You know, we’re a credible site, turning this blog into a force over the last twelve months. And though I bit my tongue on this as it happened, the only event that we had an issue getting into since we launched was this year’s Mad Decent Block Party. While passes for DAD writers in Philly, Detroit, LA, and Brooklyn were greenlit months in advance, our media access was either fumbled or clipped in each city. This was after our Mad Decent Week, which lead in perfectly to the start of the Mad Decent Block Parties.
This certainly wasn’t Diplo’s fault, and ended up having very little to do with the PR company that we dealt with. There were several teams that handled all of the logistics for this run of shows, and our connect was incredibly apologetic (all four times). But as I was sitting in the crowd to an event that I was supposed to have artist access for, I’m watching droves of twerking girls that were given the credentials that were confirmed for me months earlier. The photographer that I brought with me didn’t have any stage or artist access at all, and I ended up just walking out in the middle of the afternoon.
We had similar issue with a corespondent that I had in Chicago for NorthCoast. The organizers asked if I had anyone that wanted to cover the event, and I gave them the names of two cinematographers as well as a young lady to facilitate interviews that were organized without their help. The cinematographers were given access, and my 18-year-old corespondent was left stranded in the crowd. There was never a logical explanation as to why this happened, and it left a horrible taste in my mouth.
We know what you're saying: #firstworldproblems, but keep in mind that we don’t get paid much for what we do. Most bloggers and photographers don’t actually get paid anything at all. Getting snubbed at an event that you’re spending your own money to cover is a blow. And no matter how successful an outlet is, curators feel some type of way when place our content without crediting the source. It looked like a collective of photographers called Visualbass was snubbed for access, then had his content lifted by Diplo without any mention as to where it came from.
Looking at this Twitter interaction, it looked as if a photographer from Visualbass was given a photo pass to the Toronto stop of the Mad Decent Block Party (Jason Ano explained how we turn our nose up at this pass), and despite the lack of backstage access, took some incredible pictures of the event. Diplo used some of these photos to flex on Instagram, didn’t credit the photographer, and was called out on Twitter. And instead of quietly fixing the situation, we saw this exchange:
In an interesting twist, Visualbass is now selling prints of this Diplo photo for $2:
You can now purchase the @diplo print here: http://t.co/xrAqhvmGgr hpw you like them apples
— Visualbass Clubscape (@Visualbass) December 10, 2013
There are tons of supportive comments for Visual Bass both on Twitter and Instagram. This would have been a non-event if Diplo simply apologized and deleted the photo, or re-uploaded the image with the photographer’s tag. But as someone that’s hustling to pay their bills with their art is getting their content used without permission, suggesting that they don’t attend your party next year when they ask why their name isn’t attached to a photo they took is just cruel. A kind gesture goes a long way, especially when you’re at the top.
I’m hoping that we can have an honest and open conversation in regards to what bloggers, cinematographers, and photographers bring to the table in this industry. We cover artists and labels, help sell their brand, and make next to nothing doing so. Most of us are unknown, unpaid, and unappreciated. Having this discussion on Twitter might not have been the move, but the response shows how much the industry actually values the content curators in electronic dance music.