The Future of Kickstarter
Although Murder By Death estimate that they’ve wrapped up about 80 percent of their Kickstarter obligations, in a way, their commitment to it will never end. People who pledged more than $1,000 are in the band’s Forever Club which guarantees them new merch items for life.
The band are working on a new album and wonder if they would do another Kickstarter campaign. “The idea of going through that much work again just sounds fucking miserable,” says Turla. “It was financially amazing. We all got some money, nothing crazy. But I was able to [re-press] all our back albums on vinyl, enough to last us for two years. That saves us a fortune since we put out all our vinyl.”
But Kickstarter projects are developing a stigma, largely due to well-off celebrities like Zach Braff asking for money to fund various projects. “His food per diem for one movie is probably more than each of us made on our Kickstarter,” says Turla. “I see Kickstarter as something for independent people to do. This is a way of marketing projects that wouldn’t happen otherwise.”
“I think they’re killing it for everybody else,” says Armstrong. By the time the band’s next album comes out, he predicts Kickstarter may be on its way out. “There will be something new to take its place. People are always coming up with new things.”
“I think what’s happening is that labels and movie companies are seeing Kickstarter as an opportunity to not spend their own money,” says Turla. “Like, I saw some crappy emo band of slanty-haired kids who wanted to make a music video and they were like, ‘We need $60,000!’ and they got it from fans. And that’s just the label not paying for it. The label’s just like, ‘Ha-ha, suckers, you foot the bill.’”
Turla toys with the idea of just directly asking fans what they want. “We did that once but ideas people gave were too ‘rockstar-y,’” he says. “Like, ‘hang out with the band.’ If you want to hang out, just come say hello at a show. We’ll hang out. We’ll have a drink.”