Emy Stantcheva: The Wrong Way

EmyNadia says: Dear Friend and guest writer Emy Stantcheva explains by example the wrong wrong WRONG way for a band to approach someone in the music industry, in an effort to get their music out there.  Good advice delivered in Emy’s signature sassy way.

Let me preface this by saying that I am by no means someone who can make or break a band, I’ve just poked around in the Canadian music industry a fair bit. I studied it in school, and I’ve worked in it in one capacity or another since 2006. So I’m not a complete fucking moron.

I have a decent idea of how things work in publicity, artist management, promotions and marketing. In my current job, I am learning more every day about the advocacy and politics that make the industry go ’round from a higher, trade standpoint, and I get to see firsthand how some of the leading entrepreneurs in the biz think. What I’m trying to say is that I have a reasonable amount of insight – probably more than your average struggling musician does.

band-imageI know it’s hard to get noticed, and it’s hard to get people to give a shit about your band. But since your band is so awesome and unique and groundbreaking, and you’re all such dedicated musicians and artists, people should automatically care when you throw product at them, right?! They should just know how rad you are, because it’s so apparent to you and your mom and your girlfriend, right?

NO.

NO NO NO NO NO.

Very few people give a shit, in fact, and being abrasive isn’t going to change that.

I’m not saying I always knew better, believe me. I’ve collected the emails of industry folk, regardless of their lack of consent or business function, and spammed them with my press releases, imagining that for some reason, they’d give a fuck. Sure, I’ve added them to Facebook or twitter, imagining that this somehow brought us closer to one another, and that they’d be more likely to pay attention to the things I was haplessly trying to promote. But it doesn’t mean anything. In the end, it’s the face-facebookto-face connections that are going to make people remember you, whether fondly or negatively.

I have just over 1,100 friends on Facebook, and the fraction of those people whom I actually know, have at least met or directly conversed with is wee, at best. Lots are musicians or work in the industry, and as such, post frequently about their music, upcoming events and releases, etc., and that’s fine. Post what you want, I know I do.

Where it gets annoying is when complete strangers copy and paste the same self-promotion spiel they send to their entire friend list to your wall or inbox, and when they do it frequently, deluding themselves that this somehow earns them fans or industry support, like it’s an effective expenditure of their time. If you have never even bothered to introduce yourself to a person or show at least a tiny bit of interest in them, is it not in poor taste to spam them in some inadequately thought out scheme to advance your career? At which point in this one-sided non-relationship am I expected to squeeze out an itty bitty fuck to give to you?

For the most part, it’s fine. You ignore or delete or whatever and move on. Depending on how half-assed and entitled the message, you might point and laugh with co-workers before moving on and resuming whatever work you’re doing for bands that don’t suck.

Like My PageNaturally, this rant stems from a specific recent incident. For months, I had a particular dude from a band Facebook messaging me links to stuff about his band, and I just ignored it. The other week, he actually followed up with some cutesy remark about how maybe it was just too heavy for me. I considered ignoring it or letting him know I hadn’t bothered to listen, but then I thought, why not politely let him know that maybe he hasn’t picked the most effective method to spread the good news of his music?

And I did. I said I’m not a fan of getting promo like that on Facebook – not as a music fan and not from an industry perspective, either. Thus, I didn’t listen.

tooseriouslyAnd he got defensive. Of course. He told me I was taking it too seriously, that he had seen me around at shows and thought I might like to hear something good, but that obviously I’d rather have Miley shoved down my throat rather than support the little guy, and that I’m the first person of 300 people to “take offense” to his spam.

Let’s break this down, my little friend:

– While I do not take you seriously, I apparently take the way you present yourself and your business more seriously than you do. That’s a problem. You <i>should</i> give a fuck about how you come across to people who could potentially buy or sell your product.

whine-expert1– If you see me around, maybe introduce yourself so that I have a tangible connection to you as a person rather than a Facebook account. Then I’d probably listen and give you the courtesy due to an acquaintance. Assuming you’re not as much of a whiny, entitled douche in real life as you are online, that is.

– If someone offering you a constructive tip, especially in any entertainment industry, drives you to immediately insult them and make assumptions about their tastes and essentially ethics, you’re right fucked and never going to get anywhere.

-Those 300 other people are just ignoring you because they find you to be irritating.

Panties in a bunchSo I explained that I wasn’t getting my panties in a bunch – he asked me a question and I simply answered it. Why haven’t I replied with feedback on his music? Because I don’t give a shit – and here’s why! Pretty simple stuff. I wished him best of luck and tried to end it there, but he persisted in telling me I was “taking it too seriously,” that “we live in a social media world,” and that if it bothers me I should delete him.

So I calmly explained that not all social media platforms are equal or should be used in the same fashion, and that the only reason I gave him my opinion was because he asked for it, and that he was welcome to disregard it. He said he would do just that. Fine.

And then he deleted me.

Douche MusicianThe moral of this story? Being artistic doesn’t mean you get to act like a twat when trying to succeed in a business. If you’re a musician and genuinely want to make a career of your passion and pay your bills that way, you need to either present yourself in a professional manner, or shut the fuck up and hire someone to do it for you. I know this isn’t exactly a huge deal, but it’s just one small example of this type of (frequent) behaviour from bands which absolutely encumbers potential for success. Being ~an artiste~ doesn’t get you a hall pass on that front, sorry. And if you don’t take yourself seriously enough to realize that, then I won’t bother either, nor will anyone else.

=ES=

Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonEmy Stantcheva is the Lifestyle Editor at Addicted Magazine.  She’s also a rabid Soundgarden fan, and Nadia’s musical and spiritual sister from another mister. 

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