It happens to some of our favorite bands; they call it quits or members leave. Sometimes they’re fired, and sometimes they have truly righteous reasons to depart from their band. Either way, whatever the case, with social media being so readily accessible, we’ve all seen bands and companies’ interpersonal relationships being handled on social media at times. So how do we respond? What is acceptable and what is not for them to post online? WHAT ARE THEY EVEN THINKING?!
This isn’t my first rodeo on this topic. I have discussions among clients past, present and potential future about conduct on social media. I spend copious amount of time educating and breaking down the importance of reputation and branding responsibilities. Sometimes, it falls on the deafest of ears. Protecting your brand and reputation is a volatile. I’m not saying to not be humanistic about situations. I’m saying as musicians, and business professionals, there is a line of discretion that is expected from your label, your team, and your bandmates. It’s not your business to air anyone else’s business, news, or reasoning.
Let me just be clear on this topic, it drives me literally insane. There is absolutely no need to take to social media to discredit anyone. Especially within a business sense, and even more so a personal sense. We’ve become so desensitized by the over availability of information online it almost turns our love of bands into a tumultuous marriage. We no longer look to our favorite bands for reprieve, but instead to take sides and see who can destroy the other. Shameful. Let art be art, and stop being a little shit.
If someone leaves a band, or is fired, reason may not be made public record without consent from both parties. Why do I think like this? Because let’s be frank, the person ultimately got fired for one reason or another, whether it be lack of work ethic, performance, or some other reason, it’s not public record. You can’t call up a local Walmart and ask why someone got fired, why do you feel you can call out anyone on a very public platform? You just don’t. You leave the doors wide open for a potential defamation lawsuit. The case strengthens when it’s a musician leaving for the personal reasons. ALL OF THIS INCLUDES YOUR PERSONAL PAGE. Once something goes out into the internet it is not retracted. EVER. Despite any apology you may post, regardless of your attempt to mend wounds, the point is, once it’s out, it’s defaming if you post or reach out on those topics. Try to explain to a judge that you’re “posting on your own page is your own thoughts and you’re entitled to it.”. You sure are, and you’ll also be entitled to pay the restitution for the damage you cause that person’s reputation. Scary, litigious world we live in. It’s a dance on a thin line for what’s acceptable and what is not. Especially for someone who is not simply a “private person” but yet, considered a “celebrity”.
I know in a time of emotional strain we tend to speak out of line, and without thinking of the future recourse. No excuse.
Does anyone stop to think about the damage this causes the brand, which can ultimately cause a loss in profits and a divide in a fan base? Let’s look at this. Say you change vocalists. The new vocalist has a keyboard and an opinion. Despite knowing what he should do, he decides to be a boisterous little twat. Speaks his opinion and starts to air band laundry online. This causes a 20% or 1/5 decrease in fans as they are loyal to the previous vocalist. Let’s apply numbers.
Band brings in $10,000 a month (bear with me, it’s just rounded figures…) $2,000 is LOST because of a wagging tongue.
“Well that’s no big deal!” HA. That $2,000 loss turns into a $24,000 loss annually assuming the band doesn’t experience some intense growth. However, with growth comes more expense. The team members who are paid by percent of income are having a loss in their check. The label sees a loss in money, and where do you think this ends up? It raises the cost to book the band. Now venues are seeing an increase in cost, which causes less venues to pick up the date, which results in an even greater loss in booking. Which in turn causes even more loss, and anger, and soon the label drops the band because they’re sinking money into a sinking ship. Assuming the marketing and media team doesn’t revoke privileges of the reputation assailant’s media reach. Of course, they can’t prevent them from posting on their personal page, however, they can limit the ability for them to speak about certain topics. That is called a gag order.
What’s the solution to all of this? How can we move beyond it? It’s simple. Just take the time to think. Sometimes the best explanation is no explanation at all. A simple wishing well, and moving on. If you want to move forward from the past, you have to let it go. At least on a public platform that has an infinite reach. I often times cringe when I see previous clients, or anyone really within the industry going into these senseless battles, especially when they’ve had the training to understand what’s acceptable and what is not. As humans we all have our reasons for what we do and we all want to be heard. However, respect is free, holds no grudges and can be had by all. Respect each other, respect your brand, respect your band.