Saturday, October 31, 2020

Do you think it’s the right timing for it?

 Do you think it’s the right timing for it?

If I only got a cent for each time, I get that question I would have bought a nice flat in the center of London, maybe next to the Queen. No, it’s never the right time or the perfect setting for doing anything. Life would be very easy if it was that way.

I have meet many artists that just sit and wait for the right opportunity on the right place. I have never seen any of these artists succeed or make a career either. I guess your worst enemy is that you think you should do everything in the right order in the right place and suddenly everything will be fine and you will be a superstar.

No, those moments don’t really exist. Hey, you say you read about them in a book about some artists the other week or in a blog post. Yes, there is a right place and time, but they never happen by chance. These moments will happen in a successful artist career and you will remember them later. The problem is that you never speak about all the other mistakes you did along the way you just talk about that moment in interviews and books not what lead up to that moment.

When asked if it’s the right time or the right thing to do I just answer – how long is a string. I can only say that if you get an opportunity and not jump on it for most parts it will be a mistake. Yes, it will be safer not knowing and sitting home and wait for the perfect opportunity. After a while though saying no to everything less and fewer opportunities will come by. In the end, you might be so afraid to take the chance that you even say no just for safety to the perfect opportunity.

Right now you read my column in Cashbox Magazine Canada and Record World. I can easily say when the opportunity arose that I could write for them. I can really the day when suddenly Sandy the chief editor said that my text was so important that she would like to feature them in the magazine.

Yes, I could easily say no. Hey I don’t have English as my native language. I’m might never be as good as anyone that has English as their first language. At the time I was also in a big project where I also did a lot of editing for films, so it was not that I had a lot of time on my hands. No, the offer was not in the right opportunity. Here though I did a choice. Just go for it. What can happen? Someone complains that my language is not colorful enough? Does it matter if I have a thing that is important to say? Sandy thought my text was important enough. No just go for it. And now you are reading this text a couple of years later.

And out of that the opportunity it has led to so many other opportunities that would never have happened if I just had said no. Now I can say that it was the perfect opportunity because I have the story. But It wasn’t that is created later.

So why do I write this, mainly because I just took another decision. An opportunity that I want to follow. And no, it’s definitely not a perfect opportunity, it’s just that I think I have my career because I rather say yes than no to new things.

So, what was the decision. Oh, that is that my posts now will move from my personal blog to Cashbox and Record World Magazine. You will now on follow me there and the post in my blog is just mirrors of what is going on there. The opportunity is to promote that more.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

I need some action.

 Last post I wrote was about numbers. I said there that numbers are different than statistics. I have a problem also with statistics in one way. You can get things out of statistics so don’t discard them use all the tools to collect whatever fact that is out there. Still have one thing in your mind.

Statistics are only available on action taken. There won’t be any statistics if you don’t do anything. More or less no action, zero statistics. Or even just a small bit of action the data that comes in will be too little to draw any conclusions. And of course, if you cheat your data will be not correct either.

I think many today are not using the data that is actually out there. You should monitor a release and see what is getting any tractions Most of the time I mainly see artists just count interviews or anything where they can pose and be a star counting. They newer check if that interview is read or even lead to some new people getting to the music. That is so easy today, but yes vain is still big in many ways.

Another thing is that the artists are too fast to quit the marketing giving up reaching something. It seems they are mainly releasing a song just to be able to make a Facebook and Instagram post about it.

Then we have the big thing around statistics. Statistics can never say if a song is a hit or not beforehand. Since it’s only monitoring things in the past it has a very hard time predicting what is going on. If I have a song that is one year old and only has a couple of thousand streams the statistics will be quite boring. If I know though that my song will be used in the next blockbuster movie in the USA as the lead theme next summer I know it will be exposed to millions of people.

Here the statistics would tell us that this song is useless but with my other information the song is glowing hot and many people would jump on that train. This is why statistics really can’t predict that much of the future just the past. In reality, a song might just be a hit if millions of people would have a chance to hear it. Possibly also not be a hit if millions of people hear it. Of course, the exposure makes a possibility for people to discover the song and liked it. If the song is bland and not that attractive there still will be people attracted to the song but not so many would be picked up by the exposure.

Here the statistics could come in handy. Even if you get exposure to millions of people. How do you keep those that really liked your music? You can see in the statistics where they came from and you can try to get them to follow your channels.

The problem I have today is that people are talking like statistics can predict a future. Even with my music in that movie that is nothing certain. The movie itself might flop then fewer people will listen to it. The song is placed in a way that it’s just in the background and not that prominent. Nothing is certain until it has happened. The only thing you can rely on is that you need to do quite many things and sign up to get your data to be able to get something out of it. At the same time doing a lot of things with your music is the only way for many people to listen to it. It’s in the actions, not the statistics.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Fans or just numbers?

 You know what, your song might not be a flop just because it doesn’t have any numbers. The numbers just show how much marketing that has been done. The numbers don’t tell you if the song is good or bad. The numbers just tell you how many people that started it, don’t even tell how long they spent the time to listen to the song.

We have a problem in the music industry because too many people believe that they can find the next thing by numbers. Not statistics, you can actually get info from statistics. Only information on things that have been not the future, yet. I have seen new programs that can predict a bit of how songs will perform in the future from the statistics, but just if nothing major happens.

The problem is the number crunching. People just go in on Spotify and see that wow this has 12 million listings and automatically think it is a hit. To be honest you can easily get those numbers with a crappy song and put it in the right channels to get the numbers. The problem is that the fans are not fans they are just people getting shot in a drive-by music shooting in the different digital outlets. A victim of that someone managed to fool the algorithm to place the song in front of you and you click on it just to listen the first 20 seconds and realize this is so bad I just want o turn it off. Switch the channel to something else and forget about the song. The problem is that mistake is now a figure in the listing’s statistics for that song. Another way to lure the algorithms to show it to another victim of bad music.

So now you think I will tell you that it was better before. Not really this has been this way too many years. Before this was done by blowing up your sales in cheating ways. An artist in Sweden for example sold his new single for one cent in the ice cream trucks. Then reported the sales. One way to cheat the algorithms. At the same time Virgin used housewives in the 70: s and the 80: s. Gave them money to go down to buy the records they wanted in the charts. The phenomena are not new in any way. The problem here is that now it’s so easy and cheap that every average joe can do it online suddenly it’s easier to cheat than actually having a real career.

The thing usually then was exposed when the artist went on tour. Suddenly even the most streamed artist in the world could only get 500 people to a show in a major city. A good marker was if an artist could draw an audience on a live show if they really had any fans or just numbers. Now during Covid this function is off. There are no measurements at all. There are no live shows and no real audience. This has never happened before and the reactions I see right now is very strange. Okey a lot more PR is done for each release. The cheating is mainly through the roof. At the same time, nothing new comes out from the noise. No new artists are on the horizon. It’s mainly the old that we already had and are trusted that gets any attention. If any the noise is so loud so even that AC/DC gave out a new single witch people never thought it would since members have died and so on. Still, the noise was so loud that they were drowned. It passed me I found out by mistake that there was a new single out.

I just looked at the numbers. The song has been out in a month and has just passed 6 million streams. That is what an average joe rapper from Hackensack can cheat up to in a week. Okey the song will climb on if it gets traction. But my guess is that if they manage to tour again the song will reach quite much. Like I wrote in the beginning it’s all about marketing, the problem right now is that the number one tool is shut down and we don’t know for how long.

One thing I will be thrilled to see is what happens when Covid is over and how will the live change the top lists.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Mind the gap!

 So, it happens again. It is funny how I see this happening from time to time with cycles. This time I’m a bit concerned since it’s worse than before.

I’m talking about the gap between amateur artists and the professional industry. Time to time the knowledge and the information seem to just be for a couple of few people at the really top of the industry. Usually, also information is critical for an artist's career. I remember the last time I really saw this was when Spotify started to hit off in 2009. All info pointed out that we where going into streaming. The artist was still on the level of printing CD:s and barely understood download.

Oh I also need to clarify that when I talk amateur that contains quite many people that runs smaller independent labels, and a lot of people that just work locally in one country.

I remember also the shit you had to take when you explained to all these people that what they were doing was yesterday's news. They were laughing at me and made fun when you spoke on panels. Of course the same people then after being out of the loop then adapted and came closer to the reality and after five years they stopped laughing at panels about what you were speaking about.

The tragic part here is that is the time where we started to develop the new stuff. So what was new for them was starting to be kind of old to us.

Right now, I feel that is happening again. I looked into the situation and I guess it has to do with several things. Most of the time it's triggered by a crisis. Yes, if you remember there was an economic crisis around the time Spotify came around. These crises tend to make people getting laid off and change their normal behavior. Suddenly they can do arts again and suddenly we have doubled the people that want to have a career in music. Of course, the opportunities are usually less when the crises hit so the timing is not that perfect.

Now we have the COVID and suddenly you have all these people that want or need to change their career. The problem is that the industry has just begun a new journey that we are looking for. At the same time there people were in the industry like six years ago. All this just gets me artists that think that they can get a career on Spotify streams. That really doesn’t understand how social media is working in the new world.

What I see this time it’s going deeper? I can see the local record labels are in the same low knowledge as the artists. Even a lot of the people on the bigger labels have been switch out and have really not the knowledge left. And this is a basic knowledge of how contracts, rights, and other things work so it’s not really any strange things. It’s things you need to know to be able to work or continue working in this business.

Of course for the people that are designing the new industry, this is a golden opportunity. My worries are that we will lose quite much of the business because people are going nowhere and in the end, they just will quit and end up in a fast-food joint somewhere. The whole place also crawls with prophets that really has no knowledge whatsoever. For an artist, it’s really hard to separate who is who. I just hope that the gap isn’t growing bigger. If so then we won’t have any platforms to grow new artists that can make a career fast enough.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

I want to have my music in a movie. (do it yourself vs publisher).

 Another thing that comes up is that people think it’s hard to place songs. After hundreds of placements I can tell you that it’s not. Still, there is some stuff you need to think of.

Yes, it’s hard to be friends with supervisors and ad-agencies. If you want to be close to them you don’t have the time to be an artist. You need to put your time between, NYC, Los Angeles, and London and make sure you invited to cool parties all meet all of them to find the latest leads. On top of that, you only have your songs. Okay that is maybe a 50 of them but supervisors need big catalogs of different music and they need it now, so you don’t have the time to write all the things they ask for.

Luckily there are people doing this for a living. There are sites and companies and stuff you can contact that will pick up your music and work for you. Don’t think though that you are special, they just need a catalog, but if your stuff works you have their attention. Especially if all the rights and other things are in line (see my earlier blogs around this). Also, supervisors tend to not like to fool around with artists that more like to discuss the deeper meaning of a song. They want it done and move forward.

I meet an artist two years ago. She was very cocky that she had signed with a big publisher. The biggest one in my country she added. She was in full belief that this company would place her. I talked to her just a couple a weeks ago when she asked me to place her songs. I just added that what was wrong with the publisher she had? They hadn’t placed anything so now she thought I could do it. The problem here is that I can’t go out and place someone else properties. She was still on the publisher so it’s their job and rights to do it. In this case, my guess the songs are wrong they are all about her not finding Mr right or about broken love. Another problem they were co-written with like six other people (look on my earlier blogs around that) so not that easy to clear. There are too many of broken love songs so I think it’s kind of hard to place this.

Anyway, I also know that the publisher she is with, they are famous for not placing anything. Sure they promise all the artists they work hard and they tell them that they do a lot of placements. And they don’t lie, the do that but only with a handful of very famous hits that they have.

The case is with many of the bigger publishers they have huge catalog and in there they have household name songs. Let’s pretend I’m doing a full-length movie and I really think “Welcome to the jungle” with Guns 'n' Roses would be perfect. The cost to get that song cleared is insane. If my movie is a blockbuster and I have the time and almost unlimited budget I have to go to the bigger publishers that own that song. But that is me seeking up them. This is the problem with the bigger publishers, they mainly wait by the phone and get calls about famous songs they have. Seldom I see these people getting anything new out. Another problem also is that their catalogs are hundreds of thousands of songs, most of the placement people don’t even know you are in there. And by the way license "Welcome to the jungle" is almost impossible whatever budget you have.

Most of the time it’s much better to go to the sites where you can upload your songs or talk to people to work with your songs on commission. The publishers will always say that this can lead to that your song is pitched twice. Over my twenty-five year career with a lot of placement it has happened once, and that was not even an issue. What is more, an issue that some of these sites are exclusive and take the rights of your songs. So you are looking for people that work with your songs non-exclusive on commission. There are many of them and several good ones. To actually get something placed it’s better to have fifty people working for you then just like the publishers one to three people sitting by the phone.

I meet a lot of artists that have uploaded on sites but never get placed. Another trick is also to tell what your song is good for. Is it good to drive the car to, is it about friendship, money, or other things they look for often!” Tell them and that suddenly they might take notice around your song and once it’s placed usually it’s placed more. I think though the biggest problem is that your song is not good enough to be placed. That is usually the biggest problem.

So why won’t I list all the sites where I have my music? Stop you have to do some work yourself! Your songs will not be placed by you sitting on your ass. I was kind enough to tell you about the pitfalls. Looking for the right companies is part of your job. My guess there are sites listing these as well, or I actually know one.

This part is a part that can be done by the artist themselves. Here people just think it’s easy to fool them that it is hard. The main problem is that people are lazy and want everything served. The other thing is to have a song that actually works to the pictures and be at the right time in the right place. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

I want to have my music in a movie. (the right place at the right time).

 Many times, I get the feeling that artists think that I can nag in a placement. That is impossible. Sure, of course, the more people that know about the song the better chance. Still, if it is the wrong song it is the wrong song.

A placement is all about having the right tune in the right place at the right price. So even if you just released this great single, I can’t get a supervisor to take it just it fits your release plan. If they want the single that you released three years ago since that fits. Then you just have to go with that or say no. The only time I can be in help if I have a song that is kind of similar to the one the choice but are not really satisfied with it.

I get still many artists thinking that you should spend a lot of time trying to sell their song. The system more works that you upload plenty of songs and when the supervisor comes with a request you are good at pinpoint a couple of songs that would fit the brief. A big no-no is to try to send in songs that don’t fit the brief. If the brief says a song for a scene that is in the summer and you should feel happy, no Reggie tunes need to be a pop song. By sending in a sunshine reggae song would kill the trust that the supervisor has for you. If you do that mistake over and over well, they will stop sending you briefs. In those cases, it’s actually better to tell them that you don’t have it. The supervisor like usually that honesty more. Okay, not if you tell that on every brief.

Also, brief is not the whole business. Much is that they already have been served with songs and like yours. You will never see the brief, you just have to say yes or no to be in a Netflix episode, number 45 of this tv series. Many think that we are getting a choice sitting with the director and producer discussing witch song they should take, especially the new single of yours. Never happens.

No everything goes superfast. You get the call they want this song for this price, and they need to know if it can be totally cleared in one hour (many times asking that it should have been done yesterday). And this can be like midnight your time. It’s yes or no. If you start to withhold things they will just move on. Usually, they have a couple of options and if one doesn’t answer fast enough they move on.

Another thing is that even if they say yes, that is not certain that it will be in the production. I usually advise artists to make the shoutout when it has broadcasted. Several times things have been taken out in the last minute and replaced, even song I got paid for.

So how do you know it’s the right song? You really don’t so try to write a song that fits in is as easy as making a hit. Also, if the company looks for a song is it mainly because they can’t buy that feeling in a song from a production company. There is a difference between a song that you mean something. My tip is that write the feeling you have, if that fits in a placement, good for you. You were at the right time in the right place. If you just want placements, then you are a person that makes music for production companies. They expect you to pump out five new songs a day, with or without inspiration.