'Screw The Past': Band Says Crowd-Sourced Wages Are The Future

23 March 2016 | 1:02 pm | Neil Griffiths

"What we’ve essentially done is set up a fan club, but combined it with the old idea of patronage of the arts."

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They only launched their interactive fan membership less than a month ago in a bid to ensure the band's future and it is already proving a treat for Melbourne prog-metal band Ne Obliviscaris as it has not only raised nearly $US7500 but it has many other bands considering the idea as a new means of revenue. 

Speaking to theMusic about the Patreon campaign, band member Tim Charles said, "This is basically a revenue stream that we created out of nowhere.

"At the current rate, it’s really exciting for us and it’s also exciting that there’s such strong interest in the idea."

As the band raise the $US7500 on a monthly basis, the current figure will equate to almost $US120,000 annually.

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Fans are rewarded for their pledges with monthly goodies  that range from exclusive access to band content all the way to unlimited tickets to Ne Obliviscaris shows, the option to hand-pick setlists and the opportunity to speak directly to the band about future plans. 

"What we’ve essentially done is set up a fan club, but combined it with the old idea of patronage of the arts," Charles explained. 

"Some people are just signing up purely because they want to become patrons of the band and support us, other people are signing up because of our fan club membership benefits."

While the membership has been warmly received by fans, Charles did admit that there are those who have voiced their opinion against it, or believe it gives the band a bad look. 

"Anyone who has queries like that in general won’t understand the realities of the way things are in a band," Charles said.

"It’s my strong opinion that fans used to contribute more money per artist they listen to back in the day…when CD sales were still at their peak.

"The reality is, a lot of people that would be saying that are the same people that are downloading all the albums for free and they’re not financially contributing to the band. So you have people who don’t financially contribute to the bands that they listen to and then the band breaks up because they have no money and then they complain that the band’s broken up."

Charles went on to say that it is wrong to assume that a band makes a healthy wage from touring across the world with big name bands and that is one of the issues the industry needs to address. 

"The problem is in the past, in the music industry, agents and managers and labels and bands, they’re all working together to try and create these false images of these rock star rich bands that are special people that should be looked up to," he said. 

"But we don’t care about that. We’re just ordinary guys who love doing what we do and we want to keep doing it.  

"Someone might go and buy an album from JB Hi-Fi for $20 and then JB takes a cut, the record label takes a cut, the distributor takes a cut and we might get $1 – that’s not even an exaggeration. With this, instead of hassling people to buy albums, when they’re just simply not in the numbers that they used to…we decided, screw the past, we want to look forward."

Due to the quick success of the campaign, Charles said that there are other bands who are considering adopting the concept, which he welcomes. 

"We have a lot of friends in bands who are similar to us," Charles said.

"One of the common jokes backstage around the world is how little money they make and I think when we put together this idea there was definitely the hope that if this was successful…and if we can pave the way for bands that can do the same thing, that would be incredible. There are so many bands that I love as a fan…that I know make no money, or they make very little.

"The reality is you can’t go on tour for six months of the year and not get paid and do that year after year. That’s what we did last year and that’s why everyone sort of got fired from our day jobs, because we were not home enough."

For more details about the Patreon campaign, click here