How You Treat People

The last music morsel post was about how excellent music always wins, and it does.  However, there is a sure fire way to sabotage a career even if the music is amazing and that is by treating people poorly.  I’ve seen it happen over and over in the music industry.  Talented artists that let their egos or bad attitudes limit their potential and success.

Here are a few examples I have personally witnessed.

First scenario:  This particular artist is brand new with his first single just now charting. Not many people have heard of him just yet. He gets booked for a prestigious festival, but all he does is complain about what he’s not getting, what time he’s going on, where the stage is located and in the process is treating people horribly.  Brutal first impression by all concerned.

Contrast that with another new female artist in the same type of position who is just glad to be there, is pleasant, and willing to play to whomever and wherever she can because she considers it a privilege to be involved with the festival.

Who’s going to have the most fun, success and come away making friends, fans, business contacts, and will be invited back next year?

Second scenario:  Backstage prior to a show from an A-list artist who is doing a meet and greet with select fans, special guests, contest winners, and radio.  She comes out and the cattle call begins.  No photos, no conversations – just get your autograph and move along please.  Or perhaps she’s sitting down behind a table so you can’t touch her.  Or there’s no autographs and one big group picture.  Whatever the setup, it’s not an enjoyable event for the guests who very likely walk away thinking they had just met a Madame Tussaud’s wax figure of the artist and not the actual person.

Contrast that with the just as popular artist who arrives backstage and proceeds to engage his guests.  Looks them in the eyes, signs photos, takes pictures, answers questions, ASKS questions, and does it with a smile.  I’ve seen this done with a line to keep some sense of order or without a line to make it a more “hang out” vibe.  In either case it’s more personable and inviting.

Who is getting the better reputation with fans, radio, sponsors, and music industry professionals?  Who’s fans will be more impressed and more passionate than ever?

Third scenario:  Emerging artist with a couple of big hits under his belt who is now headlining a tour.  He has a variety of opening acts along the way who are all newer artists and he treats them all like crap.  He’s a power trip extraordinaire who will make the opening acts life hell just because he and his crew can.

Contrast that with one of the biggest bands in the world who have had countless hits and world tours.  You would expect that if anyone treats opening acts as the scourge it would be this artist, yet they have a reputation of being one of the most gracious and welcoming acts in the industry.  They treat their opening guests with respect and thoughtfulness.

If any of these opening acts become big, who will they have to thank more?  Who will have been a stellar role model for them on how to treat people and stay humble in the midst of clamoring success?

There are many more examples of how rude, narcissistic, vain, disrespectful, stingy, and overbearing artists contrasts with artists that are classy, humble, respected, generous, and thankful.  Yes, an artist needs to be authentic and have personal boundaries, but just like in any business relationship, there are professional and courteous ways to go about doing business.  Not to say an artist should allow people to walk all over them or agree to every request.  There are just as many people within the industry that treat artists poorly or are trying to take advantage of them, but it’s best to be handled with class or allowing a manger to handle it for them.  A good manager knows how to the bad guy when needed.

Real or imagined success has a way of skewing reality, so it’s important for an artist to keep a level head and surround themselves with friends and colleagues that will set them straight if an attitude adjustment is needed.  Or they will eventually be sent straight out the door begging to get back in.

We all have examples of people who have treated us poorly and who think they are above the Golden Rule.  Let’s not become one of those individuals just because we are able to.  Have a positive influence on others by treating them with respect and kindness no matter how successful and “famous” you are.  It will not only serve you well with others, but help keep you solidly grounded.

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3 Responses to How You Treat People

  1. TammyR says:

    Beautifully said!


  2. TammyR says:

    May I add something else here that has been eating at me since you posted this?

    I write news prep for country radio stations. I don’t have a “quota” of stories I’m to supply daily, but I do have a personal goal (a/k/a I’m an overachiever). After the timely news stories are written and I’m working on the “evergreen” pieces, I remember the artists who were kind to me, the ones who at least made an effort to call me by name, look in my eye, engage me in conversation…who acted like they cared who I am and what. Those are the artists that I tend to pull stories for first, simply because I remember them first — they MADE AN IMPRESSION!

    I doubt I’m alone in this thought process!


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