Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Don't pay them scam companies

I just heard of a band stuck in a really bad situation. One of these companies that makes the whole music business looks like shit. So here is a rule. If a company wants you to pay for the PR. Don’t go with them. That is the most normal scam in the industry.
I’m not meaning hire a PR person doing PR. No this is if you have a record label telling you that yes you have to pay for the PR for your release. Usually this is studios that really don’t know a shit about anything and sponsor their “work” by doing bundles that you pay the studio and the PR to get it out.
Paying a studio for recording that good. But letting that studio give it out or won the master in some way, no.

I really want to tell the names of these scam companies. But like I wrote before I’m usually not allowed to so they can keep going doing their fraud.

Monday, October 24, 2016

First rehersal!

I found this amusing post on Facebook from a friend that has a new band.

First rehearsal done with complete dynamite line up. Can just say it rocked. Now planning for record release, video shoot, and promo pictures photography. Stay tuned!

This is just so what artists thinks in most cases. The fun things is in priority. And they is easy listed up there. Also these moments you get tons of updates in social media about, look we are in the studio, look this is the backstage on the photoshoot, look this is the studio last week etc.

In this case what should be priority would be start doing songs. Well maybe they create songs. Maybe they have that but since it was a first rehearsal I doubt it. And even if they have ten songs. They need at least twenty. I guess you need the songs for a record release.

Record release? Today you put them online. Not really that sexy any longer with release party with free booze. More push off a button on the computer and then maybe a gig where you invite your friends.

Picture and video well those are useful. Problem here is you need plenty of them and I mean plenty. So you don’t plan them you just do them.

Still in part of this they should actually think of so much other stuff to plan. Get your web-addresses, hang on to your social media names. Since it was the first rehearsal I doubt they have a name. Just there.

In the end it actually should have said. First rehearsal, no planning how we should reach an audience.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Maybe time to tell the truth?

I don't know. In so many cases I have to restrain myself not speaking up against so many wrong things in the business. It’s like people wants the answers but don’t want to hear the truth.

If you ask me if I like a song, it’s more or less expected that I should say it’s good. And if not that I should give some good advice how to make it better.

Well if it just sucks, I really can’t explain how to polish a turd. It’s really hard. And yes if the music sucks well then all the other stuff is has no meaning.

Same around people. So I’m not allowed to tell people that this person sucks, or that company sucks. This climate we have in the business in Sweden we just create an army of people thinking that they actually know something but in reality just is worthless piece of shit for the artist (which they usually finds out, way too late).

During my time pressing CD:s (yes we had a company doing that). We had a company doing so bad CD:s that we couldn’t use them in our physical distribution. The CD:s where usually malfunction and they didn’t check the graphics or that all codes was there. So of course I told people on a meeting with all record labels that our distribution system didn’t take CD:s made from this manufacture.

All hell broke loose. Yes everybody knew what I said was true. All the professional people knew this and never used them. All the small ones that was new in the business thought them where ok since they were cheaper. But they never figured out why they got no on all the distribution companies.
I thought that was a good thing to say to the new ones as a favor. But no. We could not say things like this in the room. No afterwards when we had the coffee break then it was ok to talk person to person and use that as gossip. That didn’t help all the people that got screwed.

It went so far that we were not allowed to have that as info on our homepage. Instead we had to inform people when they had done a really bad run with the manufacturer that we couldn’t take in their CD:s. Of course they went mad that we didn’t inform around that before. So it was like shooting the messenger all the time.

Right now it feels like it’s like that again. You are not allowed to tell witch companies distribution system sucks (several of the major ones is really bad). Not witch sites are going down.

You can’t tell people: No you’re not a record label if you give out your own music through Tunecore. And no you’re not suitable to give advice how to give out music since you signed off all your publishing rights to CDbaby.

I’m thinking of just tell them….it’s rather time now.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sometimes you just follow along!

It’s like putting makeup on a pig. You working with a project and the artist is just so into details that it doesn’t matter. I had once an artists that sat three days deciding what color it should be on the font. The problem was that the font in the beginning was so hard to read that you couldn’t see what it said. So the color was really no big difference.

I got emails and messages during these days with different angels to the problem. Don’t get me wrong I already from the beginning said that the font was totally wrong. But no the artist liked that font, end of conversation. At the same time during the digital age everything is written out so the font on the picture is not really a big deal, in those cases you just follow along. So whatever message that came in I was more like. Yes it’s ok. I didn’t put in any effort. Since the whole thing was kind of pointless.

And still the war in the artist brain kept ongoing. Should it be pink or blue? On the third day the artist went for pink. And until this day I had no what so ever effect or point. It didn’t get the song to be played more. It didn’t effect really anything accept a loss of three days of work on nothing. In these cases it’s better to just follow along and focus on something else.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Who is doing what?

I talked to an artist the other day that had helped a band in his hometown. Now when he wanted some help with his project they just closed the door. He got the feeling that they just took over his contacts and then left.

This is the reason why record labels have kind of strict contracts. I have been in that situation also, but with bands. A couple of years ago we got contacted from a management that has band but couldn’t get them nowhere. We wanted to help out so we made an agreement that yes we would try in our network and if something happened we could be part of it.

The thing was that this management bragged about how good contacts they had with the big labels. The strange part was that they seemed not to get any response for this band.

We put it out, secured them a opening slot for a band on European tour. We got them a big placement in a commercial that really brook them really big in the Nordic countries. Suddenly when we wanted some money from the commercial that we placed, did all the legal papers of and used our network really hard to secure, it was a big no. The work we had done was worth nothing.

Suddenly since they were hot some bigger labels had gone by and asked about the band. So behind our back they had sold the band and of course the placement we did they wanted all the money since they didn't get any upfront money. We should just be lucky to have worked with the band in there eyes.

Since I have been working over 25 year in the business I know this kind of things. We wanted to help out but we also had a fast plan B. So we just had to start to shut things down. Go around to all our clients and tell them the story. What they didn’t know was that we also had a deal with a huge brand with over 1 million dollar that was ongoing. We just shut that down. Yes the band lost 1 million dollar, which they until today knows nothing about.

Still some of our work was still in progress. This we couldn’t stop so for the band it looked like after we left they still got these cool things coming at least a year after. This is how you work, it is things going on that is in the pipeline. That is why you have sunset clause in contracts.

The funny part was when I was on a lecture and a kid in the audience was friends with them. And they had told him that nothing really happened with that placement. That the placement was done from the band. And the tour was done by them and all the other things was a result of their hard work. It was interesting to hear that since the kid didn’t know what role I played in the story.

After a year they machinery stopped. They was stuck in this major publishing and major record company. What the label wanted was that things that we had created should still happened to the band. Of course they wanted the band to create these opportunity’s. The problem was that all was done by us. So the band couldn’t create anything, neither could the managment. Also they had got many people dislike them since they knew the story after all the industry is not that big.

The companies quickly grew tired of them since nothing was happening. All the numbers was around the song that was on the placement. Fast they were back on the square where they started. In one way they didn’t knew who was doing all these things.

I genuine believe that all what they said to the kid was what they actually believed. That these things happened just because they write good songs and them spread naturally. Also the management was crooked. They tried to take over contacts and keept the band in the dark. But luckily we actually protected the best contacts from them. They got some smaller ones, but those quickly knew something was wrong and left them.

This is not that unusual, I see it all the time. Especially when you place things and a lot of money comes around. Suddenly many things that this can easy be repeated and cut us out and keep more money to themselves. It’s just how the business is. But yes those that act that way usually never get a second chance. Your job is to look into who is doing what? And if someone is doing things right try to award that person.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What I’m really looking for?

I know exactly what I’m looking for. I want to work with an artist that is as passionate about music and getting their work out as me.

What I’m not looking for is artist that always says that they would like to have a career but always put it as second priority.

Yes I work almost 8 hours a day (often much more) around our artist’s music. And that is everyday even a Sunday, Christmas Eve or any other day. And I expect the artist to do the same. If they are 4 people in the band and they put up just 2 hours a day to keep up my tempo I would be happy.

As it looks in many cases it me working 8 hours a day the band 2 hours a week, and that is on Wednesday when they rehearsal.

I also want artist that wants to try new things. Not the same bullshit like we should have an interview in Pitchfork. Well if you did things so people recognize you Pitchfork will come. But no do something that no one else has done that is no go. Especially not the things where it’s boring things like seeking up people online to get them to listen to your music. No they rather do a video shoot for weeks and then edit it for months, and put it out for no audience in the end since they didn’t do the ground things by seeking people up.

The most I want is the artist that actually go and do that boring gig instead of that fun party that your friend is holding the same weekend.  Or doing that shoot to record a song for a commercial instead of going home to watch Games of Thrones.

This is the hard part. There is millions of people that are writing good songs out there. But Out of a million it’s only ten that actually go for it to get listener to it.

I actually would be fine with a mediocre songwriter as long they actually did the other passionate stuff around marketing.