Ne Obliviscaris violinist responds to Patreon criticism

7 March 2016 | 2:19 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Following last week's launch of new interactive fan membership service Patreon, locals Ne Obliviscaris have since seen the campaign debated within the music community.

Following last week's launch of new interactive fan membership service Patreon, locals Ne Obliviscaris have since seen the campaign debated within the music community.

As reported last Friday, the Melbourne based metal outfit unveiled the aforementioned membership platform, which was created to help remedy the often high costs of touring. So far, the band has raised $5,663.

Subsequently, opinion was then divided regarding the use of the campaign and its merits.

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This afternoon, vocalist/violinist Tim Charles offered a lengthy online piece, which discussed and expanded on the concepts of Patreon when explaining the rationale. Charles writes:

"So Ne Obliviscaris is the talk of the town... everyone seems to have an opinion and in amongst a hugely positive response from many people around the world there are also some people who seem to not quite grasp what it is that we are doing. But you know, sometimes it's not easy to be the first to do something... In history there are many examples of that and every new member that jumps on board our Patreon just gives us more faith that we are on the right track and that time will reveal all in our favour.

The one aspect that mystifies me to no end is that there are people in other bands back home in Australia or abroad that think what we are doing is wrong. As if we have broken some ethical code that all bands must suffer and relish in it. Anyone who knows our bands history knows that we have had to overcome more hurdles than most, and have worked incredibly hard over many years to get to where we are now (just like many many bands). Backstage in dressing rooms the world over I have had discussions with soooo many bands about the brutal reality of the music industry- that almost all the bands that you love are either in debt, or struggling. Many bands break up because it is simply too difficult a lifestyle to maintain and fans are always up in arms when a band they love calls it a day.

Well, rather than accept our fate as a mid level band destined to not make a dollar we have decided to take the initiative to change the course of our future for the better and... IT IS WORKING ALREADY! We have already locked in over $5600USD in monthly subscriptions and next month each of us will get a small pay cheque for the first time for being part of NeO after 12 long years. In return we will provide a new monthly membership service that has a range of different things appealing to lots of different types of fans.

So what is this service? Well for those Aussies, it's pretty similar to an AFL (Australian Football League) sports team club membership-- you choose what level membership you want based on the level of support you want to offer and what things you want in return. I'm a member of my team the Western Bulldogs and I get access to home games, a scarf, team, priority access to finals tickets etc. and I pay $35AUD a month for that. My team has always been pretty poor and if supporters don't sign up the club would cease to exist (just ask fans of the Fitzroy Lions). But there are a range of different levels based on how many games you want to attend and/or other variables.

That is how Australian sports teams work... they aren't owned by rich people like in the USA, they are financed directly by the public and they survive or fold based on how many members they have. When I was a kid several teams in the AFL almost folded or merged with other teams (including the Bulldogs) and supporters of the teams rallied to get on new members and teams, like the one I follow, managed to survive and 20+ years later they are still here due to the supporters who continue to invest financially in them each year by buying memberships.

So I decided to take that approach across to music as I figured that people would support bands if given the opportunity. Music is something incredibly important to many people’s lives, and if sports fans can invest in their teams careers, why not music fans in the bands they love? So far it seems like we are onto something and that is incredibly exciting.

Life is full of choices. We chose to accept tours that would lose us money to get exposure to tens of thousands of new fans and it has been great for our career as we have made huge strides in the past year. This is what every band in the world has to do in an attempt to make their business profitable. This is called the "investment period".... sadly for most bands they invest and invest and when eventually they have no money left to invest call it a day having never reached the seemingly unattainable goal of financial reimbursement for the endless hours put in.

But what if I told you that some bands already have enough fans to make a living, it's just the system doesn't funnel money properly directly to the bands? The way people consume music has changed, and as a result the way people support bands financially has dropped considerably creating a situation where most mid level international bands are struggling. But the fans are there, more passionate than ever and want the bands they love to succeed. So if there is a way forward not just for NeO but for COUNTLESS bands across the world why would people fight it?

Too much pride? It is not arrogance to have self worth and feel your music is worth something to the people that listen to it and enjoy it.

I am a professional musician that has made a living off music ever since I finished University. I have done this in a range of ways such as teaching violin, setting up my own Booking agency, tour company, record label, performing as a session musician and more. I studied classical violin for over 20 years, and if I went out and joined an orchestra I would get paid very well and nobody would have an issue. But instead I decided to pursue a career playing violin in a metal band, and apparently for me to dream about a day where I could get paid to do such a thing is apparently offensive to some people.

Musicians in our society are criminally under-rated and under-valued. But rather than just accept that our fate is doomed to forever be impoverished we have found a new way that is working and I think it will work for many other bands around the world. If more bands can succeed through the power of their fans how in any way can this be a bad thing? Nobody is being forced to sign up, this is something strictly for our fans, hundreds of whom have already signed up in the first 3 days.

This is a way that fans can show their support. But it is not a hand out. We are offering a range of services and perks in return for someone signing up as a member. We are also allowing fans an opportunity to ensure that the music that means something to them continues to be made.

Everyone has bands that they love and would love to see continue… this is not asking the public for more than what is reasonable. This is asking the public to support financially bands in a reasonable fashion, like they used to before everyone downloaded everything for free.

So people can say what they want, but the revolution is here and there is no turning back.

We may be the first, but more are coming... and I could not be more excited about the future of our industry."

You can find out further details regarding Patreon via the campaign's website.