The case against crowd-funding platforms

Does exactly what it says on the tin. Some of the nonsense contained herein may be very loosely related to The Sisters of Mercy, but I wouldn't bet your PayPal account on it. In keeping with the internet's general theme nothing written here should be taken as Gospel: over three quarters of it is utter gibberish, and most of the forum's denizens haven't spoken to another human being face-to-face for decades. Don't worry your pretty little heads about it. Above all else, remember this: You don't have to stay forever. I will understand.
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Quiff Boy
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this is a great article and articulates some of my reservations about using platforms like pledgemusic and kickstarter for funding 'creative' endeavours.

The case against crowd-funding platforms

http://louderthanwar.com/the-case-crowd ... platforms/
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Pista
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Very interesting reading indeed.

His points are totally valid & this is a very good one
web-based platforms are the same old villains wearing a hipper jacket.
So, effectively, what the guy is saying is that there is no real difference between crowd funding platforms & record labels?

I can get that. But (& shoot me down if I am mistaken) with the "traditional" label route, the bands usually submit demos & hope the label fronts up the cash for studio time to record.
If the execs don't like the material, then the bands inevitably either get hee haw, or have to compromise & "dance to the piper's tune".

The comment about becoming a slave to the project was weird IMHO.
If I were an artist, I would prefer to be a slave to my project than some cigar smoking douchebag in a comfy chair.

Add to that the fact that the mega stars that generate revenue for the record companies are actually funding the minor/ less well known acts' endeavours, which can result in them just getting used to a pay cheque whatever they do.
I tend to think with crowd funding, there is the creation of a sense of doing the utmost best for those who donated.
Okay that might be added pressure, but it is something they have control of having made their choice at the outset.

Then there's international publishing/distribution. I personally get pretty farked off with a US import having an otherwise unavailable track or a bonus disc of b sides or whatever that is otherwise not available in Europe for whatever reason.
That's not going to happen with a crowd funded project. Or is it?

So, there are pros & cons either way.
If Ulterior (for example) were to release a second album on Speed Records, it would not be easily available where I live. So I pledged & am comfortably in the knowledge that I am getting a copy in the post.
I know I can buy online (BTW, try googling "speed records" ;) ) &, for me at any rate, pledging's just another way to do it.
Does Chris T-T work for a publishing company btw?

*stands by for a torrent of scorn*

;D
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that was an intersting article to read, thanks

just my point of view but i find it strange that a lot of bands go down this route when it's possible these days with technology to release a quality sounding music without the need for a big budget and going into recording studios.

take for instance, the sisters, couldn't they simply record a new album on a home computer using pro tools or logic. von has lots of experience in recording and producing and wouldn't need anyone else involved. hey he don't even have to mic up any live drums which is usually the hardest part when it comes to recording a band.

maybe i'm talking a lot of crap but i reckon you can release music of good sound quality with home equipment and with someone who's good at recording/producing/mixing.
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a lot of valid points, awfully lot. And it makes me think that there are another way, few examples that you can record and release without rec. comps. and crowd-founding:
- PIL - they collected money by touring, founded their own rec.; i read interview with Lydon and he said that this way takes a lot of work and a lot of time, but at least he was/is happy.
- Wire - for quite a few years they have their own rec. - Pink Flag - i don't know how they get money for record, i can guess that also from touring and what they got from sealing;
both Wire and PIL are distributed by others.
- Swans/Gira - their last album was fincanced from releasing live album, and live album with special dedicated song to those who paid $500. and they distributing their album by themself.

I also know LA/SF band Savage Republic; they were from the begining fully independent, from recording, through desinging and packing and sealing, everyting from a to z were purely DIY. i know that's not the best example, 'cause this is not profesional band, all of them got other jobs and only one member live out of music, but guess that you get it.

and thanks QB for sharing this article. :notworthy:
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It's all a bit irrelevant to the Sisters; Eldritch has no interest in making a new record, whether "traditionally" funded or fan-funded.
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if it's respons to my post, then i have to write that i wasn't writing my post having AE/TSOM on the back of my head, it was few pennise that you can life without rec. comp. and crowd-founding. :wink:
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No sorry matey, just a comment on the topic as a whole 8)
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I read this article and i'm not sure I agree with it tbh.

The March Violets have gone the pledge route and ok its taking them a long time to get the record out but at least it'll be a body of work they'll be happy with. I'd rather wait than get an inferior album. I doubt a record company would have the same view.

He contradicts himself in that he says the money can be found, you just need to ask but also 56% of projects on Kickstarter fail to make their target so get 0%. So maybe the money isn't always there?
Bartek wrote: - PIL - they collected money by touring, founded their own rec.; i read interview with Lydon and he said that this way takes a lot of work and a lot of time, but at least he was/is happy.
In terms of PIL, Lydon has been quite open about the lengths he's had to go to in order to get the funding for their new album. From advertising butter to spending time with 'celebrities' in the jungle. Not options for many bands.....

If an artist views it as an evil to be avoided then fair enough they can find other ways to fund it but what is wrong with it being an option open to musicians?

If it gets me a March Violets album then i'm all in favour..... :D
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Good article, well reasoned, as have been all the posts on this thread.

I harp on about this every time this topic or something vaguely similar comes up but Marillion trailblazed the whole thing by just asking their fans to pre-order an album thatv wasn't made yet through their own website. It was a much bigger success than they ever expected and they've done it several times since. No need for a middle man.

I've just pledged to Paula Cole's Kickstarter campaign because I'm a fan but there was a slight reluctance because of the middle man and because some of the rewards made me cringe. Nothing out of the ordinary - just the sort mentioned in the article. I don't have the money to go for one of the bigger pledges but even if I had, I don't think I'd want to force myself on her for dinner or get her to come and play in my living room or have a songwriting tutorial from her. And I doubt that she really wants to either.
Pista wrote:Then there's international publishing/distribution. I personally get pretty farked off with a US import having an otherwise unavailable track or a bonus disc of b sides or whatever that is otherwise not available in Europe for whatever reason.
That's not going to happen with a crowd funded project. Or is it?
Yes. Well, sort of. Some of the rewards in the Paula Cole campaign include an exclusive bonus track. I went for one of those but couldn't afford the one that includes a second exclusive bonus track. So there are songs you can't get unless you pledge and one of them's out of the financial reach of most fans.
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stufarq wrote:
Pista wrote:Then there's international publishing/distribution. I personally get pretty farked off with a US import having an otherwise unavailable track or a bonus disc of b sides or whatever that is otherwise not available in Europe for whatever reason.
That's not going to happen with a crowd funded project. Or is it?
Yes. Well, sort of. Some of the rewards in the Paula Cole campaign include an exclusive bonus track. I went for one of those but couldn't afford the one that includes a second exclusive bonus track. So there are songs you can't get unless you pledge and one of them's out of the financial reach of most fans.
I find that behaviour just wrong.
I too don't particularly want to have a band I like wash my clothes or do my shopping & autograph the receipt, but I DO want to buy their songs.
Making just one track unreachable to most fans is the equivalent of a satellite or cable tv package where you can only have a certain channel if you pay for a shed load of sh!te you don't actually watch.
It's wrong.

EDIT!
Moreover, this is one reason folks turn to illegal file sharing.
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nowayjose
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stufarq wrote:So there are songs you can't get unless you pledge and one of them's out of the financial reach of most fans.
Who cares... it's not like they're denying you your need to breathe. Most of such extra material is just rubbish, anyway, just like most remix EPs etc., just a way to milk the cow some more. Furthermore, I'm not pledging for any band or other thing because that's just annoying begging to me.
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Thanks for posting this. Interesting discussion points in this article. Cynical at times but interesting and certainly some of it I agree with. The battleground to ensure a band’s success these days is a formidable one. Finding investment in music (or any area of the arts) is challenging, like jumping moving trains so another way of sourcing this is always welcome and necessary, I don't see a problem with it like everything it has its pros and cons, but it is a "if you build it they will come" scenario, and they do in their droves - the good the bad and the ugly. I reserve judgement on some established label artists using PledgeMusic etc. If it is there they are going to use it, as it is just another avenue for raising funds for a certain special heart-felt project - so it would depend on the project and how they approached it for me to pledge, and let’s face it for others it is just another blatant form of exposure and marketing, especially if they have already secured some funding, or have the cushion of a label, publishing, etc. and then continue to milk it beyond reason, it can be open to abuse.

For unsigned, emerging, returning, indie acts etc I think it is a very good tool, a Soundcloud etc. with benefits, and an excellent way of raising funds and profile, or reaffirming and extending a fan base, and for unsigned acts it can give them an A&R platform, but the proviso should be, be careful how you use it, don’t give everything of yourself away or do it in a way that alienates the very people/fans you are trying to reach. I echo Chris TT's thoughts about becoming 'a slave to the campaign' and 'Treats for funders are embarrassing....Money is teased out of devoted fans with offers of rewards, exclusive content, private attention, all sorts. But these bring the wrong kind of closeness; too big a sense of a personal debt owed; often placing artists in uncomfortable situations'. Preposterous give aways and rewards and plain fawning to fans is just a no-no., the ‘distance’ between band and fan is important I think. I guess what I am trying to say is that established or not you need to use integrity, to think hard about your choices and not jump on a bandwagon.

"What is it about these formal frameworks that let the artist off the hook of asking personally for support, when it’s usually the exact same people who end up contributing anyway? You want someone’s money, f*cking go and ask them. Write a letter. It feels as if everyone’s playing at grown-ups by using a third party website as a dressing-up box." My point would be that creativity and business don’t always marry well together, especially for new bands/artists with little experience. Either these bands/artists don’t have time physically or more often feel out of their depth and/or don't have the necessary strategy to do all the groundwork themselves, so it feels more natural to use a third party service to maintain some distance and like anything in life it comes at a price, for a percentage, I think we all understand that and PledgeMusic are no different - it is what they offer for the 15% that becomes the issue.

Which brings me to this. What is going to be important in the future as these sites gain ground is that they offer an all round integrated group of services (and I don't mean by that just some constant barrage of annoying social media, I mean for example integrating with a service that handles or facilitates marketing and distribution beyond the super uber fan stage ) beyond the initial pledge to see a complex project executed successfully, particularly for new bands - beyond being just elements of an online music label funded by fans , I believe PledgeMusic already do that to an extent with their partnerships with Topspin etc, but how well they do this or how transparently I'm not in a capacity to say. I will watch with interest to see how these sites develop, evolve and (probably) merge. Yes, it's Another Spin on the same old record.
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nowayjose wrote:Furthermore, I'm not pledging for any band or other thing because that's just annoying begging to me.
No problems.

Just give me 1500 euro then, for the making of 300 cd's.

I'll sell them 10 euro apiece, so the first 150 I sell, the money will go integrally to you. That will take at about 2-4 years, so not soooooo very long.

That's not begging then, that a loan.

Deal? ;D

For small artists such like me, there's just NO OTHER OPTION LEFT to get the music to the fan and don't go broke.

CD's are too expensive, digital downloads via iTunes are almost 90 percent profit for iTunes, and Bandcamp is so totally DIY that you reach at most a 100 people....

Maybe time for another hobby then.

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Izzy HaveMercy wrote: Just give me 1500 euro then, for the making of 300 cd's.
Well... a traditional option is using a day job to pay for one's hobby.. :kiss:
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nowayjose wrote:
Izzy HaveMercy wrote: Just give me 1500 euro then, for the making of 300 cd's.
Well... a traditional option is using a day job to pay for one's hobby.. :kiss:
Again... got 1500 euro lying around at the end of the month? :)

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nowayjose wrote:
stufarq wrote:So there are songs you can't get unless you pledge and one of them's out of the financial reach of most fans.
Who cares... it's not like they're denying you your need to breathe.
Did I say they were?
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nowayjose wrote:
Izzy HaveMercy wrote: Just give me 1500 euro then, for the making of 300 cd's.
Well... a traditional option is using a day job to pay for one's hobby.. :kiss:
Times have changed, treasure. Day jobs regularly don't even pay the rent nowadays ... :wink: ...

*apart from the fact that I can't tell how sick it makes me feel to read a sentence like that in a forum like this ...



As to the topic of this thread, I completely agree with Pista in all points.
Also I find the term "crowd-funding" not very appropriate because it focusses on the financial side of life.
And because it refers to an anonymity which is explicitly NOT the matter here. It might be debatable, whether
such "close" contact between bands and their audience/fanbase might be a good thing. Definitely both sides
will have to learn the right distance here - as always before.

For me it's way more disgusting to be addressed personally in unasked for mails, or to read "My Files", "My Pictures",
"My Music" daily in Windows environments, than being invited to support the next project of a band I like with a part
in pre-financing a CD, I'd probably buy anyway and where this seems obviously necessary.

Some might call it annoying begging. But after all, there have always been those who feel the urgent need to spend
their time on managing or making money and those who feel the urgent need to spend their time on inventing something,
innovating existing processes, creating pieces of art, fructifying science and culture ... You can't do both at the same time.

Pledging is about music, about bands trying to find their feet (again) or to fasten a new project. Very legitimate, IMHO.
The risk does always fall upon them, anyway, and always it's them to pay - with their life. Whether they fail or win ...
Pledging is also about dreams. About entertainment. And about diversity.

Traditional financiers of music will always only support what they expect to gain (or maintain) a profit from, even in cultural
and political terms, i.e. they only serve their own agenda ... this is why and how independent labels emerged few years ago.
And how boring was the world before ...

The best thing about pledging is that - at least as far as I understand - it covers the cost when the pledge is reached.
Insofar, it serves as an at least basic insurance for bands in their effort to entertain and please themselves, their fanbase
and the ROW. That can't but be a good thing given the fact that bands break up and that there's often enough someone
to pay for the bigger chunk of the mess ...
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nowayjose
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Being645 wrote:But after all, there have always been those who feel the urgent need to spend
their time on managing or making money and those who feel the urgent need to spend their time on inventing something,
innovating existing processes, creating pieces of art, fructifying science and culture ... You can't do both at the same time.
I think you'd be surprised how successful artists had the urgent need to spend their time thinking about money. Johnny Ramone, Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger are fine examples of those. I would think :von: also falls into this category... at least, principally.
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nowayjose wrote:
Being645 wrote:But after all, there have always been those who feel the urgent need to spend
their time on managing or making money and those who feel the urgent need to spend their time on inventing something,
innovating existing processes, creating pieces of art, fructifying science and culture ... You can't do both at the same time.
I think you'd be surprised how successful artists had the urgent need to spend their time thinking about money. Johnny Ramone, Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger are fine examples of those...
Why should I? Less successful artists are forced to think about money every second of their day and to give up their art for a dead existence.
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