Monday, April 24, 2017

The Chicken Dance

- They are doing the chicken dance.
It's a saying that we have to describe artists that just run around without a goal. These artists are changing companies all the time not letting anyone do their job to full scale and needs fast gratification.

They also tend to aim on everything. First is a Swedish tour then a Japanese. One release is on vinyl next just digital.

Imagine that you are talking the bus from NYC to Philly. Then on the bus terminal you jump on a bus when it starts moving you ask them to stop, get off, and enter another. You keep doing that and you are actually not closer to Philly after several hours. You are on the same spot.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Female creation stands back of male conservatism.

Yes I work with a lot of female artists. I like working with them, since they usually have another view of things. But one thing bothers me in the process.

When you find a great female songwriter they usually get pushed down by male songwriter that trys to put them into their conservative boxes. And the strange part is that they usually follow that even since they are very strong and knows their things in other fields.

Many times my hardest process is to free there girls from being hijacked into these boxes. Many times in the office we hear a great song first as a demo. Then the girl goes to form a band or get a producer (often a male ones in both cases) then suddenly all these things that was great with the demo is just gone. Replaced with things that has been done for century’s and sounds almost the same.
You go back and say, okay it’s was better before. But no, now it’s much better because this guy says that these are the  frequencies that was used by Led Zeppelin, or this is how Bruce Springsteen wrote “Born in the USA”.

And many times there is when a star was snuffed.

In some cases they actually break free after a while and go back to that cool stuff they were doing. Still that is a process that can take years and we really don’t have time to have a person find themselves. In many cases they guy just hangs on like a leech that you can’t get rid of.

Then you say, well give these girls female producers and bands? Not that easy. A large quantity of the post are taken hostage by feminists that just do it as a gender issue. And many of these are just there because of their gender not that they are good. We have even organizations and camps here in Sweden that don’t take in the best female musicians, works, producers just because they don’t have the right “view”.

Of course this is just a generalization in the top levels are equally good men and women that are really good producers and musicians. Unfortunally you can’t reach these people with a fresh talent. In those early days in a career in the dark water lures both equally bad men and women to drag these down.

What I have noticed is that it’s more women to get into the trap. The guys are standing up and just say fuck these frequencies and I don’t care what Bruce wrote. They girls just take these dragging down people to their hart and just let these people be fault free. Everything they do is “right”. Until you can point out years later, that this was not the case.

I don’t have an answer why it is this way. I just can see that it’s very common.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why it takes three albums?

Yes it actually does. Of course I know there are bands breaking through on their first one, but it’s rare. It usually takes three albums because the network is not there to reach a massive audience. Has nothing to do with the album, I actually see many first albums very good.

Also the first album is mixture of old song that the band has tried for a while. Played live and writer of a couple of years. Here is a very common fault that they are not able to follow up with a second album fast because they are slow writers.

So the second album is very often not as good as the first one. It’s produced and written fast (they are some that has written so much they have two albums ready, then this rule doesn’t work then they break on number four). This make a stress on the band so album number two is usually strange because they band doesn’t know their direction and needs to do things faster.

The third album is the one where they have taken out their path. Know most of the mistakes and can relax to do what they should have done on the first and second. Also since they have survived this they have also gained an audience and can spread it to larger audience fast.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

You need a story

This is one of the most common errors artists do. When it comes to release a new thing they always forget the story. The truth is that the music is actually no story at all.
I get so many press releases where they tell how the recorded the album in a cabin, their grandmothers kitchen, the most fancy studio in the world, even Abby Road. Do you know what? No one cares. The normal reader doesn’t care where the song is recorded, this is not a story. And it won’t get them to listen to the song.

We worked with this producer. This is also a common thing. Sure a good producer name is good. But doesn’t relay tickle the bloggers or the readers. I had really really big names that didn’t went anywhere. And to be honest the producer is not that of a story.

The song is about something that the artist cares about. Yes that is probably why you wrote the song. I at least hope so. Still it won’t get any press or any listeners.

So what is a story? It needs a conflict or dilemma. If you went into Abby road with Rick Rubin recording a great song and everyone was happy. It’s not the thing I would like to read about. It’s more, good for you and if I like your band I might listen to the song and see what Rick did to it. But then I need to be a fan and know your old songs.

Often artist thinks that the press doesn’t read your prerelease, well they do is just it doesn’t reach their attention. I send out at least 10 to 15 press releases a month. And 99% of them are not interesting. Mainly because it’s just about a band releasing a new song or album. You try to find a good angle. So I will you one of my best ones.

I work with Adée and she was going to SXSW witch is the biggest showcase festival in the world. Only around 10 acts from Sweden go every year. That is a good story? No it’s not , the local media in her hometown of Kalmar react on that, but the Swedish press didn’t care.

So we added that she where going to produce a song with a Grammy awarded producer in USA. Actually no one cared about that one, not even locally.

So we added to release a new single when she was on SXSW in Austin Texas. Dumb idea, making promotion things when you are handling the world’s largest showcase is never good.
All this is mainly the things people comes up as news for press releases. I did too. The reaction was kind of small.

Then her guitarist got bitten by a scorpion. It’s painful and we had some panic and got him to a doctor and so on. In the afternoon it was fine. Okay he was in pain but got some relief.  I was sitting by the pool and thought. We should do a press release on this. I can write it in my phone, access the send out, but only part of the mailing system.
Her friend Bosse asked me
- Should you not talk to Adée before if someone calls for a interview?
- Nahh. It’s 3 in the morning in Sweden and we meet her in 40 minutes I can tell her then, I replied. And I only gave my cellphone number in the press release.

Wrote a press release “Swedish Guitarist bitten by scorpion, Adées tour in danger”.

So here you have some components. The weird factor being bitten by scorpion. Nothing like that happens in Sweden every day. The conflict, since the guitarist was bitten he couldn’t play the last two gigs, so they had to do it with backtracks. In reality that was not an issue, still in the press it looked really bad for Adée to lose her guitarist like this. In the end I put in, new single out.

After 20 minutes Ida called me. Then the biggest newspaper in Sweden had picked it up found her number and called her. So I had to explain the whole thing. Then my phone started to ring. In the end this news was on over 100 different media outlets in Sweden.

This is what the PR departments on record labels was good at. I have seen so many crazy stunts that have pulled off just to have a weird crazy conflict. Even cutting the breaks on the artist tour bus to create a crash.

And it proves they read it because I was only sending to half my system and still got more out than any press release that. In the end it’s all about the story.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Monkey buissness

If you had a company would you just let your employees just do boring things? Of course sometimes they have to do things that I not that fun. Still if you just leave all shit that you mess up to the employees they will not be happy.

Even worse is when it’s things they should do that are really not part of their job description. You just treat them like your personal butler to pick up your personal mess. Would you do that?
I bump into so many that works in the industry that have got into that mess from an artist. And every day I hear voices in this office about stupid stuff that the staff has to take care of because the artist is just lazy or incompetent.

Right now I’m sitting doing a list of festivals in Europe with contact information. This job is just a monkey job, really anyone in the bands can do it, find the festival see if they have contact info. Still no one is doing it and if I shoot it out I know it won’t be done. They are so damn busy (with what I really don’t know). This information would be in their own interest.

The thing that bothers me is that this time I wasting on this shit I could take and just follow up my business cards to find new good opportunities for them. In reality they are not take the advantage of my strong sides.

Yes if you had your own business you have to these things. Same when you have a career, come up with things to do and explore if you sit on your ass nothing will get done.

And on the companies after a while they stop doing the monkey buissness the artist is not in the focus and then they goes out and complains that nothing happened on that label/publisher /whatever.

I funny story though was a friend who was an intern on a record label. His first thing was just to sit near a phone and wait for Kid Rock to call. Back then Kid Rock was the big thing. He’s instruction was “whatever mr Rock wants he gets”. He was pulling so much money to the company that everything was possible. So my friend sat there and just waited. Finally it rang.

- Hello this is Kid Rock.
- Hello what do you need Mr Rock.
- Well we are in Ohio and I need half pound cocaine and 20 dwarfs. Fix that.

My friend was only on that job for a week, let’s say that.

Toronto next

When you read this i'm on my way to Canadian Music Week for some really fun meetings and see cool new acts. I hope to do a follow up on it here in the blogg.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Good music vs Bad music.

This discussion I have had so many any times it hurts. I was sitting down with an artist after a show and was talking about music. He compared his music with good music. So I was curious what was bad music?

Well he couldn’t describe that. Well Taylor Swift was not that good. I was asking what was not good with that. She is very successful and have many listener and probably the best team in the world of songwriters.

Yes but she was a sellout. I wonder how. I would guess that in her case she is very involved in all the decisions since she owns her own label. Of course she tries to fit in to the climate for the moment. I would she would need a good reason to make a jazz album and put the same PR money behind it as she does with her normal album. Still if she really wanted to do the jazz album she could but not put so much PR behind it.

In fact several of my friends in Nashville have worked with her and they tell the same story that she is fantastic person that cares about all details. When she won a CMT (Country Music Television) award. She called up the director and asked him to pick a time when she could come down and thank the people on the station. He answered; well the board is here on Tuesday. She replied, not just the board, I mean all people. Then she came on Tuesday and shake hands with all employees down to the janitor to thank them for her award. That is a dedicated artist not a sell out.

So after hearing this well, then the bad music was the music that was on the top lists not specially Taylor Swift. The argument was still that they didn’t do what they wanted.

I guess this is always like this. It’s a scapegoat. Sure you want the audience to listen to your songs. So you cherish the ones that really do that and if they are few, well then they have a good taste.

At the same time some genres is just rubbish. I would gladly walk up on the stage on the fusion jazz dude that harassed me playing for two hours during Midem. I would take the damn guitar and smash it to his head. It was that bad and no one can convince me that it is good. It’s not and it will never be. It’s like your childrens drawings, precious to you but not to someone else.

The guy did his show, and was kind of curios what kind of music that was better than most other music that sells. He was the worst. Not musically, but the label I put on these artist. He was mediocre. That is the worst. To be bad can be cool, to be super good is to prefer. Just being a mediocre of all, well you can just quit. It’s not the audience fault it’s you that sucks.