The TLP Network

Sharing the Hate, Spreading the Pain: On Being Used

by on Jun.21, 2007, under Articles, Sharing the Hate

It must be the summer season. Why you ask? I mean, five independent bands in four cities have already approached me in the past two weeks and bragged that they get to open for Livelalawarpfestmess.

When band number 6 comes around, I’m going to have Wolf or Norman throw them through a concrete wall. If I am lucky, this toss happens before their set. That way I won’t have to suffer through it. The sound guy will thank me later. Trust me, he always does when I throw a band through a concrete wall.

Are you trying to impress me with your skill at gathering votes? Do 30,000 votes mean shit to me when only 30 people show up to see you play live? I can write a computer program to get you 20 million votes if you want. I know, I’ve done it before.

Guess what? You’ll probably still come in second. True story.

Do 30,000 votes mean you know how to play your instruments on stage? Do 30,000 votes mean you have a stage show, or a panel of music judges and A&R reps watched you play and chose you? Hell, have you even met 30,000 people in your life? Have you met an A&R rep or scout in your life? Nope, then what does that tell me?

You just told me you like being used. That’s all.

If you don’t believe me read the questions below and answer them before reading the answers I’ve already collected from actual bands, who for their sake, I won’t name.

Here is how the conversation usually goes down:

Leo: You get to open for Livelalawarpfestmess?
Band: Yes

Leo: That’s great. So the local FM rock station is playing your song?
Band: No

Leo: The local FM rock station is going to mention your name and let you come into the studio for an interview?
Band: No

Leo: The local FM rock station is going to watch you play, and maybe put you in contact with a talent scout?
Band: No.

Leo: You get to be on the main stage, or second stage?
Band: No. Actually we are on a stage that’s kinda out of the way on the side.

Leo: So, I have to know that you are there, but you are on the time sheet they pass out at the front of the show, and your stage is on the map?
Band: They do that? We weren’t told anything about how the show works.

Leo: So my choice is to see a huge national act, or see you?
Band 1: Yeah, we don’t get to see our favorite act because we are playing or setting up our equipment.
Band 2: Well, no, we go on first as soon as the gates open.

Leo: Do you start playing actually before gates open?
Band 2: How did you know?

Leo: At least you get to go backstage and meet the large nationals?
Band: No, our pass only lets us into the audience VIP area after we are done.

Leo: You get to sell your merch at the FYE table with an autograph time slot picked out just for you?
Band: No, we only get to sell our merch when we are playing right in front of the stage.

So, now let’s flip it around, shall we? What are you giving them?

Leo: Are you promoting the hell out of the FM Radio Station?
Band: Yes

Leo: Are you promoting the hell out of Livelalawarpfestmess, and reminding people when it is and where to buy tickets?
Band: Yes

Leo: Are you forcing people to sign up for a corporate mailing list to vote for you?
Band: Yes

Leo: Have you dedicated your entire life for two weeks to promoting Livelalawarpfestmess, and begging everyone you know to vote, buy tickets, and support?
Band: Yes

Leo: Can I get you to be a street teamer for the TLP?
Band: Why?
Leo: If you’ll do all that for nothing, what are you willing to do for those who only support independent music?

Then the bands wonder why I won’t show up to Livelalawarpfestmess even when I get free tickets.

Wake up! Stop being used.

Any volunteers for band number 6? Wait, I spoke to soon. I see it now, bands posting blogs and bulletins to check out some website chock full of sponsors to vote for them. David, care to break out the 20 million-vote program again? This should be fun, this band listed only has 25 fans…. Click.

3 comments for this entry:
  1. Molly

    Kapow! I’m still reeling at the accuracy of that hit. EVERY band needs to read this.

  2. Vergel Evans

    Holy smokes… you definitely called it as it is. Who needs street teams in every city when all it takes is a couple of local bands to pump everyone to check them out at the “big show”.

    Talk about putting it all in perspective.

  3. Otniel

    This article was awesome bro. Glad someone has the balls to put it out there like that. I feel sorry for those bands that get played this way. Time to wake up and smell the bullsh!t. Site is lookin real nice too man. Nice work indeed. Looking forward to hearing your first show. All the best.

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