Hello. My Name Is Martin -- And I'm A Creative Administrator

from the my-story dept

With our CwF + RtB experiment in full swing, we've asked some of the participants involved to provide some guest posts, including their thoughts on the experiment itself. Martin Thörnkvist runs the Swedish Record label Songs I Wish I Had Written, who represents Moto Boy, one of the artists involved in our Techdirt Music Club. If you order both the Techdirt Music Club and the Techdirt Book Club before midnight PT, August 3rd, we'll throw in a free Techdirt hoodie, or a free lunch with Mike Masnick. We asked Martin to write about his experiences with the "new" music world and new music business models:

In 1999 I attended a Ron Sexsmith concert. As always, he did a great performance. He did an amazing cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye." The way he introduced made me even more exited: as he played the intro, Ron said, "this is a song I wish I had written." That's admiration of somebody else's art.

Some years before, I had tried to learn play the guitar. I remember one summer in particular I spent way too many hours trying to learn Yellow Submarine. Damn, was I bad. Instead of tearing my hair out while playing guitar, I decided to channel my love for music in another way: I started a web-based fanzine. This was four years before MySpace, and to make it possible for our readers to listen to the obscure indie pop acts (artists like Peter Bjorn and John, Jose Gonzales and Jens Lekman) we wrote about, we started a special webshop for music. Some years later, we got tired of the fanzine, but after some months I missed the webshop bit and started it up again. After a few months, I asked a new band called Eurosport if I could sell their CDs -- to which they let me know they didn't have any! Still, I loved their songs and asked them if they wanted me to print a cover and burn some CDRs, and they agreed. After receiving a threat of being sued, the band changed their name to Le Sport, and the first song they had ever written (and I ever released) turned out to be a summer hit in Sweden. I went with the flow and tried to learn how the music business work. Suddenly, I had a record label. Wihoo.

The name of the label was of course: Songs I Wish I Had Written. The statement I wrote then still pins it down quite well, I think:
"We see this label as a frame that puts pieces of art in the focal point. It's the art itself that is important; the frame exists as a context which further emphasizes the brilliance of the chosen creations."
Now, as you can imagine: a guy with no experience and no money had to rely on something other than the traditional ways of doing things. Luckily for me, some years before the label was founded, the internet had become popular -- with music fueling much of its progress.

"Hey, what a perfect match," I thought. My main goal is to spread the music I love, and here's the most powerful copying machine the world has ever seen at my desktop, free to use. The main reason for the instant success of Le Sport (apart from the great songs) was our way of using free music as a way to market the music. We were sure that the more listeners we got, the more buyers we would get.

I've never really felt any need to think about my role in relation to the artist I work with. I have always gone with the flow. But lately, after a variety of in-depth discussions on the future of the music business, I've started to think more of my specific role in all of this. I think there is a need for a discussion on the role of middlemen in the music industry. I think that's because, to me, it's crucial to make correct (or at least good) decisions on future possibilities and strategies.

In the work of positioning what you offer to your costumers, I think you get a good picture of what contemporary reality looks like. You learn from both the good and bad examples that others are executing in music industry (and other digital content industries). So how could I position myself, where it would be obvious which powerful tools can be used in an inventive way in order to be the best in the world to offer what I need to offer?

The two most important cornerstones I defined for my future work are:
  1. to make the music I work with available in as many ways my customers want to listen to it and
  2. help the artist I work with with creative ideas to engage with those listeners.
I would like to coin a new term for the type of modern music professional I see myself as being. I'm hereby dubbing myself as a CA - Creative Administrator.

To explain the admin bit: Most artists I know aren't even able to keep a calendar! That's ok, but they surely need help. And so do their fans, who all are wandering around in an all you can eat Mecca. Musicians need an admin and fans require reasons to buy. I need to be creative and always keep an eye (if you have been in the biz longer than me you'll probably need to keep two -- and it probably helps to talk to your kids every day to keep track of what they're doing) on the reality of what I can and should offer my customers, artists and fans: something they can't get elsewhere.

Now, download "A Room Without You" by Moto Boy for free (and enjoy it!) and check out the Techdirt Music Club which features that song as a musical box (creative! right?)


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:06pm

    The truth of Techdirt wanting to be a "new record label" starts to emerge.

     

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    RD, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    The truth is...you never did as much...

    Oh shut the f*ck up. What have YOU accomplished in your miserable life? Did you start your own business or website, see it grow? Are you living off something you started with your own hands? Unless or until you make something of YOURSELF, you can shove the judgemental pissing all over someone else's accomplishments.

     

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    RD, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    ha! not likely...

    I call bullshit. If you were so accomplished, you would be far too busy to troll around piddly little comment boards belittling people for trying to do something with their lives.

     

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      Esahc (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:48pm

      Re: ha! not likely...

      "belittling people for trying to do something with their lives"

      I had to reread the article to make sure I didn't miss anything . . . nope, more about empowering than belittling.

      Angry Dude, is that you?

       

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    RD, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

    Sure...

    Sure, what else are internet forums for?

    NO, I just have little tolerance for whining babies who have to tear someone else's accomplishments down to make themselves feel important. I have no patience for lazy people who don't make any effort in their life to TRY but feel they can spend endless amounts of time being critical of those who DO.

     

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    RD, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:51pm

    Sure...

    "I had to reread the article to make sure I didn't miss anything . . . nope, more about empowering than belittling."

    Not sure what you point is but in answer about empowering: The article, yes, but commenter #1 and 3, no.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 3:57pm

      Re: Sure...

      all I can say is that there is medication for this sort of stuff. You might want to mention your extreme emotions to a family member so they can help you to get the help you clearly need.

       

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    DJ (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 4:29pm

    Who???

    Who is replying to whom, here.

    There's a freaking "reply to this comment link"

    If you're gonna argue with someone please use it! Those of us who aren't too bright get confused otherwise.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 5:51pm

      Re: Who???

      Sort of shows how blindly angry he is, total rage. It would be funny if it wasn't so disturbing.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 29th, 2009 @ 6:32am

        Re: Re: Who???

        "Sort of shows how blindly angry he is, total rage. It would be funny if it wasn't so disturbing."

        Oh don't be such a pansy. Those comments were thinly veiled character attacks on this website, construed to make it sound as if TechDirt has some kind of ulterior motive to *GASP* make money.

        There offering paid services/subscriptions, you idiot. They're fairly upfront about their desire to make money. If they can be a new record label, which isn't a record label of course, then more power to them since that'll mean I'll be getting more of the music I want.

        What the hell happened to this country? Has the pussification of the American people REALLY gotten to the point where you can't be ANGRY w/o it being DISTURBING?

        Look, if you live in today's society, and you don't get upset enough to shout about the shit that pisses you off once in a while, then it's YOU that has the anger issue.

         

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    Esahc (profile), Jul 28th, 2009 @ 7:51pm

    Wow . . .

    Now that I'm at home and actually able to see the video & listen to the song, I am amazed. Never herd Moto Boy before this day, thanks for introducing me.

     

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    Eddie Pasternak, Jul 28th, 2009 @ 8:21pm

    Please

    Please please please learn about apostrophes and how to put them in words and how to put them on a website. For God's sake it's 2009 already.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 29th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    What are you people even talking about? Are any of these comments even about the article?

    Anyway, I like this guy's idea. The music is free, the extras, like music boxes with the music, are not. I'd buy a music box that played one of my favorite songs.

     

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    kevin (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 1:46am

    I'll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there Wood Pellets Biomass

     

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