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 An offer/decision is backhandedly dealt and almost instantly withdrawn (possibly).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
& Latin Bands For Hire
Think Latin American music - Think Salsa? Think further! This article takes us through a beginner's guide to Latin American music. To see our list of Latin & Salsa bands for hire, go here, for a complete booking guide, go here, for ideas and inspiration for your Brazilian Themed Party, go here and should you wish to learn some Salsa dance moves, go here.
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.
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 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
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.
Have you ever let yourself get talked into something? Have you ever let yourself be led astray by false prophets? Have you ever found yourself drawn into a situation, only to realise that the person didn't actually mean what they meant, and that you took things too literally? Did you misinterpret something that they mentioned? Did you misread vital signals in their facial expressions, articulation, tone of voice and/or body language? Don't worry and take heed: you are not the only one!
Event Diary 26/10/2015
From: "Essence Music Agency"
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.
This is a follow-up article to the one from last July, and explores unresolved queries after the booking has happened.
View Part 1: Unresolved Queries #1: Enquiries
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.