by MATT BACON >
Do not fret when big label people show up to your gig, ever.
Do not be disappointed when big label people don’t show up to your gigs either, even if they say they are going to. No one cares and everyone is overwhelmed, so you need to chill out and realize that no matter how much suffering you might face there is still going to be a hint of salvation. There are things you can do though to deal with this struggle, the challenge of getting the music industry to take an interest in all you have to do. Most people are going to dip out at the last minute no matter what but sometimes you can find someone who actually bothers to show up, someone who gets that there is a way forward and we can all win. Yet for now, when no one cares, or at least no one important cares, take these lessons to heart for the next time you try to get an industry executive coming out to your show to pass judgment upon your band and they fail to show up.
Remember, a lot of these folks don’t show up, not because they don’t care, but because they are ridiculously fucking busy, because they are overwhelmed with work and drowning under an industry that every few years goes crazy. When I’m on the phone for 5 or 6 hours in a day I’m not exactly thrilled to be going to a show later that night, I need some time for me. I try not to stand people up but sometimes shit just happens – that’s how it is. These people are doing that every day for years and they need you to be patient with them. You can’t just be an entitled fuck who gets upset. That’s going to make them less likely to want to work with you. Time and time gain shit like this falls through and that’s painful to watch. Unfortunately we have to deal with it as we try and navigate our way forward in this industry. You just need to be cool about it and realize that there are worse things that could happen, don’t be a dick, just try and embrace it.
More important though is trying to convince them to show up in the first place.
Asides from obvious things, like offering to buy drinks and putting them on the guest list you need to incite your industry friend to come with genuine friendship. Try to avoid putting pressure on them, instead tell them it will be a good time, not just another boring show that they get dragged out to for work. I go to a fuck ton of shows for work and sometimes I kind of hate it. But if I have a friend ask me to make my way out and rather than ask for a write up or to have me manage them is just friendly and positive then I am way ore likely to want to help them. People in positions of power in the industry get asked for favors all of the time, and their mere presence is a huge favor. Don’t be so pretentious as to think that you deserve that all the time.
You can’t take anything for granted, and as much as I know it should be obvious for a guy who says he’s going to show up to show up it’s not always that easy. Being patient is key, you need to embrace what other people are about, they don’t want to be pressured and anything you do to that effect is only going to disappoint them and further alienate you from them. You need to try and look at it from their perspective after all. For example – if you want a record deal you are basically asking for what is at least a several thousand dollar investment with no proof that it’s going to work out. If someone asked you to give them five grand after watching their band, wouldn’t you feel a little weird? Would you even bother to go see their band? That’s why you need to do these things in a delicate and friendly manner, you can’t just assume that everyone wants a piece of the action that your band represents all of the time.
I recommend you do what I do and just ask for advice in a friendly positive way.
People want to feel important and they want to feel like you care about them and want to be a part of what they are creating. You need to consult with people constantly to show that you are passionate about the work and want to follow them. You need to admire these people, grow with them and show that you are part of a greater collective. If you make people feel like their time is valuable and that you honor them then you are going to start to find a path into their hearts. It’s the same way with making friends with anyone you admire – you can’t fawn but you need to show that you respect them. You can’t try and suck their dick but you can show that you see what they have done and you want to actively engage in what they have up to offer The music industry is a place where a lot of people are mean or talk shit, don’t be one of those people but instead show you want to help.
The music industry is not a place where you can be entitled and you can’t assume that people owe you their presence. People don’t owe you shit and if they so much as express an interest in your band you should be incredibly grateful. Getting industry people to show up to your events is not easy, these people are in high demand and they know it. Don’t feel offended, just embrace what they have to deal with and do your best to make their lives easier. We are all in this together and in a world where many industry folks are jaded and miserable we need to watch out for them and realize what they have to offer us.