Selling Yourself Or Your Music?

Submitted by Peter Åstedt

I read a great article about how sad the influencer industry is. Your job is to sell toothpaste through your brand that happens to be yourself. The article followed a girl that used to be on a pretty famous reality TV show. Now two years later, she wanted to be an influencer. But even though she had participated in a popular reality show she didn’t have enough followers so she could earn money, so she worked in a local clothing store in a mid- size city in Sweden.

Of course, there is no glamour around that, so she had to make up for it by pretending that she lives a Kardashian-type lifestyle in the hunt to get enough followers to get sponsor deals so she can sell in time spray with her name.

I remember back in the day when artists never would let their songs into commercials because that was a sellout. Today that is normal, almost a must. Today we go for artists selling strange things on social media through their personal image. And that is their personal image, it’s not like in the old days where artists could have a persona on stage and then be quite normal when they were not on the stage. Now you have to join the freakshow 24/7.

Is my penis big enough, Is my brain small enough for you to make me a star? Give me a toot, I’ll sell you my soul, Pull my strings and I’ll go far, sang Dead Kennedys already in the 80’s. I guess that Jello Biafra and Bruce Slesinger didn’t know how right they were and how low we have sunk. On the other hand, Dead Kennedys said they were never getting back together, that it was a sellout to make money for a reunion. Do you know who is out on tour? Yes, Dead Kennedys.

Of course, I know for every extreme thing we have we get a counterpart. I’m just waiting for this artist that doesn’t use social media, that just records music and releases it. Promotes it by playing live. Never post about their personal life and become an enigma where they have trillions of pages on Reddit on weird theories around them.

Social media is overrated. Sure, there are a lot of people still counting numbers and think that the numbers will give you the next big break. It might give you a short next kick. But it won’t build you a real career where you actually sell your music, where you create music for the beauty of it. Where you touch people with your lyrics and sound.

It will be interesting when this happens. I guess it will be pretty soon. The industry needs to have long term artists to survive. We can’t just live off what is hot today. If we do that, we will stress ourselves to death very quickly. So, if someone is interested in making a new artist in this way just contact me, I have the plan, the network to be able to do it. Just imagine a social media free artist, just doing great music. Sounds appealing?

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