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.