You’re Gonna Need Courage

Submitted by Peter Åstedt

I just read in a local newspaper about courage. The question they asked five random people in a midsize suburban city, what is the most courageous thing they have ever done. One younger kid said that making a parachute jump was the most courageous he had done. The rest answered that the most courageous thing they have done was move to another city.  And not one of these moves were claiming that it was courageous to move from the capital to this village that is just one and a half hours from the capital.

I was a little baffled. When I was younger than them, I just took a plane and went over from Sweden to NYC just to go on a date with a girl I had just met online. I had also moved around to several cities much further away. I don’t really feel that was courageous at all. Adventure, sure it was but it’s like making a parachute jump; it’s pretty safe. It’s actually much more dangerous driving on the highway to get to the airplane to make that jump.

My most courageous things for me have been working in the music industry for so long. It’s really not a safe place if you look into the financial side of it. This is one of the most uncertain fields to work inside. And I’m on the business side of it. I can just imagine the uncertainty for an artist to be in this business.

At the same time, I’m glad that I had the guts to do it. I have experienced so much around the world. Made so many friends and have got so many views on certain problems from different people. I haven’t gotten rich on this. But sure, I’m full of memories. And in the end, you can’t take your money with you to your grave, but with memories, they can’t take those away from you.

I guess also I got used to taking risks. Which is probably why I don’t feel that moving to another city is the most courageous thing to do. If you really want to be in the music industry you really need to have a lot of courage. Almost to the point of stupidity. I have met a lot of people who just to want to get into the business and count it as a nine-to-five job. Thinking that all of the benefits that come with working in a cubicle in a boring office actually has will remain the same They never last long or end up on the side of the business that is just like an office, just that the paper you are shuffling around is about music.

In the end, it’s not the best that makes it in this business. It’s the one that has the courage to keep on going and keep developing and try new things and believe in new ideas. These are the true winners in this business. Too many people think it’s an easy thing to work in the music business and shouldn’t take so much. Those are the ones that I call the ‘in and outs’, they come in and go away quickly and they are many. In this business, you need to earn your stripes. You’re Gonna Need Courage.

Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 35 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. In 2021, he worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes Peter is a Managing Partner and Editor of the newly launched Record World International.