Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Biggest Destroyer Of Careers Are Artists Themselves!

It just comes in waves. Suddenly you have a couple of artists just destroying their careers. The methods are quite varied and there is not a shortage of intriguing ways that they do it. The funny thing is these mistakes are always blamed on the industry itself. Also many times the artist totally ignores advice and does things anyways, blames the industry, and then just does exactly as the advice says and then acts like they invented sliced bread. I guess my list could be be very long. I just will take the ones that happened in the past two weeks have been discussed in different managers forums around the internet.

I want to be special and change my artist name!
This happens from time to time. When things are going slow then suddenly the artist wants to change the name. Like rebranding everything from scratch. That is a good way to just put years of work just into the trash. Also, they usually also want to use strange things in spelling. Like a band I had years ago they spelled Ness and should promptly have a Ñess. Yes, you guessed it. A search of this is impossible. And that doesn’t really help anything for the whole situation. So, on some sites, they are Ness and some Ñess. Some search engines won’t understand if you search with the right spelling. A good way to destroy your career is doing shit like this to make it harder for people to find your music. Stay even away from small apostrophes that can mess things up. I saw three cases of this week, just saying.

Being rude and messing with the staff!
Just because you haven’t got your statement, you don’t email everyone on the record label threatening to go to court if you don’t get your statement right now. On top of that, you start to mess with all the people you have befriended on the label on Facebook when you didn’t get an answer in the first thirty minutes, even people that have nothing to do with accounting. I don’t know if we have more narcissistic people thinking that the universe is revolving around them? And this artist then thinks everything is alright when they get what they asked for. No instead, they just put themselves on the bottom list of people you want to help. Sure, you should get your statement, but an error can happen and give people at least some time to answer things. Especially now when people are working at home and might not be able to access everything right then. I had four cases this week of artists that begged for services from me that has acted this way and of course, I’m not interested to give them anything. In one case I even said no to big money just because I didn’t want to have anything with that a-hole again.

Blame the organizer for your own faults!
It seems the world is full of small Donald Trumps. The worst thing you can do is blame the organizers. Okay, they can do errors but if they try to fix that. Still, most of the errors are on yourself. Most of the times these people gave you a chance, an opportunity, it’s not right to blame them when you couldn’t handle what they gave them. I have seen too many artists getting airplay and just ignore it, at least four times this week. Artists talking shit that their career didn’t explode on a certain event and because of that, the event is shit, two times this week. In both cases, the artist actually didn’t do anything about the event. They just got there played. Did no networking. Was rude to the staff and got drunk. Suddenly that is the organizer's fault that nothing happened. You can be sure though that these things are talked about in the inner circles. I had at least five warnings about artists that act this way just this week.

My career is going to be better if I change my manager!
Oh, boy, don’t get me started on this one. Bands that just get a manager and expect them to fix everything and do nothing. Now during the pandemic, I see so many artists that suddenly should change the manager since they are not doing enough. Like they could, seems like the artist forgot that there is a pandemic going on and the COVID-19 situation is also affecting managers. So for not having much action at all right now, they have to start to post things and get some jobs done. Then they think they are working hard and why do you need a manager then? Instead of doing things to further their career, they spend their time hunting for a new manager. In the end, they are just jumping networks or became dropped. Then they try to use the old connections that the manager introduced them to in the first place.

The list can probably go on and on, but these just happened in one way or another I might get back on this in the future.

There are too many artists that lose their careers on simple mistakes and the industry is not forgiving of those things.

This blog was originally posted on Cashbox Magazine Canada

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

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 met so many artists that just sit and wait for the right opportunity and the right place and time/ 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’s 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 led 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 waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Right now you can 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 remember the day when suddenly Sandy Graham, Editor in Chief said that my text was so important that she would like to feature my blogs in the magazine.

Yes, I could easily have said no. Hey I don’t have English as my native language. I 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 time for the 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 the readership numbers are high.

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 bigger story. But that was created later but taking the first jump at the opportunity.

So why do I write this? Mainly because I just made 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 would 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 can 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.

So is it ever the right timing for it? That is up to you to find out – but learn to say yes instead of no – you never know where these opportunities will lead you.

Here is the original Cashbox Canada article

Monday, November 23, 2020

No stats without action!

Last story 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 facts are 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 then your data will be not correct either.

I think many people 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 never check if that interview is read or even lead to some new people getting to the music. That is so easy today, but yes vanity and ego is still big in many ways.

Another thing is that the artists are too fast to quit the marketing,  giving up before 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 like 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 can 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.

The original story on Cashbox Canada

Thursday, November 5, 2020

The social dilemma, artists stop using social media!

A new documentary that people should see about how social media is disrupting even democracy. And I just take that message that the Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff says in the movie “Social media should be forbidden”. Is it anything right now that is killing the music, it’s social media! I have been wondering why I don’t get new songs? Okay, I’m over 35 and that means that your musical taste is set. I’m working in the industry, so I’m used to getting new music to me since it’s part of my business. So if I can't find new music how can a normal fan get it? Before I always found new music. Since the lockdown on Covid I realized that all these new good music came from outside. Everything I discovered was through showcase festivals where people had curated line-up’s where I could go around like a smorgasbord and just discover new things. On top of that a lot of great people that create new things and work really hard that could tip me off on great new artists and music they had found for me to just access.

During Covid I almost found nothing. Yes, I have been on several online events of showcase festivals. Many great done and you could see some new artists. The problem is that you are in front of a screen where messages pop up every second minute. The algorithms don’t like that I stay on the same spot for a longer period of time. Then it reacts by giving me the advice to see something new. Suddenly I see messages that somebody totally unknown posted a video on Tiktok. Why give me that advice? I don’t even use Tiktok in that way, it’s like Twitter – who cares about 60-sec video? Only people with attention problems same as Twitter, mainly for people that can only write a sentence and has a mind of a goldfish.

So why didn’t the system sends it to me? I didn’t want me to be bored seeing a live concert online. To be totally honest, the great events put together by great people were totally destroyed by social media.

It’s not just all that. I also miss all the chit chat you do with people that like music and comes with really great tip-offs of new things. I haven’t had a conversation like that since March and now it starts to take its toll. I REALLY DON’T FIND ANY GOOD MUSIC!

The algorithms can’t predict what my feelings are unless I don’t start to click on suicide links. So they can’t guess what I’m up for. If I spend yesterday just listening to Queen I don’t need another link to Queen music. I did that because I did a special show around them. It was work. Now the algorithms are bombarding me with Queen music or bad copies of Queen music. Not a good way to discover new music.

Also, the algorithms are best at giving me crappy music as well. Right now, we just handed over the keys to new discoveries to anyone that likes to cheat. So that dude that really is mediocre but has some money now can easily just cheat it’s way up with his music into a lot of places. This creates something I warned about already fifteen years ago. The brown wave! A wave of just not thought through mediocre music. On top of that, you have the platforms with music nagging on to the artist that they should release music at a faster pace. Soon musicians are releasing a song as a Facebook post.

That can never be any quality! Even Lenorado Da Vinci who was a genius couldn't paint a new Mona Lisa each week. Sure, he could do a decent drawing each week, but never a masterpiece. Why on hell do the platforms think that an artist today should be able to perform that? Even worse now since the artist also becomes interrupted by stupid messages that pop up when the algorithm thinks that the artist is bored but instead tries to find inspiration! That would be like having some ugly little orc sitting next to Leonardo Da Vinci and poke him in the arm while trying to paint Mona Lisa.

So here is the problem. You musicians out there. STOP using social media the way you do it now. The only thing you are going to be is an influencer that also can do mediocre songs from time to time. You will not be a musician; you will be an influencer. Unfortunately, an influencer is just a person doing content for a big machine, not art, just cheap fast content. The art we do right now is like calling Mc Donald's fine dining.

What is happening to me right now is that I’m fed with music that I already know and like and discovers nothing. I know there is plenty of great things out there that I should and need to hear, but everything is blocked by evil algorithms that just wait for people to pay them to show who pays the most. Okay if I paid and got to choose between the crap and the good. No, they just give me something and think that is alright. We don't need new outlets like Deezer or Spotify, Youtube, Tiktok. We badly need an outlet that shows us good music. Not having quantity instead of quality. Can someone please build that?

Now someone just say stop complaining and do something. I did! I started Cashbox radio where the algorithm can’t influence. The problem is that I’m robbed of my outlet to find new good music for the station because of a virus. I’m just waiting though, soon this channel will be open again, and hopefully, we can provide people with good music again.

I asked around and many people felt the same as me. No good music has coming theri way for along time.  My suggestion is kind of selfish, stop hanging on social media, go to Cashbox radio and we will present you with some new music among with music that you like and know. Finding tracks you have forgotten. Cashbox has the slogan: Radio as it used to be. We should have A way of escaping a bad algorithm choice. Use the app and then put your phone away so you can hear it not see the screen where the evil orcs are trying to get you to change to something new. That is my contribution to the situation. 

As soon as Covid is over, we just going to get more and more things rolling. And I will work more and more to get music out from the static social media.