From: Essence Music
This is a follow-up post from our original Event Diary #1.
In 2015, one of our agents was added to our weekly Event Diary following on from them Bcc'ing all artists requesting them to update them on their summer availability. 2 years later, the same agent requested to be removed from our weekly Event Diary, but didn't acknowledge or address any of the points in the email: that this was a consequentiality.
We are left guessing as to why this is the case. It may be that the agent is too "busy" to manage their workload, and is struggling to keep on top of emails. Alternatively, it may be that the agent is trying to be polite by not acknowledging or addressing these points, and, somewhere in the hazy background, may be offended by the content of our informative communications. However, in not communicating why, we are again left to speculate. What's the alternative?
Read below for the full story.
Read further to understand why "Thought for the week" is now a regular fixture as part of our Event Diary.
Quoting Provisional Availability
View our online Diary
What happened to Diaspora Collective?
Just a reminder to all certified musicians of productions: Please keep me updated on availability at all times, ahead of any enquiries/quotations.
There's been too many incidents where I quoted provisional availability for the client's date, only to be told later that the musicians are not available, and these absences or replacements have been negatively noticed by clients. It benefits us all to avoid these 'unhappy client' situations.
Once a production is live, all certified musicians need to keep me updated on your availability continuously. You can do this on a weekly or monthly basis, however you prefer, or link me up to your online calendar so I can check when quoting availability to clients.
Note: I only send offers out to you if the client responds favourably to a quotation; many inconclusive enquiries you won’t hear anything about. Please do let me know if you want to sign up to advance notifications (an email notifying you that an enquiry has been received and quoted for). This will result in you receiving more emails, but it will provide you with more notice and may help you remember non-availability dates that you need to update me on. (You can turn these on or off at any point.)
This one's about fixing (musician booking). A question has arisen over our sometimes eccentric 'choices' of musicians. Usually this is because someone's on a retainer for a specific part and gets booked in for a slightly different part that doesn't perhaps play to their strengths.
Percussion 1: Kit, timbales -> Musician A
Percussion 2: Congas -> Musician B
Percussion 3: Bongo, bell -> Musician C
= Musician A gets 1st refusal, then B, then C.
Currently, there’s only a 1-step fixing procedure, which is essentially a retainer system to keep it as systematic and fair as possible. While it's alleviated anxieties on a management/professional level, it's raised queries on a production/musical level - similar to the D/E dilemma, of which we have a good musical understanding.
On C's recommendation, C & B swapped parts because C/A tend to take the lead and have a more structural approach, whereas B tends to follow and improvise freely - which is what part 3 (and Fiesta Latina) lend themselves more to. As Will has implied, it’s striking that delicate balance between loyalty vs. availability, and we've been too kind.
In this case, Will has expressed frustration because B shouldn’t have been booked in place of A. It’s equivalent to booking Rory as a lead vocalist when our regular lead male isn’t available, which has happened and is not recommendable because Rory's a backing vocalist (some, like Alexandra, do both etc.).
Will is saying that there should be a separate calling list per specific part, rather than 1 calling list for the percussion section as a whole. He also campaigns for an artistic involvement in the fixing, which is reasonable. The former we can take care of easily, but the latter needs to be implemented.
Therefore, we needed to build a 2nd element into the fixing procedure whereby we either ask a specific performer/producer for a recommendation or open it to the team, if the 1st choice for that particular part isn’t available.
Event Diary 26/10/2015
From: "Essence Music Agency"
We ask all of our musicians to make sure that they keep us updated with their availability at all times, ahead of any enquiries/quotations. Quoting 'provisionally available' (rather than a straight 'available') allows us to respond more quickly to enquiries (which don't always become bookings) without having to harass everyone every time there's an enquiry. We then re-confirm 'finally available' once the client has confirmed, at which point we would let them know if, for example, the lead vocalist isn't available after all but we can provide a deputy, giving the opportunity for the client to back out prior to the contract being signed.
It's really vital for us to know in advance any date(s) of non-availability that are likely to change or challenge the availability of the production, so that the client knows who they are booking from the outset:
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.
3 satisfying slices of ignorance from Essence Music Agency.
The agent displays:
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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.