The Tweet That Got Me Ranting

I probably shouldn’t write this post. It was an innocent tweet after all that wasn’t directed at me. You could even say it was unquestionably helpful to musicians who go after the poor person who made the wrong phone call today. But a feeling of quiet rage has been growing in the pit of my stomach since I saw the tweet. So, I just have to let it out here.

Only a handful of people have ever seen me lose my cool. Everyone will tell you that I’m the calmest person they know and I’m not the most talkative, so verbal rants are rare. Maybe only 3 or 4 times in my life have I stopped talking to see a pale, wide-eyed listener in complete stunned silence at what I’ve just ranted. The great thing though is that if you lose your cool sparingly, people will take note when you do. I’m not expecting the world to change because of this rant but even if we all just imagine a different world for a second there might be some benefit.

It’s probably because I just spent the afternoon with a group of musicians where the conversations invariably hinted at their various fiscal worries/realities that this actually helpful tweet got my ire…

Please, please, please do your research on submitting music to supervisors before you call to ask us how it all works…

The usual me completely agrees with this. Whenever you want something from someone else you should always prepare yourself first. But, here is the rant me…

Why? Why, should the musicians be the ones who need to do their research? I would imagine the majority of music supervisors and/or their coordinators go into the office everyday and get a paycheque for their time. They work super hard, are very good at what they specialize in but at the end of the day they get paid for their work.

A musician on the other hand, probably doesn’t get a regular paycheque. Or, it they do, it might be for a job they juggle on the side to pay their bills so they can make more music. So, if they aren’t getting a regular paycheque then every second counts in trying to stay alive in the music business. And, a musician who is making their own calls to music supervisors probably can’t afford a team to specialize in all the different things you need to do in order to survive in the music biz. Not only do you need to specialize in your crafts of writing and performing music but in order to earn that elusive paycheque you need to know how to create your brand, market yourself, do PR, build a fan base, write (press releases, grants, websites, blog posts, cd jackets, etc.), do graphic design, understand the technicalities and logistical intricacies of make videos. Deal with the technical aspects of recording music and/or duplicating CDs, planning events, organizing musicians and venues, being a booking agent, reading legal documents, the technical and strategic intricacies of website, social media, accounting, instrument maintenance… I could go on.

Without musicians (and the recorded media industry), music supervisors wouldn’t have their jobs. So, why do musicians need to cater to them? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t they welcome every phone call from talented musicians who might have music that will help them be successful? Why does the musician need to master every aspect of the music business perfectly in order to survive and not be criticized or ignored?

I realize their are lots of opposite arguments. On another day, I could have ranted from the exact opposition perspective. I know music supervisors are busy and there are tonnes of music out there and I hate people who are un-prepared but I think sometimes we ask too much of musicians and that’s where the pit of my stomach has led me tonight.

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