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Goatfangs
Wicker Mantis

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:02 pm
Posts: 2214
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:52 pm 
 

Image

Back From The Edge, the sophomore effort from Pennsylvania Prog/Power band MindMaze, is shaping up to be something really freaking awesome. It's one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Mask of Lies was a priceless prog power opus that packed a powerful punch from Pennsylvania. In fact, I dare say it is one of my all time favorite releases by ANY band from Pennsylvania.

And this new album could blow that away. Just gotta wait till the end of October and hope for a CD release show.

https://mindmazeband.bandcamp.com/track/dreamwalker

I felt this band needed a thread of its own to see if anyone else has listened to them. I'm betting a few of you have. I haven't seen much discussion about them, so it's time to change that. They are local to my area and I've been friends with them for a while. I remember the first time I saw them - it was when they were still called Necromance and they opened for Doro and Chris Caffery. That was an awesome show. Back then they were more or less standard melodic power metal, but gradually added more progressive elements. Since then I've seen them countless times.
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Metantoine
The XVI, dominar to over 258714 subjects

Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:00 pm
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Location: Québec
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:16 pm 
 

Goatfangs wrote:
Image

Prog/Power

Similar to Protest the Hero? :oh shit:

The Dreamwalker song has The Jester Race inspired leads, quite cool. And it has Lepond from Symphony X, nice!, brother and sister band, that's rare. I also loooove redheads haha, her vocals are powerful and not quite cheesy, I'll listen to the full album.

Image
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OzzyApu
Metal freak

Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:11 am
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Location: Seattle, United States
PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:53 pm 
 

Good song. Metantoine mentioning JTR was the actual selling point for me (though didn't hear it as much). Didn't care much for the trudging break partway. The second the singer pops in I was taken aback since it sounded awkward but once her voice settled in she's actually quite nice. Part of her highs still have that awkward rise. I love redheads too but I prefer listening to this one than looking.
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Spiner202
Metalhead

Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:32 pm
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:16 pm 
 

Really enjoyed the first album, but I'm probably going to skip this one unless I can find it cheap. I think the first one set me back $20+ and I don't really want to shell that out unless it's for one of my favourite bands. I'm sure the album is great, but I don't know that I'll listen to it anytime soon.

I'm also not overly fond with the band's use of kickstarter.
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MindRuler33
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:21 pm
Posts: 8
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:40 am 
 

Goatfangs wrote:
Image

Back From The Edge, the sophomore effort from Pennsylvania Prog/Power band MindMaze, is shaping up to be something really freaking awesome. It's one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Mask of Lies was a priceless prog power opus that packed a powerful punch from Pennsylvania. In fact, I dare say it is one of my all time favorite releases by ANY band from Pennsylvania.

And this new album could blow that away. Just gotta wait till the end of October and hope for a CD release show.

https://mindmazeband.bandcamp.com/track/dreamwalker

I felt this band needed a thread of its own to see if anyone else has listened to them. I'm betting a few of you have. I haven't seen much discussion about them, so it's time to change that. They are local to my area and I've been friends with them for a while. I remember the first time I saw them - it was when they were still called Necromance and they opened for Doro and Chris Caffery. That was an awesome show. Back then they were more or less standard melodic power metal, but gradually added more progressive elements. Since then I've seen them countless times.


Tom? Is that you? I'm doing my regular googling and I stumbled across this - seems like it echoes your point of view on things. Just curious. If not, my bad, haha. Anyway, this is Jeff from MM.

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MindRuler33
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:21 pm
Posts: 8
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:48 am 
 

Spiner202 wrote:
Really enjoyed the first album, but I'm probably going to skip this one unless I can find it cheap. I think the first one set me back $20+ and I don't really want to shell that out unless it's for one of my favourite bands. I'm sure the album is great, but I don't know that I'll listen to it anytime soon.


Understood, but I will say that I think you will be quite pleasantly surprised at how much better the new album is than the debut was. I know everyone always says that about their newest work, but the feedback I've gotten from people and the first glimmers of reviews seem to echo exactly what we in the band have thought of the album, which is that it vastly surpasses the debut in every aspect - songwriting, production, musicianship, vocal performance, etc... So yeah, I understand your point of view fully and feel the same way about other bands myself, but this is the downfall of being a small band. Some people's logic says we should charge the cheapest possible prices to try to lure people in, but the bottom line is that we paid lots of money out of pocket to make that album possible and we're really only trying to break even or make a very minute profit. The real catalyst for the problem is international shipping rates. We charge the same price for the CD itself everywhere in the world, and only increase shipping charges as the costs increase.

Spiner202 wrote:
I'm also not overly fond with the band's use of kickstarter.


I'm curious about this. Is this a problem with KickStarter/crowd-funding in general, or a personal preference problem with how we've chosen to use it? I've always tried to be as fair and honest as possible and give people their money's worth with everything, so if someone really thinks we're giving people the shaft or being unethical, I'd at least like to know what the qualm is. Not saying we'll see eye to eye about it, but I at least am curious to know.

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TheNiceNightmare
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:11 pm
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Location: Sweden
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:10 am 
 

I see you guys have your debut on Spotify, which means I'll be listening to it shortly...can we trust to see your next album there as well when it comes out? Also, love it when bands engage people like this, always nice to see.
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Spiner202
Metalhead

Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:32 pm
Posts: 978
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:28 pm 
 

MindRuler33 wrote:
Spiner202 wrote:
Really enjoyed the first album, but I'm probably going to skip this one unless I can find it cheap. I think the first one set me back $20+ and I don't really want to shell that out unless it's for one of my favourite bands. I'm sure the album is great, but I don't know that I'll listen to it anytime soon.


Understood, but I will say that I think you will be quite pleasantly surprised at how much better the new album is than the debut was. I know everyone always says that about their newest work, but the feedback I've gotten from people and the first glimmers of reviews seem to echo exactly what we in the band have thought of the album, which is that it vastly surpasses the debut in every aspect - songwriting, production, musicianship, vocal performance, etc... So yeah, I understand your point of view fully and feel the same way about other bands myself, but this is the downfall of being a small band. Some people's logic says we should charge the cheapest possible prices to try to lure people in, but the bottom line is that we paid lots of money out of pocket to make that album possible and we're really only trying to break even or make a very minute profit. The real catalyst for the problem is international shipping rates. We charge the same price for the CD itself everywhere in the world, and only increase shipping charges as the costs increase.


I'm with you about the shipping rates. It's pretty much impossible to buy a single CD from anywhere outside Canada for me. This is one reason why I'm glad you guys signed to a label. If you can get in a distro, it greatly increases the likelihood of me getting the album. I don't think a smaller band should have to necessarily charge less than big bands, but I do think they should be a little more willing to compromise profit margins for a sale. I know nothing of specific profit margins for Mindmaze or any other bands, but I think a band has to keep a CD price below $20 shipping included for international buyers.

Quote:
Spiner202 wrote:
I'm also not overly fond with the band's use of kickstarter.


I'm curious about this. Is this a problem with KickStarter/crowd-funding in general, or a personal preference problem with how we've chosen to use it? I've always tried to be as fair and honest as possible and give people their money's worth with everything, so if someone really thinks we're giving people the shaft or being unethical, I'd at least like to know what the qualm is. Not saying we'll see eye to eye about it, but I at least am curious to know.


My #1 biggest problem with kickstarters is that bands overvalue their merch's worth. There is not a single kickstarter I've seen where this hasn't been the case. I will use one of yours as an example (and this is not intended to disrespect you or your band). Looking at the Dreamwalker kickstarter, it costs $15 for a physical CD (let's ignore shipping for now). Maybe I'm just cheap, but there's not a single band I'd pay $15 for to get an EP. For most bands, $15 gets you a full-length. Then we add in the shipping and it becomes $23. I don't know if I've ever paid that much for a single CD, let alone an EP. This is a prime reason why I suggest taking a bit of a loss on shipping. It does cost $8 US to ship a CD to Canada, but I can't help but feel you would be more successful charging $5 for shipping. Again, I don't know any of the specific numbers here, but that's just my opinion.

I completely understand that bands make basically no money and that this really helps them out, but this is my issue. Recording an album is basically a business venture. You put down some capital and depending on demand and how you manage it, you come out with a profit or a loss. At some point, either a label or a band is taking a risk in doing this (no different from any other business). This is why people get angry when labels give bands harsh contracts, but the reality is that the money needs to be recouped somehow (there are definitely cases where labels abuse bands, but let's assume this isn't one). Essentially Kickstarter is a transfer of risk. The risk (some, but not necessarily all) is transferred to the customer funding kickstarter. But when bands overcharge for their merch, they aren't transferring risk; they're directly transferring a loss. If a CD is worth $10 to me, then by paying $20 for your CD, I take a loss of one CD. I don't mind doing this occasionally for bands I love, but I know you (and other bands) proclaim kickstarter as the way of the future. Amplify this loss over the 50 CDs a person buys over the year (a conservative estimate for us collectors), and the price of enjoying metal has just doubled.

One area where I like kickstarters is the ability to give fans somewhat personalized perks. Whether it is through unique items (the new Crimson Shadows hockey pucks are a great example, as is your allowing a fan to select a song for you guys to cover), or great opportunities (personal shows, phone calls, hanging out with the band), this is a great idea. But again, this makes metal more expensive. I just put down $150 for the Crimson Shadows kickstarter. If I did that for every band I loved, I'd be broke. As a fan, kickstarters just aren't sustainable. I personally don't feel as though fans should bear the burden of recording and distribution costs (again, just my opinion).

With that said, it's worth addressing why I supported the Crimson Shadows kickstarter despite not particularly liking crowdfunding. Firstly, the band is at a pivotal point in their career. I 100% believe that if they are going to make it as a touring band, this Alestorm tour they're on is going to do it. The other main reason is that the band spent thousands on a touring van, and then got denied entry to the US. This likely is the reason why they need so much extra money to get to Europe, and while I don't know why they didn't get into the US, I still feel like this was a huge setback for them. Yet another reason is the band's transparency about their costs. I want to know that my money won't be spent on alcohol/drugs. I know you guys wouldn't do that, and I'm not saying the band can't drink on tour, but I don't want to throw away money. The final reason is that they're one of my favourite bands. I'd never drop that much money on a band I don't like, and having seen them 10+ times, their music has become a big part of my life.

Despite my arguments above, which I do think are mostly valid, I agree with you that crowd funding will become bigger in the future. The reason is because the average music (and metal) fan is not a collector. They download as much music as they like, and only occasionally support bands by going to a show or buying a shirt. Crowdfunding is an emotional appeal, so these non music-buying fans feel more strongly about contributing to help out bands, and also because these fans don't spend absurd amounts of money on CDs or vinyl, they can afford to throw around $100 when a band they like does a kickstarter (I'm curious to see how this changes as they become more prevalent). A lot of labels have ripped off bands, but bands also often have no clue what they're signing. Unfortunately labels have been demonized, and, as a result, crowdfunding becomes more popular to fans. I'm one of the most vocal supporters you'll find of good labels, but I think that ship has sailed with most metal fans, hence why crowdfunding is becoming popular.

Edit: Two things I forgot to mention: 1. It's likely that I'm just a cheap person, as I know many others don't feel this way & 2. At the end of the day, people can spend their money on whatever they want. I personally don't feel kickstarters are a particularly great use of money unless you get a really interesting and personalized perk (and even then, it might not be worthwhile), but people can do whatever they want. I drink coke every day even though it will probably take a few years off my life, but that's what I enjoy.
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MindRuler33
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:21 pm
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Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:31 pm 
 

Spiner202 wrote:
My #1 biggest problem with kickstarters is that bands overvalue their merch's worth. There is not a single kickstarter I've seen where this hasn't been the case. I will use one of yours as an example (and this is not intended to disrespect you or your band). Looking at the Dreamwalker kickstarter, it costs $15 for a physical CD (let's ignore shipping for now). Maybe I'm just cheap, but there's not a single band I'd pay $15 for to get an EP. For most bands, $15 gets you a full-length. Then we add in the shipping and it becomes $23. I don't know if I've ever paid that much for a single CD, let alone an EP. This is a prime reason why I suggest taking a bit of a loss on shipping. It does cost $8 US to ship a CD to Canada, but I can't help but feel you would be more successful charging $5 for shipping. Again, I don't know any of the specific numbers here, but that's just my opinion.

I completely understand that bands make basically no money and that this really helps them out, but this is my issue. Recording an album is basically a business venture. You put down some capital and depending on demand and how you manage it, you come out with a profit or a loss. At some point, either a label or a band is taking a risk in doing this (no different from any other business). This is why people get angry when labels give bands harsh contracts, but the reality is that the money needs to be recouped somehow (there are definitely cases where labels abuse bands, but let's assume this isn't one). Essentially Kickstarter is a transfer of risk. The risk (some, but not necessarily all) is transferred to the customer funding kickstarter. But when bands overcharge for their merch, they aren't transferring risk; they're directly transferring a loss. If a CD is worth $10 to me, then by paying $20 for your CD, I take a loss of one CD. I don't mind doing this occasionally for bands I love, but I know you (and other bands) proclaim kickstarter as the way of the future. Amplify this loss over the 50 CDs a person buys over the year (a conservative estimate for us collectors), and the price of enjoying metal has just doubled.

One area where I like kickstarters is the ability to give fans somewhat personalized perks. Whether it is through unique items (the new Crimson Shadows hockey pucks are a great example, as is your allowing a fan to select a song for you guys to cover), or great opportunities (personal shows, phone calls, hanging out with the band), this is a great idea. But again, this makes metal more expensive. I just put down $150 for the Crimson Shadows kickstarter. If I did that for every band I loved, I'd be broke. As a fan, kickstarters just aren't sustainable. I personally don't feel as though fans should bear the burden of recording and distribution costs (again, just my opinion).

With that said, it's worth addressing why I supported the Crimson Shadows kickstarter despite not particularly liking crowdfunding. Firstly, the band is at a pivotal point in their career. I 100% believe that if they are going to make it as a touring band, this Alestorm tour they're on is going to do it. The other main reason is that the band spent thousands on a touring van, and then got denied entry to the US. This likely is the reason why they need so much extra money to get to Europe, and while I don't know why they didn't get into the US, I still feel like this was a huge setback for them. Yet another reason is the band's transparency about their costs. I want to know that my money won't be spent on alcohol/drugs. I know you guys wouldn't do that, and I'm not saying the band can't drink on tour, but I don't want to throw away money. The final reason is that they're one of my favourite bands. I'd never drop that much money on a band I don't like, and having seen them 10+ times, their music has become a big part of my life.

Despite my arguments above, which I do think are mostly valid, I agree with you that crowd funding will become bigger in the future. The reason is because the average music (and metal) fan is not a collector. They download as much music as they like, and only occasionally support bands by going to a show or buying a shirt. Crowdfunding is an emotional appeal, so these non music-buying fans feel more strongly about contributing to help out bands, and also because these fans don't spend absurd amounts of money on CDs or vinyl, they can afford to throw around $100 when a band they like does a kickstarter (I'm curious to see how this changes as they become more prevalent). A lot of labels have ripped off bands, but bands also often have no clue what they're signing. Unfortunately labels have been demonized, and, as a result, crowdfunding becomes more popular to fans. I'm one of the most vocal supporters you'll find of good labels, but I think that ship has sailed with most metal fans, hence why crowdfunding is becoming popular.

Edit: Two things I forgot to mention: 1. It's likely that I'm just a cheap person, as I know many others don't feel this way & 2. At the end of the day, people can spend their money on whatever they want. I personally don't feel kickstarters are a particularly great use of money unless you get a really interesting and personalized perk (and even then, it might not be worthwhile), but people can do whatever they want. I drink coke every day even though it will probably take a few years off my life, but that's what I enjoy.



On the over-value-ing of merch. In the case of our most recent KickStarter - the actual main intended end of this project is to produce a promo video, and in order to acquire means to accomplish that, we need to certainly over-shoot the costs of the physical product. Would it have been better to do what I've seen other bands do and just throw money at us to produce a video, something that doesn't really benefit the backers specifically? I personally don't think so. $15 for a mass-produced and professionally-distributed EP is indeed a vast over-pricing, but I think it's doing it a bit of a disservice to not consider that this EP will be exclusive strictly to the backers of the project. Limiting quantity so strictly and leaving no room for back-end sales drives the cost per unit sky-high in comparison to producing something with them aim to sell at gigs. Also, in exchange for the project reaching certain plateau goals, we agreed to go into the studio and spend hundreds of extra dollars recording additional material, again, exclusively for these backers. We've also allowed fans to have a hand in the track selection for this EP. So yeah, I full sympathize with your point thinking $15 to just purchase a random 4 or 5-song EP is over-priced, but when it's strictly limited to the backers, with exclusive content which was partially selected by the backers... I'm sorry, but I just don't feel that $15 (when we're eating the shipping costs for all domestic orders) is really that bad.

Considering the same point but considering our previous album KickStarter - I don't think we over-priced anything. We valued the CD at $15, the exclusive t-shirt at $20, a commemorative plaque at $40 (the exact cost of the production of them), and signed drum heads at about $20 (a drum head itself costs about $15). We padded them a tad to help off-set shipping charges down the road, but all in all, I just don't think these prices were/are unreasonable. Sure, we added some packages that include things like inclusion on a special thanks list, but it's not mandatory - we made sure (and have always, and will always make sure) to include a package that allows people to just get the "bare-bones minimum" if they happen to just be more casual fans as opposed to people who really want to "back" the band financially.

On to the idea of fans being "responsible" for backing a band:
To be blunt - your'e on the losing end of this argument. I'm not saying that makes you factually wrong, but the "industry" is absolutely moving in the direction where crowd-funding is becoming the "new normal", and I don't really see a problem with that. Sure, it sort makes life difficult for the more "casual fans" out there - I've seen KickStarters that I opted out of because I either like but don't love the band, or thought the rewards/perks were unreasonable... but it's basically relying on a band's ability to generate enthusiasm in "super-fans" to give them capital. Doing what we're doing takes money - a LOT of money. We're a band of people aged 23-25 years old carrying the burden of living fees, college loans, and in the case one person, a 1-year old child on the income of 3 mediocre jobs. We all come from lower-middle class backgrounds - we don't have enthusiastic parents or uncles with thousands of dollars to loan us to pursue our passion projects or ease the cost of living. If it wasn't for what crowd-funding has made possible for us, we would still be a purely local band wasting our time desperately trying to squirrel away tiny amounts of money to make a badly-produced and poorly manufactured 4-song demo, hoping that one day our hopes and prays would be answered by some label with dollar signs in their eyes. This was a wonderful model 30 years ago when the industry had something to offer bands. These days, even if you can garner a lucrative contract with a "legit" label, the most they're going to offer you is enough of an advance to off-set about 30% of production costs of a pro-level record. Crowd-funding removes the middle man, thus cuts down on profit-sucking, and overall just keeps the band and the fans closer. To me it's still a fairly traditional business model - think of it as starting a small business, but instead of driving yourself needlessly into thousands of dollars of debt, you've sought out potential customers who believe in what you do to become benefactors/investors to help you get off the ground. When the product is delivered, we deliver the result, and people have seemed to be very happy with how we've handled things thus far overall.

I should note that I've seen some really awful projects as well, and I understand that ethics and personal taste come into play a LOT. I've seen crowd-funding projects that make me ashamed to do them, because they give the whole process a bad name. But I just don't really believe that a few bad apples should really sour the whole process for everyone. Also, at the end of the day, the whole thing IS voluntary, meaning if you don't approve, no one makes you. We're always going to do everything we can to get the music out to the target audience anyway, but I just believe that the people willing to help invest in the band do deserve to be treated preferentially.

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MindRuler33
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:21 pm
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Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 11:33 pm 
 

TheNiceNightmare wrote:
I see you guys have your debut on Spotify, which means I'll be listening to it shortly...can we trust to see your next album there as well when it comes out? Also, love it when bands engage people like this, always nice to see.


Very cool - thanks in advance for checking out! And yes, the new album will be there!

Also, I'm a big time metal nerd myself - I love getting to know fans and socializing and talking about the music. I like to know what "real metal fans" think of what we're up to as well. :)

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ENKC
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Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:28 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:54 am 
 

The name MindMaze is giving me flashbacks to that trippy medieval castle-exploring quiz game on Encarta '97.

I enjoyed the song. It's not really a style I'm passionate about so I doubt I'll get the CDs. Will consider a bandcamp download, though.

Quote:
Mask of Lies was a priceless prog power opus that packed a powerful punch from Pennsylvania.

Nice alliteration there.

Spiner202, I mostly understand where your views are coming from, though I don't agree with them. I often pay upwards of $20 with postage to get a particular CD here in Aus, and sometimes more than $30. I shop around of course, but sometimes that's simply the best I can do on a specific release and I am happy to pay for a legit copy.

As an accountant, this part is making my brain hurt:

Spiner202 wrote:
I completely understand that bands make basically no money and that this really helps them out, but this is my issue. Recording an album is basically a business venture. You put down some capital and depending on demand and how you manage it, you come out with a profit or a loss. At some point, either a label or a band is taking a risk in doing this (no different from any other business). This is why people get angry when labels give bands harsh contracts, but the reality is that the money needs to be recouped somehow (there are definitely cases where labels abuse bands, but let's assume this isn't one). Essentially Kickstarter is a transfer of risk. The risk (some, but not necessarily all) is transferred to the customer funding kickstarter. But when bands overcharge for their merch, they aren't transferring risk; they're directly transferring a loss. If a CD is worth $10 to me, then by paying $20 for your CD, I take a loss of one CD. I don't mind doing this occasionally for bands I love, but I know you (and other bands) proclaim kickstarter as the way of the future. Amplify this loss over the 50 CDs a person buys over the year (a conservative estimate for us collectors), and the price of enjoying metal has just doubled.


A business can fund its capital requirements from whatever source it likes, provided the source is willing. Why not potential customers? In many businesses, potential customers invest in projects years before seeing a return. The only point of difference here is that the returns are more emotional than monetary. The investor hopes they will have a cool item and a warm fuzzy feeling of having contributed to it, plus the enjoyment of the music itself. If they assess that risk/reward dynamic and voluntarily determine it's worth it to them, where is the problem?

Yes, there are some idiots in bands with no understanding of business. Probably quite a few in fact, which is hardly surprising if they have limited work and life experience outside of their music career. But a band with business savy are entirely within their rights to weigh the pros and cons of crowd-sourcing vs label contracts or whatever combination of the two may be workable.
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Spiner202
Metalhead

Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 3:32 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:55 am 
 

MindRuler33 wrote:
On the over-value-ing of merch. In the case of our most recent KickStarter - the actual main intended end of this project is to produce a promo video, and in order to acquire means to accomplish that, we need to certainly over-shoot the costs of the physical product. Would it have been better to do what I've seen other bands do and just throw money at us to produce a video, something that doesn't really benefit the backers specifically? I personally don't think so. $15 for a mass-produced and professionally-distributed EP is indeed a vast over-pricing, but I think it's doing it a bit of a disservice to not consider that this EP will be exclusive strictly to the backers of the project. Limiting quantity so strictly and leaving no room for back-end sales drives the cost per unit sky-high in comparison to producing something with them aim to sell at gigs. Also, in exchange for the project reaching certain plateau goals, we agreed to go into the studio and spend hundreds of extra dollars recording additional material, again, exclusively for these backers. We've also allowed fans to have a hand in the track selection for this EP. So yeah, I full sympathize with your point thinking $15 to just purchase a random 4 or 5-song EP is over-priced, but when it's strictly limited to the backers, with exclusive content which was partially selected by the backers... I'm sorry, but I just don't feel that $15 (when we're eating the shipping costs for all domestic orders) is really that bad.


$15 is not bad for a limited edition EP, but I suppose I don't see the value for a band that does produce thousands of copies of their releases. A limited edition EP from a band like Edguy would be a very different thing. As you said, going limited increased your costs, but again, that's a business decision. For me as a fan, I don't really consider the costs of production when buying an album.

As for the video, again, that is something that doesn't effect me as a fan. Videos are cool, but it's not going to get played on MTV or anything. I don't particularly care for music videos, and a guitar playthrough is actually more interesting to me and cheaper. This is probably where I differ from most fans, but if I'm looking to support this specific kickstarter, I only look at the EP/perks, and not the video.

Also, I think, again, this doesn't properly factor in shipping costs. I get that you guys are taking a loss on domestic shipping, but the pricing basically closes off the EP to international fans unless they are willing to give up more money for less content.

Quote:
Considering the same point but considering our previous album KickStarter - I don't think we over-priced anything. We valued the CD at $15, the exclusive t-shirt at $20, a commemorative plaque at $40 (the exact cost of the production of them), and signed drum heads at about $20 (a drum head itself costs about $15). We padded them a tad to help off-set shipping charges down the road, but all in all, I just don't think these prices were/are unreasonable. Sure, we added some packages that include things like inclusion on a special thanks list, but it's not mandatory - we made sure (and have always, and will always make sure) to include a package that allows people to just get the "bare-bones minimum" if they happen to just be more casual fans as opposed to people who really want to "back" the band financially.


That's fine. I have the same issue with shipping again. $23 for a CD isn't good value for me. Again, I was referring to kickstarters in general that are overpriced. I think the CD is overpriced, but it doesn't mean everyone feels that way.

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On to the idea of fans being "responsible" for backing a band:
To be blunt - your'e on the losing end of this argument. I'm not saying that makes you factually wrong, but the "industry" is absolutely moving in the direction where crowd-funding is becoming the "new normal", and I don't really see a problem with that. Sure, it sort makes life difficult for the more "casual fans" out there - I've seen KickStarters that I opted out of because I either like but don't love the band, or thought the rewards/perks were unreasonable... but it's basically relying on a band's ability to generate enthusiasm in "super-fans" to give them capital. Doing what we're doing takes money - a LOT of money. We're a band of people aged 23-25 years old carrying the burden of living fees, college loans, and in the case one person, a 1-year old child on the income of 3 mediocre jobs. We all come from lower-middle class backgrounds - we don't have enthusiastic parents or uncles with thousands of dollars to loan us to pursue our passion projects or ease the cost of living. If it wasn't for what crowd-funding has made possible for us, we would still be a purely local band wasting our time desperately trying to squirrel away tiny amounts of money to make a badly-produced and poorly manufactured 4-song demo, hoping that one day our hopes and prays would be answered by some label with dollar signs in their eyes. This was a wonderful model 30 years ago when the industry had something to offer bands. These days, even if you can garner a lucrative contract with a "legit" label, the most they're going to offer you is enough of an advance to off-set about 30% of production costs of a pro-level record. Crowd-funding removes the middle man, thus cuts down on profit-sucking, and overall just keeps the band and the fans closer. To me it's still a fairly traditional business model - think of it as starting a small business, but instead of driving yourself needlessly into thousands of dollars of debt, you've sought out potential customers who believe in what you do to become benefactors/investors to help you get off the ground. When the product is delivered, we deliver the result, and people have seemed to be very happy with how we've handled things thus far overall.


I don't feel I'm on the losing end at all. As soon as these things really blow up, you'll see them become less successful. People just can't afford to throw around this much money for all of their favourite bands.

Also, you are well within your rights to raise money in any way you want, but I can think of 1 band in my local scene (out of 40 or so that come to mind that I know of) that has used a kickstarter, and that's more because their tour fell through. The reality is that 99.9% of metal bands have full-time jobs and need to find money for recording, pressing, and distribution. Sometimes it comes through labels or through their own personal funds, but I don't like the idea that kickstarters are mandatory because you aren't doing music full time. I'm currently writing an album, and I know if I end up releasing it that I'll be paying for 100% of pressing, recording, and artwork costs. And I don't expect to recoup any of that money.

As a final note, crowdfunding does not make life harder for the casual fans. It makes it harder for the more intense metal fans. The casual fan that is either a friend of the band, a local supporter, or someone who downloads your music and enjoys it is far more likely to throw money around than the guy who collects every single Motorhead album while attending several concerts a month, and travels to other countries (continents in some cases) to see festivals. Personally, I have a value put on every single album I'm interested in and I won't spend more than that because I know my prices really well and can put a value to each album.

The reality is, people are happy with crowdfunding. But these are the same people who are responsible for CD sales diminishing over the years. Not everybody has to be as into music as most of us on this board are, but those are the people I want bands to think of when they do things.

Quote:
I should note that I've seen some really awful projects as well, and I understand that ethics and personal taste come into play a LOT. I've seen crowd-funding projects that make me ashamed to do them, because they give the whole process a bad name. But I just don't really believe that a few bad apples should really sour the whole process for everyone. Also, at the end of the day, the whole thing IS voluntary, meaning if you don't approve, no one makes you. We're always going to do everything we can to get the music out to the target audience anyway, but I just believe that the people willing to help invest in the band do deserve to be treated preferentially.


And this is my point. I don't agree with, and other than one instance, I likely won't support any crowdfunding. Even if it becomes more popular, there won't be any shortage of bands releasing albums through the older methods.

ENKC wrote:

Spiner202, I mostly understand where your views are coming from, though I don't agree with them. I often pay upwards of $20 with postage to get a particular CD here in Aus, and sometimes more than $30. I shop around of course, but sometimes that's simply the best I can do on a specific release and I am happy to pay for a legit copy.


My comments are mostly related to my situation in Canada. Australia is a completely different world where everything is overpriced. Video games regularly cost $100+ there while they're $60 in the US and $70 in Canada. If I lived in Australia, I'd have completely different thoughts on the value of albums.

Quote:
As an accountant, this part is making my brain hurt:


I too am an accountant :D

Quote:
Spiner202 wrote:
I completely understand that bands make basically no money and that this really helps them out, but this is my issue. Recording an album is basically a business venture. You put down some capital and depending on demand and how you manage it, you come out with a profit or a loss. At some point, either a label or a band is taking a risk in doing this (no different from any other business). This is why people get angry when labels give bands harsh contracts, but the reality is that the money needs to be recouped somehow (there are definitely cases where labels abuse bands, but let's assume this isn't one). Essentially Kickstarter is a transfer of risk. The risk (some, but not necessarily all) is transferred to the customer funding kickstarter. But when bands overcharge for their merch, they aren't transferring risk; they're directly transferring a loss. If a CD is worth $10 to me, then by paying $20 for your CD, I take a loss of one CD. I don't mind doing this occasionally for bands I love, but I know you (and other bands) proclaim kickstarter as the way of the future. Amplify this loss over the 50 CDs a person buys over the year (a conservative estimate for us collectors), and the price of enjoying metal has just doubled.


A business can fund its capital requirements from whatever source it likes, provided the source is willing. Why not potential customers? In many businesses, potential customers invest in projects years before seeing a return. The only point of difference here is that the returns are more emotional than monetary. The investor hopes they will have a cool item and a warm fuzzy feeling of having contributed to it, plus the enjoyment of the music itself. If they assess that risk/reward dynamic and voluntarily determine it's worth it to them, where is the problem?

Yes, there are some idiots in bands with no understanding of business. Probably quite a few in fact, which is hardly surprising if they have limited work and life experience outside of their music career. But a band with business savy are entirely within their rights to weigh the pros and cons of crowd-sourcing vs label contracts or whatever combination of the two may be workable.


They absolutely are allowed to do this. And if I were in a band that was trying to "make it", I would do it too. The band will likely lose less money doing this, and possibly even gain some popularity. But my comments are purely as a fan. It's just not realistic for me to support every one of my favourite bands this way. I'm hopeful that Mindmaze's new label deal will get them distribution in a distro I regularly order from, and I'll pick up the album that way.
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Goatfangs
Wicker Mantis

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:02 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:26 pm 
 

I think a kickstarter to fund something like an album is a great idea. It's certainly not like MindMaze was trying to kickstart the construction of a whole new studio. :p

MindRuler33 wrote:
Goatfangs wrote:


Tom? Is that you? I'm doing my regular googling and I stumbled across this - seems like it echoes your point of view on things. Just curious. If not, my bad, haha. Anyway, this is Jeff from MM.


Tom? LOL, no, it's Joe, the crazy one from Reading that yells "Fuck Yeah" a lot and raises praying mantises (thus the custom title...)

Metantoine, I hear more Savatage in Dreamwalker than any In Flames. Though, The Jester Race is definitely influenced by 80s metal, much more so than any other In Flames album. There's some Iron Maiden in both, but MindMaze's most Iron Maiden song is one of their oldest, Breaking the Chains. Sarah's vocals is a whole different story, still influenced by 80s metal but at least to me I hear quite a bit of Dio and Tony Martin, as well as Doro. She sings with power, but not like many power metal vocalists that use falsetto trying to sound like a dragon that got hit in the balls, but rather with honest conviction and emotion.

Disclaimer: I like dragons, even when they sound like they got kicked in the balls. Poor dragon :<
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MindRuler33
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:21 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:16 am 
 

Goatfangs wrote:
Tom? LOL, no, it's Joe, the crazy one from Reading that yells "Fuck Yeah" a lot and raises praying mantises (thus the custom title...)

Metantoine, I hear more Savatage in Dreamwalker than any In Flames. Though, The Jester Race is definitely influenced by 80s metal, much more so than any other In Flames album. There's some Iron Maiden in both, but MindMaze's most Iron Maiden song is one of their oldest, Breaking the Chains. Sarah's vocals is a whole different story, still influenced by 80s metal but at least to me I hear quite a bit of Dio and Tony Martin, as well as Doro. She sings with power, but not like many power metal vocalists that use falsetto trying to sound like a dragon that got hit in the balls, but rather with honest conviction and emotion.

Disclaimer: I like dragons, even when they sound like they got kicked in the balls. Poor dragon :<


Ah yes - it all makes sense now! Sorry for the misunderstanding! Also, thanks a lot for helping spread the word!!! \m/ \m/

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