Submitted by Peter Åstedt
It never ceases to amaze me how people think. When I plan my festivals, we research other music dates globally and check what we are up against even if it is on the other side of the world if it’s big enough. At the same time, we check what happens in closer proximity or any other events that might attract people to get hotel rooms or not attend our event for some other reason. It’s part of being professional and thorough in our position.
Organize a local showcase for local bands and put it on the same day as when the biggest showcase in the world is happening just a couple of hours from your city. Top of that, the week before your event the biggest city in the area holds one of the biggest showcases in the country. I don’t know if you are bold or just plain stupid? Then to add to the stupidity you hold the event online? There is no way you can get a professional to be on since they are already busy. Maybe some local music industry people, but what is the point that two locals should meet online? Then you overcharge for your service and think that the industry delegates should participate for free?
Sure, accessibility is higher in the music industry nowadays because of the digital side. Which leads me to the fact that we are heading into a time of not being accessible. What’s going on right now is that time is a currency that is getting more and more valuable. We are moving into a time of strategies and solutions that only the best and most valued networks will win. Not the biggest network, we don’t have time to waste time with contacts that can’t take the projects any further.
In previous years, I could possibly be a nice guy and take a meeting with an artist just to hear their story. Now when the wheel is spinning faster, I need to look into it the time it will take and value my own personal time. If I see that the artist’s project has no chance, I will have to start to say no and ask the question, what is it in for me? The same decision now applies with events and speaker opportunities, what is in it for me?
The first thing that will have to be removed from my schedule is the online events. We had a great trial and error period during COVID, now with the numbers in our hands we can easily say, no online event is worth participating in for my schedule. Too little business is done compared to how much time it takes and money it costs as well as too many participants with projects that go nowhere. Online means that anyone can just join. The live event at least takes off the worst people pretty automatically since these people just want things for free and won’t even invest in a ticket or for traveling. If you don’t even do that, well then there is no project for sure. Professional commitment is the first priority.
Second, all these online meetings generally lead to nowhere. In many of them, it’s just that I should get someone’s free advice. The good ones are with people that you know and just one topic is discussed to make a decision, then you can go online.
What I have seen the past year after COVID is that most of these things are designed to teach artists how to do everything by themselves or as the current phrase that is used – DIY. The professionals are just a stepping stone with the knowledge that they should suck up and just step on and become stars. Now we all know that it doesn’t work that way. If you act like that people will stop helping you and your network as an artist who is far too weak to even build a network that works. In the end, we are teaching artists and new people in the industry basic facts and giving them some kind of false knowledge to fail.
The future will be to build on real networks and if you going to get in you have to have something to offer, in the end. So my new question is – what’s in it for me to let you have access to my network?
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/ which is about to launch the newest edition in Canada in 2024, Future Echoes Toronto. 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.