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?
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, conversations/discussions take place, and simply vanish 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 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. In its fluid, intangible form, it's an obstacle to accountability. 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). 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 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
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.)
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?
We understand the agent sometimes has difficulty addressing all details on the show advance. I can ensure the sending of an email to prompt the client directly to check these through. However, I am sure you understand that to ensure all arrangements run smoothly on the day of the event, the finer details must be outlined in writing so that everything is clear and known to all parties.
As you are the agent in charge of bookings, we can ensure that you are cc'ed into all communications. We are more than happy for you to explain these details to the client as part of your agency duties.
This prevents any unwanted surprises on the day. Due to the complications of hiring venues etc., we appreciate that not all details are possible to check off in advance, but we do try to check through as many as we can before the day to iron out any remaining issues so that the event can run as smoothly as possible.
Read this article and this article to understand why we devised a show advance in the first place (2014/2015), and this article to illustrate what can happen as a result of a contract not already being in place.
Further relevant reading regarding Show Advancing:
This example demonstrates a wedding running behind, and the client criticising the artist for not staying behind to play the wedding first dance. The crucial point to note here is that the artist was never asked to stay longer and it cannot be assumed that the artist will stay longer if the timings run outside the parameters of the contract.
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.
Read & Blog
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.