EMERGENZA - PAY TO PLAY EURO BATTLE/FEST




EMERGENZA is the brain-child of Italian Massimo Scialo (at right) and German Andrea Petricca. This is the Euro pay-to-play fest. This company has been going for about 13 years in Europe. Just recently they stretched their fingers to the US. Everyone got the special myspace spam invite (we got several!) to join the fun and enter the chance to win special prizes (lots of giveaway-surplus equipment from instrument companies), a trip to Germany for the last rounds and the biggest prize of all...five days on the Warped Tour (in 2007 downgraded to the RedGorilla Music Fest in Austin, TX) and six weeks of recording at Roastinghouse Studios in Malmoe, Sweden. and the chance to claim you are the BEST BAND ON THE PLANET (no fooling!). (If you enjoy the recordings of other Roastinghouse bands like Cloudscape, Cosmic Ballroom, Faithful Darkness and Timeless Miracle, maybe this is for you. Otherwise Roastinghouse looks just like any other studio. Here's an important FYI: The Sessions, the band that won the 2006 Emergenza Fest "didn't accept this prize").

The Emergenza “Battle of the Bands” represents themselves more as a festival but the basics are still the same. Emergenza requires an entry fee of $70, plus gives you 100 (damn!) tickets to sell. They say that you are not required to sell the tickets BUT if the votes are counted by popularity, that would be pretty much the only way you’ll get a vote. So your choice is buying into the ticket-selling idea or knowing that you’ll automatically lose going into it. It’s the Entertainment Catch-22. Emergenza is so established that all you need to do is google "Emergenza and your choice of expletives" and you’ll get the idea on all the happy bands that have tried this one. Enter the company name and the second suggestion is not a good one.

YOUR BAND'S CHANCE: 1 in 6,000.

LEARNING ABOUT EMERGENZA
THE TWELVE "MUST DO's
THE INTERNATIONAL FINAL
EMERGENZA VILLAGE
REAL STORIES OF EMERGENZA

THIS IS OUR OP-ED PAGE. THESE GUYS CONTACTED US. INSTEAD OF SIGNING RIGHT UP, WE RESEARCHED IT AND THIS IS WHAT WE FOUND. (We are providing the info and our take on it. Many people have weighed in, and here and even Wikipedia's got a disclaimer! It's up to you to make the call.)


Notice that even though AmberLee sent the email, the myspace was under the name "Adam".


THE UPDATE BOX (2-17-09): Emergenza is changing some things in the U.S. Here's the head-honcho to tell you about it. Just my opinion but, scary if you ask me. Notice how he mentions other Emergenza reps will kill you (!). I know it's supposed to be a joke but save that shit for the second video you make, not the introduction to your new site!

It appears that they are scaling back on the number of cities they are working from. Many of the famous "Genza" reps have either deleted their myspace accounts, left it sitting idle or changed it into something else. The other sites are set to private so they can remain hidden while they host their pay-to-play battles. The East Coast and West seem to be the primary targets and everybody else is safe for now.

There's a new Emergenza website - new look with less info. The old info is still up but that might be changing. Lots of U.S. cities that hosted BOTBs have been eliminated. And a bit of good news, some of the battles are not all-ages. This is a step in the right direction.

By the way, if you haven't seen any of the photos from the 2008 Taubertal Emergenza Giant Spectacular Finals, here are a few...


This is the final battle of the Emergenza BOTB in Germany. You work through all the rounds of ticket selling to get here.

As you can see the bands now get the big stage, but it looks to fall short of the 20,000 people the Emergenza website claims you'll play to.

Here's what the crowd of 20,000 looks like from the stage.

The security guard at left, holds back the crowd while the next band battles to win the 2008 Emergenza Battle of the Bands!

And if you like the YouTube action, here's a cool Chicago band that did the Emergenza fest. Notice how the video is always shot close to the stage. But if you check, be sure to look close at 0:27 adn 1:52 where you can see the 30 or 40 people watching this thing.

STILL SPAMMING...
Our good friend Mr. Ed made a myspace fan site for the English 60s Christian beat band, The Pilgrims. It is clearly a fan site. So what email did the Pilgrims recently receive? Gee, I wonder...

Thanks Lucrezia- I'm sure The Pilgrims will be re-uniting after 40 years to enter a pay-to-play battle of the bands. And 30,000 people? Let's check those above photos again. One, two, three... And this site has changed hands. It used to belong to Lucrezia in England, but since then Tibo from Massachuesetts runs it. Here's a good blog on the same subject.

RESEARCHING EMERGENZA YOU WILL LEARN...

1
NO SPEAK THE ENGLISH: One of the things about the main Emergenza organization that everyone seems to agree on is that English is obviously not their first language. This is an Italian/German company. The Emergenza website is sometimes poorly worded, kind of like reading the directions/instructions on products made in other countries. If things go bad, you probably aren’t going to be communicating with the bigshots who really run things. Some people have tried, all without success.
2
TOO MANY MEETINGS: Before you play, you’ve got to attend at least one (per round) Emergenza meeting which is more of a sales pitch than anything else. That’s where you’ll get your tickets. Normally they want EVERY band member to attend, not just a representative. They are not interested in hearing your band so don’t bother to bring demos. They just want to make sure you’re going to get them the entry fee, sell the tickets and bring a crowd to their show. Don’t lose those tickets you don’t sell! They will need to account for either tickets or money. And if you win rounds you still have...more meetings!
3
MORE SHOWS, MORE MONEY: Winning each “round” forces/pushes you to bring more people to the next show. But here’s the real genius at work. Ticket prices increase with each round you win! Oooh, smart thinking! Bands will have so much energy and time invested in each round, they won’t have any other choice than to sell higher priced tickets. They start at about $8 and go to $15.
4
SOPHISTICATED VOTING: It would seem that with a big outfit like this the vote counting is the most sophisticated electronic tallying machine that a corporation can afford. This is serious business, bands’ careers are at stake and obviously no mistakes should be made with the voting process. Think again. The votes are counted by your Emergenza official, clipboard in hand, going out on stage and asking for a “show of hands” from the audience! I’m not kidding. This is the high tech world of Emergenza.
5
PANEL OF EXPERTS: After all that damn ticket selling, they switch it up and in the regional finals your band’s fate is in the hands of a "panel of judges". Their expertise is negligible. Nobody seems to have heard of any of them. And whatever you do, don’t tick them off or they’ll vote you out. I’ve read many accounts of bands believing that at this point the processed is rigged. A fixed contest!? That’s impossible! How many think this could be rigged? I’ll take a show of hands.
6
THE SHOWS THEMSELVES: How anybody would think the Emergenza BOTB is a good showcase for their band is beyond reasoning. Normally nine bands perform 25 minute sets. The equipment is provided and this is something that many bands have complained about. Like all the other pay-to-play situations, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the line-up. I won't mention the unfortunate bands but here is a real list of the genres of music: Alt Metal, Death Metal, Metal, Hip Hop, Hard Rock, Rock Alternative, Blues Rock, Power Rock and Melodic Hard Rock. What a night that must have been! Who comes up with those catagories!? Is this really the show you want to push to your friends/fans? You'll love my hip-hop band, but be sure to stick around for the Death Metal.
7
THE REGIONAL EMERGENZA REPRESENTATIVES: The most aggressive reps of all the pay-to-play companies. They are normally in their early to mid-20s and solidly convinced that they are helping bands by organizing these pay-to-play battles. These people are pretty much like a cult. They are all over myspace with their clever "mergenza" or "genza" sur names and all their myspace top friends are "genzas" too. Just try to complain about Emergenza and see how they react. Suddenly, they are not so friendly and helpful. They will defend Emergenza to the death. Of course, they have to...they are on the payroll.

DIRECT FROM THE EMERGENZA WEBSITE:
THE TWELVE "MUST DO's"

(PROMO TIPS AND HINTS FOR YOUR BAND)
It doesn't seem like "Must Do's" fall under the catagory of "tips and hints" but that's just an example of the wonderful world of Emergenza. If this actual check-list of things you should do to win doesn't set your "scam alarms" off, maybe there is no hope for you or your band. If you know me, you know I just can't resist making a few comments on something this bizarre and stupid. The real check-list is on the left and my rant is on the right. Think I'm kidding? Check it out for yourselves. Only left in the Rusian version at right.
OFFICIAL EMERGENZA CHECK-LIST
SAY WHAT? !!!
1
From the beginning explain to fans and potential punters that you may find researching sites (hit myspace or local ones) and going to gigs ( be active), that this is a Music Festival and there will be more than one show, and FAN support is fundamental at all stages and it will be a team effort.

Get the pushy salesmanship rolling immediately. Think of yourselves as "The Insurance Salesmen of Rock". Let your friends know that one measley $10 show isn't going to cut it if they want to support your band. You can't win unless they are in this for the long haul - and what a haul it will be!

2
Plan on a Party/barbecue, where you can gig and sell tickets. Try to add value to your event (keg of beer, drinking competitions etc.) by adding “special deals” and themes (dress like a punk?).
So to play an Emergenza BOTB, they are suggesting you first put on your own show. Isn't this defeating the purpose of signing up for these things? If I can put on my own show, what do I need Emergenza for? How much is all this "adding to your event" going to cost my band? Kegs of beer and drinking competitions!? That sounds a little pricey to me. A theme show where everybody "dresses like a punk"?! "Giant nerd alert!" Here's one better: a theme night where everybody dresses like a sleazy Emergenza rep! My friends would like that.
3
Plan each stage and give bonuses with each ticket purchased I.E. First round give a sample CD to ensure they are familiar with material. Second round include stickers/T-Shirt. Finals - Ticket price includes Transportation(bus rental) and Drinks on the way to show.
Considering they give you 100 tickets to sell this might also be a little gouge to the pocketbook but yeah, I guess we can give out a CD-R with every ticket. We want to win afterall! Okay, we made it to the next round so now they suggest a free T-shirt with every ticket sold! Well, okay, if we get the shirts cheap at about $5 per shirt, that's only $500 extra. But damn! Those finals are going to break us up in business. Transpo and buying (our crowd - yikes!) drinks on the way to the show!? Why stop there? How about a free diamond ring for the gals and gold watch for the gents? How about we pay off your mortgage?
4
Make all adverts/promo consistant and “uniform”- Info on tickets, Flyers, Websites must be correct and current. First impression is the key. Once someone has misinformation it is very hard to correct it.
Whew! Finally something that isn't going to cost an arm and a leg! Now, I hate to bring this up, and I'm not trying to cause any problems, but at what point is Emergenza going to step in here and help promote this thing?
5
Contact all local media (college or indie magazines and community radios especially) at least 5 weeks before a show to ensure they have time to include information in the local listings and increase the possibility of a preview/review of the performance.
Again...Emergenza? Is anybody out there to help us? Where are you? Okay, magazines and radio...I guess we can handle that too. Got it.
6
Email list Notices - Send a general info about the show 6 weeks out - include any promotion with sales (giveaways) 2 weeks out - reminder email - more involved and making sure people have the date out and pushing them to get their tickets early to avoid paying more at the door. Encourage them to reply whether they will be attending or not. Week of the show - Last chance Email. Make sure you stress the importance of their role at the show and thank them for the continued support.
Keep up with the insurance sales tactics. More giveaways?! What do we giveaway this time...blood? Wasn't everybody satisfied with that bitchin' kegger we threw and all those T-shirts we passed out? What do you people want from us!!!?
7
DON’T OVER BOOK - Try to avoid playing in the same market within 4 weeks of other show dates. No band can go against the laws of supply and demand. Remember you are competing against every venue and show in that area for those 2 weeks. If you just played, fans and music lovers are more likely to use their money to see an act that does not play as often or just a different band
READ THIS ONE CAREFULLY! If you do this BOTB, Emergenza wants you to keep you exclusively to their shows. If you can't book 4 weeks out, and you keep advancing (with all those free CDs, T-shirts and drinks you've been providing everybody), you won't play a real show for MONTHS! How is this going to help my band? If I do get a legit show at a club I'm supposed to turn it down. Very helpful.
8
Get Out and Meet People. No one will come see you if they don’t know you exist. Spend some time at clubs, malls, Coffee Shops, Music stores and force yourselves to speak with people you do not know. The more you do it the easier it will be.Show your face.Be able to describe your band and what your about in 30 seconds or less. Always Always have promo (flyers, CD’s, Tickets) on yourself. That goes for all members of the band. GO TO GIGS AND MEET OTHER BAND’S FANS.
If you've already been in trouble with the law, I would suggest you skip #8. Go to malls, coffee shops and music stores and force yourself to talk to people you don't know. If there's one thing people love - it's pushy strangers giving them a 30 second description of their band. Hell, why don't we just go door to door like the religious doorknockers? And don't let those other slackers in your band drop the ball either. You all need to get out and meet the people/strangers. "The more you do it, the easier it will be" - as long as you don't get arrested for harrassment, that is.
9
Look for non-traditional ways and places to advertise. Sporting event parking lots (tailgaters) Movie Theatre’s, Amusement parks. These people are all spending money on entertainment and like to have a good time. Remind them how much fun a live concert is.
Yeah, I'll go to the amusement park, get on the roller coaster and scream my band's name as I fly by the waiting crowds! I'll stand up and shout my band name during the important part of the movie. They'll remember that! I'll get together with sports fans and see if they'll chant my band name along with their team. This will surely remind them how much fun a live concert is.
10
Bar Hop/Costume Night - Get dressed up crazy, Nice, have a big sign with you, and go bar to bar in a concentrated area. Storm the place, Make a scene HAND OUT FLYERS/PROMO MATERIAL, Make sure they remember your presence then move on. Spend only 15-20 minutes per stop.
Okay Emergenza, I think you're really going too far on this one. What is this? Candid Camera? And where is this help I'm supposed to be getting from your big fancy-pants organization? All right, anything to win. I'll dress like a clown, beat a big bass drum, run through bars hollering my band's name and passing out balloon animals with the Emergenza show date on it.
11
Local Radio Shows, college radio, internet local radio - if they don’t have your CD, Why Not?!!! Let them know about the festival and about your band.
This has got to be the point where Emergenza steps up to the plate and helps us out. We've worked hard to do everything so far, we've spent tons of cash on free giveaways, we're not playing any other shows...No, help's not coming on Step 11 either...more free CDs to pass out. In fact, notice that they suggest you mention Emergenza first...oh yeah...and then your band.
12
Website band directory. Make sure your band is listed in ALL local band websites. This would make things easier for people in “the scene” to remeber your band and so taking more interest in what you are doing.
Here it is. The last step. Here is where Emergenza is going to work their mighty magic of promo. We're ready for that corporate push that our inexperienced band needs. Poop! It's up to us yet again. Thanks, Emergenza, you've been a big help...NOT.

BUT STILL, IF YOUR BAND WINS, MAYBE THIS HASSLE WILL ALL BE WORTH IT...
I believe that Emergenza’s best forte is playing fast and loose with the minor details of what you’ll get out of this contest, even if you are the big winners. If you sell all those expensive tickets, impress the “expert panel of judges” and battle right to the top you for weeks on end (and according to many bloggers the rounds just keep on a-comin'), you will get to go to some “Emergenza Fest” in Germany. However, Emergenza’s presence is only a part of a real-deal huge festival in Rothenburg, "a small medieval village in Barvria” Germany called the Taubertal Open Air Festival. The Emergenza website claims:
The INTERNATIONAL FINAL will be held in Germany at the TAUBERTAL OPEN AIR FESTIVAL, one of the top 5 European open-air festivals, alongside major international acts and in front of 20.000 people!

"Man, playing in front of 20,000 people with major international acts! Damn, that would be pretty sweet!" But note that it says "alongside" major international acts. Unfortunately, much like BigTime Entertainment who rents crappy rock nights and then pretends they are the club bookers, Emergenza appears to trot out the “winners” to play on their "secondary stage" at the Taubertal Festival. If you’ve ever gone to one of those big mega-festivals you know the difference between the Festival Main- stage where The Red Hot Chilli Peppers play and the Coors-lite/KFUK stage where the local bands perform. A friend of ours calls it “Band Ghetto”. I’ll give you an example.

THIS IS THE PHOTO YOU'LL SEE WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT THE EMERGENZA FESTIVAL IN GERMANY
(Wow! There must be AT LEAST 20,000 people there, probably more! It’s gigantic!)

BUT THESE ARE A FEW PHOTOS OF THE REAL “FESTIVAL”

This tactic is known as Bait and Switch. Be sure to check out their photos. There are a few bands that have varying amounts of audience but no matter how you slice it and dice it, it ain’t 20,000! More like 200 and I'm being generous. All the band photos appear to be shot purposely to avoid seeing what the crowd is like. Hell, you want to get really nerdy about it you can blow a few of the photos up and actually do a “head count”. There aren’t any that seemed to be more than 300 (and not all those people were looking toward the stage!). Maybe that’s where the wienerschnitzel cart was parked. And obviously if you pull one of those mid-morning slots, it’s going to be tough to get a wild crowd out of the thirty people that show up. Mostly they look like they just want to play haki-sak in the mud while you perform. Check out the photo at top-right. That's the huge main stage way down the hill! The one Grand Prize Winning band does finally get to play on the BIG STAGE...in the afternoon.

PICTURES SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS: Go to their official site and check out all the photos for yourself !
UPDATE: New site for photos, be sure to check out the crowds.

THE EMERGENZA VILLAGE

If you want another really good example of how Emergenza plays fast and loose with the details, you have only to check out their write up on Emergenza Village. Read what Emergenza says about “Emergenza Village” and then see what it really looks like. This one just about made me wet my pants! Here’s the official write-up:

“It’s a space to gather, work, have fun, prepare the shows and keep the public informed.
Find it on August 11, 12 and 13 in the Tauberthal Valley, a few steps away from the stage of the Emergenza 2006 Worldwide International Final. The Emergenza Village is a reserved area. To access the Village’s services a special pass will be provided by the organization to the invitees."
... from the Emergenza website 2007

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...MAY WE PRESENT EMERGENZA VILLAGE

in reality, it appears to be a lot of yellow picnic tables and red tarp shelters.

What does Emergenza Village offer? (Emergenza discription with real photos).


- FEEDBACK STATION

A point of gathering and discussion, where musicians finishing their show and just after hopping off the stage will have the opportunity to meet a group of experts and professionals that in a detailed and personalized manner will provide useful tips, advice and opinions on the just finished concert. An absolute must!

DJ BOOTH
Every evening starting from 11:00 p.m. Emergenza Village turns into the coolest Tauberthal party. DJs will make our Village’s invitees dance, party, and have fun. After 11:00 the musicians participating in the final will be allowed to bring along an external guest to participate in the V.I.P. party.

- THE COOL BAR
beers and soft drinks to all the Village’s invitees.
- DRINK BAR
A bar reserved to the business area where managers and executives can have an unlimited taste of beer, wine and/or soft drinks.


- PRODUCTION OFFICE AND WEBMAG AREA
An area reserved to the staff where the special number of the web magazine dedicated to the Final will be produced in real time. Comments, reports and opinions in real time translated into 6 languages, minute by minute.

The International Emergenza Team in their plush headquarters at the Taubertal Open Air Festival in Rothenburg, Germany tallying up the winners.

Here's a real comment from a former Emergenza rep I found on myspace. I will delete his name to protect him. Here he consoles a friend, who's band lost an Emergenza BOTB:

Jul 12 2007 7:38A
Awe, that sucks. I’m sure you were awesome! I used to work for Emergenza and I did tell CT that ultimately they choose who’s gonna win before you even make it to the finals. Last years winners won cause their manager worked for Emergenza. But, like they say, life is about the journey, not the destination.


Mike Turner from Chicago actually got propositioned to work for Emergenza! I won’t blow the surprise ending but this one is a hoot (but not to Mike at the time). It’s very well written, well worth reading and gives you the proper prospective on how this company is run. The whole story is amazing but I will say I really loved the part about how Mike wasn’t acting like an American! Here's it is with Mike Turner's kind permission:

This is something I wrote months ago after this crap happened. Initially I was thinking of trying to get it published in a paper somewhere but I never got around to really editing it well enough. I’m posting it now because Emergenza has been contacting folks (including me) on myspace in an effort to recruit acts for thier crappy festival. The following story is long but hopefully it will be usefull knowledge if you ever come in contact with these assholes.
********************************************************************

Emergenza Entertainment is a global “battle of the bands” event promoter. While they are still in their infancy here in the U.S. (coming up on their second year) they have apparently been operating in Europe since 1992. Founded in Rome by two entrepreneurs an Italian named Massimo Scialo and a German named Andrea Petricca they claim to have a scouting relationship with Columbia/Sony Records and boast festival attendance in their European finals of up to 30,000 plus. In just over one year of operation in the United States, Emergenza claims to have grown from their debut showcase in New York to include 17 cities and plans to raise that number to forty cities by 2006.

If all of this sounds pretty impressive then you too can join the club of suckers in which I am president. I bought this story hook line and sinker after being propositioned with a job offer by a sprightly British man named Walter Combi who calls himself the “U.S. Artistic director and Operations Manager for Emergenza U.S. Entertainment.” The following is the story of how I got screwed by a shady business out on not only a job with them but also out of the job that I already had. Emergenza may or may not be all that they say they are but they certainly operate in a bizarre and dishonest way that warrants caution if ever put in the undesirable position of dealing with them. Hopefully this article will serve as a reminder to readers to pay attention to your instincts before making any major career decisions.

After Moving to five different cities in the past four years (Chicago being number 5) pursuing and only occasionally catching up to my dream of sustainable employment in the faltering music industry Walter’s offer seemed too good to be true. Never being one for old adages I did my best to quell the little but persistent voice inside my head that kept repeating the phrase “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Shut up mom! I needed this so bad I could taste it. It didn’t pay a massive sum of money but they were promising more than I was making at that musicians purgatory known as Guitar Center with the possibility of more after six months. At this point my one hundred dollar retro, hipster Pumas were about worn through from running between all of the asses that I had to kiss at work. Between rent and beer I couldn’t see how I was going to fit footwear into my budget anytime soon.

I met Walter in a seemingly serendipitous way on an ordinary day at work at Guitar Center. While attempting to sell him some P.A. speakers for his rehearsal space we began talking about music and his interests and occupation. After trading some stories and commiserating about the sordid state of the music industry it seemed we had quite a bit in common. Walter told me he was the U.S. Tour Organizer and Artistic Director for Emergenza Entertainment and the Director of A&R for his independent record label called “Track One Music.” Apparently we had both run in some of the same circles in New York when I was doing A&R and music marketing there a couple of years ago. Walter, being the agreeable chap that he was gave me his card and said that he might have a “business opportunity” for me adding that he would like to put me in touch with one of his associates and that he would like to recommend me for a position within the organization. According to Walter, Emergenza was growing so fast in this country that they needed more qualified people. Although he was quite vague about the job he had in mind I was cautiously thrilled! “Right on,” I thought, this may be the break I was looking for. For some reason I didn’t think it strange at the time but Walter never asked me for a resume or any references so, I volunteered them. “So uh, I guess…would you like me to email you a resume so that you can pass it on to your guy?” “Oh, right” he said, as if he hadn’t considered such a thing before, “yes that would be good. ” “Alrighty then” I said, and we parted ways.

When I got home that night I looked up the Emergenza website and spent about two hours reading the entire thing. They had a very involved site and I was quite impressed. I downloaded their corporate Power point presentation and I must have read every tangential article on their links page. A few days later I was contacted by Kevin Jezoirski, Emergenza’s “Midwest Area Manager” and we coordinated a time for an interview. We decided to meet at Ear Wax, a café on Milwaukee in Wicker Park because according to Kevin, Emergenza does not have offices in The U.S. just yet. I imagine to some people that would be something of a red flag but in my desperation to escape the interminable hamster wheel of Guitar Center that was subtracting years from my life every week I ignored yet another minor warning sign and proceeded.

The day of my interview I put on my only “nice” shirt, my grown up shoes and one of my few pair of non-jean pants and headed out the door to meet Kevin at 1:00pm. When I arrived at Ear Wax I located my blind date in that predictably awkward way of looking around the room and sort of half smiling at everyone until you find the other person doing the same thing. Kevin was sitting by the window clad in a snug fitting grey pleather jacket with tuxedo lapels, faded jeans and a greasy spiky hair-do. It looked like Kevin hadn’t shaved in a few days and it must have been a little too bright for him by the window or he was fresh from the shooting range because he still had his yellow target shooting glasses on. Over all if I had to classify his look I’d say he was going for 70’s porn star or bookie but hey, this is rock n’ roll I thought, it wasn’t so out of the ordinary it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting for an interview. We shook hands and sat down, ordered some coffee and got into it. After about 15 minutes of my so-called “interview” I realized that Kevin hadn’t asked me one question about my qualifications, experience or references. Instead he just went on and on about what a great company Emergenza is and how hard he works and how much growth potential there is etc. Kevin didn’t seem to be a particularly articulate fellow and when I asked him specific questions about the corporate structure of Emergenza, their employee benefit package, and what exactly they needed me to do he seemed to get flustered and said things like “that will all get cleared up later” or “I’ll put you in touch with someone who can answer those questions for you later.” I started to get nervous that he wasn’t really learning anything about me as a potential employee so I made an effort to interject relevant stories about my experience with event coordination and artist relations and so on. He fidgeted as I spoke and generally did not seem to pay attention to what I was saying, instead he seemed as though he was just waiting for another chance to talk. The “interview” lasted about 20 minutes after which we got up and shook hands. “I have a couple of other interviews to do but I’ll get back to you in a few days” Kevin said. I said ok and we parted ways.

Sure enough a couple of days later Kevin called back and said he was pleased to offer me the position of his assistant in executing the 60 plus shows that Emergenza planned to produce in the Chicago area as well as the rest of the shows in other Midwest cities. “That’s great!” I said. “Did you happen to get any of the answers to those questions I was asking the other day?” “Oh,” Kevin stammered, “actually you should just direct any of those questions to our HR rep Francesca in Montreal, she’ll be contacting you shortly.” Fair enough I thought, “Ok great, I’ll think about the offer and get back to you after I’ve spoken with Francesca, is that cool?” Kevin said that was fine and we hung up and I went back to whatever interminable task I was performing in the Guitar Center warehouse. The next day I received an email from Francesca welcoming me to the team (though I hadn’t officially accepted the job yet) and inviting me to ask her any questions. Ah yes, I thought, finally I can get some of the nuts and bolts of this thing cleared up. Since apparently I was going to be involved in managing ticket sales as well as coordinating promotional endeavors I was particularly interested in Emergenza’s budget and growth potential as well as financial growth history so that I would have some concept of what I should be achieving and what the company expects. These were questions that were way over poor little Kevin’s head so I was hoping to be enlightened by HR. The following is a transcript of the original email that I received from Francesca (HR rep) and her answers to the questions that I had asked in my reply to this message. I’m hoping that English was not her first language because If it is than not only is Emergenza a shady and dishonest business but they are also run by retarded monkeys:

Hy Mike,
I knew through Kevin you had an interview with him few days ago regarding the Chicago manager assistant position. Here are few info you might find useful to get an idea of the job, payments and rules.
My name is Francesca and I’m the Emergenza Human Resources Responsible. I’m your reference point for any question regarding payments, rules, doubts and concerns. Please always refer to me! Avoid asking info to ANY tour/area/local managers you’ll happen to work with as they might not have all of the useful and specific info you might need....bother me instead!

I replied to this email with some questions and she wrote back to me with her answers along with my questions in the body of the email. Francesca’s answers are in bold:
Hy Mike, here are soem of the answer to the questions you asked me:
-How many hours do you count as a workday and if I exceed those is there an overtime rate? Conversely, if I fall below that number how much is deducted per hour?

You’ll be paid 92$ gross a day, this payment applies anyone working more than 5 hours per day,less than five hours you’ll get paid hourly, 5 hours of work will be paid 46$ gross.

-Kevin has assured me that this is full time work to which I would intend to commit 100Àbut I realize that locally the shows only run through a certain part of the year. What will I be doing when we are not doing shows in Chicago? Will I be traveling to the other 16 US cities in some type of a regular circuit? In other words I want to be certain that this is not a seasonal employment type of position! I need to make sure that this job is full-time year-round.

Shows run from January to June, in your case, you’ll be busy every week of the year, Chicago season is the busiest one on the workplan, you actually have 2 weeks off we might send you somewherelse in case of company need.

-I am fully aware that this job will involve travel and I look forward to it but can you give me an estimation (or better yet a schedule) of when, where, and how often?

see above, plus you’ll be sent a workplan next week, making everything more clear to you.

-Please describe to me the type of benefits package and/or profit sharing plan that you offer after the 6-month training period is over.

All the people considered capable to work within this company ( Kevin will ponder this within next week traing with you) will fly to Montreal few days before Christmas, during those days all the future carreer possibilities plus economical benefit will be fully explained during those two days meeting. In the meanwhile you can refer to the email I sent to you.

- Do you offer direct deposit of payment and what bank do you use?

You’ll receive cheque the week after your working week into your bank acconut , the bank we work with are: Fleet,Bank of America and Bank One

- I understand that you do not pay for taxies or gas in my home city but what about a monthly CTA pass? They cost $75 dollars per month and currently I do not have a car.

Company do not cover those expenses

-I would very much like to see a an annual or quarterly report of Emergenza’s finances, particularly in regards to gross income versus gross profit and a breakdown of overhead expenses during a show season in different regions. Feel free to email me Excel or Power point files.

I’ll provide you with this as soon as I’ll get the document from Europe.

-Walter Combi mentioned a relationship between Emergenza and Columbia/Sony records; will you elaborate on that for me?

Our Artistic director will be more than glad to provide yu with all the info you might need regarding the partnership, anyway this cooperation doesn’t affect USA straightaway, as Track one is our American label, Columbia Sony is more involved in the European project

-Do you have a phone number where I can contact you to talk in person? I would like to discuss what a possible career trajectory could look like at Emergenza, I want to know that I can grow here.

Again, everyhing will be fully explained in Montreal meeting

Thank you so much for your patience in reading this, I realize that it is a long email but I need to feel secure that Emergenza is a good long term career decision for me.

Thank you Mike, I’m looking forward to meting you in the next future, I’m here for any other question you might have.

Take care,
Francesca

Other than the fact that no one had ever told me that I would need to fly to Montreal this mostly sounded acceptable so the next day I called Kevin and told him that I was accepting the job. I then went straight to Guitar center and quit. Everything was finally starting to look up for me and I was excited to start my new job coordinating rock shows for Emergenza. I called my girlfriend and told her that I’d accepted the gig and we made plans to celebrate that night. I was psyched!

That night as I rode the Ashland ..70 to my girlfriends places for dinner my phone began to vibrate in my pants. I fished it out and recognized Walter’s number in the display. I quickly flipped it open and cheerily greeted him. “Hey there Walter how’s it going, what’s up?” “Mike, I’ve got some bad news for ya buddy” Walter said in a disturbingly sarcastic tone made even worse by his comically cockney accent. “I’m afraid we can no longer offer you a position with Emergenza. We don’t think you’re the kind of person we need around.” “What!?” I said, almost dropping the phone. “What are you talking about? Why!?” I rang the bell for the bus to stop and just got out wherever I was so that I could hear better and find a place to sit down that wasn’t moving. Walter continued “I got a hold of that email that you sent to Francesca, and so did the CEO, in fact I’m reading it right now. I have to say Mike I didn’t think you were that kind of person.” What kind of person!? I managed to choke out as I stood reeling, watching my world turn to shit in the lightly falling snow somewhere on Ashland Avenue. “The kind of person who asks too many questions and snoops around in places he doesn’t belong! It’s none of your business what our annual report looks like we’re not a publicly traded company and Massimo and I don’t feel like you’re the kind of chap we can rely on anymore.”

Walter, I shouted I know you’re not publicly traded but you are a publicly reporting company I looked it up! I just don’t have one hundred bucks to buy your annual report from Hoovers, but who cares, that’s not even the issue here! You’re actually going to retract my job offer after I’ve accepted it and quit my other job just for asking to see an Annual report!? Are you serious!? The questions that I asked Francesca were standard questions to ask a prospective employer! Is this for real!?” “I’m afraid so Mike.” Walter said dryly. We think it displays a lack of faith in the company. Look at Kevin, he didn’t ask any questions and look where he is! He is a good little American. He’s an example of a good American who doesn’t ask questions and doesn’t stick his nose where it doesn’t belong. I’m sorry Mike but this has been decided and that’s all I have to say.” He hung up. I stood there in the flickering orange circle of the sodium vapor light blinking in the falling snow, staring into the darkness of the street, and my future it seemed. “I have fifty dollars to my name,” I thought, and no fucking job. Another bus eventually pulled up and I got on it and continued in dazed silence to my girlfriend’s apartment.

The next day I called Kevin but he didn’t answer, I left him a message asking what the hell is going on but I figured he wouldn’t call me back. I emailed Walter, I emailed Kevin, and I emailed Francesca. I started trying to do some research into U.S. labor law to see if what they did was even legal but I couldn’t find much that I could use to my advantage. Finally I just came to terms with the fact that this was just over. Whatever had happened was over and I couldn’t do shit about it. A few days later however I did receive an email back from Francesca in HR. The following is my email to her and her eventual response:

Francesca, I assume you received the copy of the email that I sent to Walter and are aware that he has retracted Emergenza’s job offer to me. I would very much appreciate an explanation from you since you are the HR representative who encouraged me to ask any questions that I might have. Keep in mind that I quit my job on Saturday for Emergenza and I am now extremely worried about my lively hood. Please get back to me as soon as you can

-Mike T.
Dear Mike,
it took me a while to come back to you as I’m just back in Europe now. As you can see a decision has been already taken by the company itself. I think the inadequacy of you questions has been seen as the major factor of your position reconsideration and it’s not in the company philosophy to step back, especially when different poeple got the same impression on a specific case. I’m sure Walter on the phone has been more than exaustive giving you the best reasons for our decision and I’m also sure he apologised regarding your week off at your present job , but as you ca understand Emergenza cannot be blamed for that as well as my encouragement to ask any questions you might had. The questions I was referring to were the those related to the useful inquiries collection regarding your specific position, the one”Local manager assistant”, while the majority of those you asked me too often sounded pretty akward. I just wanted to clarify this wasn’t Walter’s decision but it was the company one, the fact he made the phone call to you was only due by a sense of responsability he felt as having met you for the first time, therefore no fault or blame has to be assigned to him in any moment. We gotta reconsider the position of local manager itslef in Chicago therefore at the moment the employement procedure in that city has been stopped.
I hope I gave you now all the explanations you wanted to know.
Best Regards,
Francesca

So that was the extent of my involvement with Emergenza. Although it f*cked me for a few months in that I was un employed and was so broke that I had to play my guitar in the subway a couple of times just to get money for food, I think it was better that I found out how dishonest that organization is sooner rather than later. In the end I am glad that I now have nothing to do with them whatsoever.
-Blog from Mike Turner on myspace

Our old pals at the Portland Mercury weigh in on this subject with Matt Davis' article
"For the Love of Money: Is the Emergenza Festival Ripping Off Local Bands?"

I'm going to show two posts from CD Baby. These are from people who have specific detailed experiences with doing Emergenza Battles of the Bands. One is a post from "drmrsdad". This is a father who’s son’s metal band entered the Emergenza contest and his take on the whole thing. The other is from "Iain" who doesn't say what band he's in, but this is so detailed, he obviously lived through it. I'm just going to re-post them here because there are now many posts with mostly unfavorable rants, it's hard to read through everything to find them. If you want to read all the accounts (check out some of the pathetic Emergenza reps trying to defend the whole thing - and yeah, I just couldn't help but putting in my two cents, er $20 worth - and please enjoy the reply by the former Emergenza rep Ellie. She lists every virtuoso violin class she took in high school (!) and how she's played with people you never heard of! And oh yeah, she toured the Southeast...SHE LIVES IN THE SOUTHEAST! Wow, she really lets me have it! Yee-ouch, that's gotta hurt!). Read drmrsdad's and Iain's enlightened accounts of what a mess this is or check it all out on CD BABY:
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by drmrsdad on Monday July 10 2006 @ 10:42AM PDT

Ahh Emergenza, I say DON'T DO IT. It's ok to Play for no pay, but never PAY TO PLAY!!!

The Brooklyn/New York finals this year July 1st 2006, was a travesty on all levels. The Emergenza official was the most unprofessional person I have ever met in the entertainment business. Emergenza should send their officials to some kind of Customer Training course, because after all, the bands that enroll are customers to Emergenza.

I am not being biased here, I'm just telling it like it is, because I was there. First I want to start by saying this thread is about 2 things. I just wanted to give you a in depth, view on the "Farce" that is The Emergenza Festival and, who ever was or were the minds that came up with the creation of this "festival" are geniuses. Secondly, what happened to my son's band on July 1st was a direct result of what happens when ego's clash and one is in a position more power than the other.
My son's band was one of the bands that went through the NYC area competition in Brooklyn. They won their first 3 rounds by having the most votes on each night, 49, 78 and over 100 in round 3. The Finals were held at The Knitting Factory in NYC with 10 bands who were the winners of their respective rounds at the same venue in Brooklyn as well as a band from Buffalo NY and another band from somewhere else in New York.
Ok it works like this. Through each of the preliminary rounds the top 3 bands from each night who have the most votes that particular night get to move on to the next round. The votes are counted by an Emergenza Official who stands on stage and counts how many hands are raised in the audience after their performance with a hand held click counter. As you can see most people that come to see "their Band" won't vote for another band, because they don't want their vote to go against their own. Here is the genius of this "Festival"! It is not about talent, it's not about the best goes onto the next round, and it is not about "an environment that aims to give up-and-coming bands the tools and the means to succeed." It's all about Business and Emergenza making money!!!!! Hey I don't see anything wrong with that, but let's call a shark a shark when you see it! This is just an incredible way to make money on the eagerness and lack of knowledge of kids wanting to get to the top by making them believe that their talent will take them to the "Holy Land" or the Warped Tour, National and International tours and recognition. The simple fact of the matter is this, I'm pretty involved with finding programs and events for kids to be involved in when it comes to music programs and I never heard of this event until my son's band joined, and apparently Emergenza has been in existence since 1992!! LOL!

So each round pushes you to bring more people, to the next round. With each round the ticket prices go up, clever! $8.00 for round 1, $10.00 for round 2 & 3 and it was $15.00 for the Regional Final last night. In total my son's band made Emergenza gross aprox $4500.00 now just take a look at this link and look at the numbers that the New York City rounds brought in. The Numbers to the right are the amount of votes each band got for that particular night, now multiply that by the each one of the cities around the world, cha ching!! http://www.emergenza.net/document/shows/schedule.asp?dett=yes&res=152
Ok about last night. The guitar player in my son's band had a major blow up with the Dictator, oops I mean Director Official from Emergenza, which caused her to basically Blacklist the whole band. It basically was about the band trying to get ready to get on stage, which they have only 5 minutes to set-up and be ready for their 30 minute set. The backstage area was no larger than a walk in closet and there was so much gear, guitar cases, bags that it made it impossible for bands to exit and enter the stage smoothly. 2 big ego's stress and heat, just added to the fire that had begun after sound check, when the Ticket finalization must take place in order to play. Hand in money and tickets not sold in order to play. The band planned to bring in about 100 people, but couldn't get tickets sold before the show, but they knew their peeps were coming, but ya gotta pay to play, So besides the money that reflected about 50 tickets sold, the band put up their own money to buy a book of 100 tickets at $15.00 a pop and managed to be able to recoup when people arrived outside the front door.
Of the 10 bands my son's band probably came in 2nd or 3rd with ticket sales as they sold 150 tickets, but remember this round is "judged"! As soon as my son's band started their performance, the "Dictator" came upstairs to where the judges were and where I was standing and whispered something into each judge’s ear. I stood behind the judges the whole night and during my son's bands performance one of the judges pulled out a dig cam and started to video my son's band. He even went on to say how much he dug the band to the other judge and personnel around him. During some of the other bands the judges just got up and left their seats to go outside! So after all 10 bands played and before they gave out individual awards for best guitarist, bass player and drummer, the 2 judges were on stage doing their PR thing, getting the crowd hyped up, and talking about how "even though only one band wins, they all win" yadda, yadda, yadda,. The one judge says, OK we are going to give out the individual awards and points to my son's guitarist and says, "What’s this guys name, now that boy can play guitar!” When they announced the winners, none of the guys in my son's band won. Now I knew they weren't going to win to move on to the next round because of the backstage altercation, but seeing all the bands which were labeled Punk, Hardcore, Pop Punk, Punk Alternative, Metal, Alternative Metal and Progressive Metal (my son's band) and honestly not being biased, they bar far had the best musicianship and skill. It appears that in the final round, only the top 4 bands with the most audience votes are judged to move on to the next round. The Emergenza official purposely keyed them in as 5th. Don’t' believe me, check their website. It's right there in Black & White
01 NEW PIRACY Hard core
02 DURTNECK Rock
03 SEXY HEROES IN TRANSIT Pop Punk
05 UNTIL DESTINY Progressive rock
06 VICTIM 6 Metal
07 LIES BENEATH Heavy Metal
07 WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS Punk rock
07 SECTION 8 CARTEL Alternative metal
07 RID OF ME Punk Alternative
http://www.emergenza.net/document/shows/schedule.asp?dett=yes&res=176

Where the heck is band 4????

Yes they learned a lesson that night one that I often stress more than anything. It's not always about talent and ability, but how you are able to interact with people and how your attitude effects how other people perceive and work with you.

Remember, never PAY TO PLAY!!!
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by Iain on Monday May 14 2007 @ 04:55AM PDT

Emergenza is a huge pile of Eurotrash Sh*t!!! Strong words you think!!, but, read on....

It all started to go wrong from the start!!
We went to our 1st meeting, they told us when and where we would do our 1st show and when the technical meeting prior to the show was going to be (tech meeting @ 4pm, on the Thursday before the show scheduled for the Sunday after)!! Ok, sounds organized...but a couple days before our scheduled show at around 2pm, I got a phone call from them asking if we were going to make it on time for the tech meeting and how long it would take us to get there... I was surprised he'd asked the 2nd question...."Wow" I thought, "these guys are really taking care of business!!" I said "Yeah, we'll all be there at 4pm like it says in the paper work you gave us!!" I was then informed that the tech meeting had been changed to 2pm instead, and we were now late for the meeting!!! I told the rep on the phone the fact that nobody had told me of the change!! He then asked "Are you still going to be able to do the show tomorrow night" (Friday) At this point I coughed up a testicle as our show had been scheduled for the Sunday! He then informed me that our show date had been changed too because they could not get the venue as planned! Again I told him nobody told me!! Then I coughed up the other testicle when I suddenly realized we had sold a ton of tickets for the show which was supposed to be on Sunday night, and now we were not going to be there!! Over 100 people were going to show up, with tickets in hand, expecting to see us perform and we were not going to be there!! There was no time to contact everyone that had bought a ticket to tell them we were going to be doing the show the next night instead!! Right there and then I told the Emergenza rep, "well, things are all fu@ked up now, huh!". "How are we going to get to the next round when all our fans/voters are going to turn up 3 days late?" This Emergenza rep's testicles must be so big he needs to push them around in a shopping trolley cause he actually suggested we do the show anyway, throwing down the gaunlet by saying if we were really good we could win over enough fans of the other bands to get enough votes to get through to the next round. Well then...I told him I would call him back, mainly to pour a stiff drink but I felt I had to have a conference call with everyone in my band and put the decision to a collective vote, to actually pick up that gauntlet and do this f*ck*d up show!! So, I got out voted! (my argument to tell Emergenza to go F**k themselves went unheard) and I promptly called the Emergenza rep back and said "OK...we'll do it!!"

We did the show and yes!...we did get enough votes to get through, despite the fact that we had none of our own fan support due to the Emergenza F**K UP!!! After the celebrations of getting to the next round, the next mission was to go to the venue on the originally agreed night of the show (Sunday) and catch everyone that showed up with our ticket in hand to explain the situation and give them their money back!! Can you imagine repeating the apology speech to over 100 pissed off people who were looking forward to seeing us play!! I wouldn't wish that on ...erm...even an Emergenza organizer!!! Well, ok...maybe I would!!

After several rounds in the competition, my band got into the top 3 of the finals...we had a very good following, made them a lot of money on the tickets we sold, for them.

We worked our asses off, promoting the shows, designing and printing flyers, time spent advertising online (which every band should do to promote themselves) ...oh, and actually paying Emergenza the $70.00 enrollment fee, and didn't even get a single string, drum head or anything out of it that was promised on any of the rounds we got to!! Doing all this pre show work comes naturally, or should do, to those who are serious about their music! But, folks...you should not have to do it for nothing in return!!! Unless you don't have much faith in your own musical works or just regard it as a hobby!!!

So onward with the rip off...With each new round we got to, by getting votes, they increased the ticket price and decreased the bands set playing time till it got to the point where I was embarresed asking our many fans to pay so much to see us play for 20 minutes...especially when they could come to a regular show we put on ourselves for less than half the price, in a much better venue, better sound system, better stage lighting and over an hours worth of our music!! From a musicians point of view on the equipment, our drummer, whose own kit is a top notch kit, complained had to play their kit with cracked cymbals that had been drilled and sounded like trash cans!!! The Emergena rep went off the deep end verbally as if we had just bitch slapped his mother!!

It just get's worse...

The hand in the air count at the end of each band's performance to see who goes through to the next round...yeah, right! Was the M.C seeing double, due to double vodkas he'd consumed before certain bands?? Cause when the vote count was listed on their website...it was way off from the actual hands in the air votes I counted from the same vantage point as the MC!!! Sometimes more than double what the vote really was!!!! What a crock of shit!!

Oh, and get this....Bands that had already been eliminated from the previous rounds because they did not get enough votes to go through to the next round were ASKED BACK anyway because Emergenza did not have enough bands to fill the night on the next round!! WTF was the point of bands, like us, going the extra mile to sell a ton of tickets to get enough votes to get to the finals when we were up against bands we had already beaten, and they had been eliminated in previous elimination rounds! I'll tell you what the point was....so Emergenza had these bands, once again, selling tickets to line the organizers pockets even more by waving the proverbial carrot in front of the donkey (or jackass if you prefer) to lead those band members on in hopes of them actually getting a 2nd chance of getting to the next round and onto winning the grand prize.. Yeah right, like that was ever going to happen, as each Emergenza rep for that city or town event had already decided who was going through!!

As far as the judges, present at the final rounds, are concerned!! Yeah right!!...I asked our Emergenza rep, 2 minutes before we hit the stage, how many judges there were so I could give him copies of our set list for the judges and it was obvious by his mumbling, stuttering answer that he did not have a clue how many judges there were...Hmmm, I'm thinking were there any!? Was he the JUDGE!!?? It was obviously already decided what bands they preferred, by the inviting back of eliminated bands, and the others the asked back! Emergenza just wanted to milk the hard working musicians out of the money on tickets they would sell on each round right up to the final of the Final of the FINAL! round...milking them right up to the point where the line is blurred from maybe this is not acceptable or legal to totally ridiculous!!!

My advice, having been there, done it, didn't even get a t-shirt to show for it...Stay Clear Of This!!!

If you have your own personal amplification equipment, PA system and instruments( and come on let's face it, if you're serious about being a musician in the music BUSINESS, you will find a way to get the money together to have what you need to play your music live to your fans) It's really not that freaking difficult to put on your own show at a local venue and sell tickets (& make money from your merch) at a reasonable price to your fans and make money for the advancement of your band rather than lining these jerks pockets!!

Go to their website and look at the statistics...
How many shows in each state and each country, multiplyed by how many bands by ticket price of $12 - $15. That's a lot of money that those Fu@$ers are making from your hard work on the wild dream that these greedy bastards are concerned about advancing your money making chances on your God given talent!!!

I could go on telling more horrors of this experience with Emergenza, but, I think you get the picture!!

Are you still thinking of putting your band through the Emergenza nightmare!!???


WHAT THE BLOGGERS SAY: CHECK OUT SOME OF THE DETAILS
WHILE A FEW PEOPLE DEFEND IT (MOSTLY PEOPLE THAT WORK FOR EMERGENZA) YOU CAN FIND LOTS OF INFO
FROM WORKING MUSICIANS WHO'VE WALKED THE WALK.

BLOG FROM TALKBASS.COM - Bass players have it figured out.
BLOG FROM RAWKSUAWK.COM - Rockers have something to say.
SONICBIDS - Read the forum from these happy campers.

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