Tag Archives: Pledge Music

Good News! I Didn’t Die…

I missed last month’s swag post, and the opportunity to talk about a whole bunch of things, while I’ve been quietly working on a few other things and establishing my online store. That’s rather by the by, though, so we’ll skip the most of it and head straight on in to a few of the things I should have already brought to your attention…

First up, the awesome things happening over at mini50 Records…

Do yourself a favour and go grab the free digital single of Like A Snake (with two bonus non-album tracks) by Lozninger.

Secondly, you know how sometimes all you have to do is listen to a short snippet from something and you immediately know you have to have the whole album? Well, most of the time that’s awesome, but it sucks when everyone else has the same reaction and gets in before you do, meaning the album in question is sold out before you can even blink.

I’m talking about Lost Again On Waking by Glacis, written by Euan McMeeken (from over at TheSteinbergPrinciple) and performed by Euan and James Scott (from the fabulous Conquering Animal Sound/Japanese War Effort), and the rather stunning physical version available for about 5 seconds from Fluid Audio. The CD copies included photography by Heidi Kuisma and looked absolutely lovely, so very disappointing to not have been able to get a copy.

Of course, it was listening to the music that made me want it in the first place, which is available to download from Bandcamp for a modest £3.

Some absolutely beautiful work – with or without the packaging.

Lastly, I found out quite recently that the anticipated new album by Rachael Yamagata has a campaign being run via Pledge Music. She’s (quite understandably) hit nearly 150% of her target already, but the campaign still has about three months left before it closes to pledges. Most of the limited items have been snapped up, but still worthy of a pledge just for the album. Very much looking forward to hearing this one – Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart is brilliant. Go pledge for the new one here.

Take a listen to one of my favourites, Horizon. I played this to death about two years ago – simply stunning.



Last Chance for Her Name is Calla’s Pledge Music Campaign


Ok, so I’ve posted about this several times already, but there’s only two days left to get your pledges in for Her Name is Calla‘s campaign – and if it doesn’t meet it’s target the project will, obviously, be abandoned. And that’s just no good at all. This is not a vanity project, but one that’s raising much needed funds for the people devastated by the floods in Pakistan – there’s just no way this isn’t a win-win situation all round. New and exclusive music by one of the finest bands around + give a little relief to your fellow human beings who so desperately need it.

The really strange thing is, the last couple of days I noticed several new pledges, but the percentage of the target reached has actually dropped – what’s up with that?

If you can, I urge you to claim one of the awesome exclusives on offer – pledges start from just £8.00 (at today’s exchange rates, that’s around US$12.75, AU$13.00 and €9.40). Click the badge above, or this link to go to their Pledge Music project page.

If you need any more convincing as to why you need this music, take a listen to Pour More Oil – a phenomenal track from one of the year’s greatest albums, The Quiet Lamb.


Sell Your Music, Not Yourself

A Personal Look at Fan-Funded Music Projects

A few of my recent posts have spoken about musicians or labels seeking public contributions in order to get them off the ground. These were specifically ones I had an ineterest in seeing made happen, hence (obviously) the reason for posting about them. Fundraisers themselves are hardly a new concept, nor is the idea of artists initiating projects such as these. If you cut it down, it’s not too many steps removed from the age old tradition of buskers, or if you want to use the more traditional terminology, minstrels. In the era of ‘bigger, brighter, faster, more‘, however, there’s a lot more on offer now than simply the chance to hear music; and since there’s been a few recently that I had personal interest in, I’ve had cause to muse over the whole thing and take a look at the concept from a few different angles.

The first thing I began to wonder was if the perception and/or reception to the music would be altered, from the fan’s point of view specifically. By inviting supporters in at a different level, there’s a slightly different sense of investment. Rather than just walking into a shop, handing over some cash and walking out again with a product, I must surely assume that along with the knowledge that said same cash sent directly to the artist prior to manufacture, there’s an inherent sense of personal contribution to the final product, and I wonder if that results in a greater sense of attachment, pride and willingness to appreciate what you then receive.

I should point out now that I can see where that thought is leading, but it’s not what I’m thinking, nor attempting to suggest. At all. I recognise quite perfectly that most of the musicians who’ve gone this road for a release have done so with their music and fans in mind, not their egos. (I say most as there’s always exceptions to the rule).

Some of the things artists have put up on offer have been seriously cool and highly desirable, and you can tell that they’ve put a lot of thought into what they can do, and the kind of opportunities their fans would appreciate. They range from limited edition releases and  handmade/signed exclusives to one-off experiences with the artist(s)  or even their personal effects and instruments – essentially a whole host of things that would be very appealing to anyone who’s a fan, a collector, or both.

Of course, there’s the ones where maybe not so much thought has gone into it – whereas The Northstar Session will cook you dinner for $250, The Blackout would like £75.00 in order to give you the opportunity to sell their merchandise for a day. (Surprisingly, in the worst way to me, the former is still available and the latter has been ‘sold’. Personally, I can totally get the appeal of having your favourite artist cook you a meal, but I can’t say I’ve ever sat around and dreamed about getting the chance to sell their crap for them). Then there’s the ‘goodies’ on offer from Princess Superstar.

I honestly don’t know what to say about some of that. For $60.00 she will give you “excellent health and nutrition advice“. I’ll just let that one sit there for a moment. For the big spenders, she’s offering a burlesque striptease for $10,000.  I’m quite sure I can have both needs satisfied in a matter of minutes simply by using my fingers… To, you know, google. There’s tons of excellent nutrition and health information available on the net. For free. And while it may well be that I won’t find a Princess Superstar striptease on YouTube, I’d warrant there’s more than enough out there to make up that loss.


Princess Superstar - I do believe I have seen all I need to see and won't be requiring a $10 000 striptease at this time, thank you


These are, of course, personal decisions of the artists themselves, and fairly well exclusive from the basic concept. But it makes me wonder about the how’s and why’s this is becoming an increasingly attractive method for artists to get their music out there. I know there’s some glaringly obvious reasons – cut out the companies, record what you want the way you want, sell directly to fans – lots of things in that that yield many benefits. But also quite obviously, it’s not simply about getting your music out there. These sites (Pledge, Kickstarter, etc.) are run exclusively on the net. So’s Bandcamp, where anyone can upload their music, give it away or sell it, even on physical formats. If it was just about getting the music heard, there’s tons of options available, so it has to be a bit about something else, a different priority – one between getting your music out there, and getting an album made, which are actually two very different things. I can only make suppositions here, because it’s not like I’ve asked any of the artists doing this any questions about their motivations, but my guess is it’s about pride – and not quite the sin-worthy one, either. (Discounting Her Name is Calla’s Pledge Music campaign, of course; which is solely for charity but still offers exclusive music, them being the awesome people that they are).

Creating an album’s worth of songs I’m sure is intensive and time consuming, and at the end of that is (hopefully) a body of work the artist(s) can take pride in. I would think that part of having faith and belief in the art they’re creating is wanting to see it fully realised. I’ve used plenty of different ways for getting my stuff out there and there’s not much I don’t make avaialble for free, but then I don’t have the same level of faith and pride in my work to inspire the level of committment required to work as hard as it takes to get it fully realised and made into something tangible. (I wouldn’t have anywhere near enough fans to rely on, either!)

On a side-note, I never quite understood that just because art is “art” it should be freely available to all and sundry. Accessable, sure, so on one level I undertsand the position, but just because something can be classified as art, it doesn’t mean that the amount of time and money gone into creating it doesn’t deserve to be honoured and compensated for in  kind when you get to have a part of it. Yes, there’s lots of different ways you can show your appreciation for an artist and their work, but the most effective one, like it or not, is money. It goes towards paying the costs involved in producing the work, but also hopefully helps ensure they will have the means to continue with their art. Win – win as far as I’m concerned. If you consider that an album – in whatever format you purchase it – is the end result of all that hard work, why wouldn’t it be worth paying for? Jeez, I would much more resent paying $5 for a hamburger than $5 for a download – low-grade meat, greasy and horribly limp vegetables, processed cheese….cheap cheap cheap and little to no effort, creativity or inspiration involved in slapping one together, yet no one objects to the cost. Stuff that, music is far more substantial and nourishing, be it on CD, vinyl or in digital format.

The other thing, of course, is just how hard are we going to expect our favourite artists to work to get our money in the future? It was recently brought to my attention that Martin Carr (Boo Radleys) once initiated a  similar project, only it failed to reach its target. There could be any number of reasons for that, but I think it’s worth noting in that particular instance the only thing on offer was the album. Fancy that, eh? A musician offering music. Certainly not conclusive evidence by any means, but I’d still take it as a sign people might be wanting / expecting more from their favourites. While Princess Superstar’s striptease has thus far not been snapped up, would, perchance, Mr Carr’s album have been brought to fruition if he’d offered more bang for your buck? If we’re being offered strip teases now, just how far will an artist have to go to get your dough? Or more to the point, how much further is there to go? I guess it’s a little bit sad the lengths one might have to eventually go to to independently release an album to – apparently – existing fans.

When I pay for a CD or other merchandise in a shop or online, I’m quite aware that portions of my money is going towards many of the same things it pays for when I make a pledge for one of these projects, just after the fact instead of prior, thus the end-of is largely the same from a simple consumer perspective. Where it differs is entirely in the level of that sense of personal involvement, both from the fans and the artists, particularly considering what some of them are prepared to do (as opposed to what some of them are prepared to ‘let’ you do. Contribute vocals to the album = cool. Be in a music video = more cool. Buy someone’s diary for £10,000? Voyeuristic and a little creepy. The same artist is offering her blood sweat and tears for sale. If literal, eww).

It is, then, perhaps the ultimate blend of ‘fan service’, art and business, and one that provides greater opportunities as a whole for all concerned. Let’s not forget, also, that successful Pledge Music projects donate a portion of the funds raised to various charities. I do quite like the idea itself, simply because it gives artists who have developed a following an opportunity to produce something where otherwise they may not have been able, as well as having full control over its direction. While the exclusives on offer like the diary and the striptease lean very much more towards the traditional meaning of fan service, I hope they remain rare exceptions to the norm, else I’ll have to revise ‘good thing‘ to ‘disturbing thing‘. I’ll just say right now that musicians don’t need to literally bend over backwards and/or sell themselves to me to make me buy their albums. I’d much rather they just kept making good music.


Top image: Buskers in Schwerin, Germany, by Keenon Lindsay. (Source).

Some Kinda Jazz

A week into October and I’m thus far yet to let the world know what’s floating my musical boat – madness! (Actually, now that I think of it, what would float a musical boat? Oh, that is just asking for myriad groan-worthy puns: Buoy George…erm, I’m sure there are more drifting around out there, someone else can think of them).

Anyway, I have been erstwhile engaged with a review for [sic], as well as all sorts of other crazy goings on, so what I’m about to do now is the blogging equivalent of a scat, and summarise my week in short bursts of random noise.


A cassingle I had to have:

Why? Because it has a new Pillars and Tongues track on it, and they make music so awesome that it’s very necessary. Last album was vinyl only, I bought it even though I still don’t have a record player. Now it’s cassette, and I don’t have a cassette player either. In my defence, though, the cassette  has complimentary downloads of the tracks, the other of which is by a band named This Is Cinema, who I have to admit I hadn’t heard of before, but I took a listen to some stuff over at the website where I purchased the tape (Hotel Earth) and am now quite intrigued and looking forward to hearing more.

(Let’s not mention at all that this is actually the third cassette I’ve bought since my fairly notable tirade against them… I mean, sure, it’s probably significant which artists I’ve made an exception for, but knowing that I rate Lois Magic above such convictions will just make me look even more a hypocrite and put my entire reputation into question, and I’m hardly likely to be prepared to do that, am I?).

On a completely unrelated note, Lois Magic is awesome and if you don’t believe me, go buy Desert Colour at Skrot Up. If you’re not quite up for that, at least pay a visit to Last.fm and grab the free tracks from an EP called Killer Looks.


The last in a long line of Beekeepers

I am about to make the above mine, thus bringing a near-three year long quest to its close. There has been some good times and some very dark times along the way, but I’ll be damned if I’ll say it wasn’t worth it.


What are you waiting for?


Help me make this happen, people, else I shall get very cross.

More cross that I get when people suddenly decide to listen to each of their mobile phone ringtones at 5am, and when I yell at them to shut the hell up, they start singing them instead. Out of key.


Her Name Is Calla – Pledge Music Campaign for Pakistan Flood Relief


Her Name Is Calla fans may be aware that back in February, the band raised funds for victims of the Haiti earthquake via four auction lots on eBay. While successful, with such a limited amount avaialable, it assuredly meant many fans were disappointed at missing out on the exclusive offerings, which amongst a variety of albums and so forth, included things like season tickets for their current tour, a private gig and a song written and recorded exclusively for the winning bidder (which was me \o/).

More recently, in light of the devastating floods in Pakistan, they’ve once again decided to dedicate their time and talents to raise funds, this time going to Oxfam’s Pakistan Flood Response. This time, however, they’re running the campaign via Pledge Music, an increasingly popular format for raising the funds for all manner of musical projects. The aim is a little higher for this project, and for good reason. The fact that nearly 21 million people have been affected by what are deemed the worst floods in living memory would be reason enough to dig into your pocket and donate some cash, but in case you need the incentive, I can’t think of any better than some exclusive HNIC gear.

By conducting the campaign over at Pledge Music, HNIC have ensured no one need miss out on any of the exclusive content, with donations starting at £8 in order to gain access to the project download, all the way up to £1000 for a hand built valve guitar amp – with the option to donate additional funds no matter which one you choose.

So there you have it, if you’re still reading this, stop. Do yourself and, more importantly, the people of Pakistan a tremendous amount of good by clicking on that badge up there and pledging some cash to the cause.


Some Bad News & Some Good News

Sadly, while the Pledge Music campaign has been more than successful, I Like Trains have withdrawn the vinyl box set planned to coincide with their upcoming album release, He Who Saw the Deep. The set was to contain all previous releases as well as the new album and a collection of b-sides and rarities. Very disappointing to see this had to go, but it just wasn’t generating enough support. Go make them (and yourself) feel better about things by pledging your support and staking your claim on one of the items still available. Fingers crossed the box set will come to fruition in the not too distant future.

Speaking of the capacity to make great music projects happen, Contraphonic have just started a campaign via Kickstarter in order to expand their Chicago Sound Series to New York, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and various other cities. If you want to know what it’s all about, Contraphonic explain it all quite succintly:

Since the launch of the Contraphonic Chicago Sound Series – our attempt to create a portrait of Chicago through the medium of sound – we here at ContraHQ have always harbored secret ambitions to aurally map out other cities as well. In our continuing effort to document how people interact with their surroundings sonically

Here’s hoping this project is fully realised, as you can see the target is a fair way off yet but I can’t think of a more unique and intriguing way to tour America without ever leaving home.


I Like Trains – Pledge Your Support


I Like Trains (formerly stylised iLiKETRAiNS) are getting set to release their new album via their own newly founded label ILR, as well as embarking on a tour. While most artists can (or will) say “we coudn’t have done it without the fans” at some point, this new project really does need fan support to make sure it happens.

Announced a couple of weeks ago now, the project neared 100% of its target within the first 12 hours over at Pledge Music – a site dedicated to getting projects like this up and running. Pledges for the I Like Trains project is now hovering just below 150% – a great response from dedicated fans.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get involved and make sure you reserve your copy of the new album, He Who Saw the Deep. As well as offering the standard fare, there are a number of exclusive options still up for grabs, such as playing Alistair at Scrabble, signed drum sticks, a guitar lesson with Dave, and – if you’ve got the £’s – an executive production credit on the album itself. Not to mention a super-sweet looking vinyl box set, which contains all their previous releases (including The Christmas Tree Ship – one of my favourites), the new album and a b-sides and rarities collection.

Unfortunately, my plight is much the same as many others; i.e. really want the vinyl box set, but I have to make do with a signed CD. Not that that’s anything to complain about. I seriously recommend those who can sign on for the vinyl, as it will surely be something to treasure.

Here’s what iLT have to say about their new album:

Our new album ‘He Who Saw the Deep’ is written, recorded and ready to see the light of day. It is a progression from what has gone before it. Whilst still very much an I LIKE TRAINS record, we have taken this chance to re invent. There is light and shade, hope and devastation, and we are taking a look at where we are heading instead of where we have been.”

If that’s not enough to convince, you can find out more info as well as listen to a couple of new tracks by clicking that big button at the top and heading over to the I Like Trains Pledge Music profile. Exclusive content is available to all pledgers. 😉