Submitted by Peter Åstedt
I was writing a column not long ago about how you should network right now. I had a thing in the back of my mind when I wrote that on a trend that is starting to develop. The conferences and showcase festivals have made it really easy to access people. In reality, though you are accessing valuable time. Most people even speakers don’t really get paid to be at conferences or showcases. If you are at the top, you get your flights and hotels covered and at best your food paid. You do this to further build your network and you need it so you really don’t do this to make money. In most cases, you lose money to be on them if you just count costs. The payment is that you get greater contacts and can make money out of that, but that is a far way down the road.
Since you are at these conferences probably paying in some way or another you need to get your bang for the buck. You need to get meetings with people that can take your company forward and you need more of it now than ever as we open up again for the comeback of the live industry after the pandemic. You want meetings with people who are at the same level as you and that can take you forward.
Since time is money, you don’t really have time to sit in a meeting with an artist you know has no chance to get to any bigger things. You don’t have time to explain how the most basic things in the industry work. The part of deciding about music is very easy, today you get numbers, figures, and an overview very fast. Just take a fast listening of the music that is presented you can easily decide where this artist is right now. You really don’t need to have a meeting around it, only if there is a plan that is not official, and you need to be part of it. Sitting in a meeting an analyzing music is a big waste of time
My guess in the future this will be more common. It will be harder and harder to reach these people. And with all rights, many just expect you to give up all your knowledge and network just for free, to be a nice person. Not uncommon that people contact me to just give them all contact info for festivals and clubs in Sweden, and also introduce them to the people through my network. All for free since I’m a nice guy. Or listening to their music in some headphones they carry along or even worse give me a CD.
The reason you buy a ticket to a showcase festival with the conference is that they give you access to these important people. I can see in the future that you probably need to pay extra to speak to them one on one. Mostly because they don’t have time any longer to spend time with things that won’t lead anywhere. Time is money. You will only speak to the artists that actually you will be able do things with since that time is also costly.
Then I hear artists complain that they had to play for free. I just wonder when will the business people get paid? Access to the people will be the first step, and I predict that will come soon.
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 futureechoes.se/. Peter is a Managing Partner and Editor of the newly launched Record World International.