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Guest Blog: Jonathan Diener of The Swellers

Posted by: Jason Tate (02/07/12)
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.

Guest BlogI think bands need to treat getting money from fans like they're getting money from one of their aunts. You turn the offer down a few times but eventually you realize you're bumming them out and sometimes disrespecting them if you don't take it. Obviously the moral argument goes both ways, but of you're the same guy complaining on stage for people to buy merch... well one makes people feel a little better.

The kick starter model is too specific for fans or supporters who want to generally financially contribute. What needs to happen is something like an online tip jar. Let people add however much money they want to an order rather than the band pleading for it. I honestly didn't want to post it and develop the idea myself, but screw it, part of the reason I do this is helping the community learn to thrive in chaos.

You're not an asshole for accepting money, let the fans choose when and how much to give you. They feel they directly contributed and on top of it all, they feel connected the same way you see a band play for 20 people then eventually to an arena. It's the feeling of, "partly because of me, this band is successful." and in return you give back to the people who help make you.

The majority of touring bands don't make money like they used to. At the same time people are more critical of how bands within their scene get money rather than being proactive and doing something positive for themselves. Five Iron Frenzy made $200,000 from Kickstarter donations. Some bands get hundreds of thousands from their label. Some bands tour for over six years to finally be able to pay rent. Whatever the case, I think we're all doing this because we love music and want this to be our career. There's nothing wrong with that, the only difference is being smart about how you handle things. How do you think bands should accept money from fans? Is it ok to do outside of merch, shows and album sales?

Note: Interesting in contributing to our growing guest-blog series? Feel free to hit us up.
  
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 40
10:57 AM on 02/07/12
#2
t00latef0rr0ses
Purple Monkey Dishwasher
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Very well written.
11:02 AM on 02/07/12
#3
kneifelspy
She never sleeps.
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Yes.
11:07 AM on 02/07/12
#4
fjiaewov
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Online tip jar. I like that. Any bands interested in having this set up for you? Just have it link to like a paypal account in your name or something
11:17 AM on 02/07/12
#5
popdisaster00
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If I knew how to build a website, I'd make the online tip jar thing right fucking now.
11:19 AM on 02/07/12
#6
t.web4
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I agree. Great band too.
11:20 AM on 02/07/12
#7
Alexx Miller
Dominic Decoco
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Well said, awesome write up. I think this online tip jar thing needs to happen.
11:33 AM on 02/07/12
#8
Ryan Dennehy
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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.
11:38 AM on 02/07/12
#9
Zack Zarrillo
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Cheating.
11:45 AM on 02/07/12
NateFoundGlory
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I like this idea, and the idea of doing everything we can to help this community of ours work out.
11:50 AM on 02/07/12
mms13
should i say something sensational?
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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.
11:54 AM on 02/07/12
Nightmare7
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Bandcamp?
12:00 PM on 02/07/12
deFobbed14yrs
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Down for the tip jar thing. It just makes sense.
12:06 PM on 02/07/12
Jason Tate
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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.
12:20 PM on 02/07/12
PirateSkater182
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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.
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