AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
AP.net Related News
Have a news tip? Submit news.

Friday Discussion: Kickstarter

Posted by - 01:32 AM on 04/15/11
Last week, Punknews ran a poll and discussion about the business model of Kickstarter. Two days ago, booking agent Neil Rubenstein, a prominent figure for some time in the Long Island music scene, voiced his opinion on the subject. Of the people I've shown his blog to, some agree and some completely disagree with his thoughts on the contemporary model.

Since the '80s D.I.Y. punk and hardcore scene, bands have worked odd jobs, used illegal methods to go about booking tours and lived in absolute squalor in co-op style houses across America. This has been going on for years and still does to this day. At the turn of the new millennium, technology took over and as we all are more than aware, the game changed immensely. New business models, more illegal systems and an online archive every single person is fighting to control for better or for worse in the current state of the industry. With that worse, bands are constantly seeking new ways to keep their ship afloat and continue to make music a full-time gig.

In April of 2009, Kickstarter launched. Not only for music projects, it was a way to raise funds and awareness for any project and have a way to give back something special to those who donated funding. If you're unaware of the site, essentially projects work on a tiered system of donation that gives more incentive back to the person who pledges more money. Kickstarter has helped not only put and keep bands on the road, it's also helped bands release music through a D.I.Y. side route that steers clear of the shamble of a few business models some of the industry still latch onto.

The real debate here is whether or not Kickstarter is another technological crutch for bands. Is it an easy way out, or is it the solution for some bands who couldn't otherwise afford to tour or release music in this unstable economy? Does it make the process of touring and releasing music more personal between the artists and their fans? I encourage you all (artists, industry personal, those who have used Kickstarter for projects outside the music sphere) to read both articles and head to the replies to discuss your opinions on the matter. As always, I ask that we keep things civil and keep the marketplace of ideas and discussion open.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 425
01:32 AM on 04/15/11
#2
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
Offline
User Info.
Adam Pfleider's Avatar
I'll open things up. While I completely agree with what Neil says the way it used to work, that statement also has to take into account how the system and economy works today. I think things like Bandcamp, Kickstarter and Rdio are the wave of helping out bands who otherwise would not have the funding or a way to get their art out there. But like any system put in place to help, some will use it as a crutch. I have befriended many a band over the past few years, and so many of them are still working part time jobs to quit and come back and quit and come back and so on and so on. Some of their part time jobs are worse than my part time job, and I can barely miss work as it is in college debt, which is still a lot less than making it in a touring band.

Neil makes agreeable points of "thank you's" and "special gifts." Linear notes should have more meaning than just funding a band. Those notes are left for close friends and family. Exclusive music? So it can just get uploaded illegally? An autograph? Why don't you just give it to your fans when you meet them at your shows?

I'm not saying Kickstarter is a bad system. I've had quite a few friends both in music and in film and other "projects" use the site and have been quite successful with it. They did it right. Showbread did a free tour - that's the best story from the model I've heard so far. That's really giving back!

Like any new business model that garners any sort of success, you still have to be weary of the power it holds. Who loses more in its usage? Who gains more? It's only been two years, and I would say the site has gained the most momentum in the last six months since its birth in the power that it does hold.

I guess simply put, sometimes we all need a little help with our dreams, systems like this need to constantly come up win-win-win.
01:48 AM on 04/15/11
#3
Mr. November
I won't fuck us over.
Offline
User Info.
Mr. November's Avatar
I think that kickstarter is a great way for bands to get fans involved.

Yeah it seems like kind of a cop out to just ask fans to donate money but some bands can't afford to go on tours or record albums in nice studios, and this can help them do both of those things.
01:50 AM on 04/15/11
#4
anamericangod
Offline
User Info.
anamericangod's Avatar
I disagree with almost everything that he says. I have yet to see a Kickstarter project where the fans were taken advantage of. Music has different value to different people. Why is it a bad thing if somebody wants to pay more for something, often with an extra element included or incentive of some sort? The fan is happy...the fan is spending money on something THEY deem to be worthwhile...and the artist 1. makes the fan happy and 2. makes money where the conventional cd/t-shirt/show model has failed. That model is fucking dead for 90% (if not more) of bands making music now.

I think Kickstarter is one of the best things to happen to the music industry in a long time, particularly in regards to the music that AbsolutePunk focuses on. It's not mass marketed, meaningless bullshit. It's a change for artists and fans to interact in a way that's been missing from the scene for quite some time now. It gives bands a chance to keep doing what they want to do, even in light of a shitty economy and an even shittier music industry.

I don't get the bitching. Fans get what they want. Bands get what they want. More music is made. New opportunities are created. Everyone wins. Guy is pissing and moaning just to piss and moan. That blog is a joke. Neil should focus on an issue that is actually worth criticizing and discussing.
02:00 AM on 04/15/11
#5
oldwirehands
billionsandbillions / Chris
Offline
User Info.
oldwirehands's Avatar
I can't stand this guy's attitude towards the subject. Not every artist who has a Kickstarter, has a publicist, t-shirts, or even plays shows; I am one of those artists. I work at a shitty job so I can put food in my mouth and keep a roof over my head. The only reason I was able to make an album in the first place, was because I did everything myself. It took me nine months to get everything together because the computer I used (this one) is a piece of shit; a year later and now it is unable to play music at all. I even made DIY cd's that I sent out for FREE to people who requested a copy.

So with all due respect, this guy can suck a fat dick; he sounds like just another industry blowjob wanting to squeeze the life out of some young artist, just to make himself a quick buck. I may be totally wrong, but his post really rubbed me the wrong way.
02:08 AM on 04/15/11
#6
trevorshmevor
Offline
User Info.
trevorshmevor's Avatar
I disagree with almost everything that he says. I have yet to see a Kickstarter project where the fans were taken advantage of. Music has different value to different people. Why is it a bad thing if somebody wants to pay more for something, often with an extra element included or incentive of some sort? The fan is happy...the fan is spending money on something THEY deem to be worthwhile...and the artist 1. makes the fan happy and 2. makes money where the conventional cd/t-shirt/show model has failed. That model is fucking dead for 90% (if not more) of bands making music now.

I think Kickstarter is one of the best things to happen to the music industry in a long time, particularly in regards to the music that AbsolutePunk focuses on. It's not mass marketed, meaningless bullshit. It's a change for artists and fans to interact in a way that's been missing from the scene for quite some time now. It gives bands a chance to keep doing what they want to do, even in light of a shitty economy and an even shittier music industry.

I don't get the bitching. Fans get what they want. Bands get what they want. More music is made. New opportunities are created. Everyone wins. Guy is pissing and moaning just to piss and moan. That blog is a joke. Neil should focus on an issue that is actually worth criticizing and discussing.

I think for once, I pretty much agree with everything you just said.

I do sort of understand where Neil is coming from though. I can definitely see how a Kickstarter might appear to someone as just a band or artist finding a cheap way to make some extra cash from their fans. The thing is though, it's ultimately the fan's decision to spend the money. Obviously they believe what they're paying for is worth it, so let them. It's a win for both parties, nobody's getting ripped off. I just don't see what's wrong with that
02:15 AM on 04/15/11
#7
patentpending
http://www.mattskibafans.com/
Offline
User Info.
patentpending's Avatar
Fans get to basically pick and choose a price not only to buy, but contribute to an artist they appreciates projects. Usually packages on KS are put together by the bands themselves, giving them a much more personal and intimate touch then when a record company puts together bundles for bands en masse, and the band will be lucky to see even half the profit from such bundles. As someone has already stated, you can't really put a value on what each individual "purchase" would mean to a fan. If they want and feel like paying whatever amount for a signature or what ever it is the band is offering, that is the individuals choice. It's just an added incentive for contributing to a project they feel worthy of their money, and to know it's being put together with more care and thought then being produced in a factory and just having it shipped out is an added bonus, I think. On top of feeling like you really had a hand in helping out one of your favorite acts essentially continue to do what it is they do.

And obviously, there's no denying that it helps the bands.

I can see where a concern would rise about bands price gouging though. Personally, I don't think anyone should be paying 25+ dollars for a 9-10 dollar cd JUST because it's signed by the band. Sure, that is an individual choice but there is a point where I could see this system blatantly being taken advantage of. At that point it would be up to the consumers to point out the problem and that would pretty much lay with the band, not the system itself.
02:16 AM on 04/15/11
#8
pleasedontpanic
I believe. Help my unbelief.
Offline
User Info.
pleasedontpanic's Avatar
Kickstarter is genius. It's an awesome way for fans to connect with artists directly and really see their money going to supporting the band. That blog was a joke. The only thing I agree with was the linear notes and how it may be insincere if someone can pay $5 to get their name in them.
02:17 AM on 04/15/11
#9
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
Offline
User Info.
Adam Pfleider's Avatar
Fans get to basically pick and choose a price not only to buy, but contribute to an artist they appreciates projects. Usually packages on KS are put together by the bands themselves, giving them a much more personal and intimate touch then when a record company puts together bundles for bands en masse, and the band will be lucky to see even half the profit from such bundles. As someone has already stated, you can't really put a value on what each individual "purchase" would mean to a fan. If they want and feel like paying whatever amount for a signature or what ever it is the band is offering, that is the individuals choice. It's just an added incentive for contributing to a project they feel worthy of their money, and to know it's being put together with more care and thought then being produced in a factory and just having it shipped out is an added bonus, I think. On top of feeling like you really had a hand in helping out one of your favorite acts essentially continue to do what it is they do.

And obviously, there's no denying that it helps the bands.

I can see where a concern would rise about bands price gouging though. No one should be paying 25+ dollars for a 9-10 dollar cd JUST because it's signed by the band. Sure, that is an individual choice but there is a point where I could see this system blatantly being taken advantage of. At that point it would be up to the consumers to point out the problem and that would pretty much lay with the band, not the system itself.

good points.
02:22 AM on 04/15/11
JuneJuly
Allez l'OL
Offline
User Info.
JuneJuly's Avatar
How Kickstarter could POSSIBLY be a bad thing is beyond me. Every time I see a band's Kickstarter I think, wow that is awesome. That is an awesome idea, it is awesome that people support it, and the things they offer are almost always awesome too. So what if the bands don't have it as bad as the bands did 30 years ago. If the money that they're receiving is the difference between them touring and them not touring, or them making an album or not making an album, then I can't think of any reason in the world for them not to do it.

Plus, take the Matthew Leone situation. One of the nicest guy in the whole fucking world gets beaten nearly to death and has no health insure. What would have happened without Pledgemusic? Some of the things on there were really awesome. It gave an incentive for people to donate who wouldn't normally because they're getting something material out of it.
02:33 AM on 04/15/11
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
Offline
User Info.
Adam Pfleider's Avatar
I'm going to throw something else into the mix.

Who do you think will appreciate/get more out of the system? The bands and fans that use Kickstarter, or the bands that do toil through part time jobs and learn the value of saving/finance and connect with kids at shows instead of through some $5 autograph? What about the kids who show up to shows and have nothing else, and get their t-shirt signed or the last $1 bill they have autographed cause that's all they have them (i've seen that happen before)...

just throwing some more discussion in...
02:38 AM on 04/15/11
anamericangod
Offline
User Info.
anamericangod's Avatar
Most of the kids are paying $5 extra for an autograph because they already have a connection with the band. Just because artists are using this model doesn't mean they don't hang out after shows or they don't care about their fans. If anything it allows them to come up with an endless amount of ways to show their fans that they actually do care about them and want them to become a part of their community. As cynical as I am, I have a very hard time seeing the Kickstarter model being used to the detriment of the fans of a certain artist or band. It's just not how it works.

I can't stand this guy's attitude towards the subject. Not every artist who has a Kickstarter, has a publicist, t-shirts, or even plays shows; I am one of those artists. I work at a shitty job so I can put food in my mouth and keep a roof over my head. The only reason I was able to make an album in the first place, was because I did everything myself. It took me nine months to get everything together because the computer I used (this one) is a piece of shit; a year later and now it is unable to play music at all. I even made DIY cd's that I sent out for FREE to people who requested a copy.

So with all due respect, this guy can suck a fat dick; he sounds like just another industry blowjob wanting to squeeze the life out of some young artist, just to make himself a quick buck. I may be totally wrong, but his post really rubbed me the wrong way.

Exactly. Whatever bullshit he is making this generalization off of is not an accurate reflection of the model in the slightest. Makes no sense to me why he is coming down so hard on this when the amount of things it has helped achieve in such a shitty time for music and money is remarkable. It boggles the mind.
02:43 AM on 04/15/11
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
Offline
User Info.
Adam Pfleider's Avatar
Most of the kids are paying $5 extra for an autograph because they already have a connection with the band. Just because artists are using this model doesn't mean they don't hang out after shows or they don't care about their fans. If anything it allows them to come up with an endless amount of ways to show their fans that they actually do care about them and want them to become a part of their community. As cynical as I am, I have a very hard time seeing the Kickstarter model being used to the detriment of the fans of a certain artist or band. It's just not how it works.



Exactly. Whatever bullshit he is making this generalization off of is not an accurate reflection of the model in the slightest. Makes no sense to me why he is coming down so hard on this when the amount of things it has helped achieve in such a shitty time for music and money is remarkable. It boggles the mind.
and I agree, and I'm not saying that bands who use kickstarter are rock stars by any means. I'm friends with The Narrative, and their recent kickstarter helped them go on a really great tour.

You read my writing Joe, I'm just throwing thoughts out there to stir discussion buddy.

I don't believe in right and wrongs, I believe in good discussion...and Harvey Dent!
02:47 AM on 04/15/11
anamericangod
Offline
User Info.
anamericangod's Avatar
and I agree, and I'm not saying that bands who use kickstarter are rock stars by any means. I'm friends with The Narrative, and their recent kickstarter helped them go on a really great tour.

You read my writing Joe, I'm just throwing thoughts out there to stir discussion buddy.

I don't believe in right and wrongs, I believe in good discussion...and Harvey Dent!
I know man, not coming down on you or saying that's what you believe by any means. It bothers me that somebody who is/was regarded as influential in this capacity holds such opinions. Oh well. Such is the industry.

On the flip side, I'm even more excited now about becoming what I once hated!
02:50 AM on 04/15/11
downrightamazed
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Wow. You "I know the industry because I post on a forum"-types really don't understand what Neil is saying.

He's talking about using it for standard stuff when you already have a core group of people supporting you. I actually full-on agree with him and if you're disagreeing - you simply just lack actual experience, which hinders you from seeing the actual issue.

Also, is this a shitty time for music?.. How the fuck can you say that? Loads of bands exist that would've NEVER EVER been sustainable as little as 10 years ago. This is a fucking amazing time for music - anyone can make anything they want to make and everyone palette is endless these days due to the sheer accessibility the internet provides.

Edit: "Such is the industry"?!... Just...wow... Holy blinders.

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
AP.net Podcast on iTunes
UnderTheGun
Purevolume
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate