Cancellations trigger repercussions at all levels and cause undue headache for all parties (and all musicians) involved. As a general rule, we encourage everyone to disclose ALL terms and conditions to their clients and stakeholders prior to the point of enquiry, not subsequent to the point of contract. We fully understand that circumstances change and other commitments factor in, but we emphasise individual responsibility to ensure that these are arranged around their contractual agreements well in advance so that they are not compromising other people. It's not fair on managers, producers, musicians and service-providers to cancel after an arrangement has been set out - whether it's a live or studio engagement.
Since there are no other businesses/services who regulate accountability, we have taken it upon ourselves to "police" accountability. We do this by communicating publicly any breaches of account. While acting as a deterrent for potential offenders, it also provides a useful knowledge base for music managers and producers who constantly come up against the problem of people as both false prophets and obstacles to creative work.
With this in mind, here is an updated report of recorded musician cancellations since records began in 2012, across events, projects, productions and jobs. Full names have been omitted for data protection purposes.
Release = Cancellation is authorised.
Ink = Cancellation is not authorised and the musician is in a position of breach.
Here is a report of recorded musician cancellations and unauthorised absences to date. Please note that this report excludes deputisations and cancellations where the contract wasn't enforced (i.e., cancellations mutually agreed and authorised).
Report last updated: 04/10/2017
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?
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.
What is Risk Factor?
A musician asked us why we don't produce music videos. The response was simple: "it's too much of a risk." After qualifying that statement by explaining the various logistical intricacies and recounting the horror stories of recent photo shoots and financial damages, the musician responded:
"But you trust us to turn up to gigs, don't you?"
To which the response was:
"Yes, because it's not my money on the table."
The bride booked a band of musicians to perform at her wedding and as far as she's concerned, she's getting a 6-piece lineup consisting of female lead vocals, male backing vocals doubling saxophone and flute, piano, bass, kit and congas. That's what was stipulated in the contract. That's what we've delivered. The bride doesn't know the musicians personally and she's not concerned about who is in the lineup. So, the "risk factor" decreases. What if it's a question of producing excellent promotional video material for an agent/promoter who wants to see the exact lineup as advertised in the publicity? What if it's a financial investment that's significantly closer to the creative vision of the investor? The "risk factor" increases. It's the dynamic between that closeness, that "trueness to form" aspect, vs. the value of the investment, which determines the "risk factor".
The term "risk factor" essentially equates to the amount of financial risk shouldered by a hirer/engager (whether it be an agent, promoter, manager, label or any other role that involves the hire/engagement of human personnel): in terms of how an arrangement/agreement is challenged by outside circumstances. It's a term we've adopted from promoters who book artists to perform at venues, a term used to gauge and quantify to which the artist makes back the venue hire/HR costs on attendance and ticket sales. In this context, it means musicians and technicians attending an event at an agreed time/place and delivering a service that they agreed to deliver. In this particular case, it means producing high-quality, sustainable promotional video material that justifies the venue hire/HR costs invested by the label.
Empower the individual
Here is a report of musicians we won't be employing in future.
Report last updated: 04/10/2017
It's because of incidents like this that the label now has the number of restrictions/contracts in place. It might be a sensible idea to think about these realities next time one decides to condemn Red & Black Music for being "cold, rigid and unfriendly".
Important…I'm leaving! (Artists)
About Delfina I was not surprise at all. I know that this is not the first time she behaved like this, and I do not understand why Rory continued to trust her. But this was his choice and he had his good reason for sure.
Read & Blog
The "Watch Blog"
Red & Black Music was set up in 2012 to stop musicians cancelling.
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.