Friday, February 5, 2021

A Good Picture Says It All!

I guess many of us that work in the music industry are failed musician. My first band was not even a band. We were incredibly young and started a band even though we could not play any instruments. Instead, we played air instruments to our favorite songs. Cute yes, but there is one thing here. The first thing we did before we even rehearsed with our air instruments, was to take a band picture. To be honest to get the right location and background and pose took so long that we missed our first rehearsal and we had to get home before curfew. And the second rehearsal we looked at the pictures and the girl that sang was not pleased because the guys in the band looked better than her. In the third rehearsal, we went to take new pictures. 

I have just gone through 100 applications for my new festival, Future Echoes. I started to see a trend. Many of the pictures were blurry or out of focus. Another thing was that the artist was not in the whole picture. It was like a gallery of modern art. A place where you really don’t know what the art is, or if you are staring at the radiator and no art at all.After a while, I became really annoyed. All the pictures that were posted of the band really sucked. I was so frustrated that I promised myself to book any artist that had a real promo picture that was a good picture in the next fifty applications I checked out. Sorry to say, that I didn’t book anything. Either they were blurry or taken with a mobile camera and then added a crappy filter from Instagram. The worst ones were blurry, no lighting and with the band logo in 30% of the picture, you can’t really use that. 

It seems this is the trend of today. The artist does not have decent promo pictures. Does it matter if you book them for the music? At the same time, you also know if they don’t have the picture now, they won’t have it later and you need that picture for social media, homepage, and posters. Yes, but when you have the amount of several hundred artists the picture it can be the thing that makes your decision. That can be the thing that makes you go “wow I need to hear this!”  It happened to me a couple of years ago. Same procedure, I was going through hundreds of artists and suddenly I stopped on a guy with feathers and a big beard. The picture just talked to me. I needed to listen to this band. I did and just fell in love with the music and booked them. Here is the picture if Capitano that grabbed my attention:

Just because of that, I needed to listen to “Gypsy on a Leash” with Capitano right now. That picture just made a huge difference. And Capitano is very artsy, they do strange pictures and promo, but they are professional enough to send the really good studio pictures when presenting themselves.
It seems like the artists of today have forgotten what a picture can do. It is your best promo choice. Don’t get a crappy “indie” blurred picture. If you need to be artsy then do it with a big thought and also combine it with good promo pictures. My guess is that my team actually spends two working days out of five looking for promo pictures for their stories. And then they get shit from the artists when they have chosen the wrong one since the artist didn’t bother to update their homepage with a good promo picture. 
 Actually, it is very easy to stand out today in the music industry. Just have a good promo picture. And now I think back in the days past.  We didn’t know how to play any instruments, but we were professional enough to at least start with a good promo picture.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

This is the turning point.

 I just felt this holiday just passed with little notice. The quarantine just made me stay at home and keep on working on my projects. The only difference was that I left social media and the mailbox with an out of office reply. Even with pandemic still raging,  it has just left me with more work than ever. The major part of the workload is also for preparing when we are getting back to seeing each other, and resuming our time on the road.

No, not going back to normal. We are not getting back to normal. Like when 9/11 happened nothing went back to normal it was a new normal. To be honest 9/11 was a small impact in comparison to something that results in a lock down for the whole world. It is a new normal we will now be facing. What we are lacking is meeting people and interaction so that will come automatically when we resume our post-pandemic roles, it’s just with what restrictions and safety precautions? This is one of the turning points in history, we will talk about before and after 2020.

Another turning point is how the new music industry will look. My guess is that many will have to change revenue models, network and opportunities. I feel sad for all the artists who have done so many online activities that probably won’t mean a thing in a couple of months. I feel for all the people that have done nothing and have sat and waited for the whole thing to blow over. Like I wrote earlier, this time has just been about preparation so we will have some sort of foundation to stand on when the new time comes.

No one can really predict what is coming around the corner. The only thing is to try to prepare as much as possible. Now that the vaccine is rolling out we must be fast and see what changes that will bring with it. My guess is that social distancing might change but how quickly? The only thing you can do is buckle up and just go-ahead for the ride.

I’m scared, part of me is scared that there will be big changes and an even bigger chance to make mistakes. On the other hand, you learn by mistakes, you just have to be fast to adapt to the new situations and try to juggle several balls and try to see what is flying and hitting the best. Most of the time changes lead to something good in the end but it’s a struggle along the way.

I got the sad news that Gerry Marsden from Gerry and the Pacemakers died a few days ago. I was supposed to secure an interview with him, but he fell ill, and it never happened. Here is an era that is at a turning point. The new music industry is not building any new stars. And the old stars are starting to leave us. The time around 2020 really is a turning point in so many ways. You will miss the old but at the same time you are so excited by the new opportunities coming your way. And you are shit scared of all the struggles that humanity has to deal with in the decades moving forward.

You just have to buckle up and welcome a new era!

The orginal story in Cashbox Magazine Canada