I have written quite a few blogs on social media and they seem to be the most popular ones when I look at the total view counts so it amazes me when I have to write a blog like this. It would seem by the numbers that people have an interest in learning social media and being professional at it so you would think this kind of blog is unnecessary, but alas to my surprise here I am writing one. I apologize if this seems preachy but I just don’t know how else to say it.
To have common sense is expected of all of us yet it seems there are many who don’t exhibit the usage of it or even care to when it comes to social networks and professionalism. Musicians especially those in the rock/metal genre who like to “go against the grain” so to speak forget that they are running a business and they usually don’t have a PR team to “spin” their quotes and save their butts every time they say something stupid or supremely un-profound. So here are a couple pieces of advice that you shouldn’t need a “professional” to tell you.
Don’t get on Facebook or twitter and complain about how much you are not getting paid for playing your gigs. Most of you have sent friend requests to or followed those you are trying to get in touch with to get your gigs and further your music careers. If you complain about what you did or didn’t get paid then do you really think they are going to book you back? Don’t you think that those that haven’t booked you yet are going to notice and take a pass on you? The local professionals, talent buyers, promoters and booking agents know what you bring in and how effective an entertainer you are, they already know what you are worth if you have been around any length of time. People see what you post especially if you and all your friends are making comments on the same post and it gets more popular and keeps popping in everyones news feed and of course they will react to it. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by posting negative things about the people or venues giving you a shot at performing and it just makes you look unprofessional and like you have no idea what you are talking about.
Just yesterday on Facebook, someone complained about how it’s unfair how they didn’t get paid for a gig and that cover bands are getting paid more to play then original bands. The person in this band has a total of 349 fans on their Facebook page, 93 followers on twitter and 39 fans on Myspace. This juggernaut of a band is complaining because they packed out a venue and didn’t get paid for it but a cover band would have. They said they rocked this place and they packed out two shows in a row. Please tell me how they rocked a place out, packed it out or even brought enough fans with such a poor showing of fan numbers on their social media sites? Unless everyone of those fans lived in Nashville and everyone came to the shows they couldn’t have possible packed any place out. I confronted him on it because I was there for one of them and knew the truth. There were four bands that night. At least a third of the people in the room were from other bands and their crew. Another third may have been fans of all the bands and the rest were over flow from the two other bars connected that kept walking in and out. Many in disbelief at what they saw.
This person went on to say it was harder to be an original band than a cover band. I disagree, it’s easier to play your own music in your own style than to try and cop someone else’s style, feel and solo’s. Cover bands play four or five hours a night and in Nashville many play eight hours a night for just tips. Original bands play 45 minutes. Also, cover bands play what people want to hear so people hang out and drink and so the bar makes a profit. Most original bands don’t get people to hang out and drink enough beer for the venue to make a profit and most of the time the original bands music really isn’t very good, so again, why should you get paid?
If you want to play the argument that because you are working so hard to put out original music so you should get paid more, then well true master musicians like Allan Holdsworth, Chick Corea, Jean Luc Ponty or Andrew York should be making all the money, not Lady Gaga and certainly not the one complaining. We should be sitting playing with our finger paints compared to people like that. Mozart died penniless and he puts everyone to shame. We certainly don’t deserve to get paid more or equal to those who are doing what needs to be done to entertain the crowd just because we play original music and hell I went to music school to learn a lot of this. Most of the people complaining don’t know the difference between a major scale or a minor scale, what a 13th chord is or even a tri-tone substitution, but hey you are working just as hard as all the other original musicians who study their instruments to complete proficiency in all genres and write their own original music right? Working hard is completely relative and I know a lot of cover bands that work a hell of a lot harder then the original ones that I see complaining.
This is nothing new obviously. I see this all the time on social networks. I will say this, I really only see it coming from the metal scene. I don’t see it as much from artists from another genres. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, I just haven’t seen it as much. First clue, you play metal in Nashville! Hello? Really? You think you are going to make money in a country/Christian music town when even they don’t get paid here and it’s what’s popular? You need to draw more than 5 – 30 people a show before you complain about getting paid. Come on people a serious reality check is needed.
It’s also funny that most of the people I see doing it or abusing social networks and spamming music professionals are people who went to school for music business. If you are going to pay that much money for college, I’d think you’d want to learn something from it and actually apply it instead of doing everything ass backwards and ruining it for everyone else.
Social networks are a great place for you to grow your fan base and maybe even make some good connections. Not a place for you to complain, spam or tear apart other bands, promoters and especially not venues you play at. Please don’t act like that and expect to be taken seriously. Be professional even on your personal pages or don’t invite “music professionals” of any kind to be your friends because if you can’t control yourselves and act like an adult then you are probably alienating those that can help you.
Use common sense people. You were given it for a reason.