Stop the talking!
People ask questions, and when answered, do not respond. People are asked questions and an answer is not received. Subsequently, a phone call or a face-to-face meeting happens. Something is expressed in an abstract, time-bound utterance. An offer/decision is backhandedly dealt and almost instantly withdrawn (possibly). A conversation/discussion takes place, and simply vanishes into thin air without a trace, without being committed to written record and/or followed through. Almost as if the conversation/discussion didn't take place at all! Thus, one begins to doubt oneself, question one's own sense of reality. Yet when topics are picked up on in writing, people fail to respond. The blank email inbox and innocently empty mailbox conceal a hidden agenda of swords and daggers. They indicate an absence of communication and a lack of accountability. It's this that we challenge at its route source.
Whilst talk is a reasonable form of communication in articulating a "shared vision", this is only a temporary illusion. It's emotionally and spiritually effective, whilst physically and psychologically ineffective. It's an obstacle to accountability in its very nature of being fluid and intangible. In business contexts, talk should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. We're human too. We like to talk and share a good feeling. It's lovely and nice (depending on the context). We like to give ourselves and one another a break once in a while, and there is a time and place for that. However, whilst easier in the short term, talk creates confusion in the long term because it's not committed. Why have a two part thing of talk then having to commit it into writing afterwards when you can simply skip step one and formulate everything straight into writing? Just keep it in the back of your mind that talk, to the same degree as developing relationships, ideas and thought processes, raises the threshold of disappointment. Things can be said and not substantiated. Moments are lost and forgotten. Communications aren't picked up on. People are too "busy"* to follow things through effectively and translate talk into action.
*busy = inability to manage one's own time.
Let's simplify communications. Let's reduce communications to their basic, elementary form and strip out all of the emotional confusion that is the enemy of solid, concrete accountability. Let's communicate information neutrally and transparently. Yes, I repeat: talk is a reasonable form of communication, but in its fluid, transitive, time-bound transmission, lacks accountability and is an inferior, deficient form of communication. Simply because it's impossible to verify/falsify what was discussed/agreed (unless it is committed to a sound recording, which throws up a minefield of technological complexities). On the other hand written communication puts action into account.
Phone lines down
Alexandra has left Fiesta Latina & Diáspora. As you'll see from the below 22 email threads, Alexandra confirmed and acknowledged her contractual obligations multiple times in writing, and subsequently waited until all agreements/bookings were in place before casually announcing her withdrawal: almost in a deliberate fashion. Alexandra's actions will have direct implications for future musicians we employ. We are seeking legal advice from solicitors/expertise, and also researching insurance brokers to protect the company against future financial damages. Fortunately, on this occasion, the venue was able to return the deposit, so no financial damages were incurred this time. However, due to the risks at stake in booking musicians for paid multimedia recording engagements, all musicians will henceforth be required to sign electronic contracts and formally declare their liability via Signable to be booked in.
Since the correspondence is fairly lengthy and drawn out, the email threads have been broken down into separate headings to highlight each stage of the negotiations. Below is a list breakdown of the 22 negotiation email threads. Click on each linked heading in the list breakdown to quickly jump to that thread.
Why has this been posted?
Individualism vs. Collectivism
There is no such thing as a true "community". Mutual collaboration in equal parts does not exist and cannot be substantiated via concrete proof - despite how much musicians claim that they're "invested in it for the good of the band". This is an utterance that is only relevant to the contextual time and place, and expressed when it is most convenient to them. Of course, you inevitably become the "bad cop" when the musician ends up being the one to contravene their own standards of accountability, when you're landed with the responsibility of picking them up on it.
The reality is: people are individuals, a liability unto themselves. People are never "invested in it for the good of the band". People are only invested in it for themselves. People might propagate a fabrication that they are "invested in it for the good of the band" in order to facilitate circumstances conspiring in their favour. But they immediately drop these convictions as and when it matters to them.
We’ve dealt with Giovanni before (see communications below); he seems non-committal and wouldn’t accept our booking before on the grounds that they would not cancel or not show up — even when we offered a “loaded” fee! Maybe there isn’t a way and we’ve just got to accept their terms… We subsequently made a booking which was then cancelled.
Omitting vital information for the sake of simplicity.
This is another way in which our 2 primary values of communication and accountability link to one another.
It's a tricky balance.
Read, compare and contrast the following extracts.
Read also: Why are our quotes so complicated?
What a nightmare!
A case study in how not to book a band. Since it is fairly lengthy and drawn out, the threads have been broken down to highlight each stage of the negotiations. Below is a breakdown of the 18 negotiation email threads. Click on each heading in the contents to quickly jump to a stage. Please note since some threads happened simultaneously, these are arranged on separate tabs to present this more clearly and chronologically. Please also note that the spelling has been corrected in some cases, but typos have been left in for effect.
On 16 Mar 2017, at 13:08, Anne Louise wrote:
On 24 Mar 2017, at 14:03, Anne Louise wrote:
From: Anne Louise
What's on your mind?
Facebook asks me “What’s on your mind?” I’m not usually one to answer this question in public for fear of persecution but it all comes down to this widespread notion of “universal truth”, which can manifest itself as a form of assumption, miscommunication and laziness = mother of all disasters. Many individuals have their own moral compass, their own ideas of right and wrong. Accepting it is one thing. Embracing it is another. I can’t justify or assume a "one size fits all" approach without objectifying/qualifying it. How can one “just know” without learning it first? Osmosis? We’re all born different. We’re all conditioned differently. We all think differently. The issue is a lack of understanding and collaboration.
I've been told that the amount of emails was cause for confusion. In addition, people are using a wide variety of methods of contact (including social media platforms) which is inefficient and can lead to confusions over agreements. Emails are the preferred method of communication with Red & Black Music for ease of traceability, archiving and auditing.
So, to make it easier for everyone, in addition to doing our best to restrict the amount of informative-only emails; we're setting up an additional failsafe: any email requiring a response/action on your part, will be accompanied by an automated text message highlighting that an action is required and the deadline for this. You may opt out of this service, however please note that you will be automatically re-subscribed if you fail to reply to an e-mail query within deadline.
Please ensure you have given the correct email to us and that you have added email@example.com to your contact list. If you have any doubts, please drop me an email and I'll check and update contact details as necessary.
Please email: do not text back to the notification text, as this message is sent out using an automatic system.
Please update me by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer to opt out of text notifications or if you need to update your contact details.
Please help us keep conversations/agreements on e-mail so that they are easily traceable, archivable, and allow for fewer misunderstandings.
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The "Watch Blog"
Please note: full names, addresses and contact details of private individuals are omitted for data protection purposes (unless already made public elsewhere online).
A category naming and shaming unreliable musicians to watch out for.
A category reporting unscrupulous venues and traders.
A category exploring the issues faced working via agents and promoters.