So the indie-go-go campaign for Points Gray ended. Dun. (see previous posts) It was an interesting experiment.
This was an album that all three of us wanted out. I wanted vinyl. I don’t buy CDs. CDs are file carriers. One can just put an MP3 Download code with the record and everybody’s happy! I’ve bought records since I was nineteen years old and before that, had strong connections with vinyl as a boy. I love the warm sound. I like the process of flipping each side, yin/yang. I am an artist. I like that vinyl is the best (biggest) way to showcase the art. I wanted to make an art object with lyrics and drawings and self-important liner notes written by someone else so that they read less self-important.
This Points Gray album did come out in a CDR edition of 100 but, thankful as I was for them to be putting it out, it wasn’t what I envisioned. And one pivotal track was missing.
I had pitched this album to numerous labels over the years but no takers, came close a couple of times. Why no takers? We were never going to tour it. It’s a one-off. Labels want you to tour. It also has a stark vanity loner damage quality. It’s not glossy. At. All. And some labels had said, “It’s good …but it’s…so…weird.”
So how was I going to get this thing out? I was obsessed. It had been years by now! It stuck in my craw.
Hence Indie-go-go. I admittedly felt weird about that platform. I had to really think about it. I didn’t want to beg. I wanted it be more like a pre-order but with a deadline and some really enticing perks. When it comes to begging, let me say that there are some very important charities out there and, even though I get artistically frustrated, I have lived a pretty damned great life. People had to actually want the album. No pity.
Indie-go-go has more flexibility than Kickstarter. You don’t need a U.S. bank account. And you can choose not to give the money all back if you don’t reach the goal (though PayPal will charge you).
Initially there was a tonne of press –lots!- but not that much in terms of donations. I started to get fatalistic. If I didn’t raise the money maybe I’d stop making music. This method of making the album got me to go direct to the audience without any barriers. That’s why I chose it. Labels don’t take many risks and they have told me time and time again that I don’t fit even with tonnes of press and accolades (exterior validation). So let the people speak! And what if they don’t speak? Give up? Hmmmm.
We live in an odd time. My pal Shayne got his animated movie funded this way, but he said that people don’t expect to pay for music anymore when they can get it for free. Point taken.
Another person told me that because I am very active with my numerous projects people may be less inclined to pre-order thinking it’s just yet another project of mine… Point taken.
Also this kind of music really might not be up everyone’s alley. Melodramatic downer psych folk damage? Not necessarily everyone's cuppa. I'm all over the map musically.
Also the album isn't new. It's thirteen years old. Time for the turn of the century nostalgia wave? Not yet? naw. It's funny linking the 'too distinctive' with my efforts of striving to create albums that'd be worthy of the reissue market when they haven't even been properly issued the first time!
And some people like to see the thing realized before they pay for it.
Others had questions about the funding platform wondering if I’d just take the money and run if I didn’t reach my goal (though I have a pretty good track record, 6 or 7 albums released with my acts).
And, a month into this, a neat label (inyrdisk) was going to put out a limited run of CDRs for the early WET DIRT album entitled "Self-Sabotage."
All of these factors caused me to not be so fatalistic. Plus people like Tonetta keep telling me not to give up all the time (though making music is VERY expensive and I am resigned to being poor cuz, well, fuggit, my needs are met anyways so why get caught up in money).
The other factor is that my pal Becky Johnson told me that most of the funds come in the final week.
So I relaxed. I stopped being tense. I gave less of a flying fuck about lots of things because things really aren’t bad. I got a cat. I started feeling less self-important. I don't matter that much. And Becky was right. Everyone was right.
The final week did exhaust me. Endless self-promotion. I was doing most of this hustling and I was getting sick of me. And I fell short. 3100 was raised. 300 (tops) of that was probably stemming from all the press. I wasn’t depressed though. That was a good chunk to get this damned thing made. It was nothing to be ashamed of.
I just took a two week Facebook siesta due to burn-out from this and from Facebook narcissism (yet here I am blogging, hello!). I received a few texts and e mails from people thinking I was depressed from not hitting my goal and wondering if I was spiraling. Naw, everything’s alright! I complain less these days! It was nice that they were concerned. Others thought that we did well with the campaign. It’s all a matter of perspective. Lots of really great people threw some dough in!
Will I do such a fundraiser again? Doubtful. It was exhausting. One can’t pester people repeatedly. These fundraisers have a slight stigma. I wonder what the shelf-life will be on bands using such platforms? I may not want to put out another vinyl LP, maybe streaming is the way to go, but if someone else wanted to put out one of my records I’d leap for it! DIY can sometimes have a tinge of invalidity and desperation. I’m tired of self-promotion. Oh look, I’m blogging!