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 An offer/decision is backhandedly dealt and almost instantly withdrawn (possibly).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
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
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.)
Scenario (Part #1)
You are assigned to book bands for rum promotions in bars and restaurants around the country, many of which involve sending out multiple sets of musicians to cover separate events on 1 date. 2 of these events are taking place in Birmingham and Cheshire during peak season (mid-August) and you are using Manchester-based musicians to cover these events. A vocalist has been referred to you by the producer. You have booked the vocalist to perform on these 2 events, and you have also assigned them artistic responsibility to produce the event (lead the band on the day). 2 weeks before the events, the vocalist decides that they have taken on too much work and cancels their involvement without requesting permission. How would you respond?
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.