posted by Jo Mantini
What is Information Transparency?
Information Transparency, or, in other words, "open accessibility of information", is information openly accessible and freely available. This is something we feel strongly about as a liberty and an entitlement. It's tied into one of our two most important values: communication. It's the crystal clear transmission of our internal correspondence in its source format, and the linking of topics together to build an accountable, literal understanding of our modus operandi (mode of operation): ensuring any evidence we present online is traceable, archivable and accessible to all. It cultivates and nurtures KLU (Knowledge, Learning and Understanding). It's tied into our belief in the individual's right to freely ask and answer a question. It facilitates a neutral platform in which information can be transferred between two contact points, from one person to another, regardless of the wider sociocultural context and/or implications. We have taken this initiative beyond group emails and into the online domain. This bold yet controversial step functions as follows:
Question: why has such "private correspondence" been forwarded freely around a team of people in this manner? Answer: because it's not "private correspondence". The actions of one defaulting party has the potential to impact on the "group" in a negative way:
Such correspondence is effectively no longer "private". It has the potential for consequential effects on other people. It's only fair that these other people are warned well in advance when such issues arise. First of all, let's review our definition of "private".
1 Belonging to or for the use of one particular person or group of people only.
While we reject the notion of a "group" in the absolute sense: the reality is that the actions of one person can serve detrimental consequences to the other members of the same group in the relative/contingent sense, and it is only right that these risks are communicated to all affected parties in a clear, transparent way. In this scenario, since all musicians are under the same contract, they are jointly and severally liable, both to the label and to one another, for upholding this contractual agreement and the agent's terms and conditions. Therefore, if an issue arose, it is only reasonable to alert others to the potential risks in case a more desirable solution presents itself via democratic consensus.
Please note: while Holly & Alyss condemn the way in which the situation is handled; neither of them propose an alternative, more "positive way" of handling the situation. A less 'stern'/more 'lenient' approach wouldn't have resulted in a "positive outcome"; it would have risked an unhappy client situation as we have found from previous experience.
What would you do?
Just take a deep breath. Wait and see what the others say. Reassure everyone else in the "band" that they are waiting for the feedback from the defaulting party before making any hasty decisions. Once you get feedback, email the others to them know, and they can discuss the best solutions for whatever the outcome may be and who needs to be contacted as a matter of emergency.
We did well to tell the other musicians. No one likes surprises, or being in the dark. Just be reassuring at this stage. Had we suddenly and unexpectedly announced an event cancellation "out of the blue" (had one ever come about): we risk the other musicians neither reading nor understanding how these cancellation circumstances conspired, and we may be held liable to the other musicians for any losses as a result of the event cancellation through no fault of our own. So include all affected parties in the same conversation/discussion. And keep conversations on email, so everyone can track back properly.
Although initially painful/uncomfortable, it's more conducive in the long run to tell the other band members rather than wait until the last minute before announcing an event cancellation out of the blue (should one ever come about). It provides an opportunity to "nip it in the bud": resolve a situation swiftly rather than let it fester and develop beyond control, i.e., get taken out of context and impact back to the client in any way. At the very least, it gives musicians a 'heads up' so that they at least have the chance to either talk about the situation, walk away from the situation, or work towards the prevention of such hasty measures.
What would have been the implications of such a breach?
As it happens, we were really happy to know that Alyss would honour her contractual obligation and find a deputy; and obviously relieved that we wouldn't have to cancel the performance on Saturday. Had we not given a heads up to the other musicians, then we probably would have compromised them (and ourselves) through failing to communicate these issues transparently enough.
How would you communicate?
Word it delicately to the musicians. It needs to cover any concerns they may have of not being paid as well as any 'sharing the responsibility' concerns too. They must remain contracted. And the deputy must be okay and clear on that too. (Can the deputy do vocals on all originally agreed songs? And pick up one song for every two or three they don't already know? Make sure that the musicians can do the new songs for instance, so the deputy doesn't have too much to prepare in such a short space of time? )
:) Happy outcome here :)
How does this relate to accountability?
At Red & Black Music, one of our two most important values is communication. We've found communication has the following positive side effects:
At Red & Black Music, our other most important value is accountability. Clear, transparent communication enables us to read and analyse, take stock of what has happened and move forwards (both as a refinement of our agreements/understandings and as a preventative deterrent for similar issues/negative patterns of behaviour recurring in future. This essential dynamic between accountability and communication forms the foundation of our business.
We've been made aware that the music "industry" is a small, close-knit circuit, and that the performers we engage know each other, regularly perform together in other projects or have been personal friends for many years. While we appreciate that this might be true (to a certain extent): we are also aware of the following:
As a label, we can neither pretend we have the answers, nor assume that the answers are "out there". However, we can and do have the right to communicate, ask and answer questions and openly challenge circumstances as a source of KLU (Knowledge, Learning & Understanding). Being open and honest, without "withholding information" is critical and paramount to this process.
Unresolved Queries #1: Enquiries
Unresolved Queries #2: Reviews
Event Diary #1
Gig confirmation re: 16/08/2014
Red & Black Music was set up in 2012 to stop musicians cancelling.
Red & Black Music has been running a journal since 2012 for the purposes of evaluation and future development. It documents internal struggles faced by musicians and music leaders in an honest and transparent way - and evidences breaches of communication and accountability both on the artist side and the client side, in an open access format.
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Rory comes from a musical background having trained at the RNCM and worked with musicians since 2009.
Claire comes from a publishing background, having worked as a digital editor in the books industry, and proofreader in the marketing industry in London.
Jo comes from a hospitality & tourism background, having managed staff at prestigious venues throughout UK, Italy and China since 2009.
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.
Event Diary #1
Event Diary #2
Freedom of Speech
Less Talk More Action
Productions vs. Bands
Unresolved Queries 1
Unresolved Queries 2
What happened to Diaspora Collective?