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Unifying_Disorder
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:52 pm
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 11:58 pm 
 

Lately I've become fascinated by the notion of salesmanship. Particularly selling ideas. The art of selling seems to be a highly useful skill simply for communicating in one's day to day life. For instance, if your family wants to go to a restaurant for dinner but can't agree on which one, you might use the tactics of salesmanship to convince them that your choice will meet their wants and needs. It's win-win.

There are a few things that interest me quite a bit lately. What sort of arguments sway large numbers of people? What actually convinces people? How do you successfully pitch to a not-entirely-receptive audience?

Does anyone have any good stories about selling something, giving a rousing speech, convincing someone to vote a certain way, or pitching an idea?
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Exigence
Age: 28 (Wait, what?!)

Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:42 pm
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Location: New Orleans
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:30 pm 
 

Sales is the lowest form of life on this planet. But every company is always hiring in that department so if you want to do it you'll always be employed.
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Glaeken
Echoes in an empty cranium

Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 3:59 pm
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Location: UK
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:57 pm 
 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(public_relations)


This is the method politicians here use.

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Unifying_Disorder
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:44 pm 
 

Exigence wrote:
Sales is the lowest form of life on this planet.


Really? So lawyers, journalists, politicians - sales is lower than them?
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wrathchild_88
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:47 pm 
 

The OP made it seem like you just wanted to learn salesmanship just to get their own way more often. Just think about the ethics of manipulation before you go headfirst into it or you'll end up as just another advertising dick doing or saying whatever it takes to sell your shit. Nobody likes that guy. Don't be that guy.
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Unifying_Disorder
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:52 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:49 pm 
 

wrathchild_88 wrote:
The OP made it seem like you just wanted to learn salesmanship just to get their own way more often. Just think about the ethics of manipulation before you go headfirst into it or you'll end up as just another advertising dick doing or saying whatever it takes to sell your shit. Nobody likes that guy. Don't be that guy.


No, I definitely don't want to be that guy. I value integrity. I'm just interested in effective communication and how to make more effective arguments. It seems that I've failed in this case...

I do have a story of encountering one of those guys. I ripped his nonsense to shreds. Interestingly, I then concocted a conspiracy theory about car dealers which I thought was just paranoia, until it turned out to be true.

Actually, what sparked this conversation is that I've just been debating people casually on various topics. My problem is that while I'm pretty good at writing, when I speak, my mind is like a grab-bag of ideas, and I often end up saying something bombastic and hyperbolic that makes me sound ridiculous. For example, recently a cousin of mine gave a conspiracy theory about how the news deliberately edits things to make police look bad for the sake of a story. Police abuse their authority all the time, but instead of giving a reasoned response and giving examples to support my thesis, when he said "They make cops look bad", I spouted, "But cops are bad!" Boom, I look ridiculous, I lose.

I'm also quite interested in history. I find it intriguing how some ideas fade away, and some seem to come out hibernation. Some are considered fringe nonsense, but then become mainstream. Other mainstream ideas are pushed to the fringe. For example, take Barry Goldwater in 1964. He was considered a radical back then, but the things he talked about are mainstream today, for good or bad.

I've just realized that a lot of things in life, whether it be supporting a position, convincing someone of something, or pitching something (like a book to a publisher), is about showing them how it advances their goals, whatever they may be.

For instance, I once wrote an essay in high school about why chocolate pie is the best dessert. I had several people come up to me and say "I don't even like chocolate pie, but now I want to try it!" I didn't lie about chocolate pie, I simply explained what it offered that other desserts didn't. People have wants, I showed how chocolate pie filled them. That's not manipulative or dishonest.
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awheio
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:50 pm 
 

Just study philosophy. Typically, the basic format for a philosophical argument is this: Here are some premises we all agree are true; by rules of logic, these premises imply this conclusion; therefore, given your acceptance of these premises, you are rationally committed to accepting this conclusion (or to abandoning at least one of the premises).

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Unifying_Disorder
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 8:03 pm 
 

Perhaps I should have made this thread about "How to win an argument", because I think that's my real purpose here.
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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:15 pm 
 

This thread title sounds like a manual for used care salesmen.
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Unifying_Disorder
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:24 pm 
 

FasterDisaster wrote:
This thread title sounds like a manual for used care salesmen.


Lol. I actually picked that title because I didn't want that to be the case. I was originally going to title it "salesmanship", but I thought that sounded kind of sleazy. I thought "the art of selling" gave it a respectable aurora.

Maybe I don't really know what "respectable aurora" means. Lol. I see your point.
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awheio
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:02 am 
 

I think it's also very important to get clearer about what you mean by "winning" an argument.

Do you mean proving that your hypothesis is correct, while your opponent's is false? Do you mean getting them to agree with you? Do you mean getting them to do what you want?

There are of course close relationships between these three goals, but the methods are going to differ a lot between them. For example, for (2) and (3), emotional appeals and "rhetoric" in that sense will be quite useful. But for (3) and not (2), intimidation of one sort or another may be useful. For (1), emotional appeals will not usually be very important, but the rigorousness that it requires will often not convince many people -- for example, because they might lack the patience to cooperatively follow your argument in its details.

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Crick
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:38 am 
 

People can win arguments? News to me.
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Unifying_Disorder
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:42 am 
 

awheio wrote:
I think it's also very important to get clearer about what you mean by "winning" an argument.

Do you mean proving that your hypothesis is correct, while your opponent's is false? Do you mean getting them to agree with you? Do you mean getting them to do what you want?

There are of course close relationships between these three goals, but the methods are going to differ a lot between them. For example, for (2) and (3), emotional appeals and "rhetoric" in that sense will be quite useful. But for (3) and not (2), intimidation of one sort or another may be useful. For (1), emotional appeals will not usually be very important, but the rigorousness that it requires will often not convince many people -- for example, because they might lack the patience to cooperatively follow your argument in its details.


1 and 2, but definitely not 3.
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Unorthodox
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:36 am 
 

Learn from the Christians. Making people afraid of some random thing and then use that thing your trying to sell to get them to believe they'll be "saved" from that terrible other thing by using your product. Works for the bible, and also works for selling the placebo effect via medication that doesn't do jack shit.

Or show them that, in some way, your penis will grow with the usage of your product. Seems to get at least 2,000 virgin men lined up 9 times out of 10.
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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:51 am 
 

Crick wrote:
People can win arguments? News to me.

Yeah and you end up looking like an asshole. I've got into many an argument here on the forums and no matter if I "won" or not, I still felt like a fucking asshole. The only way to win is to stop. Or start? I don't know. Life is crazy. I'm going to go make pancakes.
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awheio
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:50 am 
 

Well, I guess I would read Plato or something.

To reiterate what I said before, the basic idea is simple: Find common ground, i.e. agreed upon premises, and show how some particular conclusion logically follows from those premises.

There are of course other important styles of philosophic argument. You can suppose their conclusion for the sake of argument, and show how it entails some absurdity, so that it can't be true.

Or you can list a number of exhaustive alternatives (e.g. "Either A, B, or C is true...") and show how all but one of them entail some absurdity, so that the other one must be true.

But, yeah, this is why in Socratic dialogues, it is always Socrates saying something and waiting for his interlocutor to agree with him. You just have to start small with things they accept. Then you very slowly trace the consequences of what they accept, guiding their assent along the way until they suddenly find themselves endorsing your conclusion. This is of course much more difficult in practice than Socrates (as a character) made it look, but it is a fine model.

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Glaeken
Echoes in an empty cranium

Joined: Sat May 31, 2014 3:59 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:41 am 
 

Simply buy a pipe, then when the other person is going on, occasionally nod your head while puffing whilst looking at a very important spot on the ceiling. If after a while you feel you're not making progress, say -'now if you'll please excuse me I've got important manuscripts to write'. Then puff furiously to build up a mysterious fog bank that encapsulates you, and simply ignore any further protestations whilst mumbling profoundly.

:)

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Erotetic
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:05 pm
Posts: 899
Location: New Zealand
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:19 am 
 

Unifying_Disorder wrote:
Does anyone have any good stories about selling something, giving a rousing speech, convincing someone to vote a certain way, or pitching an idea?


nope, not much of a storyteller. but I've studied a little rhetoric and argumentation and logic and negotiation (keywords germane to your query).

you could always start with Schopenhauer's Art of Controversy.
https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/schope ... tents.html

Unifying_Disorder wrote:
I actually picked that title because I didn't want that to be the case. I was originally going to title it "salesmanship", but I thought that sounded kind of sleazy.


'persuasion' also has a sleazy undertone to it, thanks to the 'pick up artist' hucksters, though persuasive discourse is effectively what we're talking about, here (whether the honest or dishonest variety)
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Erotetic
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am 
 

awheio wrote:
I think it's also very important to get clearer about what you mean by "winning" an argument.

Do you mean proving that your hypothesis is correct, while your opponent's is false? Do you mean getting them to agree with you? Do you mean getting them to do what you want?


another option not enumerated is 'figuring out what is [approximately] true, whose ever opinion that one was'. that's the version of 'winning' an argument where you look to what is gained (here, liberation from false opinion -- you gained more than the person generally considered to have "won", since you benefited the most from it, which is perhaps the more important outcome--when a creationist defeats a naive high schooler on the topic of biology, it's hardly a virtuous sense in which one calls the creationist a winner).
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Resident_Hazard
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:52 am 
 

Crick wrote:
People can win arguments? News to me.


Just not on the internet.
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inhumanist
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Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:09 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:03 am 
 

awheio wrote:
Just study philosophy. Typically, the basic format for a philosophical argument is this: Here are some premises we all agree are true; by rules of logic, these premises imply this conclusion; therefore, given your acceptance of these premises, you are rationally committed to accepting this conclusion (or to abandoning at least one of the premises).

Pro tip: don't study philosophy.

You definitely don't need to study anything to grasp the basic argumentative structure you just summed up so nicely. Philosophy doesn't even make you a better verbal debater because that's simply not a requirement for the discipline. First and foremost you learn to understand, scrutinize and produce writing about advanced abstract subjects. Maybe even discover your favorite school of thought. But certainly not your hidden conversational talent.
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awheio
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:13 pm 
 

inhumanist wrote:
awheio wrote:
Just study philosophy. Typically, the basic format for a philosophical argument is this: Here are some premises we all agree are true; by rules of logic, these premises imply this conclusion; therefore, given your acceptance of these premises, you are rationally committed to accepting this conclusion (or to abandoning at least one of the premises).

Pro tip: don't study philosophy.

You definitely don't need to study anything to grasp the basic argumentative structure you just summed up so nicely. Philosophy doesn't even make you a better verbal debater because that's simply not a requirement for the discipline. First and foremost you learn to understand, scrutinize and produce writing about advanced abstract subjects. Maybe even discover your favorite school of thought. But certainly not your hidden conversational talent.


I'm more optimistic about what studying philosophy can contribute to verbal debate. Conversation is certainly different from writing in a number of important ways, and to improve at either one needs to practice that one itself. But by studying philosophy, analyzing arguments, considering how to respond to them, and actually drafting such responses, one does get practice in, for example, identifying crucial implicit premises so that they might be subjected to further, explicit scrutiny. But it's probably true that just learning about, say, existentialism will do very little to improve your argumentative abilities. I grant that. However, I don't mean to include that sort of learning under the heading of "studying philosophy". Learning about the views of particular schools of thought tends to be just intellectual history, and it can be done without ever getting into the nitty-gritty of the relevant arguments themselves. By "studying philosophy", I meant to pick out the activity of studying arguments and actively working with them -- not just learning lists of conclusions (as in, "Descartes believed this," "Nietzsche claimed that", "According to Stoics...").

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hots_towel
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:24 pm 
 

if any of you have any tips on how to sell tickets im all ears. im not joking when i say this, i owe my old band 200+ dollars in unsold tickets for shows that did virtually nothing for us (save for a few likes on facebook. :nono:).
Spoiler: show
Image
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Exigence
Age: 28 (Wait, what?!)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:41 pm 
 

Nothing drove me out of playing live music like the dehumanizing feeling of asking people to come to your shows.

"Hey could you come humor me while I play rockstar for an hour next Thursday night? Thanks. It's 10 bucks, by the way. Sorry."
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joncheetham88
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:45 pm 
 

I work in sales. Just to clarify for the OP, "winning an argument" is not a huge part of what I do on a day to day basis. Anyone I speak to or consult obviously has full access to the internet and a million second opinions. The buyer-salesman relationship dynamic is very different now. The image many have (derived from Glengarry Glenross, The Wolf of Wall Street etc.) of the fast-talking salesman in pinstripe opening bottles of champagne for bewildered victims he's just cocooned into a deal vastly more beneficial to him is highly dated and, in my experience, couldn't be further from the truth.

As with many things the most important part of getting your way, if that's what you're asking about, is being informed. To take your example of going to a restaurant, if you happened to know that someone's favourite meal is done exceptionally well there, or that there's a comfortable place for a smoker to have a puff, then you'd be selling it. But like with all sales that only works out for you long term if that actually transpires as truth once you arrive.

PS, I don't necessarily disagree with Exigence, but the idea that sales is the lowest form of life only makes sense if we first suppose that humanity contains large swathes of "higher" forms of life (at least relative to the lowest), or at least defined groups that can be described as comparably decent-to-barely tolerable, which is absurd.
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Unifying_Disorder
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:05 pm 
 

hots_towel wrote:
if any of you have any tips on how to sell tickets im all ears. im not joking when i say this, i owe my old band 200+ dollars in unsold tickets for shows that did virtually nothing for us (save for a few likes on facebook. :nono:).
Spoiler: show
Image


I've been thinking about your predicament. You may, or may not find these helpful, but I want to take a crack at it.

1. Don't feel like you're being selfish in asking. You are not. Remember, selling tickets is not about you, it's about them. You are offering them an opportunity. They can take it or leave it, but you're not offering a chance to bend their knee before hots_towel. You're offering a chance to have fun, to meet people, to have a life experience and make memories.

Keep that in mind when you make your pitch. Focus on them, not you.

2. There's a common saying in salesmanship that goes "sell the sizzle, not the steak". You're not selling a rock/metal show (or whatever genre you're playing). You're selling an experience that includes a show. Think about a restaurant. People can eat food and satisfy their biological need almost anywhere. They can cook at home, they can go to any other restaurant. But why go to yours? What benefits do you offer that they don't?

So perhaps you could target your pitch to certain people. If the venue has cheap drinks, and you know some people who like to go to bars, you could focus on that. "Hey, we've got cheaper drinks than where you usually go, and it comes with a show."

Or maybe you know some folks who just don't have much going on that weekend. Say, "Why not get out of the house and come along? You might meet some people, there's great food, and not to mention , we put on a pretty rocking show." Whatever someone's want or need might be, tell them how going to your concert will fill that. "You need something to do/ want to xyz?" The solution? "Come to my show". Bam, now they're seriously considering going, even if they do say no.

3. Just an idea I thought of - not sure how realistic it is. If you have a bunch of tickets left to sell, then give people an incentive to sell them for you (so to speak). Offer this perhaps, "If you bring 3 friends along, I will personally refund your ticket." If they end up bringing 3 people, that's 3 more tickets sold, so you're still making a profit. If even 5 people do this, then that's 20 people attending, instead of 5.

Further, there's a compensation beyond monetary. If you get a sold out show, that's great promotion. If the local music press says "This band played a sold-out show", it implies that they're music must be good, they must be in demand, they might be headed to bigger things. Thus, more interest, more long-term sales, more notoriety. Not to mention, the people who come and see your music might end up really liking it.
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hots_towel
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:11 am 
 

actually this is a pretty helpful list. number 3 in particular i feel is pretty good. if i sell a friend 4 tickets and pay for his, then that's certainly better than me having to pay for all 4 of them.

the thing that sucks though is i live in an area (Los angles to be exact) where presale is very common practice among the promoters/venue owners. My old band has auditioned people from areas where presale isnt done at all. I imagine that comes with a trade off of not having many venues to play at though. Its hard to say if i would rather have it that way, because i hate paying a ton of money for shows that do nothing for your band. however, i imagine some bands in those areas being so desperate for exposure and live sets that someone finally yells "im actually willing to pay to play shows!"
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Exigence
Age: 28 (Wait, what?!)

Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 2:42 pm
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Location: New Orleans
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:40 am 
 

I lived in L.A. and did the pay to play thing. I treated it like an investment in my hobby. It sucked and I'd rather do it but it got me to say "I played ___________ last weekend" which always made my band/music more legitimate to easily impressed, stupid people. Maybe in small cities in the states where there's not a lot going on you can employ sales tactics to beef up attendance - but if you're a big city (and believe me, you'd rather be) then you're dealing with people who have 'seen it all' and don't give a shit about live music.

I live in New Orleans. I first came here for college in 2003. I played punk, hard rock and metal music here. I've never seen a packed show for local bands in those styles. The college scene has a surge of people but once you're done with school, there's nowhere to go. So I moved to Chicago. Then Los Angeles.

I actually wrote a punk song about this years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJC7bi3_hwM

LYRICS:
Spoiler: show
Did you get the facebook invite?
Did you get the last text message I sent?
We go on stage at 9:30
Trust me, you'll be glad you went

UH OH! Nobody's walking
through the door
UH OH! Promoter's pissed
Don't think we're playing here no more

We'd do just as well on the moon
PLAYING TO AN EMPTY ROOM! (EMPTY ROOM!)

Cover charge is 7 dollars
that's not too bad for a Tuesday morning
There's 15 other bands
just in case you think we're boring

UH OH! Everyone canceled!
No one's showing up!
UH OH! Promoter's pissed
Looks like it's only us

Selling out is hard to do
PLAYING TO AN EMPTY ROOM! (EMPTY ROOM!)

Everybody wants to be in a band
Nobody wants to see that band
Everybody wants to be in a band
Nobody wants to see that band
Everybody wants to be in a band
Nobody wants to see that band

Don't worry this will all be over soon
PLAYING TO AN EMPTY ROOM!
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