Time for a Change

Submitted by Peter Åstedt 

Every ten years some bigger things seem to rock the music industry. Around 1990 it was the passing of vinyl and cassettes to CDs. CDs then became a household item and yes the record labels just competed to make reissues of the old vinyl catalogues.

2000 came with the MP3 becoming a household thing. Napster was the new thing to spread music and the gateway into the digital world. The money that the record labels earned on the reissue catalogues were lost and it put the record labels in crisis.

2010 was around the launch of Spotify and everything that we now have with ] our music online. Here come the playlists and new consumer behavior to listen to just the tracks they like and change songs much faster.

We are in a time of change again. This time we also rocked the live industry that has been fairly spared from changes. The live industry has just gone on and on, also it has been more than 50% of the income as well for the music industry. If you had told me that we could shut down the whole world for two years I would probably laugh and tell you that couldn’t be done. So COVID was a factor we didn’t see coming. It did and it changed the live industry at its core. At the same time since we have lived with playlisting for ten years that is becoming old as well and we see how people are discovering songs in a new way on apps like TikTok.

We are in a major change right now. You can also tell that because you see a lot of people that normally do nothing just surface again.  People that really don’t work in the music industry or just have a boring job with a salary that handles music, like a government program. Most of them sadly are people that are failed musicians or used to work in the industry way back in time. Usually, they never do anything just sit there and earn a salary.  The thing now is that the changes are so significant that they feel threatened that their salary might go away.

With these new changes and new inventions and new people moving into the positions that have been held like a sacred cow for years now changing will lead to people losing their jobs. The crisis in the economy will not help the transition it will just make it faster. Like COVID made the transition in the live industry go at rocket speed.

Suddenly I’m bombarded with people who before were too high up or too snobby to even speak to me Filling my inbox with messages about how we should see each other or that I should give them free information, so they are able to survive. I never thought about it, but it’s so many of them. How much money are we spending on people just because they are failed musicians or too old and not updated in the industry and don’t see that they probably are better off doing something else? If we now can channel this money to the new batch of musicians and artists we might be able to make a difference.

All changes like this have been a real opportunity. Every time has been very exciting. Right now, I’m so excited and this time I’m really looking forward to taking the opportunities that will come out of this situation, This is now or never.

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 and also sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian-based charity, The Drive Foundation.