Thursday, February 6, 2014

This Is Your Brain on Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is really an ingenious concept.  It combines a focus group with fund raising.  Essentially, if you have an idea and think you can draw enough people to rally together the necessary funds to support your project, you have something.  It almost makes us all patrons of the arts, should we care enough to give to such highbrow causes. 

Well, pretending to be a high-minded individual, I decided to become a patron of the arts.  While I've yet to find a project on Kickstarter which appeals to me, although I was awfully close on the Jim Crockett Promotions Documentary, since I have an awful weakness for Southern wrestling from the 1980s.  You'd actually be hard pressed to find someone who grew up in New Jersey caring more about the Von Erichs, the Freebirds and Ric Flair than I did.  But I also thought, the DVD would get funded and if I wanted it, I would just buy it from Highspots when I wanted it, which as of this date, I've yet to do. 

However, aside from my weakness for wrestling, I have an even bigger weakness for third wave ska.  And third wave ska, being what it is, has found a new life in crowdfunding.  I actually only found out crowdfunding was a real phenomenon through Big Tunes, which I discovered in July.  The Slackers, who are my favorite band, as evidenced by the twelve times I've seen them live and the title of this blog, were putting out a new album and DVD and lyrics book.  But the catch was, that none of this would be made if there wasn't funding.

Well, I went to the Big Tunes site and debated how much I love vinyl and colored vinyl, which in my defense is not at all, as I own three records.  But I do love CDs and DVDs and I cannot tell you how badly I wanted a lyrics book that I can page through at my leisure.  So, I made my payment and began waiting.  Hopefully, by April, I should have my order, but in the interim, I already have the digital downloads of the new album and the bonus tracks and the bonus live set from Maxwell's, which includes a fantastic live version of And I Wonder?. 

Having enjoyed the experience so much, I made the plunge a second time.  Crazy Baldhead, which is a project from Agent Jay of the Slackers, was preparing to release a new album.  Surprisingly, amongst the 150 ska CDs I own, there were no Crazy Baldhead CDs.  So, with an option to get all three for a relatively cheap price, I made the plunge and ordered.  I've had the digital download of Boots Embraces for a few weeks now and really enjoyed it.  But the other day, I received an automated message that my order shipped.

Like most people, I love mail and packages, since it means something to fulfill my consumerist desires.  So, I tracked the package until it made it to my doorstep.  Literally, I checked today from inside my apartment and saw the package was out for delivery.  So, I opened my door and a thin sleeve fell into my apartment.  Opening it quickly, like we do with all packages, I was excited to see CDs inside.  The three Crazy Baldhead CDs were well represented in the package, with one in a plastic case and two in sleeves.  But when I opened it, I thought, did I get the wrong order, because on top was a copy of the Brooklyn Rocksteady Soundtrack, which I purchased from Sammy Kaye on the Slackers boat show this year.  What I quickly realized was that the CD was thrown in, as a way of saying thank you for supporting the efforts, which I thought was both great customer service and way to get me to pre-order again through Big Tunes, which I surely will.  The other good news is that I managed to misplace my Brooklyn Rocksteady Soundtrack and now don't have to contemplate replacing it.  Good times and great music ahead. 

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