June 9, 2013

Let's Go Ahead And Kill Your Dream Early...

by Chris Randall

I typed up a fairly lengthy rant on the current state of Kickstarter that was largely triggered by this article. I think the author, while perhaps not exactly clear on how capitalism works, makes some very good points. Then I realized what I was really building up to was some rather delicious schadenfreude about The Cabin Sisters. All that by way of saying that 00tz 00tz, the band pictured above, shouldn't feel that bad. You're in the same boat as David Mamet's kids. There are worse boats to be in, mostly operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, where you'll apparently be stuck on the Promenade Deck with David Foster Wallace footnoting the experience as he tosses off another cynical rant about people from flyover states that don't buy his books.

Anyhow, I deleted that tirade. Why? Because it's so fucking obvious. Yeah, Kickstarter have demonstrated that they have malleable morals. Yeah, Amanda fucking Palmer. Yeah, Penny Arcade, whatever. Veronica Mars? There's a stretch goal for the people that give a shit. David Mamet? Sorry girls. Sins of the father, and all that jazz. Plus, it helps to be able to play an instrument before you go off making records. And seriously, music video? 1993 called. They want their marketing (and their joke) back.

Also, I don't want people to confuse me with DFW. (I generally expound parenthetically.)

Basically, it comes to this: there was a brief time from the 1970s to the mid 1990s, where being a musician didn't also mean being a panhandler. That time is gone. Which brings me to the actual subject of our conversation: Flattr. Go peruse that site, then come back here and we'll discuss. I'm intrigued with the idea, personally. Interested to hear the thoughts of the AI readership.


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Jun.11.2013 @ 7:42 AM
Wade Alin
IndieGoGo, because you've publicly complained about people using Kickstarter, changed your mind, and want to save a bit of face. Actually, doesn't IndieGoGo also let you keep the money you've raised even if your campaign has failed miserably?

I'm not even here for this tired discussion. I'm waiting for CR to say something about the Apple Dehumidifier Pro.

Jun.11.2013 @ 8:22 AM
Chris Randall
I have nothing to say about the Mac Pro. It looks like what it does: move a fuckton of air. Form, for a change, follows function.

That said, Apple's laptops (which I like fine) are powerful enough for me. When I do real heavy lifting, I do it on an expandable computer I built myself that runs an operating system that doesn't require you to re-buy all your software and hardware every 5 years. I've _never_ thought Mac Pros were good purchases, and this one won't change my mind. I could give a shit what it looks like.


Jun.11.2013 @ 10:40 AM
Wade Alin
Okay, I'm good now : )

Jun.11.2013 @ 12:17 PM
That "who is right" vs "what is right" insight a few comments back was pretty Zen from a leadership standpoint. I've found that in any dysfunctional organization I've ever been in, assignment of blame begins to consume much of the energy that would otherwise go into accomplishing the mission.

Jun.13.2013 @ 7:33 AM
On the subject of new funding platforms, I ran across link [www.patreon.com] a few months ago. Certainly lot easier to understand than flattr.

OTOH, in this era of internet induced ADHD, it took me some 30 minutes to re-find that site. So it's probably doomed.

Jun.13.2013 @ 8:51 AM
Chris Randall
Which brings us to the elephant in the room, so to speak.

A lot of art (I include music, writing, the visual arts, anything) is kind of shitty. In order to make a living making it, two things must be true:

1. You must be good at self-promotion (what PR people call "creating a story" is an adequate substitute).

2. You can't suck.

If you're really good at #1, then #2 can maybe take a back seat. (For a good example, see professional endorser Celldweller.) If you're really, really good at #2, then people will come along to facilitate #1.

But if you're not good at #1, and #2 isn't true, then you're gonna need to brush up your fry-blanching skills, basically. No web-enabled panhandling machinery is going to change that.


Jun.13.2013 @ 12:43 PM
@MMI - is link [www.patreon.com] just for white people? ;)

that was my first impression anyways.. but thanks for the link. i'll check it out.

i do find it annoying that there are so many options to for this kind of thing. not that competition isn't good but it makes for a not fun time keeping track of it all.. especially if you run a tiny label.

that's where we're at now.. until we're all embedded w/RFI chips that auto deduct our 'credits' or whatever.

Jun.13.2013 @ 5:35 PM
That patreon site is so sickeningly web3.0 its hard to look at.

Jun.14.2013 @ 1:19 PM
Simeon Smith
I'm not sure what I find more interesting - crowdfunding itself, or crowdfunding anxiety.

I mean, there are loads of options to get your music out there and tonnes of ways to "monetise" (gah! I hate that word) your art. But the really interesting thing is how artists obsess over how their business their model should work, and why this or that platform is the devil's work. I guess different platforms will work for different people.

After half a dozen self-released EPs I'm now obsessing over the next one, and how to release it, how to promote it, how to make sure (for my wife's sake)that I break even. Discussions like this help me to keep all this in perspective. In the end I know the likelihood of getting picked up by a label is minimal so I'll promote the best I can, play some shows, and a few hundred people will download the EP. If I kickstarter or patreon or bandcamp it the result will be largely the same in terms of reach.

That said, I do really like simplicity and clarity in transactions - some of these social music THINGS really complicate matters. Bandcamp (that I use) keeps it pretty simple. As does Noisetrade. But Spotify, Flattr, Kickstarter... They're such complicated transactions that they lack honesty and I feel can compromise the integrity of art. Spotify turns FANS into the product, not music. With Kickstarter you end up setting an often arbitrary target for something that will be funded from elsewhere (the artist's own credit card, often) if the target isn't reached just to be able to access the already raised funds. And Flattr takes the value/transaction decision away from the creator/listener relationship. All of these platforms will work for some artists, but I wonder how they will work in the long term.

Jun.16.2013 @ 9:39 AM
"4. Man, Infinite Jest was a pretentious piece of shit." - nulldevice

well.. tried to let that go. i mean.. it's been days. i understand that people don't like DFW for stylistic reasons or can't deal w/the footnotes but i have no idea where people get some of the criticisms they come up with. I had a lot of thoughts about this and why i think your comment is just a silly and dismissive thing to say but none of them hit the mark. Then last night i read the foreword that Neal Stephenson wrote to "everything and more" and a few lines more or less said it for me. here they are:

"...many of DFW's critics fall into a common pattern of error, which consists of attempting to explain his style and approach by imputing certain stances and motives to him, then becoming nonplussed, huffy, or downright offended by same."

and regarding 'archness' or 'smartassness' in DFW's writing

"Why do people see it when it's not there? It's something to do with the fact that his conspicuous verbal talent and wordplay create a nagging sense among some readers that there's a joke here that they're not getting or that they are being made fools of by an agile knave. Which DFW was not."

the more i got to know him and his life the more i enjoyed his writing but i read most of his stuff before really knowing anything about him other than he was given the macarthur genius grant which is the only award they give to private citizens for being a genius.

so yeah.. i'm a fan.. maybe just a little butt hurt and maybe now and then i'm unable to let flippant internet remarks slide but a fan none the less.

btw - neal stephenson's foreword to "Everything and More" is a fun read and more than that really. it explains.

synths and stuff.

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