You Just Need To Own Your Fanbase 

Submitted by Peter Åstedt

It’s going to be harder to be an artist. It will be easier to be an artist and be an artist as a hobby. We can just look at the journalist and photographers and you will see what will happen with the music industry.

Starting a newspaper today is extremely easy. Since we don’t really print any copies, to be honest, the only thing you need is a homepage and a URL. With that, you can start an online magazine and start writing about whatever you want. That is the easy part, the hard part is to gather readers. Since it’s so easy anyone can do it, well there will be a lot of people doing it, at least for a while. The reader will then have so many of these free publications that they will lose value. Same with photography. A good camera is kind of cheap and suddenly everyone is a “photographer”. On top of that now you can create pictures with AI so illustrations are not really needed.

The second problem then will be to earn money. You write good texts, but since the competition is fierce the few people buying ads that are out there will be scattered around it’s hard to get them. In the end, many of these news sites will go under since people can’t just work for free. Then in the end it will just become a hobby that you do on the side. On top of that, you get more competition with new technology. We saw at the beginning of 2010 a lot of music magazines went up online. Over the years we have lost them and today there is a few left.

Some of the people that did the magazine are now doing pods. And some even have jumped over to do TV on online channels like Youtube or Tiktok. Then you have also the competition from influencers that mainly just write about everything, especially anything they get paid to talk about. And then add companies seem to have chosen the influencers to market their products mainly since they have the most numbers.

This is the reality for the music press now. This will be the reality for artists very soon. Already equipment has become very cheap. With plugins, you can recreate the sound in Abby Roads. Mics have become so much cheaper that you can record at home. If you need backgrounds, you can buy the bass or drum tracks online. The next step that is ongoing is that AI can even fix that. The AI can also write the lyrics.

This of course opens up to anyone to be an artist. At least in the hobby section. You don’t need to know anything about how to compose a song, or have no sense of how to write good lyrics, all this will be served. There will be a lot of crap music produced. So, is this a problem? The best songs will be the most heard?

No, the system has proved that what happens when the systems will be flooded with crap is that people in the end stop listening. This is part of why people have started to listen to old songs that they trust, and these get exposed to the new young audience, this is partly why 70% of the music in the USA that is listened to is from the 70:s and 80:s. The problem for a serious artists is they are trying to be a serious artist to get through the noise. First, the brown wave of crap music that clouds so many channels that become almost impossible to find anything good. Then the competition of really well-produced music that is still around and also competes on the audience listening time.

Being an artist will be harder. Of course, if what you produce is good you have an advantage. You need to work harder to be seen and in the end, you need to create your fanbase yourself, no one will do that for you, and if they do they will also own you. 

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.