Monday, October 31, 2016

Last day, demo day

Yes it's the last day until we sit down and take the decisions for the artists we going to work with 2017. Yes we already have begun getting through the many suggestions we got and yes we already has contacted some that we really like. Still there is plenty to go on to.

Usually also we get a lot of things sent in these last days. So it will be kind of long hours these next few days. I need to be done before I got to Tune In Tel Aviv.

I'm excited.

An here is the link to send demos until tomorrow morning.
http://musichelp.se/send-music/

And here is what we do around artists under a year.



Saturday, October 29, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

Vlog 28 of October



Vlog with gossip around Like Swimming, The Magnettes, Anders Boson, Royal Prospect, Adée, Rookie and Tune in Tel Aviv.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

It won't fall into your lap

I just spoke to a friend who is a musician. He was very excited since he applied for several jobs and it seems like several was interested to hire him. I asked if it was musician’s job. No it was normal jobs at the local grocery stores and stuff. He explained that it was so hard to get job as a musician. And everything costed so much. So I asked if him he was giving up living on the music and just has it as a hobby? No this was just temporary so he could get some income so he could keep up his musicianship.

The point here is that he has completed several musicians’ education where you get three years paid education to be able to build up a network so you can survive as a musician. Yes in Sweden there are schools like that. Yes I know that everybody that is a struggling musician in the rest of the world now would be like….WHAAAAT! I MOVE TO SWEDEN! So my friend went to that. But he wasted most of the time figuring out what kind of music he wanted to do. And he didn’t took the opportunity to build a network to get opportunities.

But he does quite good music. So good that he got a publishing deal. There he got the opportunity to write for commercials and trailer spots and other stuff that could give him money. I spoke to that publisher half a year ago and the publisher was complaining that my friend never submitted anything. The excuses was so many, short of time, not the right style, didn’t have inspiration, was focusing on his own project.

Yes my friend is lazy, no doubt about it. He thinks that the jobs will fall down on him since he went on these educations. And also that the education itself made him so good that he could survive just to release music for himself. Stupid idea but not that uncommon.

You have to work hard to get the jobs. And in this case he got opportunity’s he just didn’t take them. No it should be easier. And that is why he now has to take a job in the grocery store. He just got a kid (also a reason he needs money). In the end he will have a normal 9 to 5 job and well take down the guitar from time to time and wonder what it would be like to work with your passion.

I had burn so many bridges to carve out where I’m today. I make a living working with music (no I really never wanted to play music, but I love to working with music and all around it). But if I wanted to work with music and an instrument well I would have taken the same journey, the journey that says: take the opportunities. My journey is not done yet and I still everyday has to write 100 emails, do 3 skype calls and 2 normal phone calls just to keep my opportunity’s to land in front of me.

The worst thing is when people say: Oh you’re so lucky to get the chance to work with your hobbies.

No it’s no luck it’s damn hard work. Many times I had to say no to well paid jobs just to take a shit job to be able to get new opportunity’s that lead up to where I want to be.

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.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Are you doing PR for your ego or to get results?

That question should be used. I see it quite often that the artists mainly want that Pr for his/her ego not to get more sales/streams. If you ask the artists if it is for sales or ego they will promptly answer that it is for sales. Then you just ask take the money and use it on Googel ads and Facebooks ads or similar. Then it comes, no I want to be in the papers.

Like there is a point to be in the press? I mean I can’t remember when I last time bought a physical newspaper. No what they are after is to get a reviews, like there is that many reviews any longer except for small German fanzines. Or even better a personal interview, where they journalist ask these questions you dreamt of answering since you started with music.

Guess what, this question is never coming. If there is questions and a interview it will be strange questions about what kind of jam you like or the weirdest restaurant you been to. They won’t ask about your inspiration or what kind of gear you play on.

Actually to get best results is to use the online ads and great keywords. Really that is most cost effective. Not so sexy I know, but if you are in for the sales that is the best.

But the ego is what talking so I still see all these artists buying PR services that really don’t get you anywhere. Send outs to countless blogs, newspapers. That even if they respond on it, you won’t really get any sales out of it.

Yes this is how you did it in the past. They sucked already back then, but that was the only way.
I spoke to a good friend who works on an ad agency. He said the same, even with the big companies they go for ego. They had developed new tools where you can pinpoint the target group. Get most out of each penny spend. Still the buyers wanted a totally useless ad in the big newspaper costing a fortune. Why, well it’s the ego. You can tell your friends, look on this full page in the morning paper. Okay for the same amount of money you can reach the right target group for a whole year and getting more sales. But ego is hard to talk sense to.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Video logg



The Vlog holds things about Videos of The Magnettes, Mother Mink and State of grace. Also new intreviews with Adée and Royal Prospects. And secrets and invetations.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

If your social media looks like shit.

I had a great lunch with a woman in one of the world’s most successful PR firms. We were discussing how PR is done in the new digital world. How people think that they will get everything just to hire a PR firm. She stopped her meal and looked on me and said.

-   Well you can’t get Pitchfork to write about you, if your social media looks like shit. Doesn’t matter how good song you have, or cool story. The social media shines through. Most of the times this is the part that the artists or mangers don’t understand.

And she would know. She has written several successful books about the topic. And when I look to myself it’s the same. A friend of mine signed an unknown band a couple a weeks ago. And what did I do. I didn’t listen to the music (mainly since my friend only work with bands in a special genre). No I went to their social media and looked on their figures and what they looked like. I guess several of us do the same.

And here is how I looked on it:

I went to their Facebook. Okey the band has the most awful logo there is. Has nothing to do with the name. Their head banner is a shoot clearly not done by a professional photographer. They surrounding is in a rehearsal room and they are standing there with their normal clothes. I guess the picture is taken just as a thing during a rehearsal. But it’s not good for representation for your Facebook.The funny part is some post down in the FB feed you find a post that they had taken professional photos with a photographer a month earlier. So why don't use that? The updates on the page was kind of slow, they updated around once a week witch is really to slow for a facebookpage.

The problem was the posts also. All was about them rehearsing or recording. The things you really DON’T CARE about. Most it was “we are rehearsing the new cool song that comes next month. In the end of the timeline that song they talked about was pushed. Ok I looked how long the page been up they had been around four years. During these years they got up to 900 likes. Well the number is not that shows everything. You can have 200 000 likes but if no one interacts with your posts it’s no point. Rather have 100 followers and 1000 interaction to your posts. So I looked on the interaction, and here it showed a lot. Every post had around 4 likes. So that means the 900 fans doesn’t care about them.

Since it was so much just in the rehearsal room I thought about gigs. One was posted on Facebook but I wanted all gigs so I went to their homepage. The homepage was good made. But the gig past revealed a lot about the band. This year they only had done one show, last year just two shows. Not so active band. In total of these 4 years they had done eight shows.

So I went to their Spotify, okay it’s not part of the normal social media. But in this world it counts. They only had 41 listeners. 42 followers so their account was not secured. All songs under 1000 listening’s. But they had released 3 singles, 1 ep and 1 album. In comparison, they have released more songs they had gigs.

The Twittter was more active. They got over 2000 followers. Still they followed 2300 people. So a good rating they had done over 1400 tweets and was pretty active. But the same problem. Around 1 like on each tweet. But they tweeted every day. Still all tweets was about rehersing again.

Instagram, okay figure wise. Still it was less than a picture a week. The picture got good likes even though they were really boring just old live pictures and photos of recordings and sleeves for new songs.

Youtube well 9 videos, two official ones, 8 with songs and just pictures from the album. And one when recording (stop we don’t want to see you in the studio no more).

Youtube is usually the weakest channel for artists. It’s a pity since it’s the biggest search engine in the world.

So this is how I looked on their social media. And yes totally that Pitchfork would jump this even if it was a good song. Most of the time people think that it doesn’t matter what everything else looks like. But it tells a story. Here is that this band has been hiding the last years in the studio. Really doesn’t have and audience and well not so good of getting their pages to look good. But worst the pages was not social. It was about them in a studio. Nothing about the band what they like, eat, doing as a hobby, whatever would have been fine. Luckily my friend who took them is rather good on this so I think he will fix the problems.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Putting up goals, put the right ones.

Yes it has really been clear the past weeks to put down the goals on a paper (a computer document is more right). It's more to have something to measure against. We put up these goals every five years.

This round has been clearer than ever, and more detailed than ever. Much thanks to an EU project that we are a part of that really has gone in to the core of the business.

I have over the years tried to implement this on our artists and artists in general. The problem has usually not been as clear as they are right now. When you ask an artist to make a plan they go after the wrong goals. And many times I have let them do it since we didn't see what was really important in the new industry. Most plans I see contains things like:
1. In one year we have a signed record deal.
2. We have given out an album
3. We tour Europe to support the album.
4. We play midsized festivals.
5. We do a showcase in USA.

Okay goals. But it all miss the important thing, audience. And center of all it all comes down to get a record deal. If that doesn't happen? Well then it will be no album, no album no European tour. And goodbye to the midsized festivals since they need an album release.

The reality is usually that they are not ready for a deal. Maybe the songs is not there. Actually even with a deal you need a constant flow of songs. So one goal should be how many songs that should be written over the year.

And an album release might not secure the festivals or European tour. That has to do with bodies that the music can draw to a place. One goal should be to set limits of fans on their social media.
Showcase in USA, also here is many factors that breaks in. Most of all why do that? Is there a interest from there. Is it get a better network? It might be the best of the suggestions in the plan but can also be the worst.

What I see is often that the artist looks in the plan that someone else should do the work. Their work is mainly to find that person, then their work is over and the magic happens.

Right now more than ever you can do plans with goals with simple tools just relaying on getting the people that likes your art.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sign a deal or a paper?

One of my friends band just got signed. I was reading the comments on Facebook. The comments where all like they achieved the highest goal, like the Nirvana of music industry. Okay these comments are made of friends and family. But some was from older people in the industry. People still believes that just you sign that paper you will have a great career.

At the same time I have had several meetings with other players that you need today. Many of them agrees the record labels are more a distraction and a break in the career in many cases. Don't get me wrong there is great record labels out there. But it's not the majority of them, rather if you get lucky and everything locks up with several other things they work out. In many cases they are just a sign on a paper.

 This myth is so hard to break. As hard as the myth that you get fat by eating fat food. No there is no total truth of the fat food same as the record label myth. Signing a deal dosen't really mean anything.

A Swedish journalist just quoted "you need a team, just that team doesn't need to work on a record label."

 So I hope it goes well with my friends signing. That this is the right team. Someone wrote in the comments "You really deserve this after working so hard". I rather hope for that they deserve a career after working hard. Not that they worked hard to sign a paper.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Update

It's kind of slow with the updates since I'm touring with The Magnettes and Adée. I hope to come back next week to get several more updates.
How is the tour? Well it's going fine. I had a new tactic and I'm trying to apply that as much as possible. As it is right now we are in our five years evaluate.
It's changing the whole structure as it is.