Back in March I was invited to contribute to Created In Birmingham
(or CrIB as all the cool kids are calling it), this being an award winning blog with a wide readership* I, naturally, shat myself, worried that I would either break it, drive readers away or get the place sued. I tried to be nice and honest and lovely, one of the first posts
I wrote was a post about an event I was going to, the Surface Unsigned Festival
. I in my youthful naivety liked the idea of the format and recommended it. Quite rightly I was soon took to task, some readers pointed out that Surface Unsigned were a symptom of what was wrong with the music industry and suggested I was an idiot for saying otherwise.
Feeling like a prize twat I decided to appease the readers by having a look into the “festival” and discovered the structure of it was shady to say the least. Having got hold of the Terms and Conditions given to the bands I found that amongst this shadiness was the minimum ticket condition; basically each band HAS to sell a minimum of 25 tickets to be eligible to qualify for the next round, regardless of the esoteric and frankly biased points system
. The upshot of this rule is most bands have to eat shit and buy the surplus tickets themselves, with Surface leaving the bands doing nearly all the promotion themselves.
Here comes the maths now amended from my original estimation on the first on CrIB now tha the figure are in, this rule guarantees for a bill of, on average 6 act per night, for the first round of 36 nights, and each acts selling 25 tickets at £6 each, a total of £194,400. (I’m willing for someone to correct me on this, my maths is famously shite)
I illustrated the post on CrIB with quotes from this leaflet pointing out that although they say the moneys goes on essential crew and personnel; I saw little of that in evidence at the gig. Willing to admit I was wrong and doing such a extensive job of investigating, I hopefully saved some face and congratulated myself on a job well done.**
Nearly exactly two months later I received an e-mail from Surface, telling me that the Terms and Conditions pamphlet is copy written and threatening legal action if I don’t remove the quotes.
So basically if a big company doesn’t like what is written about them, they feel as if they can bully people into submission. FUCK THAT NOISE. You know at first I was angry, obviously, but now I’m more bemused, threatening me is just plain stupid, dinosaur stupid. For these reasons;
1. It’s not smart to piss of people that have; A) a public uncensored platform and B) a wide readership of your target audience
2. The grounds of your legal claim being dubious at best
3. Suing me would be a mistake, I have nothing to lose and notoriety to gain, if someone was to sue me for everything I own, I’m so poor they would end up owing me money.
The Surface Unsigned festival is basically a variation of an old hustle
, exploiting young artists need to crack a difficult industry, taking their early fans for any money they can get in the guise of support and then leaving them on the side of the road like a Hell’s Angels’ rape victim.
If you don’t agree to Surface’s tactics or ethos let me know in the comments section – or, even better, write your own views in your own blog or website thus generating as much negative publicity for these fuckers that we can
*as compared to here that comprises of a few angry cultists, friends and a dog
**Indecently I still think the format of six or seven bands in one night for a nominal price still has legs, but that is entirely beside the point.