Yesterday I lamented that maybe re-thinking how we support the music we love wasn't such a bad idea. I heard a lot of responses throughout the day; many from bands (one of the more interesting to me was the idea of gift cards for common places a band would visit on tour). With that, Jonathan Diener from The Swellers, was so inspired by the topic and ensuing discussion - that he wrote up a guest blog in response to my post.
Good guy, good post. Would definitely support bands more with the tipjar idea. It sucks when I've got the album already, no nearby tour dates, and no good merch, but I want to support somehow and can't. Would love to see this start with the swellers.
The tip jar concept is far from a new idea. I've seen it around for a while, just not many bands have put it into use.
The reason it will fail is because the anonymity of the internet. In a real life tipping scenario, for example getting out of a cab...people are compelled to tip, because if you don't, you have the driver right there who might give you a shitty look or call you an asshole. On the internet, you're hidden. You can download your music for free and the artist will never know that you specifically didn't tip.
I'm surprised there isn't already some sort of online tip jar like he mentioned. Seems relatively easy, just set up a PayPal in the online store, let people enter whatever they want. Throw in a b-side or two (if you want) and call it fair. Seems legit to me.
I think it needs to be integrated better than just a paypal "donate" button. Those kinds of things don't work as well.
Jono is the man, this is well written and true. Saw The Swellers in Houston last night, and they somewhat touched this subject on stage, like everyone does with "we have a merch table." But they're a band that makes me feel better about giving my money to.