Some People Just Don’t Want Your Money

It’s unfortunate that I feel compelled to make this post; unfortunate for whom I haven’t worked out just yet – which may or may not make the idea a good one, but I’m not too concerned about that right now.

If you read my last post, you’ll have noticed a recommendation for Fringe by Evan Hydzik, one that was based purely on my sincere love of Pillars And Tongues, plus the brief video. I’m still yet to be able to listen to the release in full, and it would now appear that I never will. Which saddens me greatly.

I don’t seem to have much luck when it comes to certain releases by this band, and now associated member’s solo stuff… Long-term readers may recall that last year, I broke my “no cassettes, ever” rule by purchasing More Sun. I never received that cassette, unfortunately. Which was kinda ok, at least in the beginning, as I know stuff can go wrong in all sorts of ways. What wasn’t ok was that I never received a response from the label. I would have been happy just to have the download code, but I didn’t even get that. Thankfully, Pillars And Tongues released the track via Bandcamp, enabling me to purchase the song eventually.

Not the point, though it is most definitely worth mentioning that both my communication and transactions with Endless Nest/Empty Cellar (responsible for last year’s Lay Of Pilgrim’s Park and this year’s The Pass and Crossings), have never been anything less than friendly and successful (respectively).

The point is, despite several attempts, I could not get the checkout process to work over at Contraphonic so that I could buy the MP3s. In the end, I sent an email to their general enquiries address, which was brief but contained as much detail as I thought relevant, as I figured it might help troubleshoot the problem.

I sent the email on the 19th of September, which (as you may be able to see) was a week before I posted the recommendation for the release, and at that stage I had not received a response.

I wasn’t prepared to give up, though, as I really did (do) want to hear the music. So, on the 8th of October (more than two weeks after my initial enquiry), I looked up the Facebook fan page for Contraphonic and posted a comment/enquiry. They’ve deleted it, so you won’t find it there anymore, but  asked them if they checked their emails, and if not was there any way possible they could allow me to purchase Fringe, and if they did check their emails, I guess I’ll take that as a no.

The post was tongue in cheek, but most definitely borne from frustration. I had been trying to purchase the music for more than three weeks, and had my initial enquiry ignored. And quite frankly, I see nothing rude about it.

Today, 10th of September, I finally received a reply to my initial email. The message was actually quite polite, and offered me a solution to the problem. Fantastic, I thought. Can’t wait to hear it…

Then I saw this underneath the much more polite message:

I’m quite sure I wasn’t meant to see that, and if I hadn’t, I would have happily gone ahead with the purchase being none the wiser of the merchant’s rather low opinion of me… But I did see it.

I guess what I want to know, is why sending one email enquiry, then following it up once a couple of weeks later in order to be able to a) send this company money, and b) receive a music release I very much want to hear, qualifies me as such? What am I supposed to do when I haven’t received a response to an enquiry, and thus have no way of knowing if it’s being ignored on purpose or whether or not it was received? Of course I’ll look for another way to try and make contact if the first avenue didn’t work. So, it would seem this is what at least one representative of Contraphonic will think of you if you dare make two attempts at trying to communicate and purchase from them.

I may be able to understand the attitude if I was rude, or had been sending emails daily or something, but I didn’t do either. Long-term readers may also remember that this is a label I have attempted to both support and promote in the past. I obviously didn’t make a difference, so I guess it’s neither here nor there anyway.

What’s disheartening the most, in all honesty, is that at the moment, stuff like this is something I can barely make allowances for (in terms of purchasing ‘luxury’ items, that is), but I do so because I respect the artists and labels that work so damn hard to put their stuff out there for what is often very little return. Right now, I’m working unbelievably hard just to get that US$8.99 to spare for something like this. I do not steal music, no matter how much I want it and no matter how little $’s I have to spare.

Never mind. There are other releases currently available that I will be happy to purchase instead. From labels whose owners and representatives have been exceedingly kind, gracious and generous in the music they have shared with me.

I don’t know, perhaps you think I’m just being whiny over being called names, I’ve certainly been called worse! Tell me what you think, would you have still bought the music in the same circumstances, or would some unknown stranger’s opinion of you bother you enough to prevent you from acquiring something you really wanted? As an online retailer myself, I would never a) let a customer’s enquiry go unanswered for longer than 12 hours, and b) think any less of them if I did ignore them and they sought other means to try and communicate with me, but obviously other’s have different ideas.



About Satellite for Entropy

My thoughts are fish, all swimming about and prone to scattering swiftly. Some of them are pretty but not all of them are gold. Some have teeth; some travel in gangs and with a single school of thought; some are haphazard loners, darting about the place randomly and to no obvious purpose. But they're all slippery little suckers. Sometimes, I get lucky and find myself with a good grasp on one, long enough to remember what it looks like before releasing it back into the wild. View all posts by Satellite for Entropy

6 responses to “Some People Just Don’t Want Your Money

  • thesteinbergprinciple

    you have every right to be annoyed. running a small label is not easy and sure, sometimes you miss an order or you ship something later because it’s when you have the money to do so. however, when people contact you the decent thing, and only thing, to do is respond and explain why something has happened.

    i do fully believe that most people buying from smaller labels appreciate the size of label that they are dealing with. certainly, it is my experience that where something has gone wrong the people are always understanding and, i do believe if you take the time to respond and connect with them on a human level then they will be even more supportive of your label in the future.

    i don’t know. i am basing this on the fact that i can be shit and sometimes take longer than i should to ship music to people for one reason or another. i just think if you let people know the score then they will be understanding and thank you for taking the time to return their email or facebook message.

    anyways, that’s just my thoughts on it.

    • Satellite for Entropy

      Thanks for your comments – I think you hit the nail on the head with “if you take the time to respond and connect with them on a human level then they will be even more supportive of your label in the future”, as I think most people can understand things don’t always go according to plan, and they certainly don’t for me, I’ve made a bunch of mistakes the last couple of months with my customers! But if I know anything, it’s that people prefer knowing to not knowing…if that makes sense.

      I dunno, I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting or not – usually, when similar things happen, I may stew and/or write the post, just for catharsis, but end up deleting it and leave well enough alone, but this just really bothered me for some reason. o_O

      Though, I will say at this point that I have received an email stating that the second comment was – apparently – in reference to the problems with the shopping cart.

  • Moving On… « Satellite For Entropy

    […] important for me to acknowledge that apart from the unfortunate comment (as discussed in my previous post), my communication with Contraphonic was completely polite and […]

  • Leonardo Rosado

    I just read your post and this is unbelievable even more so because I also run a small label, and the musicians and the listeners/buyers are the most important thing.

    The fact that you got to see the message below the polite answer means 2 things that are the opposite of what it should have been. First, total lack of professionalism, if they were professional (and I mean as small as you can be if you are offering something you have to be professional period) you would have never seen that. Second, lack of respect for the customer/buyer, for the continued absence of answer, and afterwards the inappropriate answer.

    I didn’t know Contraphonic, but I am sure will not be interested to know.

    BTW, I came to your site because I found your text talking about the pre-order of my work with Birds of Passage. Thank you for mentioning it.

    • Satellite for Entropy

      Hi, thanks for you thoughts =) It’s nice to know most people don’t think I was being over-sensitive about it!

      No problem with mentioning the Dear and Unfamiliar album – really looking forward to giving that a listen sometime soon – hope you have much success with it.

  • dangerousmeredith

    No you are not being whiny. This is appalling because:
    a) they should be across it all to respond to your first email in a timely fashion
    b) they should not have called you a “fucker”. That is a grossly insulting term.

    These people do not deserve your money.

    What struck me as I read your blog is that you are trying to do the right thing – you don’t steal music. You don’t deserve to be insulted for that

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