Submitted by Peter Åstedt
The biggest problem right now for the music industry is that we have opened the doors to the big brown wave. Before we had some kind of gatekeepers in the music industry. It was definitely not good all the time, but better than today when there is nothing to stop people from giving out stuff.
The opportunity to give out something stops artists from really developing a song. When I became a scriptwriter for TV and Film the first thing, they told us was, writing is rewriting. Something I’m not good at, as you can see here in my columns. Sometimes I should just stop reading the text and rewrite it. Stop again and just rewrite. Yes, my columns would be better. Unfortunately, time wise and I need to do so many other things I really don’t have time for it, so you have to bear with me.
When it comes to a song though, it’s a different story. Here you are writing something that should be forever. There is no real deadline; the song is ready when it’s ready. You are also writing a song that should compete with millions of other songs. Not just a column that comes out once a week and then is forgotten. No here you must put your soul into it.
Then you have the urge that when you wrote your song you want to test it, back in the days that was the demo. You roughly recorded it and played it for some close friends and maybe some industry professionals. Also, you had a rehearsal space and you brought in your band and they also worked on the song. Maybe you also got lucky to play the music for an audience and noticed that some parts of the song didn’t work that well with that audience, so you did some changes. That first demo fast developed into something much better.
First you take it to a cheap studio and recorded it. Then you send it to record labels and producers to get it to a bigger audience. If a label picked it up, they probably also wanted it to be re-recorded in a better studio. Here the label, the PR department, the producer, the mixer, and the mastering engineer had something to say. The song developed even more. Then it went out in the world to try to be a hit.
Today you get home drunk after the bar, record a song on your computer, and mix it fast through some online program. Mastering? Who needs it! And then you just put it out on social media, YouTube, and Soundcloud, and if you have a fast thing, you might even get it on Spotify and other channels in a couple of hours.
Suddenly, the whole world is involved in developing your song. Or more correct the world is flooded with songs that should have been rewritten several times to make it into the market. Instead, they never get a chance and just put it out there and a bound to fail and then be forgotten.
This is the reason why still over two third of all music that is consumed worldwide are old hits from the time when you needed to rewrite a song to make it good enough to get out on the market.
Instead of the new British Wave or New Wave we now have the brown wave of shit just flooding over us and we long for someone to take out their waders and just get dirty to find those gold nuggets that might just be there.
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 legendary Record World International.