I may not live in Birmingham anymore but I keep a close eye on it. I've got friends there, Nostalgia & Comics is there and most of the gigs I see end up being there as well.
Plus, uber-blogger Pete Ashton is heavily involved with the arts scene down there as well. He's running the Custard Factory website and up until recently was running Created In Birmingham, the award winning media and arts blog for the city. So that keeps me in the know quite nicely.
But CiB has run into a problem.
It decided to post a piece on the Surface Unsigned Battle of the Bands event that's taking place there. In what was essentially a fairly nice piece about the event (6 local bands, nice way to get a quick showcase of the music scene of the city etc etc) the writer did a little digging into Surface Unsigned conditions for entry. Seems SU like to demand that bands sell 25 tickets at £6 each. Any band not selling 25 will not be allowed to progress any further.
So it doesn't matter how good they are or how well they play in this talent contest. It's all about the money.
And yes, I'm well aware that this sort of pay to play nonsense goes on all the time.
That's not the point.
See, Surface Unsigned got a might uppity about the original post criticising Surface Unsigned and decided to go in all guns blazing. Threats were issued and writs were threatened. I imagine they've been somewhat surprised by the response so far. Big business never likes it when people start laughing at them and refusing to yield to their bullying tactics.
Of course, from now on it's a game of link, link and more link. In a few days time Surface Unsigned may google themselves and find every other link a direct criticism of their actions.
Original Post on CIB
CIB follow up post.
Pete Ashton's response.