How to Crowd Source (Without Looking Like a Jackass)

Sweet merciful crap there are a lot of crowd sourcing campaigns right now. I usually like to post my favorites and point out the campaigns I think are deserving of your time, but unfortunately I’ve got a sad dry well right now because it seems like nobody knows how to do this shit right.

That doesn’t mean that the bands crowd sourcing aren’t deserving of support. In fact, most of them are great hard working musicians who could really do great things. Unfortunately, they have no idea how to run an online crowd sourcing campaign, much like 99% of the people who seem to think that it’s easy money.

Musicians know better. They know the hustle of selling albums, tickets, t-shirts. They know what it’s like to have to beg their fans for support so that they can keep playing music. Why then are they failing so miserably with these crowd sourcing campaigns? I will show you some massive “don’ts”, and hopefully they will help strengthen campaigns in the future. This really is the future of music, so lets get it right.


Alms!Charging Too Much / Turning It into a Handout
There are a lot of bands who think that crowd sourcing is all about getting a lot of money without having to provide much (if anything) in return. These bands will ask for “donations” instead of a “pledge.” They might give you something small, like a single MP3 in exchange for a $20 pledge. DO NOT DO THIS. Not only does it make it look like you’re asking for a handout, but you’re basically telling your fans to pay $20 for one song.

DON’T. DO THAT SHIT.

By asking for a lot of money for little in return, by calling it a “donation,” you’re perpetuating the myth that musicians are too stupid to run a business and instead come off as gaddamn leeches. Learn how to price out merch. Don’t ask for something for nothing.

Would you pay $10 for one song? Probably not. Don’t ask your fans to do something that you would think is dumb. Yes, you’ll probably get some money from your friends and family, but you are missing out on the opportunity to make new fans by providing them with a product whose price makes sense. How much do you pay for an MP3 usually? $.99, and that’s if you already like the band. You’re probably not going to get a lot of new fans willing to plunk down a tenner for one MP3.

Shameful Example – Echoes Never Lie Hits the Airwaves

Being Vague About Goals
If you’re raising money for your band, the first thing to consider is what that money will go towards. Even dumb people aren’t into throwing their money around willy-nilly, so you need to convince them that you’re not gonna take their hard earned Tubmans and spend it on cocaine. If you wanna do that, be upfront, but don’t give your fans (and potential fans) some bullshit spiel about how you’ll spend the money on “transportation” or “new equipment.”

SPELL. THAT. SHIT. OUT.

How much do you need, exactly, for a new amp? How much do you need, exactly, for that music video? Break it down in a pie chart. Do some fucking math. Stop being lazy and treat your band like a business before you ask people to throw their money away. You’re a metal band, it’s not like people trust you to be financially intelligent as it is.

“I need money to buy recording supplies so I can record the album at home. If I raise the funds I will be able to accomplish my dream of creating a metal album I am proud. With your help I know in can do it.”

Really? How do we know you can do this? What are your qualifications? Where did you learn to record? Are you a wizard?

Shameful Example: Sleepless in the Dark

ReachingPie-in-the-Sky Goals
At this stage in the game, a lot of established bands are turning to crowd sourcing. This can be a great things for their fans, who are now able to get stuff they never could before. This also might intimidate younger bands, who see those piles of money and think “that’s all we gotta do!”

Not so fast, kiddo. If your band has never released an album, it’s probably not a great idea to ask for $17,000. In fact, it’s borderline insanity. If that’s your ultimate goal, fine, but that is asking a lot from new fans who have probably never seen or heard of your band before. This brings us to our next “don’t”–

Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver (without going personally bankrupt)

If you use a crowd sourcing platform that doesn’t require that you make your goal (such as IndieGogo), it means you STILL have to deliver the goods to whatever backers you got, even if you never made enough to cover your costs.

Oh, you need $20,000 to pay for CDs and recording but you only made $2,000? Well you’ve still gotta provide the backers with the things you promised, so have fun eating that last $18,000 bank loan because it’s probably the last one anyone will ever give you.

Shameful Example: Mercy Isle’s album Undying Fire

MediciThis Is Not The Renaissance

Next: patrons. There has been an uptick of artists using platforms like Patreon, which is a pretty cool idea if you don’t mind throwing money at people for almost nothing in exchange. Back in the Renaissance, artists had patrons who would pay them to keep them working. Most of these artists would paint portraits of their patrons. Same with musicians; they’d play for their patrons, or write songs about them. These patrons were also rich as fuck, and typically an artist didn’t need more than a few.

If you’re an up-and-coming band, asking randos to give you an asshload of cash for the joy of knowing they contributed to your music is not only stupid but also kind of sad. You couldn’t spend 10 minutes coming up with real rewards? What is wrong with you?

Shameful Example: Wicked’s End Death/Thrash Metal for Jesus Christ, Expenses

Furthermore….

Add Music and Shit You Idiots

If you’re trying to sell your music, you might want to consider actually ADDING MUSIC TO YOUR CAMPAIGN. No, a link will not do, because human beings are lazy assholes and making them hunt for a link is enough to lose most of them to the void. Your laziness does you no favors. If you can’t even be bothered to add a link, you might as well go kill yourself right now because your stupid crowd funding campaign is muddying up the works of some really good musicians who can actually benefit from this platform.

Add music, add video, add pictures. Show your customers what their products will look like! Get them pumped! If you’re not jonesing to show off your stuff, why should someone be stoked to buy it??

Shameful Example: Converter Thief

Which brings us to the end of my advice, and that is…

GET FUCKING EXCITED

You’ll probably be annoying as hell for a few weeks. That’s okay. Share the fuck out of your campaign. Tell your parents, tell your neighbors, tell the guys at your local bar. Whenever you talk about it online, INCLUDE A LINK. Those “I’m so excited, yay!” posts are worthless if you don’t include a link to your campaign EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Remember, people are lazy. Make this easy for them! Show them your shit, show them often, and maybe… just MAYBE you’ll get enough to pay for some decent studio time and a chalupa.

Chalupa

Written by:

Published on: May 11, 2016

Filled Under: Opinion

Views: 1386

Tags: , , ,

  • Some really great suggestions here! Bunch of fools crowdfunding improperly out there. UNRELATED, but there are just a few days left to get a Toilet ov Hell t-shirt! I’ve currently sold enough to pay for about two months of podcast hosting so… please buy a fucking shirt. http://teechip.com/toiletovhell2016

  • Lacertilian

    I’ve only participated in a couple of crowd-funding type operations but I’ve seen a fair few that definitely fall into the charging too much/turning it into a handout category. Certainly seems risky for a relatively unknown band to use IndieGogo based on the whole legal ramifications aspect. Also, I felt compelled to contribute to the first band’s campaign in the only way I could afford, and give old mate a top-hat to match his buddy’s.
    Top-Hat Goal: Reached.

    • sorry, all i see here is a busty, angsty lady with green lips… this band is definitely getting my money.

      • Dubs

        I know your weakness.

      • Nina Osegueda

        Ain’t nothing wrong with green lipstick, bro.

        • or she just likes the green Popsicles. which i admire. because if a person doesn’t like apple, i worry.

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            *passes the bong*

    • You’re doing god’s work.

    • CyberneticOrganism

      This band looks like an exhausted pile of laundry and uncooked bratwurst.

      • Nina Osegueda

        They’re super nice guys, though. Zosia is a great lady.

      • EsusMoose

        Dude looks like a pilgrim and the far right looks like he’s gonna cry.

      • A Carhartt sock cap and a pilgrim-looking- hat-thingy???

        maxlolz

      • Pentagram Sam

        This picture just makes me sigh in a non post climax kinda way.

        Remarking on my comment about awkward photo shoots:

        Never hire Ron Short Photography

        Think about this. This band paid someone (or got a freebie shoot but still paid too much) to take this picture with a critical eye, with “artful” direction, and it got ran through the cpu w filters and this was the final, published, official, kickstarter campaign pic.

        SOMEONE IS OUT THERE AS A “PHOTOGRAPHER” IN THE METAL SCENE AND SHITTING OUT SHIT LIKE THIS.

        I’m an opinionated asshole myself, but cmon man. It’s stuff like this that just lowers the bar more and more. I hope this was free for the band.

        I’ve seen so many bad photo shoots and horrible amateur music videos, it makes me wanna grab bands and yell “JUST COS SOMEONE CAN MAKE A VIDEO FOR FREE OR SHOOT YOUR BAND, DOESN’T MAKE IT A GOOD IDEA.”

        A selfie with the band, or no music video is better than pics like this or awkward acting in DLSR vids. DSLR. Whatever

      • Ayreonaut

        Look like fun people to party with

        • CyberneticOrganism

          It’s always a party with bratwurst

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Sarah brings the truth. I love these inexperienced new bands asking for $20k+ to pay for CDs, studio time, new gear, etc. without posting a single second of music or bothering to record a three minute video about their campaign.

  • Simon PhoenixKing Rising

    Considering I’ve heard Wicked’s End before and was…less than impressed (to put it nicely. Incubus they are not.), their patreon is pretty fooking shameless.

  • Jason Kolkey

    Good advice and some well-chosen examples. I just want to point out that the singer from that Mercy Isles band offered to make backers both cookies and soap.

    • Nina Osegueda

      She is wonderful so I’d encourage you to buy both.

    • homemade soap >>>>>>>>>>>

      • Dubs

        Yes, yes, we’ve all seen Fight Club.

        • I will come at you like a tornado of teeth and fingernails.

          • Dubs

            They come with fire, they come with axes… gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning! Destroyers and usurpers, curse them!

    • EsusMoose

      Don’t forget pies for people in the netherlands personally delivered by one of the members (who I hope lives there). Also looks like a lot of personal recordings

    • Sarah Lafayette

      Metal people are fat and dirty, so those are pretty good ideas.

  • Fund our music assholes. *Doesn’t add music or picture of delicious chalupa and wonders why no one donated money*

    http://i.giphy.com/fpXxIjftmkk9y.gif

    • CyberneticOrganism

      If these bands posted dog gifs like this, they’d raise their money in hours.

      • For real though

      • Möthër Shäbübü

        And the promise of chalupas is another way to get money.

    • Dave Vincent’s Perm

      THE SCENE JUST WON’T SUPPORT US MAN FUCK THE FUNDERGROUND

  • Sploopy Thunderplop

    I’m pretty leary about crowdfunding in general. Only time I’ve donated was when there was a post on here a while back about a band member needing money post-surgery. Now, if there’s a crowdfunding thing for Master Of Disguise 2, I’m all aboard!

  • JWEG

    I’ve mostly stuck with films, because music fundraisers fall more often into your traps than do filmmakers, but there is a growing number of film projects that don’t offer the film, or do but ask for near $50 USD for a DVD (shipping not free) and only half that for a non-HD vimeo download.

    And then there are the ones that charge the larger amount for the digital reward, finish the film, release it to film festivals and go on and on on Twitter about the awards it accumulates, but haven’t yet sent me the film. Such as all three films by Jessica Cameron that I funded in 2014.

    I haven’t asked for a refund yet, but I’m very close.

  • Dubs

    It seems a lot of game developers (both board games and vidya) fall into these traps or similar ones, but the rate of failure for game kickstarters seems pretty high.

    • EsusMoose

      I think a lot of game developers underestimate the costs and time to produce games so adding those unforeseen costs with all the shit they say they’ll give out probably causes them to tank or attempt to hide away

      • This.

        Music is a pretty cut and dry product. The prices and expected pitfalls/cost increases are pretty easy to predict.

        Development of a physical game or software is much different, especially if the campaign starts off at the beginning of the development cycle. I can’t speak for physical board games or anything, since I don’t make those, but I can’t really imagine them being harder than developing software.

        Software developers aren’t cheap, unless you can convince them to work out of love and passion. Technological limitations, shitty code, fine tuning game play, etc. takes FOREVER to work through.

        Then you release the game and the public finds even more bugs. If you aren’t a company capable of maintaining your developers, you can’t really fix them can you!?

        Man I could go on forever on how campaigning on game development is insanely difficult

        • EsusMoose

          Unless the developers have been in the industry for a while, already have some sort of alpha design and are asking for hundreds of thousands I usually expect them to fail. Or be cheaper indie titles which are also cool

          • Dubs

            I think this just reinforces the needs for clear goals and communications. A lot of games seem to be pie-in-the-sky concepts that people toss money at without much of a pedigree to prove the developer can deliver.

          • EsusMoose

            I mean technical set backs are sometimes hard to account for, you can say you’ll have x,y and z by the fall but a problem in june can derail everything just as Bandall said

          • As JWEG said above, consistent communication via a weekly post or something to let the community/investors know what you’re working on and what you’re accomplishing is key.

          • Why crowdfund when you can just make the taxpayers of Rhode Island pay for your poorly planned, overly ambitious game?

          • We should have foudn a loophole for our podcast dude

          • EsusMoose

            Because even though Rhode Island sucks and is basically the size of any normal sized county, you can’t just take everything they have

          • Möthër Shäbübü

            When I was younger, I always forgot Rhode Island existed. You can pretty much avoid going there your entire life. They should just make it into parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            Shit, I’ve long forgotten about it, and I was born there (thankfully left for PR around two months old). Only three things to know about it is Family Guy, Great White’s ‘whoopsie daisy’ moment, and H.P. Lovecraft.

          • Dubs

            Thanks, Kurt Schilling.

          • BUNCH OF PC SJW BASTARDS GETTIN’ ME FIRED FROM ESPN JUST BECAUSE I REFUSED TO STOP SAYING HATEFUL SHIT. NOBAMA!!!!!!!!!!

          • EsusMoose

            Gotta wonder if that game tanking was in a way karma preemptively kicking him down

          • Dubs

            It kicked everyone in the state down too.

          • EsusMoose

            What’s that like a dozen or two dozen amish people?

          • Dubs

            And one Wolfson vaping on a stoop.

          • JWEG

            I funded a Filipino indie metroidvania kind of PC game that looks pretty neat.

            The final product is definitely a few months behind schedule, but the devs have been adding things to make it worthwhile. Both in-game and added gifts.

          • EsusMoose

            I feel for games things like steams greenlight is probably best, gives an alpha or beta to players so they can see exactly where the game is relative to what they were promised.
            Otherwise if they have it behind closed doors schedules can slip

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I’m glad a picture of a chalupa was included because otherwise I was going to wonder why you were talking about the Latin American Bigfoot.

    • Dubs

      No man, you’re thinking of those little suckers that come on the tree stand.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Ah yes, the chalupacabra.

  • Sploopy Thunderplop

    Thought about donating to Wintersun’s Kickstarter for a new studio a while back, but reading up on the whole thing about Time II ever coming out and that whole debacle, nope. Last I checked, he didn’t make the minimum needed for the whole thing to go through, sadly.

    • EsusMoose

      You mean you didn’t want him to have a sauna, a full orchestra, a bear riding a unicycle and a fancy night cap?

      • Sploopy Thunderplop

        Lol, I see you know about the whole debacle! He didn’t ask for all that, but not far off. I honestly don’t see how he couldn’t have just made the CD from the money that Nuclear Blast gave him (which is a whole other debacle), considering that their bands tend to have pretty decent production. That whole Lucasfilm studio setup he’s wanting doesn’t come cheap!

        • Yeah, I have an idea how much money a label like NB would be able to throw at him, and it’s MORE than enough to hire an entire band to learn and perform your music and pay for quality studio costs

          • once he talked about how much RAM his laptop would need to process all 542 simultaneous audio tracks, i threw up my hands and burned all the Wintersun albums i didn’t possess.

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            He really just needs to get Fenriz to produce it, and save a few bucks.

          • EsusMoose

            I know he’s an middle aged guy but did he never record on a 8-track. Cause that’s like 77 8-tracks at a minimum

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            Wait, what? I didn’t see anything about that, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

          • while i exaggerated the number of audio streams, it was equally SMH-inducing. dude just wanted a fast PC.

          • but wanted a laptop?

          • i might have crossed brain wires (so not necessarily a laptop); but here’s the post (it’s long, but it’s worth it):
            https://www.facebook.com/wintersun/posts/10152623595422402

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            *gives him this instead of a fast PC*

            http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–19g54VC9–/eiqwmwj7c4n05mf3k4o9.jpg

            *and throws in the annoying Dell guy just to add insult to injury*

          • Dubs

            I told Pentagram Sam the other day that I’m okay with Time II never being released because the dude is a petulant child.

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            Keith Richards will be on his deathbed by the time it ever comes out.

        • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

          He wanted Evertunes put on all his guitars. Made of solid gold.

      • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

        I offered to ride the damn unicycle for free, but he wouldn’t have any of it.

    • I’m glad he failed, dude needs a serious reality check.

      The production on his debut album is masterful and a near flawless album, whereas Time I is a bloated piece of garbage in comparison with ONE good song.

      • as if i needed another reason to give you upvotes. *le sigh*

      • Sploopy Thunderplop

        Well, I’ll disagree to a degree. Time I was awesome, but nowhere near the classic that the first CD was. Certainly not worth the wait though, especially for what was more or less an EP.

        • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

          Time I’s production sucked ass though.

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            Sounded fine to me. With the first CD, though, I can’t really put my finger on it, but it had sort of a low fi production that ended up sounding organic and epic as fuck. That I think would’ve went better on Time 1, versus the overblown Hans Zimmer-on-a-budget production.

          • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

            Time I borders on clinical, it’s overblown and over half of the tracks are STILL in vain, adding norhing to the audio-experience. Which is to say you can’t hear them.
            It’s just a monument to one man-child’s temper-tantrum like madness (in retrospect).

          • Sploopy Thunderplop
    • Sarah Lafayette

      I remember reading about the sauna and my eyes escaping into the back of my skull.

      • Sploopy Thunderplop

        Lol, I didn’t see that part, but then again catching up on the whole thing later might make for some fun reading.

        Edit: I just googled the sauna thing, and EGADS!!!!!!! What next? Placentas from endangered species steamed with black truffles and Iranian saffron 3 times a day while recording?

  • If you want to crowdfund for the purposes of cocaine use, you should promise to film the transaction, you snorting it and the subsequent police chase.

  • great article Sarah! you have way too much common sense to be in the music industry.
    P.S. non-shameful Patreon example: Hot Dad. that man has yet to let us down.
    P.P.S. do most crowdfund campaigns accept currency in the form of taco dildos?

    • Sploopy Thunderplop

      The Bundy Ranchers would accept that, next to their gummy dildos.

  • next up: help crowdfund our crowdfunding project

    • CyberneticOrganism

      “I need $700 to buy the equipment needed to film my crowdfunding video”

  • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan2

    i said something stupid in the claim like im doing so that more people will listen to slipknot and u will make more money and its in slipknots best intrest stuff like that

    it didnt work at first but now it works motherfuckers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    -Bill Cosby, 4 years ago

  • EsusMoose

    So I found HEELYUH’s pledgemusic page and for $30,000 you can have vinnie paul’s drum kit (bar-b-que sauce stains come as is). They also call their fans hellions, that’s stupid.

  • Sploopy Thunderplop
  • im just gonna say it: get a job

    thanks, obama

    • I hate to agree with you, but, it would be so much easier 🙁

      • why would you hate to agree with me? pff

        • I feel like I am keeping down when I say that, my bearded frand.

    • Sarah Lafayette

      Most musicians have day jobs. Making good music costs a lot of money, there’s just a better way to go about getting it.

      • again, no one ever can tell when im joking

        • Sarah Lafayette

          You didn’t use the sarcasm font!

          • please donate to Blackbeards crowdfund so i can buy cookey font licenses

          • Dubs

            Or an html tutorial 🙂

          • disqus lets you use html to change fonts?

          • Dubs

            You’d better believe it!

          • thats not the font!

          • Dubs

            Well, now we’re just being pedantic. But no, I think we’re stuck with Times New Roman or whatever this is/

          • from now on, every time im joking ill just add ridiculous symbols: ¤¤♡¤☆☆₩》《

            italics, bold, and strikethroughs are for plebs

          • Dubs

            llnd ɐɥɔʇǝפ

          • oh snap

          • CyberneticOrganism

            Llnd Apcleg is a Welsh town founded in 1703

          • TovH: Now a Pedantic Blog

    • Sploopy Thunderplop

      And skip crowdfunding and go with the real deal: donating to my dead Nigerian uncle’s estate.

      • every now and then, you knock it clear out of the park. <3

        • Sploopy Thunderplop

          Yep, even a broken clock is right once in a while!

          • Ted Nü-Djent ™

            Twice a day in fact

          • Sploopy Thunderplop

            Touche!

  • Rho Stone

    I understand when videogame devs and filmmakers do it because they need to create something, but if you’re already a band you already created something, you should be able to play your way into having cash for stuff. Sell beer at basement shows or whatever. You make what you’re worth to the people who would go to see you I guess.

    • Sarah Lafayette

      Eh, I do not agree with that. Well recorded music is expensive. It’s like good art – you get what you pay for. Selling beer at a basement show isn’t going to make you the $20k it takes to pay for a decent album.

      • Rho Stone

        It used to be that bands would play shows and people who go to shows (friends or friends of friends) would listen, if they’d like it they’d go again. You’d record your stuff only when people are already liking you enough that they want it or radios want to show it. In my opinon flipping that model around (wanting to go straight into recording) is what is causing all the clogging in the music business. Not only some bands don’t even know how to play live, they’re filling up the world with music nobody really wants and trying to make a profit out of it, when in the past they would’ve just seen that people don’t like them and move along.

        • Sarah Lafayette

          I don’t disagree with the idea that bands should play more live shows. Unfortunately, a thousand live shows will not pay for an album and usually you make your money at shows by… selling albums.

          • Rho Stone

            What about charging people enough money to make something out of it but no so much as to make your show sound too expensive? If you’re good they’ll come again. If you pack the basement, you can find a bigger place, use that basement cash to rent it for a night, work something out with the owner. Baby step your way into word of mouth. Old magazines, and now blogs like this one, are an extension of word of mouth. If people really like you they’ll go see you, if they pay something it’s basically crowdfunding without having to “ask for handouts”, as you’re providing them with your music.

          • Sarah Lafayette

            The problem there is that bands don’t really get much from ticket sales. Bands make more money at gigs by selling merch. Ticket money goes to venues and their employees. You need a product to sell that is more than a live show to be able to sell yourself to bigger venues who will actually give you money.

          • Rho Stone

            If it’s your (or a friend’s) basement you don’t have to hire any employees, it’s basically “fundraising party at Steve’s house”. Have your friends help you in exchange of you helping them wash the dog or something, reciprocity works wonders. You don’t have to play in the big leagues right away.

          • You have zero idea how music works

          • Rho Stone

            What I do know is how partying works, just make a party and have bands play on it. Brb starting a music career.

    • Rho! long time, no see (outside of FB)
      i can’t really agree with you either. for whatever reason, it seems like album creation is better suited for a money-up-front style transaction. there are lots of music pirates out there with no conscience (years ago i was one of them). crowdfunding seems to put the power in the hands of fans with money — the folks who really enjoy supporting the bands of which they are fans. it’s a roll of the dice, sure, but it seems like a less risky course of action than spending tons up front and not selling more than a few copies.

      • Rho Stone

        I think we need to change that view of “pirates with no conscience”. I have seldom bought an album I hadn’t listened to before in the internet. Instead of seeing free distribution as the “they’re taking our moneyzzz!!!!!1” Gene Simmons mantra we should see free distribution of music as a way to have more people listen to you, be it youtube or torrents. Bands who are shared for free are actually saving millions on publicity and distribution (considering that once it’s up in the cloud it can be accessed even by people on the ISS), plus if they’re downloading your stuff people ARE listening to you, that was the point of wanting to get your music out in the first place. I payed a lot of money to see bands I discovered through limewire when I was a kid.

        If you actually want to be a musician who wants to be a pro that makes money you don’t go play the music you want to play, you make the background sound for the next taylor swift.

        • i follow you. perhaps i don’t know enough about the music industry to make more than a calculated guess.

          what sucks is the unknown: the unknown number of folks who DO pirate music. we just don’t encounter them on a daily basis because this here website encourages the supporting of the artists so much. aka, we typically only see other Nice Metalheads; but there are plenty of jerks out there.

          also, hands off my Taytay.

        • Sarah Lafayette

          There is a difference between listening to a song to sample it and then buying it, and downloading a song without ever paying for it. Music costs money to create. It will probably never benefit any musician financially, but by downloading a song you didn’t pay for you are stealing.

          • Rho Stone

            Music does cost, but the price of having your album potentially sound in bangladesh, sicily and guatemala at the same time without you ever doing more than uploading it far outweights that cost. You’re being helped by the countless engineers, manufacturers, scientists, soldiers, designers, etc. that made it possible and you’re not paying them a dime. Are musicians into making music to be heard or to make money themselves? That “you wouldn’t steal a car” thing is a brainwashing cop-out by an outdated system of distribution that wishes to stay afloat. If you want to have the audio for yourself you’re going to record it anyway, the same way musicians didn’t go to crowdfunding campaigns to buy their instruments. Money should be a catalyst, not the goal.

          • who says i wouldnt steal a car?

          • Sarah Lafayette

            Money isn’t necessarily a goal, but it stands to reason that if you create a product, you should be compensated in exchange for it’s consumption. Artists who draw things should be paid if you replicate their art and use it, right? Musicians are no different. They spend time and money to create those recordings. If you’re enjoying it, why not compensate them for their work? You are not entitled to free music because you enjoy it, just like you’re not entitled to free art because you enjoy it.

          • Rho Stone

            I happen to be a visual artist, and I make a very clear difference between what I do to make money (mostly corporate stuff) and what I do because I love it. I don’t charge when I’m going to be emotionally invested in my work because I have a passion for it, it’s what I do on my free time. The time and money I spend was going to be spent anyway, if people enjoy it and want to help or pay me, I’m OK with it, but that’s not the point, the point is doing it because I find it fulfilling, it can even help other people. Right now (for example) I’m doing an instalation for a photographer, so he can show his own art in a more appealing way. I’m not wealthy, but right now I can say I’m happy. To me it’s not a product because I don’t consider art to be a product you can consume and dispose of. Art is there for us to enjoy, to challenge us, to make us insightful, knowledgeable, or just as a release. You can’t put a price tag on that, and we’ve created the mechanisms so we don’t even have to.

          • Sarah Lafayette

            If an artist has requested that you pay for their art and you go ahead and take it without paying, you’re still stealing it. It doesn’t matter if it was made available via other means (a la someone else ripping it and then distributing it), you know you didn’t pay for it. It’s nice that you don’t mind giving away your art for free, but not every artist feels the same way and by imposing your own beliefs on them you’re stealing money (albeit a very small amount) from their pockets.

          • Rho Stone

            Maybe those “artists” should see where their priorities are at. As I said, the current system is outdated. For example, if pepsi puts a joke on their bottle labels, they’re expecting you to “steal” that joke by taking a pic and posting it around, you’re actually doing their publicity for them. Nobody can steal the live music experience, but they can post what the music sounds like and have that pass around. That’s what radio does, it is a huge promotional tool, as it lets people enjoy the music, like they can laugh at the joke on pepsi’s label. We’ve democratized the radio system. Stealing a physical copy of a CD or a t-shirt is actual stealing, but treating music like that is outright dumb. It’s not me imposing my own beliefs, is them having to actually deal with reality.

          • Sarah Lafayette

            If you are downloading a file that the artist put up for sale, you are literally stealing. If you’re okay with that, I can’t change your mind, but data is a physical thing and that data was created by someone. The artist may have chosen to share their music via the radio, but unless they chose to give you that file, you are taking it without permission. Which is theft.

          • Rho Stone

            Data is the value of variables, it is the exact opposite to a physical thing. It’s like saying you want money in exchange of telling me what time it is when I can just look at your watch. I’m not stealing time from you even if you put a price on it.

          • Surely you don’t believe this thing you just said.

          • Rho Stone

            What is data, then?

          • Data is most things, some of which are incredibly valuable. Raw video is a jumble of data variables. Final Cut Pro is a jumble of data variables. The final result of a video project is a jumble of data variables. If you manipulate those things together, you’re saying you don’t deserve compensation because, as you said, it’s just the same as looking at someone’s watch to tell time.

          • Rho Stone

            But it’s still the opposite of a physical thing. Data gets its value from whoever was that arranged it in the first place, we can agree on that, but once the job is done, there’s no more need to work on it unless it needs fixing. There’s a difference between using and licensing, which is the foundation of copyleft. If you were to use the unmodified data for personal gain, that would be stealing.

          • I was right. You didn’t believe the thing you said. Suddenly there’s a difference between usage of data that requires payment.

          • Rho Stone

            The use of unmodified data for personal profit. That means downloading a song and selling it, when I already said you shouldn’t sell it in the first place.

          • You’re not making any sense with any of your arguments.

          • Rho Stone

            SCENARIO 1
            > Rho Stone makes video
            > Rho Stone puts video on youtube (Rho Stone doesn’t actually do that because he wants to keep most his stuff private)
            > Once in youtube it can be seen by anyone
            > Michael Bay takes video as is and puts it on Transformers 14
            > Michael Bay stole from Rho Stone
            > George Lucas takes video, makes parody edit with dank memes
            > George Lucas actually modified the video, it no longer belongs to Rho Stone

            SCENARIO 2
            > Rho Stone is paid to make video
            > Once he’s paid, he doesn’t care what the video is used for
            > Owner of video puts it on theatres. Tickets are charged because of the whole moviegoing experience
            > Owner of video puts it on Netflix, viewers pay for the service
            > George Lucas downloads torrent, watches it with his friends, no problemo.
            > Michael Bay downloads torrent, reuploads as his own on MichaelBayflix, a subscription paid system. He’s stealing.

            Stealing happens when profit is taken away, if you download for free for personal use no actual profit was taken.

          • So if I’ve got this straight, you’re opposed to paying bands for their music and you don’t think bands should ask for money via crowdfunding. Your solution for being paid on artistry is “sell beer at a basement show or something”. This has been fucking illuminating.

          • Rho Stone

            Music =/= merchandise. You can sell vinyl, CD, cassette, etc. but still you wouldn’t be selling the music, you’re selling a worked format of reproduction + memorabilia. You can’t sell the music itself. You can sell licensing rights, but then it’s no longer yours.

            Being paid for artistry is explained on my SCENARIO 2 up there. If the band is playing themselves with their own instruments, their own songs at their own gig, not for a client, then who is going to pay them to perform except what they can figure out by themselves? My solution is an actual solution on how to make it somewhat profitable. When I was still in school selling beer or stickers or whatever at an event was a profitable way to fund our projects. Why is that so hard to grasp is beyond me.

          • Sarah Lafayette

            Profit was taken because you did not pay for a product that they requested that you pay for. It’s like me saying “I made this painting. If you want a copy, it costs $5.” and then you steal the copy that I made. A copy is potential profit, regardless of the medium. Just because you can’t touch an mp3 doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

          • Rho Stone

            So if I “steal” a $5 song and give it for free one million times have I stolen 5 million dollars? Am I supposed to reimburse the band 5 million dollars that just appeared out of thin air? The reason I said it’s not me imposing my beliefs but them dealing with reality, is that that’s reality. When you pay in (for example) Steam for a videogame, you’re paying for a license of personal use and the ease of their platform, you’re not actually buying the videogame. That’s how profiting for data via licensing works.

          • Sarah Lafayette

            You stole a $5 song. You giving it away makes it that much worse. If you want the band to keep making music, why not pay them for their music? You pay to play a game, right? It’s the same thing. People don’t mind paying $5 for a game, but $5 for songs that they will listen to repeatedly is also an experience.

          • Rho Stone

            You’re not paying to play a game, you’re paying for the license, the use of the platform and the optimization. It’s different. Wealth must come out of the use of the platform plus labor of the one who works, that’s how it has worked since forever. Going all the way to the bronze age, farmers were able to grow their crops through the divination of the priests, who could see the seasons coming by looking at the stars. The priests would ask tribute for divination, but once the calendar was invented people didn’t need to ask the priests when to plant their crops anymore, priests had to get by by doing other stuff or fooling people into keeping them giving tribute. You can’t take old methods of doing stuff into newer platforms and expect to get the same outcomes without loosing the effectiveness of the new platform. That’s how the world works.

          • Sarah Lafayette

            It would if people were willing to pay artists what they’re due. You are saying that you will continue to steal because the option is available to you. That’s the casing to do with the times or how things have changed. You’re just able to steal something without consequence, so you’re going to do that. Nothing I can say will change your mind or the minds of other people who steal.

          • Rho Stone

            I personally haven’t “stolen” music in years, but it’s not “pay artists what they’re due” situation. They haven’t had their music stolen, they’re still the ones playing it and to whom the song is attributed to. The person who saw the price tag and decided to download for free instead was not going to pay for it he doesn’t have the chance to download it for free, he was just going to ignore it.

          • Spear

            I’m failing to see your logic behind why it’s okay to steal an MP3 file and not a digital copy of a video game.

          • Rho Stone

            I’m not saying you can’t, of course you can go “steal” a game. I’m just saying what makes Steam actually profitable, it’s not the game itself, but yadda yadda yadda I already wrote it.

          • Spear

            So labor is worthless?

          • Rho Stone

            No, a studio is paid by investors who will see revenue from licensing of their software on platforms (that’s why for example Nintendo doesn’t want to optimize for PC, their model has full control of their platforms). That’s why I say I find it fine for game devs to crowdfund, because if they’re right out there, trying to get their first big release, they don’t have a leg to stand on. If it’s a band and they already have music written, rehearsed, and ready to be played then they already have what they need to get out, they just have to figure it out themselves.

          • Spear

            So music isn’t a product?

          • Rho Stone

            I’m pretty sure it’s art

          • Spear

            Art isn’t a product?

          • Rho Stone

            The dictionary defintion of art is

            art 1
            Pronunciation: /ɑːt/

            NOUN

            1 [MASS NOUN] The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power

            whereas the definition of product is

            product

            Pronunciation: /ˈprɒdʌkt/

            NOUN

            1 An article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale.

            As you can see, these two don’t overlap. You can sell the means which you can use to distribute art (like CDs), but art itself is not something that can be sold, as it is bound to the expression and application of skill and creativity. Just because everything we do nowadays has to be economically sound to us for “consuming” or it’s “a waste of time” is no reason to ground art in our banalities.

          • Spear

            So MP3’s aren’t a product?

          • Rho Stone

            No, it’s encoded information that can be reproduced by any platform capable of reading it, with the inherent capacity of being freely shared through the internet

          • Spear

            So are books and images. It’s okay to take those too?

          • Rho Stone
          • Spear

            So in spite of spending hours and hours of mixing and mastering songs, or editing my story to be coherent and entertaining, or touching up photos or paintings to look as best as I can make them, that doesn’t count as being “refined for sale?”

          • Rho Stone

            There was a time (which I like to call before fucking fiat currency) when people were doctors, lawyers, artisans, scientists, etc. because they had a passion for it. They wanted to be happy and still provide for their kin. Now we live in a post-industrial world where people don’t go to university to learn but to try to get a white collar job, you can work a full time job and still not be able to afford a house, people change their stuff not because it stopped working but because a stupid ad campaign told them to, etc. But something has changed. Now we have the internet. If we free the internet from the shackles the older generations have put on us we can achieve another golden age of progress. I just sent you a book written in 1954 by a british man, from south america to wherever you are and are writing to you from a device that has access to most of human knowledge. When that book was written, if you told someone that this would be capable they’d believe it was magic. And you’re telling me I’m a thief, for this act of magic. Instead of thinking it with our 20th century economically profitable oriented views, we have to embrace our future. If what you want to do with your creation is put a price on it and selling it just because it’s there, you’re limiting yourself.

          • Spear

            I work in data transport. Am I supposed to be fucking impressed?

          • Rho Stone

            well if you’re not then there’s something wrong with you

          • Spear

            Let’s just say it loses its magic once you know how it works and you spend your day making sure it continues to work.

            Also, I’m not putting a price on it and selling it “because it’s there,” I’m putting a price on it because I poured my heart and soul into making it and would like to continue to do so, which, like it or not, is impossible in this world without financial recompense. The entire crux of your argument rests on this idea that music is some sort of capital, or at the very least becomes open source for… reasons? What you’re asking is that artists make themselves (more) destitute by giving away their craft for free. That’s beyond stupid and is borderline sociopathic.

          • Rho Stone

            well, it’s the third time this week I’ve been told I’m going sociopathic, but the way I see it either I’m wrong or society is, and so far society doesn’t seem right. See it as you want.

          • lol @ blaming society for your own actions. Sometimes you’ve got to take a moral stand when everyone else tells you you’re wrong. Other times when a lot of people tell you that you’re being asshole it just means that you’re being an asshole.

          • Rho Stone

            Well Socrates was killed because the government thought he was an asshole, so maybe I’m really onto something here

          • JoseLuisHeckDangit

            So it’s 100% okay if you steal something, but basically a death sentence if someone steal aything from you (these are your words)?
            Have you ever heard of Planet Earth, or is this a conscious decision to become the stupidest asshole on the planet?
            If thievery ought to result in death, kill yourself. Please, kill yourself.

          • Rho Stone

            I’m happy I wrote this down already, then I can just copy/paste it

            SCENARIO 1

            > Rho Stone makes video
            > Rho Stone puts video on youtube (Rho Stone doesn’t actually do that because he wants to keep most his stuff private)
            > Once in youtube it can be seen by anyone
            > Michael Bay takes video as is and puts it on Transformers 14
            > Michael Bay stole from Rho Stone
            > George Lucas takes video, makes parody edit with dank memes
            > George Lucas actually modified the video, it no longer belongs to Rho Stone

            SCENARIO 2

            > Rho Stone is paid to make video
            > Once he’s paid, he doesn’t care what the video is used for
            > Owner of video puts it on theatres. Tickets are charged because of the whole moviegoing experience
            > Owner of video puts it on Netflix, viewers pay for the service
            > George Lucas downloads torrent, watches it with his friends, no problemo.
            > Michael Bay downloads torrent, reuploads as his own on MichaelBayflix, a subscription paid system. He’s stealing.
            Stealing happens when profit is taken away, if you download for free for personal use no actual profit was taken.

            Stealing happens when profit is taken away, if you download for free for personal use no actual profit was taken.

            As you can see, copy/pasting this didn’t erase the original one, it’s up there still, still written and attributed to me.

  • Pentagram Sam

    I like how this lays it out plain and simple. I’ve contributed to a couple kickstarters before, they were local people and I knew them enough to know they weren’t full of shit. Both of the campaigns had modest goals with decent merch brackets and I didn’t get too crazy with spending. Both campaigns met their goals and didn’t have embarrassing results like some of the ones posted up in the article.

    I think another thing that should be stressed in the campaign text is that the band isn’t a bunch of lazy fucking assholes that aren’t working. That’s another thing, I knew that the people involved in the campaigns I participated in had JOBS. THAT’S WHY THEY HAD MODEST GOALS, TO SUPPLEMENT THE COSTS OF OVERSEAS TOURING / RECORDING.

    When it’s shit like, “we need $50 000 to buy new guitars, new amps, record, and have money for day to day” man, fuck off.

    Another thing is when established bands do kickstarters, woooa man. They have got to really bring it. Get wild with perks and if you’re selling someone a cd or shirt for an album the label will release anyway, make sure it’s EXCLUSIVE to the campaign. Like a legit cool ass official artwork design that is only ever available thru that campaign.

    Even have an alternate cover for cds purchased thru the campaign and either include a shitload of bonus tracks on the cd, or give the pledge person a digital download of a whole lotta demos and extra stuff.

    • Sarah Lafayette

      I agree. I actually really love crowd funding, I just see a lot of bands make big mistakes that can hurt them. Help me save them!

  • The Tetrachord of Archytas

    I appreciate the cover photo for this

  • The Tetrachord of Archytas

    Patreon seems cool for people that do podcasts and shih, but for music it seems dumb. The mainstream industry isn’t all that different than the old patronage system. Tons of money from rich companies in exchange for control over your artistic output. Sometimes it works if you’re Haydn, and sometimes you work yourself into an early grave trying to be an independent artist and failing like Mozart

  • Waynecro

    Outstanding article. Every band should read this.

    • Sarah Lafayette

      Thanks!

  • Gary the Dairy Fairy

    Four years later and Gizmachi still hasn’t delivered on “2012’s album of the year.”

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/636754033/help-gizmachi-finish-recording-2012s-album-of-the

    $25 I’m never seeing again. And by this point my musical tastes have changed so much that I don’t even like the band anymore.

    • Sarah Lafayette

      That is terrible, wow..

  • Rowsdower

    Don’t be Lucas Mann and self produce your solo album for ~$500 and pocket the rest. Nobody likes that guy.