Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Currency of Opportunity & Exposure

Here is an email I received today. It being my birthday, typically a day associated with the giving of gifts, I decided I would furnish the sender with a generous reply. (Pesonal information has been removed.)

My name is __________, I am from midlands band _________. We recently won the surface unsigned competition at the london indigo O2 where we beat 12000 bands to first prize. All three judges gave our band 16/16 in the judging criteria.
we have won a pr deal, a full days photoshoot, a single release, a press release to 55000, online banner deal, radio backing and a slot at the sziget festival in Budapest to 390,000 people plus more.

The one thing we did not win was a design package. we are currentley looking for sponosorship from a designer/design company to help us design everything from tshirts/flyers/posters/website/myspace/cd artwork/press pack. anything at all, obviousley on each part we can make sure you are well advertised. we will also being doing a press release early next year to 55,000 so we can make sure the sponsorship is advertised there also. This is a great opportunity for anyone involved.

we are extremeley proud of our band, we are working as hard as possible to take it all the way to the top

We will be releasing a single and video with believe digital and zimbalam and we will begin our PR campaign and send out our press release in march 2011.

kerrang radio have featured us as there unsigned band of the week, radio presenter for kerrangs unsigned show Alex Baker has already championed us on his show “they are up there in one of the best live bands I have ever seen” and he will also be backing us with our release.

BBC introducing midlands (The Beat) have Agreed to back us, they will receive first play of the single and we will be doing a live video in there studio to coincide with the single release which will go up on there website.

Idol magazine, London, will get first play of the video on there online magazine, there have an impressive 200,000 online readers every month.

We already have a hardcore fan base with a 900 fans on face book, rising everyday and 2000+ fans on Myspace, over the next few months we will be taking our show nationwide to help raise awareness of the band and the forth coming single. We plan to do a tour just after the release in march.

If you feel you want to help us in anyway please contact me.

Thanks for your time

call me on: ___________

Sent from my iPhone

Hello _______,

Thank you for the summary of your band's achievements. I agree, it is a real shame that a full design package was not included in your impressive list of prizes.

Sadly, I'm afraid I am not in a position to provide my services to you for free.

Unfortunately, I have discovered, quite shockingly, that opportunities and exposure don't really get me very far in fiscal, real world terms, although let me assure you it's not for want of trying:

I was quite convinced I was onto a winner when I approached my Mortgage Provider and proposed that they buy me a shiny new house in return for me proudly stencilling their logo onto the external brickwork of my new abode, making sure that every passerby knew who was generously sponsoring me with the provision of shelter and lodging.

"I know loads of people," I explained, "I will definitely put in some really positive words about you when we have friends round for dinner or if someone delivers a parcel. I'll even hand out business cards or flyers. Think of the exposure!"

Keen to expand on my initial idea, I also planned to approach my local supermarket and ask for free food and provisions -- my wife is a great cook, so I expected them to jump at the chance to have their ingredients associated with some truly delicious meals.

With all the money I would be saving thanks to my generous food and shelter sponsorships, I realised I probably wouldn't have to work anymore and so decided I would like to take some time off to go travelling around the world. Think of all the people and places I would see! Think of the exposure potential! It seemed only fair to share this kind of monumental marketing opportunity with as many businesses as possible.

My next goal, of course, would be to find not only a clothing company excited to reap the rewards of providing me with all my travelling essentials, but also travel companies, hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping centres, safari parks, luxury retreats, and basically every type of commercial service imaginable, all ready and willing to lend a hand.

Just as I had come to the conclusion that it would, in fact, actually be quite rude of me to exclude anyone at all from what was clearly an entirely win-win situation, my dreams were promptly shattered.

BEHOLD! An unrelenting deluge of replies from my would-be sponsors, all seemingly colluding together in their unified and resounding choruses of: no, negative, nada, absolutely not.


Do you see? Despite all the magnificence of my planning, I had neglected to consider one, simple thing: respect.

I had forgotten that to truly appreciate the value of a thing, one has to show respect to the passion, craft, blood, sweat, tears, and above all time that goes into it's creation. When one genuinely values and respects something, they understand the importance of not asking someone to give that thing away for free.

On that day, despite my glorious plan having burgeoned, bulged, and burst into sad little ribbons, like the gastric band of some greedy obese man, I had at the very least learned a valuable lesson.

And so here we find ourselves.

What a sad state of affairs things are nowadays, with our celebrity-obsessed culture of handouts and get-fame-fast schemes; of manufactured Saturday Night entertainment wrapped up in the guise of talent contests; of overnight online success stories, publicity stunts and marketing virals; of double rainbows, and the coming apocalypse, and the 'cats-and-dogs-sleeping-together' mass hysteria of it all.

What a shame when one man suggests to another man, without the faintest hint of sarcasm, that he might feed, shelter and clothe himself and his family with the suggested currency of opportunity and exposure.

Sorry I can't help you on this occasion _______, but I wish you all the best with the band - and I do genuinely mean that. The music biz is a tough old game these days when you're looking to be appropriately rewarded for all your hard work.

Yours sincerely,

Graham D. Pilling

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