Friday in San Francisco

02010-07-02 | Coffee | 4 comments

Three phone-interviews back to back, then a bike-ride to meet Stephen Duros for coffee downtown.
A while later I had lunch at Cafe Bastille, seating myself in such a way that I could only occasionally look at the TV showing the soccer game Ghana against Uruguay. A little earlier Warren Ellis had tweeted this:

Brazil are knocked out of the World Cup. The sun comes out. Birds sing. The earth heals itself. Everything is beautiful.

Never count out the Dutch!

I am already looking forward to playing guitar tonight!!!

This Morning we de-activated all subscriptions to ensure that no automatic payments are made. If you haven’t checked this space in a while, you can read my original note about the end of this Journal here.

As a result of this de-activation you received an email from PayPal that read:

(your name and email address) cancelled a Annual subscription. – or something like that.

Rest assured we have only told PayPal to cancel your auto-renewing payments. You will continue to be able to access the backstage area until it’s eventual (final) closing at the end of May 2011.

I received a few emails that read like this – it is just one example from a variety of responses:

I paid 20.00US for a year. This should take me through May of 2011. If this is not the case and I am not refunded, Paypal will be notified to retreive my refund for me.

Let me state that the person who sent that email already apologized for the tone of the message. All is, of course, forgiven.

But, it made me think. Most record companies, certainly all medium and large labels, have customer service call centers. You might have to communicate with a person who has a strong accent, but that person has been trained in customer service. Most musicians also have employees who deal with fans and customers. Since striking out on my own nine years ago I have attempted to engage people on a more personal level, using some of the new mediums available, blogging, Twitter, Flickr, and so on. At times that has worked very well, and I have met some very interesting people, including some who I now call friends. But, I am not cut out for this. I have neither the training nor the natural patience to engage unhappy customers.

Again, I hold no grudge and am aware that we all, myself included, have sent out emails like the one quoted above. There is something in the character of electronic mail that makes it easy for this to happen.

Conclusion: Please ignore the emails from PayPal and don’t worry, you will all have access to this space until the end of May of 2011.


  1. Vic

    I appreciate the expediency in which you and Canton addressed the matter as soon as I e-mailed you with my question and concern.

    I’m just happy that O-F will still be around for us until next May. :)

  2. yumi

    “I have neither the training nor the natural patience to engage unhappy customers.”

    Thinking back from the beginning of the subscription series until now…for an untrained Ottmar-Friends customer service rep, I think you’ve done pretty well.

  3. Ulrich

    You (O.L.) don’t need any training for such a customer – you are a musician!
    It’s really sorry that there are people who cannot appreciate your doing.

  4. Brenda

    Yes, my strong southern accent is beneficial probably when speaking to a northerner in my history of customer service but I do not consider myself a southerner just sound like one. You listened to your customer that is normally the most important thing, “they were heard and you replied in acceptance of their misunderstanding. To respect a person’s point of view is rare today. We are all happy to listen to your music and that daily glimpse of your life recorded interests and your subscriber’s that responded do not want to say “goodbye” too soon. ;-)


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