by MATT BACON >
Man, getting drunk back stage and talking shit is for real the best thing ever.
Of all the things that exist, that is my favorite. That’s forty percent of why I work in the music industry and also a huge part of why I’ve been able to make the connections required to make a career out of this. That being said, you need to be careful what you say backstage. Odds are if your band is getting anywhere in the music industry then you need to know how to keep your mouth shut when it counts and also to know which pieces of information can be shared with a group and which pieces should probably be limited in who gets to access them. Of course – this isn’t always as obvious as one might think. Information is the currency of the music industry, in many times much more than actual currency. Being able to figure out how to use this to your advantage and how it should impact your work in music is going to be vital to your ongoing development.
It’s important to define, going forward, what a secret even is in this industry.
Obviously they come on different levels, if, for example, your band is about to release something on a smaller label, you’re probably fine leaking that. If you’re getting ready to open for a mid level band, you’re probably okay leaking that. Not on social media of course, but in person I certainly think those opportunities will fairly rarely come to bite you in the ass. That being said, realize that any information that isn’t completely public should probably not be discussed openly. That’s just sort of a general rule in an industry that can get very intense very quickly. Your ability to keep secrets and maximize opportunities is only going to help you in the long run, it means that you need to be able to detach yourself from the inherent excitement of moving and shaking and realize what really matters for you.
When it comes to dealing with sensitive information in the music industry the first thing that I have learned is to NEVER assume that someone knows something. Even in situations where someone you are talking to who tells you a secret works as a partner with someone else what they told you might not be for their partners ears. That’s just how this whole thing goes. You can’t make any calls, let the other person volunteer the information first and ten go from there. It doesn’t make sense to offer up too much information, that doesn’t work in anyone’s favor and really only leads to added stress for everyone involved. The thing is, the second you accidentally leak a secret is the second it has a potential to get out of hand. If the wrong piece of information falls into the wrong hands people can turn that against you. Furthermore, if you show yourself to be someone who can’t handle privileged information do you think you are really going to get high level opportunities?
I know that it can be hard to hold these secrets.
I have some real whoppers I’m keeping under my belt right now. Hell, I’m on a plane to go handle the final details of one of the biggest one of my life. The only reason I’m comfortable saying that is because by the time this goes live the secret will be out. There are a ton of unique and potent opportunities that are to be found in this industry, but you need to be aware that some information is for all to know and other pieces of information are for only you to know. I think it’s important to realize how that kind of behavior will directly inform how other people view you and what other people will do in order to work with, or avoid working with you. If you can’t acknowledge the power of secrets and the greater good of what we are all trying to work on then you are going to alienate people in positions of power. It might feel like you’re bursting to share that you are opening for Matchbox 20, but sometimes it’s necessary in order to preserve the relationships you have.
There are two key things to realize about the big secrets happening in the industry.
The first is that they start to hit you all of the sudden, so suddenly when your band wasn’t doing anything of merit and no one cared it was fine, but now you’ve got to deal with some harsh consequences in case you fuck up. That’s a weird shift for any band and you need to be fundamentally aware of the challenges that is going to give you. On top of that is the fact that secrets are often used, especially at the entry level, as a test. They are used to see if you are someone who is to be trusted or someone who is going to end up screwing a mover and shaker over. There’s a bible story about how those who can be trusted with little can be trusted with much, and this is extremely true in the world of music. If you prove you can keep things quiet for stuff like show announcements then it will be easy to prove that you can keep things quiet for tours and other big things.
Really – you just need to use your noodle.
Think about what the impacts are of you leaking a secret to a specific person and then evaluate from there. If you think someone is to be trusted and is your friend then tell them. If you think they are going to dick you over then don’t. Be aware that you too can use secrets as a litmus test for trust and as a way to figure out what’s really going on in the industry. You an use them to figure out who is trustworthy just as those above you do. Once you start to determine these things and start to build your future around a reputation of honor and honesty then things can’t help but to go up for you. It’s just as with any other industry, those who are easy to work with and realize that small leaks sink ships always win.