Ever wondered why the music club never called back?
A few months back, I received the following message:
If you don’t speak Italian, here’s what they’ve written:
HELLO I’M AN EVENT ORGANIZER OUR COMPANY ORGANIZES : parties, conventions, meetings, seminars, performances (KARAOKE PIANO BAR DJ APERITIVES DANCE OF ANY KIND WEDDING SERENATES) .. charity EVENTS, festivals, product presentations, concerts, sport events, fashion shows, literature prize. IN OUR COMPANY ONLY PROFESSIONALS AND ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS PEOPLE ARE AT WORK I SHOW YOU SOME VIDEOS FROM SOME COLLABORATORS LIVE MUSIC (PIANO BAR) (followed by link list, see screenshot above) DJ (followed by link list, see screenshot above) VOCALIST CHIARA. SARA AS YOU ALREADY UNDERSTOOD WE ARE AN AGENCY THAT COVERS EVERYTHING 360 DEGREES WITH REDUCED PRICES (ANTI-CRISIS) WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR CONTACT ME IF YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR
At first glance this seemed nothing else but typical spam in my mailbox. Unfortunately (since I organize live music for a few venues) I receive many of these mails by many (too many) musicians on a regular basis. If you are not shocked as I am by this message above, then you are in good company.
If you walk around the city of Rome you’ll notice how little do people care about the presentation of information – from the handwritten note outside the post office, the chaotic and often misleading street signs to the ads in newspapers. But I would never hire anyone who writes me a presentation letter like the one above. And nor will anyone else, who is at least halfway serious about their business.
Applying for a concert is like applying for a new job. Yes, it is often more informal. Often, especially if you focus on performing in pubs, you can get a gig in-between two pints, or during an Open Mic Night. But if you’re writing me a message, there is no personal connection and therefore, like during a first date or a job interview, the first impression is very important. If you’re sending me a message in your native language, I expect you to at least use a dot every now and then to divide the sentences. I expect you to be serious, and this should extend to your presentation – you should present yourself in a modern, fresh design – considering that you’re appearantly an event organizer (the same goes for musicians, BTW).
You might be the best musician/organizer in the world. You might be a great human being. But if you’re writing a letter like the one above, this is the first impression you (might be) creating:
- You’re not a serious business partner. If you’re approaching me via facebook, don’t use the photo of a child as your profile picture. It’s very ironic to say “only professionals and very serious people at work” next to the photo of a child.
- STOP YELLING AT ME. You might not be aware of this, but on the internet writing all UPPERCASE, the so-called caps lock disease, equals yelling, The Internet is a big place and most people will consider you being rude if you’re writing in caps lock, so stop it.
- You don’t even know how to format a simple text, you’re sure you can organize an event? You know that dots, carriage returns and commas exist, do you?
- Are you as old as the person on your profile picture? Random spaces, random changes from upper- to lowercase. Are you sure you’re an adult, serious business partner that I can rely on to organize an event in a venue?
- VAT Nr.?
This are just some examples (i could go on and on) and you could say, hey, this is just spam so what’s all the fuss about? The problem here is that I receive loads of messages like these, from real musicians. The problem is that they don’t even think this could be one reason that they never get called back.
Writing messages is just another annoying thing that distracts from their “real job”. After all, their job is to play music, right? Well, that’ partly true. But times have changed. Nowadays everything is more accessable, digital, connected. You have access to so many possibilities and at the same time you’re competing with so many more musicians.
It might seems superficial at first, but it’s not just like you’re showing up to a job interview for a bank with holes in your jeans and smelling like beer. It’s like you arrive to that job interview on a horse, ignoring willfully any traffic lights and street signs along the way. It shows you don’t know or don’t care about the rules. But typography isn’t there just to make your letter written in Word look beautiful.
It serves a purpose.
Fonts with serifs don’t exist just to look cute. They are there to make a large texts like in a book easier to read. There are some interesting studies about typography (via Thomas Phinney):
In short, they found two ways to measure the impact of good versus bad typography. One was “reduced activation in the corrugator muscle” (people frowned less), and the other was “improved performance on creative cognitive tasks” tackled after reading. Again, this was with documents that did not produce differences in reading speed or comprehension.
So besides the positive effects of good typography (yes, you can’t change font type and size on facebook, but you can use commas, seperators, carriage returns etc, can’t you?) on performance, as you’ve seen above, you also prevent to create a negative first impression. Otherwise you might already be seen as an unreliable, chaotic, disorganized person who is unpleasant or risky to work with.
While one can argue that this might be superficial and judgemental, don’t forget that if you’re being a musician you’re also a business person. And while you might get a chance to re-introduce yourself personally at the venue and get yourself in the position of sharing a drink with the event organizer of the venue, the more professional and the more important the venues you’ll approach – the more they will judge you by your first impression and presentation.
Often you only get one chance. If you blow it, it’s over.
So next time you’re writing a presentation of your band, try to avoid grammatical mistakes, include a nice photo and a one-sheet. If your presentation is professional, you’ll be surprised how many doors will open for you that used to be closed before.
Got any other examples of why the venue never calls you back? Disagree with what has been said here? Leave us a comment below!
by Salvatore Benintende