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Band communication #3007851 09/13/19 12:37 AM
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J. Dan Offline OP
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I've vented about this before with other bands but it continues to be a problem for me. One band does group texts, the other does FB messenger. So much chit chat goes on that if you want to find a piece of important information, like the setlist of the date of the gig just booked, you have to scroll, scroll. Scroll, scroll. I talked my original band into at least doing a google calendar so we can put practice, gigs, and individual availability in there. But just today, I'm leaving Cincinnati for St. Louis when I could have done more customer visits for my PAYING day job, to get back in time for paractice since we have a gig Saturday. I get back, unload the car of 5 work demo cases ranging 55-95lbs each, tear down my rig, load it up, and head for practice. Sweating, I text the singer that I'm going to be 10 min late. He texts back that he's home (1 hr away) and didn't think we were practicing and I should check messenger. So now sitting in front of the house where we practice, I check messenger and there were a few messages. Can we push practice from 6 to 6:30? Fine with me. If needed can we practice Friday? Sure, so what are we doing? I waited a while and finally said I'm leaving, somebody call me if you want to practice. BL immediately calls me and says the drummer was sick and cancelled earlier in the day. None of this was in the message string. Furthermore, I don't read Facebook driving down the highway. If it had been texted, my car would have read it to me through the CarPlay app. I made it clear to the group that messenger is not working for me and something has to change.

I've tried other things. One band I tried setting up a forum like this so we could have topics like, songlist ideas, gigs, media, etc. nobody ever engaged, and the notifications weren't customizable. Ideally, you need a few elements all tied together - archive of info pertinent to the long term strategy of the band, calendar and scheduling, and 2 levels of messaging: banter somebody can check whenever, and time sensitive immediate messaging.

Any ideas?


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007852 09/13/19 12:42 AM
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J. Dan Offline OP
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Also file sharing. I've posted a link to the same MP3 recording of practice like 3 times now because nobody can find it after the conversation progresses by 1000 messages about the drummer's new kick head and the giant blow up tequila bottle in the practice space, and the bass player finally got his favorite bass set up and ready to go.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007854 09/13/19 12:46 AM
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J. Dan Offline OP
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Microsoft Teams 365 would probably work well, but I only have it because I work for a corporation. Probably not feasible to get everybody in a band on something like that. Maybe there's a cheaper open source version? Teams has an app on your phone that will deliver notifications, messaging, and even do webex type meetings, along with conversations, file sharing, planner, etc. But like I said, don't expect the band members to fork out the cash for Office 365


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007856 09/13/19 12:51 AM
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It's not the app, it's the intent.

I've been in bands where BL and team make sure that everyone is up-to-date on what's going on. Between email, text, messenger and (gasp!) voice calls, we make sure everyone knows what's happening in real time.

And I've been in bands where everyone agrees on using a single app (usually Google) and it all falls apart because not enough people are paying attention.

My observations is that bands got it together back when landlines were the only option to communicate.

Where there's a will, there's a way.


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007858 09/13/19 12:59 AM
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One thing I learned long ago is that everyone has their preferred method of communication. This is just individuals, mind you.

So if you have a band and one person prefers emails, another Messenger, another texts, what can you do? And like you say, if the band members like to chat (which is generally a good thing that everyone gets along like that), then important stuff can get lost. I kind of wonder if you need to say, "whenever something important comes up, like rescheduling, have EVERYONE reply that they saw it so we can make sure Dan knows what's up. 🤣"


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007859 09/13/19 01:01 AM
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Yeah this is always a fraught issue. We use FB messenger but run into the same issues you've mentioned. I tend to jump on the phone to the BL when I need to in order to ensure I'm not missing anything..

Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007861 09/13/19 01:03 AM
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Couple things...

My one remaining use of facebook is due to my band having a private group. The leader has some kind of pinned post up there with all the upcoming dates...she either keeps up with it or it automatically shows only upcoming ones, not sure which.

She also puts all the band dates on a google calendar, which she shares with everyone.

Unfortunately most of the bands I have been in have at least one complete non-computer person who refuses to even try to use email, let alone facebook or google drive or anything fancier....this is the guy who shows up to practice having learned four completely different songs etc...

As far as communication....bands are typically a perfect use case for one of my golden rules, which is "don't talk about sensitive or emotion-laden stuff via the written word". I've had two bands basically break up over email threads that just gradually grew more hostile and rambling as multiple people start inferring things that people may or may not be implying. In my professional and hobby life I have met a number of people with whom it's best to actually talk to them...in person if possible if the issue is really important. The body and vocal cues are needed for these folks or they just start reading all kinds of stuff into what you are trying to say, emojis and smileys notwithstanding....

Last edited by Stokely; 09/13/19 01:04 AM.
Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007862 09/13/19 01:07 AM
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Slack.

Awesomely useful. I have three Slack groups for different projects, and on one of them, the channels are

#artwork
#booking agencies
#cover song suggestions
#cash
#gigs
#label
#pr
#rehearsals
#studio
#video
#website
#music recommendations
#onstage fashion
#movie & TV recommendations
#random

Everything has its place, notifications work across devices, finding stuff is dead easy, and if one band has a lot to discuss, it doesn't clutter up your other groups and communications channels.

Supports file attachments (for rehearsal recordings, mixes, or originals, whatever) as well as threading and direct messaging.

Free.

We keep personal stuff out of Slack, on other channels. This creates some separation, while the idea of having subject-related channels pretty much focuses communication within Slack anyways (which is not the case in FB or WhatsApp groups, nor E-Mail).

Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007863 09/13/19 01:13 AM
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I've tried different things with a band I'm currently playing with and it's the same issue as you have. I've made mp3's of our performances for the group to listen to and work on but no one seems to care. They would rather get together in a garage and go over the same thing again and again. All good people but don't seem to take advantage of all the technology we have to share information. I rehearse my duo online and it works very well for us. Not perfect but no driving, moving gear, and it's much more productive.

Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007866 09/13/19 01:53 AM
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My long-time main band has a google calendar, but the problems arise when somebody doesn't use it. The band members play in other groups so they need to put those booked dates in the calendar. When they don't, what happens is a band member will email to say "this date was open on the calendar so I booked us into this (low pay) gig." Inevitably, some one comes back with "sorry, I'm already booked on that date." There follows a series of emails saying PUT THE DAMN DATES IN THE CALENDAR and so forth. Email works best for me in this band.

In the band I've recently joined, they all text each other. These texts show up on my phone and also in Messages on my computers. Because of that, I see most texts right away and can be responsive if there are cancelations, change of plans, whatever. They don't abuse it with much irrelevant garbage. Yes, there's some joking but for the most part the texts are all relevant and working out rehearsal times, what time to be at the gig, etc.

Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007871 09/13/19 02:12 AM
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We use E-mails and texts. There are plenty of e-mails. Each gig has a 'gig e-mail' with the Gig info. The setlist will be in another e-mail. There are also E-mails about impending decisions or things that we need to know about / think about. There are also texts to remind people of stuff they might forget, and there are also texts which are more personal / life oriented. Our system works pretty wonderfully with the exception of our youngest post millennial member who used to not respond to E-mails. But we've called him out on it enough that he's gotten his $%^T together for the most part.

The e-mails don't get bogged down in too much crazy 'band drama' or 'I feel this or that'. If there is that kind of stuff to talk about, we'll schedule a meeting.


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007873 09/13/19 02:30 AM
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Each of us has a Gmail account. We comm that way like Bobadoshe.
We clearly define the subject so what you want is clearly findable.

I. e. , HOB Setlist May 25. Or, New gig opportunity Oct 5. Etc.

We also have a Dropbox for sharing sound files.

My feeling is that it’s like anything else. You want to be part of this, then we all get onboard with consistent communication. Keep extraneous stuff out of the “business” emails.

We all use text to communicate personal or fun stuff.


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007876 09/13/19 02:59 AM
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"Are we rehearsing tonight", and "do we need tonight's rehearsal to start late" is not something that should require anything but the most simple and immediate communication system. I will never put a Facebook app on my mobile device, because they will never increase their revenue by getting security right, which means they will never do it. And one of our band members does not use Facebook at all. I have used Slack in other contexts, but I don't think it is the best way to achieve the immediacy needed. I still say group text is the best for managing the basic questions of "Are we rehearsing tonight?" and "do we need tonight's rehearsal to start late?". You just need to make sure the other, less-immediate stuff (when are gigs, what are the set lists, etc) are communicated via other methods.

Last edited by harmonizer; 09/13/19 03:00 AM.
Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007878 09/13/19 03:26 AM
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The problem isn’t the technology, it’s the people using the technology. I’m in one band that reliably and efficiently uses technology to communicate, the other is, well, a bunch of goofballs. Very musically talented, but my god... Just yesterday I had to ask a half-dozen times (via Messenger) if we were still “on” for rehearsal that night. Didn’t get a firm answer until after 5:00 (we usually start at 7:00) and for the record, no one had any crisis, uncertain work situation, medical or family thing, etc., going on. Going to lay down some structure with those guys real soon.


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007879 09/13/19 03:54 AM
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Lots of unfortunate drama with so many means of communication.

My band has been locked in consistently for years now on WhatsApp for most daily chatter. We have several chat forums there labeled appropriately like "gigs" or "song ideas" or "general business" etc. and that is where people are trained to go as first line of communication. From there, it's easy to hash out rehearsal changes or say "set lists in your inbox" etc.

We also use a shared google calendar for gigs, rehearsals, and blocked dates. We had one member who was slow on the tech but we collectively taught him and we have not had any issues.

Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007882 09/13/19 04:39 AM
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here's one

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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007884 09/13/19 06:21 AM
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J. Dan Offline OP
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Yeah I guess a common thread is everybody agreeing to use a particular method. But whatever the method is, serial communication is a problem...meaning in order...chronological and not searchable. A couple good suggestions I'll check out! Thanks for the feedback. This is my original band that doesn't pay, so I'm a bit less tolerant of wasted time.


Dan

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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007892 09/13/19 08:31 AM
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If it helps...

We use multiple WhatsApp groups. There is a "general" group where we discuss whatever we want to discuss. Then there are groups for organising transport and accom, comps, media appearances, vocal workshops, side projects, etc. Email is used when the content shared is significant and too unwieldy for WhatsApp. But there will be a WhatsApp message sent to advise all members that the email is there.

Band meetings are scheduled on a regular basis with action items arising and recorded in minutes. Action items are followed up at the next meeting.

As has been said more than once in this thread - no matter what the medium for communication, it won't work unless a) someone is committed to managing the communication process and b) all participants are committed to using the medium decided upon. If b) can't be achieved, then this also needs to be managed with the individual concerned.

Communication between the band and external parties happens via one band member only who is then responsible for disseminating information across the entire team.

Doesn't always work perfectly. But it works - for us.

Re: Band communication [Re: CowboyNQ] #3007903 09/13/19 11:19 AM
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I don't think there is a solution to this perennial problem. In my day job we have communicated with global clients and set up appointments successfully since 1994 using email.

Then the sun sets and I morph into trying to effectively communicate with muso bandmates. Turns into a shit fight of missed messages because there is always one evangelist zealot who does not look at his old skool email account anymore but wants to use FB or Messager or Whats app or whatever new social media app is the next big thing. So whoever is the most intransigent wins, their preferred app is adopted and the other less tech savvy members then miss messages or don't know how to use the app.

It is almost impossible to exist in this digital world without an email account, like has anyone had a software vendor offer to send your license key for a VI to your Whats app account and said they will not send it to an email account?, so why not just stick to communicating by email, and text messages if it is a last minute thing. However email does present a long standing insurmountable challenge for those who cannot get their head around selecting "reply all".


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Re: Band communication [Re: Markay] #3007910 09/13/19 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Markay
... there is always one evangelist zealot who does not look at his old skool email account anymore but wants to use FB or Messager or Whats app or whatever new social media app is the next big thing.


LOL We have clients like that at work. We try to keep pace with technology (we have phones, fax, cell phones, email, text, contact us through the website, contact us via the "cloud", etc, etc but sooner or later a new client will want to contact us via some other way. I'm surprised we don't have a Twitter account. Yet.

WhatsApp. I'll have to suggest that to the boss.

Re: Band communication [Re: Joe Muscara] #3007912 09/13/19 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Muscara
One thing I learned long ago is that everyone has their preferred method of communication. This is just individuals, mind you.

So if you have a band and one person prefers emails, another Messenger, another texts, what can you do? And like you say, if the band members like to chat (which is generally a good thing that everyone gets along like that), then important stuff can get lost. I kind of wonder if you need to say, "whenever something important comes up, like rescheduling, have EVERYONE reply that they saw it so we can make sure Dan knows what's up. 🤣"


I have two younger people in the band that prefer text to email but I made it known that I am communicating one way and not 6 for the other members. Most people are good about. One thing I won't do is band business on Facebook messenger and had to tell a bartender that the other day.


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Re: Band communication [Re: Lou Gehrig] #3007916 09/13/19 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Lou Gehrig
sooner or later a new client will want to contact us via some other way.

I made the mistake of giving my Whatsapp details to some clients when I was doing a job in India, now I'm basically on call all the effin time. Even after leaving the company.

In one band we use a single Whatsapp group, a Dropbox, and emails where necessary. In another we use Whatsapp and a german language online app called Teamplanbuch. It's a team project tracking tool, there's a row for each band member, then columns for each important upcoming date - practices, gigs, etc, screenshot attached. Everyone goes through and populates it in advance, inserting holidays, days when unavailable, you can add comments to each entry. BL decides whether or not to cancel or shift practices based on the inputs, and the app sends email reminders to everyone. It's Swiss level band organisation, and it works pretty well. Not suggesting this app, as I think it's only available in German, but I'm sure there are other programs offering that type of thing.

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Re: Band communication [Re: CountFosco] #3007918 09/13/19 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CountFosco

I made the mistake of giving my Whatsapp details to some clients when I was doing a job in India, now I'm basically on call all the effin time.


Same here... Clients who have my cell phone number think its OK to use it to call at all kinds of odd hours. "I'd call you at work, but you're closed..."

Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007922 09/13/19 01:57 PM
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I'll second the Slack recommendation, though for some reason I didn't even think of using it with the band (wouldn't matter as they are pretty settled in to google and facebook).

We use slack at work and it's great. I have the app on my phone, you can set times where you won't be alerted to messages, you can set up all kinds of groups and direct messages, private or public (to the other users on your instance).

Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007923 09/13/19 02:01 PM
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We use a few simple platforms for our band that have worked fairly well thusfar.

1. We use Google for calendar and drive. If a date shows open on the calendar, it's open for a booking. We ask everyone in the band to be diligent about keeping the calendar updated and we all have access to it. Drive is nice for file sharing, etc. Most shows are booked through our agent and they are also linked to our calendar. They also communicate that a gig has been added and this creates the ugency of each band member to keep the calendar current.
2. Whatsapp for our "chats". This is an informal platform and any official things are put on the calendar. For rehearsals we plan ahead and get everyone to buy off before committments are made so as not to create a situation like you encountered.


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007926 09/13/19 02:07 PM
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My band uses the Band app. Messaging, calendar, and posting files. Website, iOS and Android apps.

We use Google Drive for main file sharing and archiving for setlists, contracts, media, stage plots, financials, etc.

Last edited by ajstan; 09/13/19 02:09 PM. Reason: Added more information.

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Re: Band communication [Re: Outkaster] #3007929 09/13/19 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Outkaster

. Most people are good about. One thing I won't do is band business on Facebook messenger and had to tell a bartender that the other day.


I had to laugh at this since we have one club that insists on doing all band business on Facebook Messenger, (on our Band's FB account). We eventually let it slide since other than that, he's a good guy and pays $$$$, and we like the gig/venue.

Other than that, we have a booking email, and a Google Voice phone number for band inquires.


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007936 09/13/19 03:10 PM
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Google calendar for availability/gig calendar

Texts for real time communication

Dropbox for files/music/setlists, etc.


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007975 09/13/19 08:23 PM
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My band started making multiple FB messenger groups: we originally had a "Scheduling and Business" group with only pertinent info, and a more "Casual" group for chit-chat. Now that we're tracking an album, I started an "Album" group with info pertaining to it. That way the chit-chat can flow freely, while the other don't get bogged down in the endless scroll to find gig times, recording BPMs, and important stuff.

But yeah, I have another band where our LEADER doesn't even have a cell phone, though he uses FB messenger, while our CO-LEADER doesn't believe in Facebook (paranoid about The Zuck) and only texts. Thankfully that band is already a well-oiled machine, but any time wires get crossed it can get horribly dicey.


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Re: Band communication [Re: J. Dan] #3007976 09/13/19 08:25 PM
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My original band has two separate FB Messenger threads, a FB group and a shared Google calendar. We also all have access to our band's email.

As Chuck and Chris said, it comes down to whether people want to make whatever chosen method work or not. It takes reminding, but it's clear if people care.


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