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?
Another classic example of a musician putting themselves forward for work without first reading the guidelines or addressing the information in the email interview. His uses of the term "busy" also signify a conflict of interest situation further down the line.
Female Vocalist - Fiesta Latina
What is the meaning of the term "busy"?
Busy = disorganised, and/or lacking the availability/time/capacity/cost to perform at the required standard. For this reason, we avoid using the word at all costs and/or being drawn into situations where the word might be used. The industry is saturated by disorganised people who use the word 'busy' as a polite way of withdrawing interest, such that the word has become a meaningless excuse for inefficiency. If we are not interested, we will say so, and provide reasons if necessary.
At Red & Black Music, we believe in free trade. This means that trade is left to its natural course without tariffs, quotas, or other restrictions.
We have experienced first hand a wide range of professionalism among musicians (documented in this blog). We believe that the rates should be relative to this: i.e., a musician cannot justify charging professional rates if they do not conduct themselves in a professional, accountable and reliable manner. We've seen it many times that musicians are too quick to adopt politically correct standpoints and 'blindly' quote Musicians' Union rates, but never think twice about the implications and repercussions of breaching a contractual agreement, even if it results in financial losses for the label and other musicians. In our opinion, this widens the disparity between available opportunities and musicians who are prepared to be compliant.
Just to clarify: while the Musicians' Union rates are a useful reminder not to undermine our worth, there is a narrow line between knowing what you 'could' be quoting, and what you 'should' be quoting. For example, it's unrealistic to expect musicians to be paid minimum £144 per head for a jazz club gig; the promoter will simply hire another production. In other words, it's both an enforcement and a denial of what actually happens.
What if musicians are hiring a venue and promoting an event themselves? Will the musicians still demand the standard Musicians' Union rate? Who will enforce these sorts of regulations at ground level if it's a less 'formal' arrangement such as a 'group' venture? Who will be liable for picking up the pieces (financial losses) when the lead vocalist cancels, the show has to be pulled as a result and the label/musicians are charged a hefty bill from the venue (staffing and technicians) and marketing overheads?
For the above reasons it's completely unrealistic to expect all promoters to adopt a 'one size fits all' approach: pay the same rates to all musicians regardless of the circumstances. It's a lovely thought, yes, but in practice it's implausible.
By the same token, Red & Black Music was prohibited from disseminating an advertisement for a paid recording position among students at the Royal College of Music. As we all know, many 'bands' expect their musicians to record for free and it's rare that these paid opportunities are put forward to an educational establishment in such a transparent, straightforward way.
This is Jonathan. Jonathan put himself forward as a pianist for Diáspora. Jonathan cancelled 3 meetings at the last minute and failed to attend meeting #4. No follow-up message was received from him.
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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.