over professionals didn’t make a good set. Some demon directors were mentioned like Alfred Hitchcock that was up in a tower shouting direction out of a megaphone during a shoot. At the same time, Alfred Hitchcock also stated, “Actors are cattle”. Later in an interview, someone asked if he had said that hand he replied: “No, I never said that, I meant it”.

Here I think the music industry has a lot to learn. As the releasing part if you are the manager, artist or even the record label. You must make your vision clear. If you do not how should people know what you want? My first questions with a new release are what you wish to happen to the release. And in 99% of the cases, they do not know, or the answer is it should be a mega-hit, or that all people should hear it. That is as stupid as that a local produced movie in Sweden would have the same budget as a Hollywood big production. You need to know if this is for a world, local, national market. Just there it determines how many teams you need and how much it will cost.

Time is also crucial. Imagine that the director starts to call round to the crew that they should do the most important shoot of the movie the next day and just expect all people at the set to be just ready and drop all their other projects and just be there? That is the feeling when an artist just gets a feeling and want to release the next song the same week.

Then during the shoot, all the suggestions that come from professionals were disregarded. On all the suggestions that they where asked for then was done in the opposite way. Yes, then the team just do their orders and do not feel the vision. They just do their job and forget about the project and will not go that extra mile that all projects need to be successful. Here you have the artist that hires a professional producer and then start arguing that this is not “their sound”. If you know better why even hire them. Or the manager that gets the advice to push the release and then comes back with some sneaky thing to get it out anyway even though they got the advice to push it. If the team is mistreated doors close amazingly fast and very silent.

On top of that if the director then when everyone has dropped everything starts to yell that the crew did not do their best. The director should just be lucky that people show up. Here you have the artist that then complains about that the song that was released in a weeks’ notice did not get that many streams.

Right now, in the panic that you should release stuff since the live opportunities are slim. Start to think and do not rush things. Do not be top slow either. Be clear about what you want. You are the director, not a bad boss screaming on people rather the boss that you like and are ready to work an extra free for.

Friday, April 10, 2020

You wanna know how you best send music to radio?

I just did a radio show around how you send music to radio. And yes I can tell that even more experienced PR people should take listen to this to have a better chance to get on the radio.



And yes I really do much of the blog on Cashbox Radio now. It's a better media since I can play music. If you want to send music to me I'm on