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Bullying In Music Business
by Monique M.
Reading all the articles here I can recognise I had a really bad bullying experience with people I used to work with.
I work in music business, basically I take care of rock bands for organising shows, promotion and management, and I used to run also a record label.
5 years ago I started a work relationship with a band from the same town I live in Italy.
The first two years these people were really cool with me, they used to invite me to go out together sometimes, used to speak a lot and reasonably about everything, we had common friends, wanted me to be with them in important promotional occasions and used to appreciate in public the work I was doing for them.
The relationship was so good and pleasant I decided to invest more money and time on their second release.
Then things suddenly changed (almost 3 years ago), with them saying "it's best to keep work relationships completely apart from any kind of friendship/personal relationship". At first I thought it was just a bad period due to tensions about the expectations they had about their career. Then with time things got worse and worse.
It became usual for them to criticise my work and point any small mistake in public even in front of persons I barely knew. They started to not inviting me to do things we were used to do together before, and when common friends invited me for a drink or a dinner they (expecially one of them) acted so badly to force people to not call me anymore to avoid embarassing situations.
In the chance when (even at work contexts like a photoshooting) they decided to do something after (just having a pizza together) they told me "you're not welcome to come" openly. Any effort I've done to work out things to re establish a positive setting have been retorted against me. They say I was "too intrusive in their personal life", even if I just asked "how are you?" or "have you had a nice week end?"
Then, communications become more and more difficult. If before they used to be ready in replying to mails and txt messages about work stuff, they started to be unbelievably slow, forcing me to ask for replies several times, do things twice because they changed their minds, telling me I was "boring or hassling" when I asked them to be ready and quick (example: they offered to burn cd promo copies but I had to wait one week and ask three times to get them).
It also became impossible - as it was before - to speak to the people in the band separately. They wanted to be all the time all together when speaking with me, to control nobody said something in my favour maybe.
It was also impossible to go to their home if we had to exchange stuff (money, cds, etc..) because I was openly told (and it was openly told to all the common "friends") I was unwelcome.
When I tried to move up from this really stressful situation ending my work relationship with them they told me "it was not professionally serious", so I had to go on.
Then at one point (one year ago) they decided to change the name of the band and to move to another city, also deciding one-side the deals we had signed were not valid anymore. And this after telling me in front of other people "go away, we don't need you, nobody can't stand you anymore, you are not fit to be invited in any kind of social meeting". Strangely, in front of people I deal smoothly with when they are not around.
Being impossible to speak with them anymore (after that they used to not even say hello when we met embarassing everyone) I rented a lawyer to try to recoup at least a part of the money (not a few) I just spent on their project.
Their reaction to what I did to make them aware of the duties they had in front of me from our deals were to write bad personal stuff on line about me, and to trash some personal objects of mine I borrowed to them.
In late March they decided that, instead then solving the contracts paying, it was best to go on working with me. But they never changed attitudes, their behaviour got worse instead. They never quoted me anywhere for the job I was doing, refused to "unblock" me on social networks, reacted harshly to any attempt to establish a more relaxed atmosphere (it was not possible to be invited together in common friends houses, they attacked me with vulgar expressions in front of everyone if I just talked to people/friends who were with them).
At the end I decided to cancel the contract, then we worked together for a few months still (I've been so stupid to think that to erease our deals could mean to erease their hostility as well). In this months I've been really helpful with them, introducing them to new people / contacts able to work at their project for promotions, tours, etc, on their "promise" I was going to keep part of the job.
Then, just when they got the proper team (thanks to me for 80%) to work a new release, they found out any possible excuse to make me feel really really bad, arriving to say "you cannot talk or say hello to people you know if they are with us".
At that point one month ago on an emotional burst I've done something (writing bad things about them to the contacts I found out for them) I knew would lead them to the decision to "not work together anymore because I was damaging them".
I think I've been stupid enough to fall perfectly into their scheme, and I've got also physical damage from all this, like insomnia, depression, difficulties in concentrating on other projects, problems in social contacts with family/boyfriend/friends, being obsessed in trying to understand and solving this really unpleasant situation.
Thank god it's over now, but I feel like it would be hard for me in the future to trust people anymore, I became suspicious and I can see I refuse to open myself or to establish closer relationships with other musicians I work with now.
Hope I will find back my self-esteem and energy again soon, but I need some help for sure, and to better understand why I accepted to be treated so mean for such a longtime.