Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Don't bring me problems, bring me.... the pledge...
Last week, SSGs raised some of the possibly-problematic issues surrounding Marcel Dettmann's Australia 'tour' - bounce is more like. One of the lingering thoughts that I've had since writing the post is that the key problem is that, as a model, music touring is primarily a business model (mostly about brands, events, and publicity, in any case)... ...which, although profitable in the short term, is corrosive of any kind of free association which is either un or non profitable... the social, at best, only ever breaks even - despite the fact that it is actively and immediately the producer of most things of value.
This week, Dave Slutzkin, of RRR's excellent To-and-Fro, where I've been an occasional guest...
...actually, that reminds me, you can find our last co show (really/actually Dave at the controls and me yapping out of control) here, and download it here... There are some - what I think are - great old Perlon and Kompakt records, as well as some discussions about the respective directions of said labels.... and we play an amazing single by Melbourne-based artist Kharkov, the b side of Kettenkarussell's 'I believe you and me make love forever EP, on Giegling (of which more soon), and finish with two of my favourite tracks ever... well, check the fucking show out, it's the only way of shutting me up... No matter who you are and what your electronic bent is, you should really consider subscribing - Dave's taste is as immaculate as it is broad...
'nuff preambling... *ahem* Dave has come up with what is not only a response to the post on the Dettmann tour, but also one possible 'solution'... here 'tis:
On this side of the world, we lament the lack of great artists playing comfy venues with sweet sound systems in front of receptive crowds - seethis recent post. To paraphrase an incompetent boss: "Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions". Well, here's one which just might work.
Pledge-fund these tours. What's that mean? When you're considering getting someone out, solicit pledges from the punters who want the tour, and take the money later when the tour is confirmed, giving them a ticket to the gig. If you can't get it up, the pledge lapses and the money's never taken.
Essentially, interested punters are buying their tickets well in advance, with the security of full refunds. They're also getting something of a say in decisions - you've coalesced a nice little community around the shared interest who you can ask for advice. You'll probably sell to the general public later, but not until all your pledges are taken care of, and you don't rely on public ticket sales to make the gig viable.
It can all be done through Kickstarter:
This is currently US-only, though I know at least one Melbourne-based gig funded here, by the great Soundbytes chiptune collective:
The most important part is that the whole thing is not-for-profit, and the books are open wide. Yes, we still need a promoter (or team of promoters), but because they're personally motivated, we avoid the the usual profit-motivated-promoter problems of overcharging, overcrowding and under-equipping the venue.
And actually, because we're not worried by profit, these gigs should be attractive to venues. There's no reason for the promoter to take a cut off the bar, so the venue gets to keep that cash, and potentially a lump sum up-front payment can be factored in as well. If the gig's more profitable for the venue then the venue has an incentive to give a bit of slack in sound system outfitting, for instance, or allowing a tentative booking.
The bottom line is that it's cheaper all round because we're removing expenses - the promoter profit margin - and uncertainty - it's easier to predict crowd numbers directly from pledge numbers. Done properly, this should make a great gig for a bargain basement price. Yes, it'll still be more expensive than it would be in Berlin. But that's the tyranny of distance right there.
All you need is a motivated group to put it all together.