Monday, March 21, 2011

Professional begging vs. Amateur begging, Do it yourself vs. Do it ourselves,and Re-cycling for the arts part 2

I had ideas in my head as I woke up this morning. They really got on me until I had to share them with you. Please note the following disclaimer.

The article you are about to read contains opinions. These opinions are not presented as facts, and you are quite welcome to disagree with them and post your opinions to the comments section. The comment section is moderated, and the focus of this moderation is to insure the integrity of the content of this blog. You are welcome to tell my you see everything I say as wrong and tell me why. You however are not permitted to call me a retard, and tell me to die and burn in hell.

As a matter of fact, if you are still reading, please commit yourself to posting a comment, or a suggestion. I'm kind of getting out in a sensitive area here, and I have to tread lightly. But the only reason I'm treading at all is because I want to go somewhere and do something. To progress, one must take a step.

Professional begging vs. Amateur begging

A while back it came to my attention that a Second Life musician was funding the cost of their recording by soliciting donations via some web site. I don't have a problem with this at all, and I wish them all the best.

As a matter of fact I thought it was such a good idea I went and checked out the site myself. Thinking back, people have recommended such sites to me in the past.

Thinking, thinking, then I start reading.

Seems it cost money to set up a page on this site, and they take a percentage of the money donated.

I'm sure some people see this as reasonable and there is the implication that because your donation project is placed in a searchable data base, that people just looking for interesting project to donate to, will type in the magic combination of search words and arrive at your page, and then, CH-CHING (minus a small percentage).

I hate to sound cynical, but I don't think there are people looking for random art project to donate to, and if such people did exist they would probably ride unicorns and have Santa Clause on speed dial.

However, there are people interested in funding an art project. These are the people that already have an interest in it before it was placed in a data base. Supporters, friends, and yes... fans.

I understand the Second Life artist is getting close to their goal on the donation site, and I'm relatively sure this is due to the fact people that already know and love this artist's work were willing to dig deep.

So I ask the following. What did the donation site provide that a Pay Pal Donation button could not provide? A Pay Pal donation button cost nothing to set up, and does not take a percentage of the money donated via Pay Pal. (footnote, Pay Pal will take a percentage of money donated via credit card payments, but I don't think that is the same)

Since it's the people already emotionally invested in the artist work that are most likely to underwrite their project, why get the middle man involved?

Yes the professional begging site is slick and does have a date base. Perhaps there are a few people that randomly donate to strangers, but I have to wonder if such people do exist, if the amount they might donated would be greater then the amount taken out as a percentage donated by the real live supporters.

In my opinion (see the disclaimer above) it's a valid idea with a flawed execution. At least flawed when it comes to the person seeking donations and the people seeking to support the arts. The people running the site are making a butt load of money. Remember, there is a set up fee so even if you get no donations at all, they still make money.

I'm all for artist having the means to do the work they love and sacrifice so much for, and I'm all for those that love the artist's work having a means to support that work.

Simply stated, do you think the guy that signed Justin Bibber to his recording contract actually listens to his music for enjoyment?

Give an independent artist 100$ and they will get more done then the average major label gets done with a 1,000 $ investment.

I also suspect, a supporter that donates 100 $ to the artist of their choice will get more enjoyment out of the resulting work, then they would get from a 1$ download from a major recording artist.

Of course, that is just an opinion (see disclaimer above).

The Myth of “Do it yourself”

I often hear media types crowing about those bold few that “Do it yourself”. They've been babbling about it since the Punk Movement in the late 70's. Of course the Punk Movement was only Movement because there were a community of people behind it. It's the same way with every bold new evolution. And community only last until the suits figure out how how to co-opt the fruits of the community. Does anybody remember grunge? Seems about the time the world became aware of it, and embraced it, it became a parody of itself.

The simple fact is, music is never do it yourself. There is a community that breaths life and meaning into every type of music. Even if it's the very small community that supports an act like Kinagree-Smith. We always “Do it ourselves”.

In the short history of Kinagree-Smith, we've climbed the charts with all due haste due to the efforts of our supporters. We've created videos due to the generosity of one of friends whom sent us a video camera they didn't need any more. We have even secured our new studio space with the very generous help of a few of our very dear friends.

I feel we've been good steward of your support. I'm sure if you had all the details, you would be amazed at how hard we work, and the insane hours we keep, just trying to move things forward. We are inspired by our friends. The people that attend our shows, read this blog, buy our music, book us, and even “Like” everything I post of my Facebook page.

If I may get kind of mushy here, we feel we are loved. We feel we are putting out our heart and soul in every show, and there are people really getting the vision. They are feeling the energy and yes, they are expecting great things.

However (yes, there is almost always a however) our efforts and goals are greater then our resources. We do seem to make enough money to keep body and soul together, but making any more seems unlikely with our current mode of operation.

We were hoping to have the funds to underwrite the “2 BIG 4THE INTERNET” show in Atlanta by now. But our set back last month really put a crimp in those plans. We are also trying to record a new collection of songs, but are running into constant hardware limitations. Some of the equipment I used for the recording of previous collections is broken and we don't have the resources to replace it.

This blog is an attempt to start a dialog about a solutions. Feel free (please) to comment about any ideas you might have, and if you wish, you can contact me personally at

Re-cycle for the arts part 2

Hey it worked last time. We do need a few items, and if you happen to have these items, and no futher need of them, perhaps we could give them a new useful life.

For videos

We need a Tripod, some shop lights, and a king size solid color sheet, either green or blue.

For recording

We are in desperate need of new Closed back headphones. We are using the kind of headphones that you might use to listen to your MP3 player with and being open backed, they leak into what we are recording.

We also need some studio monitors. I had a pair, but they died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. If you are a musician I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. And if you aren't a musician, but know one, ask them if they have any extras laying around.

We could also use a couple of dynamic microphones.

Never hurts to ask. Once again, if you can re-cycle for the arts, contact me at

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