[00:00:00] Welcome to episode 152 of the Bandhive Podcast.
It is time for another episode of the Bandhive Podcast. My name is James Cross and I help independent artists who are smart. A few weeks ago, Matt and I discussed five keys to keep your band from falling apart. That was episode 148, which if you wanna hear it, you can go to Bandhive.rocks/ slash 1 48.
That's the numbers 1 48. And in that episode, recovered communication within your band, particularly healthy communi. This week I'll be talking about external communication where you're interacting with third parties outside of your band. I gotta say, as someone who's worked on the live production side of music for over a decade, one of my biggest pet peeves is artists who cannot communicate.
And in fact, one of the only reasons I've ever decided not to work with somebody ever again has been people who cannot communicate. And in fact, I think there's only two artists I've ever decided this with, and both of them were because they lacked basic human communication skills.
Now, whether it's somebody who never replies to an email in a timely manner, or [00:01:00] they sent incomplete or just plain wrong information, or they're being disrespectful, I've seen it all. Don't get me wrong, I'm used to this to some level. Artists are not the best communicators in general, and that's fine. People aren't perfect. I'm sure I have fallen short of communication expectations with people at times. It happens. But let me make this abundantly clear. If you want to go places in the music business, you need to communicate effectively, efficiently, and professionally. That means you need to get your point across, you need to do it quickly and concisely, and you need to avoid being a jerk because if you're being a jerk, you're not being professional.
Now, here are a few examples of artists who kind of shot themselves in the. A few weeks ago, I worked a show at a legendary Boston menu, and the artist I was working with was opening the show, But the show's promoter reached out to the artist I was working with, with some basic questions about the show because the band who booked the show was not replying to emails. Repeatedly.
This is so ridiculously [00:02:00] basic. If you get an email, just reply to it. Ideally, you wanna reply to everything within 24 hours. And it's totally okay to just reply and say, Hey, we received this. We're thinking about it. We'll get back to you. That's totally acceptable, but just letting people know that you're not ghosting them and you are gonna get back to that important email about the show you booked.
That's a pretty big deal. Another example I told this one on the podcast a while ago Was an artist who booked an advanced call with me leading up to a show that we were working together. She was playing, and I was gonna be the production manager for the show. Now, despite the multiple reminders that go out via email and text, 24 hours before the meeting, and one hour before the meeting, she now showed to our call.
Finally, later she sent an email saying she didn't make the call because she was at work. Well, you chose the. So if you can't make it at that time, why would you choose the time? She never even apologized for that. Just talk about being exceptionally rude and unprofessional I sent over the production schedule for the event, which mentioned [00:03:00] food for artists and crew. to which she replied, asking if food was also gonna be available for the artists. It literally says that. Did you not read? Clearly? Not Now. Day of show. She showed up over an hour late to her load-in without any communication whatsoever, even though I reached out multiple times.
All while her guitarist who had communicated in advance that he was gonna be about 45 minutes late. Yeah, he showed up right on time. He said he was gonna be late and showed up at the time she was supposed to show up. But the artist, she didn't show up for over an hour. After that time, nothing, no apology, just showed up late.
Totally wrecked the schedule. And we were on a quite tight schedule because we had fireworks and there's a curfew for fireworks. So all that kind of stuff, You are just shooting yourself in the foot. If you are acting this way, maybe you're being entitled. Maybe you're just lazy. Maybe you don't have a sense of time, which ironically, artists need a sense of time.
All of that though, whatever the reason. It's not okay, and you're not ever gonna go anywhere [00:04:00] if this is a recurring issue. Now, last but not least, bands who don't read the information sent to them quite some time ago. I was running sound for a show and the show ended up being nearly empty because it turns out that even though the promoter had told the band that there is not a built in crowd of this venue and you will need to market the.
the band never read that and assume that fans would be there without any effort on the band's part. And this is why reading emails is so incredibly important. It's such a basic task of running a business that if you cannot do this, you basically have three options. The first is getting in the habit of reading your emails. The second is having someone else in the band do it, or the third, which is only if you fail at the first two options, is give up.
I'm being dead serious here. If you cannot do business basics in the music industry, you're not gonna make it because somebody else will.
Even if your music is a thousand times better, somebody who can do the business side of things in the music business. [00:05:00] They're gonna go further, and this is why you see artists, I don't know how many times I've seen local acts complain about, Oh, so and so got this opportunity. My music's a thousand times better.
Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I don't know. Be objective about it, but let's say it is. Well, you know why they got that opportunity? Because they made a connection. They communicated. They weren't posting on Facebook, talking about how other artists are so terrible. That's why these artists are making these connections and getting these opportunities.
So if you're sitting there thinking, Hey, why do we never get these opportunities? Maybe it's a communication issue. Maybe it's something about your personality, I don't know. But look at yourself and honestly assess where you are and how you're performing in the music business, because that's probably the root cause.
If your music truly is better, there's something else going. Now, how can we avoid making mistakes like what I've listed above? because any of these really have the potential to burn a bridge.
and I have eight points here for you. The first thing is [00:06:00] read all the information that's sent your way. I get it. Yes, it can be a lot of information, but it is not optional. You might save yourself quite a bit of money, like there's venues that say, Hey, please read our faq, and then the FAQ says, You're not allowed to give away stickers.
If you sticker our venue, you have to pay, like all of this adds up quickly. The second is having up to date information for your band on hand at all times. This is stage plots, input lists, anything that is vital to your show, have that information available and ready to hand to somebody who asks for it, whether it's digital or ideally physical.
just a few weeks ago, I was working a show and we were the only band with a stage plot and input list, and the sound engineer Was really thankful for that and it made the show run a lot more easily. Three, learn effective communication techniques and don't be passive aggressive.
One road replies like MK are super rude and should be avoided at all times, especially in a business setting. But even in your personal life, that's just kind of like, come. Don't do that for on time, [00:07:00] or if you're running late and you cannot be on time, communicate that. One of the biggest pet peeves I have is artists who say, Yeah, I'll be there in 15 minutes, and then they show up an hour later and it turns out they said that even though they just left their house, which is an hour from the venue, it's like, why would you say you're gonna be there in 15 minutes when you know it takes an hour to get to the venue that serves no purpose and just messes up the schedule even.
Five, avoid speaking for others. Even if you're asked to do so, it's totally fair to just say, Hey, I'm really sorry. I'm not comfortable speaking for someone else. That's a valid excuse, people should respect that because if you're saying, Hey, I'm not comfortable speaking for someone else, that's you saying, I don't know what they're thinking, so let's let them make that.
Six. Apologize when you make a mistake or disrespect someone. This should be pretty self-explanatory. If you mess something up or if you're a jerk, say you're sorry. It's that easy and obviously you have to mean it, but it can go a long way. The [00:08:00] artist in the second story I mentioned, never once apologized.
If she had, I probably wouldn't have been so annoyed. Like stuff happens. , but if you're not even sorry for it, no, get lost. Seven. Use nonviolent communication Before a heated situation arises. Nonviolent Communication is an amazing book that my editor Leland recommended to me.
And even though I'm only partway through it, I've already found it incredibly helpful. Just seeing how to interact with other people in a constructive manner is really amazing, and a lot of it is common sense, but there's also frameworks that you can use to make these conversations easier and quicker to get to the root cause of what somebody really needs or wants. Now the link to that book is gonna be in our show [email protected] slash 1 52. That's the numbers 1 52. So if you wanna check out that book, which again I highly recommend it Bandhive.rocks/ 1 52 and it's called Non-Violent Communication.
and eight, just to round out list, almost nothing is worth burning a bridge [00:09:00] if you use good old common sense to avoid overstepping boundaries within the industry, that is gonna go a long way.
So basically, if you feel like you're being a jerk or you've insulted somebody in some. Take a step back, reevaluate the situation and see how you feel, and then take the appropriate steps to correct whatever it is you've done.
That does it for this episode of the Bandhive Podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening. I really appreciate it. And this episode, aside from it being one big, long rant, really is something that matters a lot in the music business because if you cannot communicate effectively with other people outside of your band, you're really never gonna go anywhere.
So a lot of this just comes down to common sense and being a decent human being, but there are things you can do to make yourself better at communication. Aside from the eight tips I listed, one of which was getting the book Nonviolent Communication, which again will be in our show [email protected] slash 1 52, You can do so many things just to try to be a better person in every single interaction you [00:10:00] have with people in your band, with people outside your band, wherever they are. Just be a decent human being and you will get so much further in the music business, That's really all I have to say about this, is be a good person and communicate.
Those are two of the biggest keys to success in the music business, and I know we've all heard about artists who they are superstars and they're total jerks. Chances are, they probably weren't like that when they were starting out the smaller artists who act like they are to the giant rock stars, they don't go places.
The giant rock stars, some of them act that way because they're at that level where it doesn't matter. Now it matters to the people they're interacting with, but it doesn't matter to their overall career success. But if you are just starting out and growing, it's gonna have a massive impact on your career if you're being rude and unprofessional.
So don't do it. It's as simple as that. We'll be back with another brand new episode of the Bandhive Podcast next Tuesday at 6:00 AM Eastern Until then, I hope you have a great week. Stay safe, and of course, [00:11:00] as always, keep rocking.