22-May-2002 (Wed)

Let me just start by saying AAAAARRRGGGGGHHHH!!!

So, the Download show has been cancelled, after having been on our calendar for less than three days.

The band's representative had signed the contracts and webcast agreement, so we thought we were done: we went ahead and announced the show and started selling tickets. Two days later, they came back to us and said, "by the way, no webcast."

Apparently the first time cEvin actually read the contract was two days after we'd already gotten a signed copy back, and it wasn't one he would have signed. It's still unclear to me whether this was because of his personal beliefs, or because his record label doesn't allow it, or because he just thinks his record label doesn't allow it. But, we've had dozens of other signed bands perform here, and none of them have had a problem with it.

Had we known ahead of time that they wouldn't agree to the webcast, we wouldn't have booked the show. But we thought that was all settled already. I'm very sorry that we found out about this so late in the game. We didn't mean to get everyones' hopes up unnecessarily; we really had every reason to believe that the deal was done, and the show was on.

In fact, Download is the very first band who has ever turned us down because of the webcast.

People keep asking me, "well can't you just black out the webcast for that night?" I could, but I won't. These webcasts we do are completely integral to the mission of this club: doing the webcasts is a major part of why I opened the club in the first place. I see them as one of the major benefits we have over other venues.

And if there's one thing that the last year of operating this club has taught me, it's that there's a world of difference between the words "never" and "sometimes." The difference is that "sometimes" means "always." The first time we booked a show and turned off the webcast, that would become the norm and not the exception. Because just about every time someone hears about the webcasts, their gut reaction is, "ooh, scary, we can't do that." But when we push back, they go and talk to whoever they need to talk to, and realize that it's not actually a problem after all. And then after it goes off, they think it was really cool.

But it would be easier not to webcast, in that it would mean less conversations about it. And then we'd end up being just like every other club: doing webcasts only once in a blue moon, if at all.

How can anyone possibly think that a live webcast is anything but a benefit to the band? Even if someone does manage to save an MP3 of the show (something that's not very easy to do), in what alternate universe can that possibly hurt record sales rather than helping them? It's nothing but free exposure for the artist ("free" in the sense of "DNA is paying a lot of money to do it for them.")

God dammit, I really wanted to see this show.


There's a good interview with Rusty from SomaFM about webcasting issues over at Slashdot today.

12 Responses:

  1. anonymous says:

    Stick to your guns!

  2. brad says:

    So even though they'd signed a contract, they just backed out assuming you wouldn't sue or something?

    Last I checked, "Oh, I didn't read it" wasn't valid in court.

    Or they just knew you were such a nice guy with better things to do. :-)

    • otterley says:

      Depends on if it was a contract or a letter of intent, what severability provisions were in the contract, blah blah blah...

      Anyways, Jamie, I'm glad you stuck to your principles. Keep it up.

      • jwz says:

        I'm just not interested in getting into some legal battle over this: I don't want to be in a position of forcing an artist to do something they don't want to do because their manager/representative/whatever agreed to something without their consent.

        But I sure as hell wish someone had let us know about this before we put tickets on sale!

  3. hepkitten says:

    Awe jamie, im sorry, i really wanted to see this show too!

    Can they really think this makes them look like anything other then horrid flakes too? Jesus.

  4. cyantist says:

    what you've done is quite admirable to me.

    i wrote a few paragraphs here and decided to erase them, because i couldn't find the words really to thank you for your efforts. your contribution to san francisco night life is priceless to me, as well as others.

    the decision you made was difficult and most human beings would crumble under those circumstances, but you stood strong, and nobody should feel dissapointed that you made a good decision.

    policy exists for a reason. without policy, the DNA would end up like every club, because those exceptions would exist. being dynamic in adopting policy is one thing, but changing it to fit the needs of a temporary situation jeopardizes integrity.

    pending laws currently threaten our freedom. if we falter in what we believe in, internet radio/streams/broadcasts will cease to exist.

    you are absolutely correct in stating that internet broadcasts help record sales. there have been numerous occasions, that i've heard a song on a shoutcast stream, or even from the dna lounge broadcast, that i've purchased a cd of.

    i know that this link has been posted before and that you've linked to it jwz, but it doesn't hurt to post it again.

    if you haven't done your part to write to your elected representatives in washington, please go to this site to find out how. it's really easy. they have a form to make it easier than drooling almost.

    support your favorite stream. start your own stream.

    "Come in. Every night you enter me like a criminal. You break into my brain, but you're no ordinary criminal. You put your feet up, you drink your can of Pepsi, you start to party, you turn up my stereo. Songs I've never heard, but I move anyway. You get me crazy, I say 'Do it.' I don't care what, just do it. Jam me, jack me, push me, pull me -talk hard!"

    - pump up the volume

    thank you jwz and all of your staff.

  5. atakra says:

    Understood. I don't like the outcome, but I watched it happen by the sidelines.
    IMHO I find the whole thing sort of silly from a punk rock viewpoint. MY STARS, most bands would jump at the chance at being showcased from the DNA after the stellar work that you've done since their "closure show" that I went to where Pig Iron played at (one of the greatest bands that the Bay Area created before the Phantom Limbs came into existance).
    But as a relatively well-known booker of the past, I find that the new rules by (IMHO) spoiled industrial bands has sort of hit a wall.
    Fans are beginning to realize that paying so much money for big names in "industrial" are usually a let down, especially when local bands like Crash Worship have more intresting projects that are playing incredibly underground spaces (I hesitate to give out specific band names).
    I've been discussing this with the synthpunk list for a while (the merging of genres, the re-emergance of no wave/the more underground touring circuit of mac-based bands /the emergence of a dual mentality towards the musical noise underground).
    People are tired of kareoke.
    People are tired of bands which rest on their laurels.
    People are tired of the mainstream underground (Download/KMFDM/APOP being perfect examples).
    As for what people WANT... it is ever-evolving. In fact, everyone I've been in contact with thinks that n:code/d:code is the perfect starting point (and my friends/acquaintes are not your usual patrons)
    So obviously you're doing the right thing in this instance and ae honest about the situation.
    OK, I've ranted a bit too much

  6. i'm with everybody else, of course. mad props.

    i haven't decided whether i'd feel okay about paying to see them someplace else now... and i'm REALLY curious about why cEvin freaked out. him being such a hippy and all...

    this whole thing has the feel of a management issue (ala apoptygma cancelling a bunch of shows on their tour with vnv a few years back), but i dunno...

    • bdu says:

      this whole thing has the feel of a management issue

      until you realize that raven was the closest thing download had to management on this gig. cEvin was the problem here, directly. And if he was better at knowing the legalities of the situation or had someone on board who was, it probably wouldn't have been an issue.

  7. bdu says:

    personally, and I said as much in my journal, I think you're both being hard-asses, and I mean that in the nicest way possible, really.

    anyhow, afaik he doesn't even HAVE a label currently (nett dropped DL/TG/SP last summer), unless he means his ex-labels' ownership/exclusive distro of the material to be played.

    and in hindsight with the announcement of phil leaving the band coming out this morning, one has to wonder if it wasn't all a front to get out of the gig because of other issues.