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 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 8:16 AM   
 By:   Jeff M   (Member)

Peoplearefunny, you raise some excellent points. I for one, don't really know what goes into soundtrack deals specifically, but I have no doubt it can be as complex and sensitive as you say. I'm sure there are record label deals that would make our hair turn grey just listening to the political maneuvering that went down to get it done.

I don't think Kickstarter can magically make that side of things any easier, but it can generate money and support for projects. If studio X doesn't see money and support as reasons to be more confident in a soundtrack release, and the soundtrack label also has to keep everything in the dark from other labels, the backers, and the internet, then that project certainly isn't going to work on Kickstarter.

I don't think Kickstarter can circumvent a process like that, but I'd also like to think not every release is that difficult, and I'd also like to think Kickstarter can be used as just a piece of the puzzle, or the big push to get things rolling, or to wrap things up, not the sole support of a project.

Let's say labels DO need to keep their cards close to their chest, and can in no way reveal what they're working on because of fear of backlash, competition from other labels, things falling through ETC ETC.

In my own Kickstarter's case it would be like saying: "I am releasing a book, I can't tell you what it's about because I might upset my publisher, and I can't tell you about that deal, or the publisher, and also, someone might steal the idea and write the book themselves. In conclusion, give me some money so I can write my book! It will be great."

But I don't believe that's what labels would be trying to do on Kickstarter. What Lukas asked originally was "What if labels used Kickstarter, as a way to more or less do pre-sales without them being literally pre-sales?"

I think that sounds like a great idea. I would assume that this at least means a label can say what the soundtrack is they are working on/"pre-selling," and lay out the challenges and what it means for the release to happen.

Kickstarter is about getting projects to happen that otherwise don't have the money or support to do so. I can absolutely see this applying to pretty much EVERY speciality soundtrack release.

If it's a project whose main hurdle is that it will take time, and money, then those are both hurdles Kickstarter community backers are willing jump, IF they are told about them upfront. This much I know.

If the main hurdle is that the masters might not exist, and the project HAS to be kept discreet,and the studio might not let it happen, and another soundtrack label might steal it, then yes, that probably isn't going to make a compelling case on Kickstarter. But then again, it might. It all depends on how you sell the project.

Let's say you can openly tell backers you're working on Beverly Hills Cop, and the last piece of the puzzle is some very sensitive money issue that can't be disclosed fully. You don't have to tell backers about that money issue specifically, but you can tell them there is one more deal to close that needs money, and that "B" goal can happen if "A" goal is met. All label X has to do is convince the backer that they can make it work.

Soundtrack labels have a lot of years under their belts doing just this, so if they say they can do it, I'll believe them. They still need to sell themselves, and I don't believe they'll just rest on the laurels of "we are label X, therefore we can release any soundtrack."

Recently, there was an epic failure on Kickstarter for someone trying to release an alternate cut of Ghostbusters 2 with rare deleted footage from the movie. The project got a HUGE amount of positive press and still barely raised 4 percent of it's goal by the time the project ended. Only some funding means no go on Kickstarter. So why couldn't this hugely popular movie project raise the money? Many reasons, but for one: the filmmaker trying to do this shot his Kickstarter video on what looked like a webcam, with no real editorial or filmmaking prowess. Not very heartening. Also, as to HOW he was actually going to acquire all this rare studio footage? He only offered this as an explanation:

"The challenge of acquiring the lost/deleted scenes and making a master print of the film with them inserted into a cohesive version. It will be done. One way or another. There may be some roadblocks along the way, but with the collaboration between Sony Pictures, the GB2 creative team, and myself, we should be able to get the ball rolling on this."

He hadn't made any connections with Sony, or the GB2 team, and was relying on the Kickstarter itself to generate everything. He certainly didn't come off as someone who knew what he was getting into.

I'm confident that labels on a whole are much more savvy than this, and can create a strong, compelling crowdfunding cases for why they can get a project done, without relying on blind optimism, or having to reveal every single detail.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 8:22 AM   
 By:   Jason LeBlanc   (Member)

One idea is to up the price of the physical CD version to $25 and start selling digital download versions at $15.

Of course this is impossible until you can negotiate with the AFM and the movie studio for digital rights instead of the limited-edition-physical-release-only rights they grant now.



The most important thing really is to get Varese to either release or license to LLL/Intrada/Quartet to release all the fantastic titles they have perpetuity rights to before the whole market collapses on itself

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 9:09 AM   
 By:   Kim Tong   (Member)

Welcome to the board Peoplearefunny, you have some good thoughts.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 9:10 AM   
 By:   Jeff M   (Member)

In response to your last post Lukas, I'm not sure that Kickstarter can continually "Feed-the-Dragon" as you've said, or sustain soundtrack labels' need to keep releases flowing as constantly as they have been.

I have absolute confidence KS CAN fund projects on a case by case basis though. The beauty of crowdfunding is that it can scale based on popularity. You would only need to print a run of cds as big as the Kickstarter audience demands.

Very few people make multiple Kickstarter projects at the rate soundtracks are released. Some wouldn't do more than one a year, let alone one a month. It is a tremendous amount of work as it's more than just a transaction between buyer and seller.

But that special connection through crowd funding is what can make a project incredibly successful beyond the scope of just selling a cd impersonally over the internet. And Kickstarter makes a very clear point that "it is not a store," nor should it be.

As far as the mechanics go, like Jason said, I think it's a good idea to make digital downloads available for anyone who wants to put in $15ish, and then a limited cd for anyone who wants to put in $25ish. That model makes complete sense as the 25 dollar point is still the sweet spot for backers.

You'd still print the usual extra discs to cover defects, and offer bulk discount reward tiers for re-sellers, ebay scalpers, or anyone who is willing to plunk down more cash to buy more cds wholesale... but effectively, once that Kickstarter ends, that's it for the limited physical run of CDs. You only print what the Kickstarter backer tally demands.

This creates more incentive for soundtrack fans to become backers and jump onboard at cd price if they really want it, while those who don't wont to shell out all that money can still get the music for a lower price. The whole experience makes projects more special for backers in general.

There are also ways you can generate more money through other kind of rewards: pay a little extra for a signed copy, have your name listed in the production credits, more bonus content for more money, or for digital access to behind the scenes stuff, expanded liner notes etc etc.

Crowdfunding is still evolving every day, I don't think there is any one formula that will work for every release, but I think it's definitely viable for soundtrack projects that a label is excited about releasing.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 9:16 AM   
 By:   Dyfrynt   (Member)

Acquiring venture capital has always been a viable way to help fund business plans. The usual way this works is that people invest with an expectation of a return on their investment monetarily. It is always speculative and people going in have to be okay with losing their investment.

KS and the like is a new twist of the old format, having individuals invest with the expectation of an end product instead of a profit. There are several issues that I can think of.

First of all, your investment is not necessarily safe. As I understand it, if the project does not reach its funding limit, everyone gets their money back. BUT, if it does reach the funding requirement they do not get their money back.

The critical question is this. What confidence does one have that the end product will be successfully produced? What if the business is not capable of following through to final product for some reason. What if the project ends up costing more than expected? What if the final product isn't of a quality expected? What if the business delivers, but it is only a portion of what they promised?

In the end, the individual investor has to be okay with potentially of losing their money.

Secondly, as has been pointed out by several, what projects are going to be popular enough to get enough people to jump on board? Everyone has their own favorite wants, and there does not seem to be a significant amount of overlap. With so much of the BIG items already available, is there enough product out there that enough people would want to own to get them to invest?

Finally, the biggest problem with all of these new get-money-for-your-cause/project sites that they don't tell you about is that the business has to do the advertising to get people to know this opportunity is available. This one thing alone kills most projects. Advertising your opportunity is expensive. Very expensive. Even in a tight knit group like score collectors, would there be enough interested investors to get the word out to enough people to get the number of investors required to make the target goal?

I'm not saying that KS cannot work; obviously there are success stories. But if I were considering doing such a project, these would be the questions I would have to have a reasonable expectation of having the correct answer for.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   ScottDS   (Member)

The most important thing really is to get Varese to either release or license to LLL/Intrada/Quartet to release all the fantastic titles they have perpetuity rights to before the whole market collapses on itself

^This!

I'm no Kickstarter expert - thankfully the two projects I've helped support both surpassed their goals.

Another poster mentioned this above and I have to agree: this could work for big titles but obscure stuff? Not so much, unless it was some kind of package deal.

"We're working on 5 titles: an obscure 50s score, an obscure 60s score, a 70s holy grail, and two 80s scores new to CD. We have the rights - help fund them!" I couldn't see this happening for individual titles - it would just be too much.

And how would this be advertised? The labels don't do tons of marketing as it is, how would anyone outside this forum (aka "the normals") find out about a Kickstarter project when they don't even know this niche exists?

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 9:51 AM   
 By:   Dana Wilcox   (Member)

Thank you all for a thoughtful breakdown of the possibilities and pitfalls of the KS idea.

I don't think that I, as an individual consumer of film music, would be likely to participate in this sort of program. It is unlikely that I would have enough extra cash around to invest in many projects, and I don't much like the idea that I might not be able to buy a particular soundtrack at all if I did not invest in it up front, with no real guarantee of a suitable product, or any product at all, on the other end. While I applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of the KS system, I am satisfied as a buyer with the present system. It seems on the surface that given the relative poverty of many of our compatriots here, the KS "invest up front" system would further reduce the potential availability of film music releases to the broadest audience, and I think the industry should be working on ways to make as much product as easily available as possible to the largest number of collectors. The KS system seems like "life support" for an industry on its last legs, and I haven't seen that to be the case for our little niche market. I think the $20 price tag for soundtracks (compared to $12 or $13 for a pop album release) is about as much of an artificial price support as I am willing to venture.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 9:58 AM   
 By:   Illustrator   (Member)

This came up an one point a year or so ago with regard to rerecordings particularly The Pride & The Passion. So that labels such as Tadlow would not be risking an unwarranted investment. I think our favourite labels all know in general terms what we would love to see and hear but yes when read of poor Intrada sales of Richard Band or an obscure Laurence Rosenthhal (which I love their passion for and truly putting their money on the line) it doesn't surprise me. Maybe there need to be a few less releases and more sure fire successes for the labels to to be able to indulge the obviously smaller scores. LaLa seem to have a ver good balance right now but it does seem a while since and Intrada release really got me excited, nothing after since this year's magnificent Schifrin releases. Definitive Last of The Mohicans, Dances With Wolves, Apollo 13 as well as more Schifrin, Quincy Jones. If a kickstarter model would be applicable I'm in but I can see it's benefit for rerecordings more than originals after all however much we differ the same names Delerue, Silvestri, Elfman, Poledouris, Barry are all profitable. Aren't they?

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:07 AM   
 By:   Khan   (Member)


I have some ideas as to HOW to adapt to that changing world which I'll share later... Do you guys have any?


This idea will probably go over like a ton of bricks here, but two words spring to mind:

Embrace digital.

I still like to buy CDs when I can, but I have no qualms buying MP3 albums if they're the only option or if they're ridiculously on sale. I have to imagine that going digital on some things would have to reduce overhead (pressing of CDs, printing of booklets, packaging, shipping) and also save the consumer money as well (not having to pay for shipping, reduced cost of digital media vs. physical).

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

I caution everyone to adapt to a changing world.

I have some ideas as to HOW to adapt to that changing world which I'll share later... Do you guys have any?

Lukas






You've already adapted. You've told us you don't listen to CDs and play all your music through iTunes or equivalent.
Some of us would like to do the same, but to do so we still have to pay for a physical CD we don't want, plus its associated exorbitant shipping. I am forced to pay a share for CD pressing costs and shipping fees that are entirely unnecessary if I want to listen to soundtracks the same way you do, lossless, via my computer. I don't even have a CD player any more (just a desktop drive for the computer to rip dead-technology soundtrack CDs with).
If people here still want physical CDs and are prepared to pay extra for them, that's fine. Let them have them. But they are presently subsidized by those who DON'T want CDs but are nevertheless forced to pay a part of the CD production costs.
And I might be more inclined to "invest" in some Kickstarter projects if I wasn't wasting hundreds of dollars a year on CD shipping costs.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:26 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Another thing. Funding kickstarter is sort of like pre-ordering. A lot of people just don't feel comfortable pre-ordering things. Also some need to be careful how they manage their spending money. Perhaps they could afford to fund a project today, but will they have that $25 or $50 dollars available when it comes time to cash in on ones promise? This may prevent people from joining in on the project.

A failed kickstarter project doesn't necessarily mean the demand isn't there either. Some people are not enticed until they actually see the product for sale. Others buy things that fit their wants and budget. I'm amazed how many times I read someone say they just picked up a "big" title that's been available for years.

I would hate to see a title not get released the "standard" way because a failed kickstarter project erroneously convinced the company there was no demand for the product.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:34 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Another thing. Funding kickstarter is sort of like pre-ordering. A lot of people just don't feel comfortable pre-ordering things.

And that's fine. If you're not comfortable with it you're not comfortable with it.

Perhaps they could afford to fund a project today, but will they have that $25 or $50 dollars available when it comes time to cash in on ones promise?

But this? Budgeting is part of being an adult. The Kickstarter clearly lets you know when the funds will be collected if the project is funded, and it's almost always within 30 days, and never more than 60.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:42 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)



Perhaps they could afford to fund a project today, but will they have that $25 or $50 dollars available when it comes time to cash in on ones promise?

But this? Budgeting is part of being an adult. The Kickstarter clearly lets you know when the funds will be collected if the project is funded, and it's almost always within 30 days, and never more than 60.


Really??? That's my point. As someone that budgets responsibly I cannot guarantee I will have the cash in 30 or 60 days. Some on here even state they can't buy a new release until they get paid. And with scores we are probably talking more than a year. I am sure others feel the same as we lack clairvoyance.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:45 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Really??? That's my point. As someone that budgets responsibly I cannot guarantee I will have the cash in 30 or 60 days. Some on here even state they can't buy a new release until they get paid. And with scores we are probably talking more than a year. I am sure others feel the same as we lack clairvoyance.

And there's no reason you can't hold off until the day before funding before choosing how much if any you can afford to contribute. You can click the "remind me" button on the Kickstarter page and it will send you an e-mail a day or two before the funding period ends. Many Kickstarters get a large influx of funding at the very last moment.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:46 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Really??? That's my point. As someone that budgets responsibly I cannot guarantee I will have the cash in 30 or 60 days. Some on here even state they can't buy a new release until they get paid. And with scores we are probably talking more than a year. I am sure others feel the same as we lack clairvoyance.

And there's no reason you can't hold off until the day before funding before choosing how much if any you can afford to contribute. You can click the "remind me" button on the Kickstarter page and it will send you an e-mail a day or two before the funding period ends. Many Kickstarters get a large influx of funding at the very last moment.


Alright, an interesting statistic I was not aware of and an option for those with financial concerns.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   mstrox   (Member)

Really??? That's my point. As someone that budgets responsibly I cannot guarantee I will have the cash in 30 or 60 days.

If you keep a balanced checkbook, you can mark it as a debit the moment you contribute (as you would a personal check that will be cashed by the payee at some unknown point in the future), thus accounting for it the moment you make the decision to buy.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 10:56 AM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

. Perhaps they could afford to fund a project today, but will they have that $25 or $50 dollars available when it comes time to cash in on ones promise? This may prevent people from joining in on the project.


KS takes the money when it's funded -- that's the WHOLE FRICKEN POINT, the money is taken from contributors and given to the project makers so they have the money to make the project.

You can simply back a project a day before it ends if you're worried about not having money in (x number of days until project ends).

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 2:01 PM   
 By:   Traveling Matt   (Member)

I don't believe embracing digital will save money in the long run. It may actually make things worse. A major consideration for supporting downloads is bandwidth cost which, from what I understand, is quite tremendous. See this discussion for more (start at post #9):

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/myths/4021-digital-audio-never.html

I'm not sure where the boutique labels might fall between big e-tailers and independent musicians, if it's even fair to compare, but they're certainly not iTunes or Amazon.

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 2:21 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

. Perhaps they could afford to fund a project today, but will they have that $25 or $50 dollars available when it comes time to cash in on ones promise? This may prevent people from joining in on the project.


KS takes the money when it's funded -- that's the WHOLE FRICKEN POINT, the money is taken from contributors and given to the project makers so they have the money to make the project.

You can simply back a project a day before it ends if you're worried about not having money in (x number of days until project ends).


Using caps is unnecessary. Please calm down. wink

 
 Posted:   Sep 27, 2013 - 3:00 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)


I have some ideas as to HOW to adapt to that changing world which I'll share later... Do you guys have any?

Lukas

A secret hidden bunker, under the brick and steel of a non-descript building, deep in the bowels of the Earth? ;-)


Okay, seriously though: what changing world? As pointed out, LLLR's is raking in the money. Intrada doesn't seem to have anything to complain about financially either.
If it was such a bad financial business to be in, there'd certainly not be two dozen limited edition labels, with new ones popping up even after financial woes of a couple and two shutting down shop. Kritzerland, the apparently dead Counterpoint, Intrada, Music Box Records, MovieScore Media, Kronos Records, Prometheus, La La Land Records, Howlin' Wolf Records, Screamworks Records, Perseverance Records, the list goes on.

And for all the hoopla over the overthrow of the CD and the coup by the digitial download, what have we got to show for it? A booming limited edition CD market. And the digitial downloads? Restricted by geographic location; sometimes limited, too; varying prices; nothing for a composer to sign; no resale value; questionable practices over re-use fees toward musicians; one label telling us the digitial downloads they tried were just not moving; issues with some providers only offering lossy downloads; and that this new digital age would bring cheaper prices, yet what has happened? Prices have gone up on items, and as another person pointed out, once the CD market is dead, it's their way or the highway and they can now charge what they want and that's tough cookies for you.
And if that's not enough, at least a couple years ago some ISP providers started capping monthly bandwidth; right now most are capping at high rates, but if you start streaming all your movies and started downloading all your scores (APE, FLAC, what have you), that adds up, and eventually the ISP providers are going to lower the cap.

The limited edition CD market isn't going anywhere. Hell, the LP never went anywhere, it just severly declined; in fact there's been an odd resurgence of limited edition LP's of new scores, lately. As long as we buy it, it'll stick around.


What is it we're supposed to be adapting to? Why do we have to come to the mountain when so far we're making the mountain come to us? Why must we be proactively defeatist? Let's procrastinate on defeat.

 
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