Online calendar resistance: any solutions?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mstillman, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. mstillman


    Dec 6, 2011
    MetroWest MA
    Am I missing anything? What has worked for you?

    It's been discussed before, but I'm still running into resistance with a few bandmates using Google Calendar to indicate availability (yes, drummers are infamous for this, but others, too).

    So far I've:
    • created and given them a short "quick start" with graphics
    • stressed how being able to see band availability instantly while talking with potential customer would be helpful getting gigs
    • said "You don't need to login to the band's Google account I created"
    • explained "You do need a Google account but that's easy (and I gave steps in the quick start) and you can very quickly indicate N/A dates on the band calendar without leaving your account"
    With one person (drummer), it seems more inertia than technophobia; he does the band's FB page.

    Yes, we've got some gigs, but the band collectively says they'd like more. I guess not everyone sees how this would be extremely helpful. Yeah, it's not necessary, but helpful.

    We have a few people booking and I'd like to help out, as I've done with previous bands. I'd just like us to look professional and be able to respond immediately when a discussion turns to date availability.

    I really don't want to be an enabler by saying "send me this month's N/A dates and I'll enter them into the calendar [you big poopyhead]" but dong so really wouldn't take me much time; just an unnecessary PITA.

    My next step is to actually reserve rehearsal time showing them how to do it. "Bring your laptops to rehearsal, gang..."
    JRA likes this.
  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    One project has one, and it seems to be updated for a while.
    But every so often, there's still a group text: "Is your calendar up to date?"
    I get the calendar concept and I keep mine updated (for my own use as much as anyone's...)
    But if it needs to be followed up with a group text, that group text could just as easily ask "Are you available for a gig [ fill in date ] ? "
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I'll admit that I am "that guy" in my band. However, in my case we're talking about a hobby band simply deciding which night we're going to play next week -- usually Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday -- so a simple email discussion seems to me perfectly adequate for the task. If I were in your band, though, and the point was to facilitate the scheduling of gigs over weeks or months, I would suck it up and cooperate with the virtual-calendar thing.
    Gravedigger Dav likes this.
  4. newwavefrank

    newwavefrank Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    Salt lake City, UT
  5. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    You can't force technology on some people...and I'm one of them. Contrary to popular belief, I don't live on my laptop or phone. Anyone requiring me to use a specific platform (e.g. Google Calendar, Facebook, Slack, et al.) for this sort of thing gets relegated to the bottom of my priority list.
    +1. And if you don't get what you'd consider to be a "timely" response, move onto the next available session player.
    Seanto, Williethump and Groove Doctor like this.
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I'm certainly not anti-technology. My day job is "advanced technology" R&D. I already use Google Calendar. But I'm not going to give bands my availability. For one thing, I work with multiple bands, and my calendar has to be coordinated with my family members. Also, I have not gotten to the point where I can blindly accept any gig without knowing some details about it, such as location. If I share my criteria, some bandleaders are quite pushy and negotiative, and will abuse the information.

    I don't want to live a life where I'm responsible for precisely knowing my family's schedule, months in advance, at any given moment.

    Not all problems need technological solutions, especially when that technology is becoming more and more intrusive and untrustworthy.
    oldrocker, Beej, garp and 13 others like this.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I never had a life so I was always available. :(
  8. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    They think it's work, so they don't want to do it. Some are older and are technophobes.

    I have found that stuff like this has to be made a requirement during the "sweet spot" when the person is new and wants in the band. If they join the band, and the lazy email approach is used, then it tends to stay that way. |But if they want in the band, I lay out what I need from them, ask them if that's too hard for them -- if the answer is "yes" then fine, I move on to another musician.

    When I have a lot scheduling to do, I ask people to type their availability into a survey monkey survey I create. It puts it all in one place. Then I go there and see when everyone is available.

    At times, I've had to get a bit firm with certain members who put me through a massive email effort to find a date, and then cancel or want to reschedule. Once I had 10 gigs spanning 12 musicians. It took several hours to schedule it all and communicate, then after I sent it out, one guy asked me to reschedule it upset the whole apple cart. I think he just didn't check his schedule when he told me about his availablility. Careless.

    We had a frank conversation about that one, and I reminded him that I do all this sales, marketing and admin for nothing half the time. And that he needs to be more careful when checking his schedule. That scheduling 10 gigs for 12 musicians is no easy tasks.

    Guess what -- I no longer use this guy unless I'm stuck. Too much attitude an uncooperativeness.
    Stumbo and viper4000 like this.
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I have a band mate who ran a band in NYC for a few years. He had an interesting system. At every gig, he brought a huge paper chart, with the positions in the band, and columns for each future gig date. The players at the gig were free to put their names into any empty slot. He rarely had to make any calls. This was pre-Internet.

    When I first started playing in Madison 20 years ago, a few bandleaders had a similar system. Usually during break (after they had a chance to check you out if you were new, as I often was), they would pull out their date book and offer you any dates that were still open. Every player who wanted more gigs was expected to bring their own date book. I kept mine on a Palm Pilot, for which I got a little bit of a reputation and some friendly teasing.

    These systems gave an automatic preference to steady eddies who agreed to more gigs.

    I should mention that if a bandleader proves that they are booking good gigs, not canceling, and not abusing my schedule, I tend to be more accommodating. Back before widespread cellphones, my spouse had a list of bandleaders whom she could accept gigs from, on my behalf. A guy once called me, asked if I was available. I told him that I needed to check with my spouse. He said: "I just talked to her and she said you're open."
    Stumbo, EddiePlaysBass and LBS-bass like this.
  10. It sounds like a great idea, but...

    I play in multiple bands and teach lessons. So I have a calendar. Keeping that one calendar up to date is not too bad.

    Once each band gets its own calendar, it becomes a lot harder to keep them all aligned. When I create a calendar event it would be great to be able to add it to multiple calendars at once, but Google doesn’t seem to allow it. And even then, putting one band’s gig onto another band’s calendar as a blocked date is annoying and potentially confusing, so one event per gig doesn’t really work anyway.

    And to be completely professional, the person booking the gig has to ask everyone explicitly anyway because no one keeps the band calendar perfectly up-to-date.

    And what about tentative dates? Keeping those up on multiple calendars is also a PITA. So in my experience the shared calendar thing winds up being a lot of work for not very much payoff. The best thing it does is keep track of people’s vacations.
  11. mstillman


    Dec 6, 2011
    MetroWest MA
    Good feedback so far, thanks all. Agree that multiple bands would complicate things so much that there'd be a low ROI.

    E-mail should work with one band, but seems to be relegated to secondary importance with bandmates. I'm looking for something proactive, where I don't have to wait for a response. Some guys don't/can't answer e-mails at work at all, or at least not in a timely fashion.

    Also, having band members' availability on an online calendar reduces (ideally, eliminates) the likelihood of a thread with several replies, many of which could be uninformative (e.g., "I'll check tonight..."), contributing to response clutter.

    Next band I form (it's been a decade or so), "Do you use an online calendar?" will be part of the screening process. Not a knockout criterion, but certainly a plus.

    Great point. Maybe I'll propose that aspect, now that it's summer!

    Hmm, maybe a group text message would be better...
  12. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    With my main bend, we use Android application called Teamup. I prefered it to Google Calendar, because I thought that it would be easier for everyone to associate this app with band.
    1. Members let Band manager know that they are not available on a certain date. She marks it in calendar with a type "NA" and musician name (multiple entries per day are possible)
    2. BM uses group chat to doublecheck a certain date. We all try to answer in a timely manner.
    3. BM marks the day with type "Booked".
    4. I have set calendar sync for most of folks via RSS feed, so their Google calendars automaticaly get entries of type "Booked"
    Technical part is actualy not important, two things are: that folks are responsible and timely, and everyone uses same system, no exeption.
    SoCal80s likes this.
  13. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    we do a rolling "dates booked" list with a "members non availability" dates list after it, coordinated and emailed out by the band leader once in a while. it's a bit unwieldy but mostly works.

    all gigs get discussed before being booked, so it's not like he just books things without asking anyone. we did discuss a shared Google calendar but no one was really that keen.

    (disclaimer, there's only 3 of us and it's not a big money-making venture. usually 1–3 gigs per month.)
  14. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    My band uses Google Calender. Our booking agency also has access to it, so they know if we have a weekend or night blacked out because someone is unavailable, or if we’re already booked with something we booked ourselves.

    It works well for us. But this band is a *very good* second income to all of us, so it’s basically a job. With the calendar, there’s no questioning and waiting for responses from 6 people as to our availability.
  15. brocket

    brocket Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2017
    Coastal NC
    My band uses Slack. That way we can have a General discussion thread, and then threads for Practice, Song Ideas/Demos, Upcoming Shows, Setlist, etc. This makes it MUCH easier to find needed info and get responses since everything is kept separate- requests for availability don't get lost in the mix of band jokes and random musings. We tried Google calendar, but since we had already gotten used to sending group messages, no one really uses it.
  16. I simply email the BL to tell him when I’m unavailable. When something goes into the calendar, I email him. We keep it all in the one place by replying to the same email thread. Works great.

    +1 I don’t trust Google Calenders either.
  17. Pulverizor


    Jun 14, 2018
    New Zealand
    Some people are moving away from tech giants like google, have you asked if your bands mates might prefer a different service?
    Moose22 likes this.
  18. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    this is hardly the panacea, but: we use free dropbox: the calendar is an excel spreadsheet (rows are every calendar day, a column for every member). members indicate "out" when unavailable (and any other pertinent info re: that date, e.g., specific hours of unavailability if appropriate). we have to remind folks to "update the calendar" on occasion --- but they do, especially after discussions about wanting more gigs! dropbox is also good for posting the PDFs for charts/parts, pics to share, edit: recordings!, etc. i think the major advantage is that all of our 'business' is in one location: so it's easy to say "take a look at those fun gig pics while you update your avails."

    IME: any method which works for the organization is good, and the one which gets 'compliance' is the best.

    OP: i/we feel your pain! good luck! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    Pulverizor likes this.
  19. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Tell them if they need to know when the next gig is, they can check the calendar. If they ask you, tell them to check the calendar. If they miss a gig because they didn't know about it or can't make it because the have something else going on. fire them.
    A bit radical, for sure, but how bad do you want them to use the calendar?
  20. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    We use google calendar and facebook messenger. And e-mail when there is something that requires more than "yes or no." It took three years to really get everyone (drummer, of course) to go with it, but it was worth the effort.