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The business end: the downside of doing what we love

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  • The business end: the downside of doing what we love

    Sometimes, the business end can be great. I have built some great relationships with some fantastic folks. For example, there's one festival that we play every year that I absolutely love. It's such a great experience that I wrote a song about it and recorded it on our newly released EP. It's never a hassle, and we've become great friends with the booking agent. So much so that she's stayed at our house and taken a trip with us to the mainland.

    Then, there are the other ones.... Caution: Rant ahead.

    We are a genre band. There is one time a year where we are definitely the hot chick. This year, I've got 5 shows booked over 2 days. There is one venue that I swore I'd never perform at because of how unprofessional they were in dealing with us in the past. Last year, two of their employees sat through one of our shows and literally begged us to give the venue one more chance, swore they'd learned from their unprofessional ways, etc.. I let them know that we were already booked a year in advance, but we could play a 2 hour show at noon. Fast forward to this year. I talk to the venue owner, lay out everything in detail, fee structure, contract, etc. When I have the contract ready, I call her several times over the course of two weeks, and my calls aren't returned. I finally give one last ditch effort and send a text. She calls me and says that I have been unresponsive and that she hasn't heard from me... I give her the out and suggest that perhaps her voice mailbox is malfunctioning, but please get me her email address so I can send over the contract. I do so. She calls me later and wants to re-negotiate the terms we've already set because she's not sure how much she wants to invest for a noon show. Sorry, our rate is our rate, but I can cancel the dance troupe you'd asked me to book in addition to the band, I just need our contract signed. Weeks go by. She's not returning emails, texts, or phone calls until I finally say that I won't hold the timeslot until we're under contract. Finally, I get a signed contract. Needless to say, this is the very last time I will deal with them.

    Seriously, it shouldn't be this hard.

    Rant over.

  • #2
    In light of your past experiences with them, once the red flags started showing up again (several unreturned calls) I would have left one last message (followed up with the same thing in a text message) saying that due to their failure to change their unprofessionalism and not having the courtesy to call you back, we were no longer interested in performing.

    I know you finally got a signed contract and you're committed to the gig now, but like you, I'd seriously reconsider ever working with them ever again.

    Sorry you had to experience that, but I think every band / musician has experiences dealing with unprofessional / unscrupulous venue owners, promoters and booking agents. It's a sad reality of the musician's life.


    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


    • #3
      There's a really good lesson there for all of us!


      • #4
        Most clients seem to be fire-worthy these days sadly. The little respect musicians used to command has all but evaporated.


        • #5
          For me I have run a successful Reggae band here upstate with a little regional exposure. For the most part it’s OK. Thing is you always have to be “on” or ahead of the curve. Booking for the summer is a bitch. Getting ready requires work in your gigs, instruments, new songs and setlists, merchandise and new music if you have it. Most of the time booking, I know what I am getting into. For the first few years I used an agent that was a friend of the band. She did somethings well but retired last month so I am booking the band like when I first started. Also getting to know who to network with is another job in itself. There are plenty of musicians/club owners that you can have a good relationship with. Then there is that other bunch of them that are inconsistent, don’t return emails, texts or whatever. These people seem to always leave a bad taste in your mouth. So much of what we do as musicians is dependent on what other people do.
          "Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"


          • #6
            Originally posted by Outkaster View Post
            So much of what we do as musicians is dependent on what other people do.
            Indeed. The best we can do is to be as professional as possible and deliver the best product we can.