This seems to be a pretty dividing subject among the metal community, so I said, “What the hell? Might as well throw my two cents into the hat too.”
The bottom line of my opinion: Crowdfunding could save this community. Period.
With the pirating of music being ever so rampant, I would imagine that music in general is having a hard time combating the outright theft of their income. The small community (relatively) that the metal scene is, it likely cripples us the most. There’s plenty of articles out there about album sales numbers and blah blah blah, which I’m not here to talk about. It’s no secret, everything has been going down although 2016 has been a big year for music thanks to streaming services like Spotify. Overall, however, people just don’t buy albums anymore. I know I sure don’t, and if I do, it’s the digital version instead of an actual CD.
Apple revolutionized the “micro-transaction” that allows you to buy single songs on the cheap and still make it profitable for musicians and, of course, the parent company that created the damn thing. Having a digital version of a song makes pirating it leagues easier, not that people had troubles when tapes were the big thing either though. Since there was, and still is, a really big market for digital sales, bands and record labels pretty much shifted the media platform in which people buy/experience music. That was a big source of fear in the industry when that whole bit came about, crowdfunding is no exception.
Crowdfunding basically removes a record label as the middle man for a band or artist. It allows a group to thrive off of an income based on their popularity, not based on how much a company agrees to pay them. When Protest the Hero launched their crowdfunding campaign back in 2013, there was so much negative backlash from the community that my stomach still does back flips to this day when I think about it. I don’t listen to Protest the Hero, not because I don’t like them or their ideals but I simply just don’t know their music. Yet, despite that, I was flabbergasted at all the people out there saying, “Stop begging and get a real job,” or, “Wow, I can’t believe they’re just asking for people to give them money.”
Are you people fucking serious?!
Isn’t that what any business is? Asking people to give you money so they can consume a product they need and/or want? Whether it’s food, lodging, clothes, art, furniture, whatever you buy, you’re giving someone money in exchange for a product you would like to own. If that’s the attitude you hold towards crowdfunding, it makes logical sense. It breaks down the need for huge companies that get fat and happy off some teenage kid working his ass off to make a buck playing the guitar. Isn’t that the dream? If musical artists don’t shift with the times and make money in an economical way, what happens to music? It disappears. Then your ignorant ass doesn’t have any metal to listen to anymore.
There’s going to be someone out there that’s going to get mad at me for that statement, and that’s okay. The idea is, “I have to work a ‘real’ job during the day and play music at night for nothing. How come someone else can simply ask for money in exchange for music that I am forced to do for free?” I can answer that question with a simple word: Risk. Business is about risk. If these people quit their jobs and try to live off of a Patreon campaign for their music, don’t you think there’s a big chance of failure? If you like their music and want them to continue making it, wouldn’t you like to support that? It can be manageable in your income to pay five bucks a month or whatever to a band that puts out music and probably gives you some extra bennies for being a patron. How can somebody logically get mad at that? It helps both parties have a working business relationship and keeps the stuff we love blossoming. If you get mad at a band for having a Patreon page, then you have to get mad at anybody and everybody having a Patreon page. Music isn’t any different from any other business, except for the fact that it’s not essential to keeping you alive.
So if you’re against crowdfunding because it’s “begging” in your eyes, I’m sorry. I hope that you realize that there will be a day where metal dies if everybody suddenly shares your opinion. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t fund anybody on Patreon, at all. Not metal, not RPG podcasters, not game companies, no one. The difference lies in the fact that I don’t fund anyone simply due to the way I manage my income and I absolutely refuse to bash somebody for using that business model. Music isn’t easy to live off of. Let the fans decide if an artist has earned the right to their money.
Wintersun, congratulations on your successful campaign. I don’t listen to your music for the same reason I don’t listen to Protest the Hero, simply no prior exposure. Keep metal alive.
And for the rest of you,
Stay Metal \m/