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The Hobby Band vs the Pro Band

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The Hobby Band vs the Pro Band

Submitted by Peter Åstedt

It's quite easy to say that you want to do something full time. I have written about it before that I have a passion for cooking. I just picked all cherries and black currants and done liquor and jelly the whole weekend. I love it - it's fun to test new recipes and stuff.

It's quite easy for me to say that I would love to be a professional chef. I should open a restaurant doing my own menu and all that stuff. Sounds great doesn’t it? I have one advantage in this, I know how hard it is to be that chef. You must be in that kitchen for years just to get that restaurant to fly. Overall it is at least ten years of investment of your life to make a perfect restaurant. I even bet that you need to fail with one or two just to learn some tricks around it.

I'm an amateur chef. I don't even know if I have the talent to make it as a professional chef. My friends like my food. Still says nothing how the general market would say. And standing in the kitchen doing the food I want to do instead of getting orders for what kind of food I should cook is a huge difference. Suddenly, I won’t be that creative when I do my tenth fish and chips for the day.

Here I see many do the same mistake when we ask if you want to be a hobby band or be the professional band. It would be nice living off your music. Go on tour and make a lot of money while the fans scream out your name.

The thing is that it's so much more than that. It's the same comparison - that you are locked in that kitchen but here you are locked in trying to do new songs all the time. Also, the same you don't know if your talent is enough to be one of the biggest stars in the world. Still, when you get the question you still say that you want to do it.

I usually put some extra questions in for it. Could you be away from your friends for two years? Can you just focus on music and nothing else for two years? In overall, they all say yes.

If they say no, it's already clear that you can't do it.The funny part even the ones that say no as the ones that say yes who want to try. And here is the tricky part. We know that only one out of thousand bands have what it takes to even do a test run. We easily test them by putting some important bookings at the same time as their holiday. If they fail to cancel the holiday, they are not in the position to make it. Then we even get harder by putting the thing in all the time. Here if you have ten bands that make it out of the thousand. Nine out of ten will fail.

Yes, it's very few that have what it takes, and most failures come from the fact that the artist wasn't ready for the amount of work that has to be done to make it to the top or be a hobby band. My calculation is that in my whole 30 year career I will only find around 10 acts that really have what it takes among these ten thousand of artists I meet. The question would I find them and nurture them in the right way?

Editor's Note:  Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and SuperBowl.