How To Bother People In The Right Way

Submitted by Peter Astedt 

I was recently in my office in the days between Xmas and New Year. I like these days; it actually gives me peace to work with things that have been laying around that I never get time to get to do.  Also, many are on vacation so the answers to things you send out don’t become overwhelming. At the same time, people just think its strange that you work during the holidays when you could have taken time off. Still, it’s part of the music industry there is always something to do. If you want fixed out holidays, just get a nine to five job with that schedule.

Then you also get people that are on a nine to five work week and have little to do these days or cleaning the desk as yourself asking about impossible things. And here comes a subject that I wrote about before but can’t be stressed enough times. How to bother people in the right way.

The funny thing here is two different artists doing the same thing. The email just came exactly after each other so you can easily see the difference.

The first letter is from an artist that wants to play at our small showcase festival. We didn’t  stop the applications until two days before. In practice, you still could have applied for the festival and get a slot.

“I would be grateful if you could let me know if we are in consideration for your festival. It would have been great fun to come and play, of course, and we hope you are interested. However, need to know so we can schedule gigs and rehearsal and some of us need some time to take time off work.”

We have over 2500 applications from artists to the festival, so this band is not alone given the answer. At the same time, I don’t like to give a no before the application is ended. What is an error here is that the artist shoots over their problem on me. Suddenly I should be aware that they need to schedule rehearsals and other logistics. You just gaveme another problem. Of course, there is some truth to it, they probably need to rehearse and plan their things, all artists need to do that but I expect them to do that without telling me.

Sure, many think that they are smart to send emails like this just to nudge the festival booker. The problem is when I get these emails to speed up my process because of your problems, then I would rather just say no.  This is a certain way to just get a no without me even checking the artist out. In fact, I know the earlier I come back to an artist with a positive booking request the more time we all have.  In our festival, we tend to take the international first since they need booking travel and need to seek funding money so local bands (and this is a local band) tend to be put in the later round. 

Then I got an email from a band that we have booked.

“We hope you’re doing well and are having a lovely Christmas weekend. (In fact, we hope this email reaches you after the holidays are over because we really don’t want to bother you )

We are planning to apply for some government funding for our visit to the festival. For this, we will need an official invitation letter and this should include concrete dates and showtimes. Do you think you could send us something to that effect?

Of course, we can always be flexible and change the showtimes around later, but it would be great if we had something to show for the application. We will need to apply within the next two weeks – can’t wait to see you at the festival”

This is the reason I actually booked this band. I saw them at another festival. They were really good live and nice people. I spoke to the booker of that festival and he praised that they were so great, doing things on time and just being nice people.

That pays off. I stopped everything I was doing and just wrote the letter they needed for funding. Yes, they gave me a problem or another task to do. They did it in a nice way, with a cause that I see is important for them to be able to do their show.

This is how you should nudge people. Inform them of something that is important to them not you. Then you get their attention. Don’t write, did you play my song, instead I have new cool photos hope you had time to play me a new song. Hope you like my new photos.

There is always a better way to get your message out and bother people in the right way.

Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 35 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. In 2021, he worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes Peter is a Managing Partner and Editor of the legendary Record World International and also sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian-based charity, The Drive Foundation.