In this season of peace and good will, NotionsCapital would love to report that all DC music venues treat musicians responsibly and intelligently, listing the names of bands and artists in their paid newspaper ads.
Many venues and agencies have been nice, but several are very, very naughty. In the absence of Santa, who took the rest of the week off, we hereby present this week’s Roll of Shame, the list of Washington area music venues that advertise “Live Music” but do not include the names of bands in their ads. Think this is a quibble? Think again.
It is not just a matter of respect. Working musicians earn reputations; omitting their names from advertising fails to capitalize on this. Since venues rate bands on the number of customers they draw, failure to list band names in ads penalizes bands for the venue’s own ignorance and laziness.
Clubs know they must put DJ names in ads to get fans to come out, but they won’t do this for live musicians. What’s up with that?
Bad enough that club musicians haven’t had a raise in 40 years. Bad enough that most clubs leave it to bands to send information to the free listings in the City Paper and Post. This generic ad stuff is plain absurd. As one commenter says: “It’s like a restaurant implying that they serve food and then only listing the word ‘Food’ on every line of their menu.”
You can help. Let NotionsCapital know if you see a venue with a “Live Music” sign in the window that doesn’t display the band name. Joe’s Bar says the band schedule is on the website? You cannot click the URL in a newspaper or a window. Joe’s Bar claims the band is named “The Joe’s Bar Band?” We don’t think so.
Festivals and holiday extravaganzas can get stupid too. If they advertise “live entertainment” or “live music,” they’re on the list, even if they are screwing artists for worthy causes.
Here is this week’s Roll of Shame, based on advertising in the Washington City Paper for December 26, 2008 - January 1, 2009 (this week’s Post Weekend section was highjacked by movie ads):
Cafe Citron, New Year’s Eve Party
Cafe Nema, New Year’s Eve Party
Chief Ike’s Mambo Room
D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, “Arts Eve DC International Family Experience.”
– Stop right there. –
This publicly-funded agency is charged with promoting the Arts and DC artists, not itself. 60 percent of this full-page ad is blank space or clip-art graphics. This is an inexcusable disservice to performers, artists, the public, and agency funders alike. There is even a detachable sticker on the paper’s front page. Lord knows City Paper can use our tax dollars — any dollars — but this is just plain wrong.
Habana Village (¡Ay, caramba!)
James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant and Bar, New Year’s Eve Celebration
[Note: Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe still doesn't list the names of musicians; this week's ad doesn't even use the word "music," though Kramer's has it four nights a week. Now isn't that good business practice! The huge total number of letters in the names of this week's performers: 46. Why aren't they in the ad? Contact Peter Conner; ask him.]
Exploiters: Make a New Year’s resolution to put band names in your ads. Help your business and the working musicians of DC have a prosperous, harmonious 2009.
No band names in your ads? No hyperlinks for you on this post. Get with the program.
Image by Mike Licht, who likes going to several of these shameful venues, and even worked for some of these folks. Get it together, people! Happy holidays.