I’ve got lots of Facebook friends. The friend requests have been pouring in as of late to the count of dozens per day, nearly all of them fake as far as I can tell.
The latest are multiple requests from CEOs of agencies, booking agents, A&R professionals, and a host of others all wanting to use my page to promote their own music. I had to go and change the settings so I can review anything someone wants to post on my time line before it gets published there. There are dozens whose music I do not know, and when I do know do not like, who desire to use my page for their personal promotion. I don’t use theirs. I don’t reckon I’ll let them use mine, unless, of course, they are real friends. My real friends and I know each other. They are welcome to promote their music on my page.
I got an interesting message from a Charlotte Williams of Charlotte Williams Productions and Artist Management. I suppose it was Charlotte herself that sent me the message, or it could have been some bot sending out messages to anyone who appeared to have a music related profile. I can’t be sure. In fact, Charlotte may be a bot herself, located somewhere in Russia, trying to influence the American music scene in the same manner Russians tried to influence the late election, no matter whether you think their infiltration aided the Republicans or the Democrats, as there seems to be some evidence that they may have been generally meddling in one as much as the other…but that is another story,
Charlotte wanted to help me. I think I was able to interpret what she meant in between the lines of what she actually said, which is as follows:
Hello! My name is Charlotte Williams. I am the National Talent Manager for ITNS Radio and SWC. I just happened to come across your music and was very impressed with what I heard! I would love for you to become a VIP with us! You can become a VIP via purchase any Promo. All Promos will include a 1 hour interview for you to talk about your music and possible upcoming music soon to be released, airplay and access to nationwide bookings! We are also now a part of iHeart Radio so your music will be heard all across the world!
Innocent and naive, I replied, “Thank you for listening to and liking my music. Best regards.”
To which she replied:
You’re very welcome! We actually have a special offering going on today where you can get your single submitted to 4,500 radio stations and have access to nationwide bookings for 8 months for a one time fee of $200!
I also received the same message from Stephanie, Roberta, Susannah, Diabolica and Moronica. Okay, I made Diabolica and Moronica up, but they are as good a names as any for the purpose intended and there are dozens more.
Let me parse this as I see it, but keep in mind, I am old and cynical, working diligently to keep my cynicism in check and hardly ever succeeding. Tonight may be one of those times where it escapes in spite of my best intentions, but I don’t think so.
Hello! My name is Charlotte Williams.
Hello there, Charlotte.
I am the National Talent Manager for ITNS Radio and SWC.
There really is an entity known as ITNS Radio. Its website says it is by artists for artists. I am thankful to have gotten the attention of their national talent manager, but, alas, it also seems that everyone and their in-laws and third removed cousins are national talent managers and that their job is to send out Facebook messages to folks itching for stardom. It is likely as difficult to become an ITNS Radio National Talent Manager as it is to get a parking ticket in Boston.
I just happened to come across your music and was very impressed with what I heard!
Oddly, I just happened to not believe a word of this. I’m sure Charlotte, Stephanie, Roberta, Susannah, Diabolica, Moronica, et al, sent thousands of these out to anyone who had a photo of themselves on Facebook holding a guitar. I appreciate their all being very impressed, though, and wanting to help me. I expect I would have gotten the same message without being nearly so impressive.
I would love for you to become a VIP with us!
Well, Charlotte, what are you waiting for? If you’d love to have me as a VIP then put me on your VIP list today.
You can become a VIP via purchase any Promo.
Oh! I get it. To become a VIP I must purchase a Promo. Please, tell me more about this wonderful boost to my musical career your Promo and my VIP status will give me.
All Promos will include a 1 hour interview for you to talk about your music
So I get a 1 hour interview with someone, perhaps even an outsourced Indian Sub-Continental Hindi speaking interviewer whose English goes over about as well as an American tourist’s request for a Rib-Eye steak in Kolkata, or a BLT in Bangladesh. Where will this interview go? Who else will hear it? Will it be published? Maybe Charlotte herself will give me a call and we’ll chat for an hour about my music. I don’t think so.
and possible upcoming music soon to be released
Who told Charlotte I was writing materials for a new recording? She must be a real insider.
airplay and access to nationwide bookings!
Well, that settles it. Airplay and access to nationwide bookings is just what I need.
We are also now a part of iHeart Radio so your music will be heard all across the world!
The translation to this is that Charlotte, like me, has an APP for the bankrupt iHeart Radio on her phone, making her a part of the iHeart family. This is good to know. I am going to rush out and see if I can take out a small business loan on the strength of me and Charlotte’s relationship with iHeart Radio. It should be a very valuable asset to put on the loan application. After all, with internet streaming, Fitty-Cent got almost $2,000 for 1.5 billion plays on Pandora. Based on that, I should net about 6 cents annually, or a half-penny per month.
After thanking her for listening to and liking my music, of which I am certain she no doubt knows the words to several of my songs by now, this response will now be parsed and commented on.
You’re very welcome! We actually have a special offering going on today where you can get your single submitted to 4,500 radio stations
Translation: We will send you a link to an FCC page that lists all 4,500 of those radio stations, even the ones with a news/talk format, so you can send an MP3 of your single to them all, not a one of which cares anything about the kind of music I write and play. OK, maybe a dozen or so of them do, but my unsolicited MP3 is liable to be snagged by SPAM filters nationwide.
and have access to nationwide bookings for 8 months
Translation: A e-mailed link to a list of venues nationwide that have live music. Some of them are pay to play, many of them are clubs featuring Death Metal, Heavy-Metal, Funk, Rock, Rap, Western Swing, or Polka, and even more of them have talent booking junior assistants who are complete assholes. I wouldn’t likely have one visit at my house, much less waste time talking to him on the phone about a possible $50 booking. One gets too anxious and one plays for free, and a thousand dollars is free if you ask me. I wonder what Charlotte thinks? Perhaps she thinks I need the exposure.
for a one time fee of $200!
I have access to those nationwide venues for eight months for a one-time fee of $200. I already have access to all those venues. I am as capable of booking a gig at any of them right now as I will be if I send Charlotte $200. I was also told that this is a special deal representing a $50 discount that will not last long so I’d better hurry if I want to get in on iHeart Radio, 4,500 radio stations, and have phone calls promptly answered or cheerfully returned from the employees responsible for talent booking in those nationwide venues, all anxious to reward me with immediate and profitable bookings.
I responded back to Charlotte, “Sorry, Charlotte. $200 is far too little for such a deal. I would need at least $2,500 up front to sign a six month temporary agreement to let you represent me in those venues I am not already established in or find on my own.”
I am sure Charlotte will be calling me any minute to tell me my check is in the mail. I am waiting breathlessly.
I once filled in on a solo gig for a friend who had taken ill. It was an acoustic gig at a failing restaurant in a beautiful old Victorian house that had a bar on their third floor. Acoustic music is all I do anyway, and the venue had a PA set up for musicians to use. The assistant manager was the talent booker, was in charge of the restaurant that night, about 24 years old or so and a complete dick. He had a personality every bit as charming as a cornered raccoon; while you are fighting for your dinner, the raccoon is fighting for his life. They can be the surliest of creatures. The assistant manager thought he was doing me a favor by letting me play there. I honestly thought I was doing them a favor by covering on very short notice for my friend who had taken ill. It did not go well until I actually started playing.
About ten minutes before showtime, I went to the bar to get a cup of coffee. The assistant manager was the only one back there and was very busy trying to impress the only other person at the bar at that time, a pretty blonde. He kept on with his witty repartee with the blonde and ignored me. About five minutes of patiently waiting brought no response and it was nearing showtime, I interrupted the conversation and said, “I’d like to get a cup of . . .”
Before I could finish he threw his finger up in my face and said, “I’ll get around to you in just a minute.”
As you might imagine, this irked me quite a bit. It seemed like he could pour me a cup of coffee and talk to the girl at the same time, but I suppose he wanted her to know who was the boss. He had plenty of time, it seemed. It was me that was running out, as it was just about showtime and the folks were beginning to pour in and would be making their way to the bar
I interrupted him again. Again, he stuck his finger in my face. I bit my tongue, furious but silent.
I waited a couple of more minutes and interrupted him again, this time warning, “I’d be careful about where I stick that finger if I were you.”
Despite the warning, I watched the finger start to move in my direction. I had had a bait full of insulting behavior from the Assistant-Manager-Lothario-in-charge-of-a-mediocre-failing restaurant and turned into John Wayne as the character J.B. Books in “The Shootist.” Wayne’s character, Books, said, “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”
I grabbed Lothario’s hand as the finger came towards me, nearly dislocating it as I bent it backwards causing him to sink to his knees in agony.
“Pardon me, Ma’am,” I said to the blonde.
Turning to Lothario cowering on the floor his hand still in my grip, I said “If you wag that finger in my face one more time, I am going to drag you over that bar and whip your ass six ways from Sunday. Now get me a cup of coffee so I can start entertaining your patrons in this place, most of whom I can see are friends of mine who came to have me entertain them. Do you understand me?”
He let out a whimper as I turned him loose. He got a coffee cup and filled it up. It only took him a couple of seconds, which is also about how long it took the blonde to vanish. He mumbled about my having nearly broken his wrist. I had been listening to all the big-shot talk he was trying to impress the girl with, but what bit of favorable impression she may have accumulated vanished, as did she, with my rebuttal of his rudeness.
I never got asked to play there again. I never regretted it either. They closed down just a few months later.
Charlotte has about as good a chance of me sending her $200 as Lothario did with the blonde even though Charlotte was not the least bit rude.
Good luck Charlotte. If you were needing money from me, you’ll have to settle for the luck.
AND…the Shingles. I’ve got the shingles. It’s not the first time. It goes with CLL and with the ruxolitinib I am taking. I am taking all the Acyclovir the law will allow.
If I could find Lothario, I’d share the Shingles with him if I could, though that cup of coffee was extremely enjoyable after I finally got it.
Good luck, Lothario. I hope you have improved on your impress-the-ladies script. Being nice might work much better than your perception of a good pick-up line. In fact, there is no good line; however, a “Hello” and a smile is a good way start to any relationship.
©2018 Mississippi Chris Sharp