|Eisley at SXSW 2011|
The first time I heard about pledge projects when a longtime blogging friend tagged me in a post on Facebook and said, “Hey, you might be interested in this since you like local music!” The band was Harrison Hudson – a duo from Tennessee I had never heard before. I clicked the link to their Kickstarter campaign and learned all about how pledging worked. More than anything, I’ll admit, as a music fan I was thoroughly charmed by the idea of playing a role in recording an album. Isn’t that every fan’s dream?
Did I want Eisley to tour? Absolutely. After four kids, I had pretty much resigned to the fact that I’d never see them live again. Touring with kiddos is too hard, and from following most of the band on Twitter…I’ve caught enough comments about how expensive touring is that I expected the band to fold.
But knowing that, did I feel like helping them invest in more expensive transportation modes because they had chosen to have children and then tour so quickly afterwards was a project I could believe in? Not so much…
I guilt pledged.
I realize now that was wrong. The project didn’t meet it’s goal earlier this week, but I never should have pledged to a project I didn’t believe in 100% in the first place.
Because it was breaking the band/fan agreement of what our relationship is about first, foremost and always: the music.
Asking your fans to help pay for a big, fancy tour bus because of personal, non-music decisions band members had made was the wrong way to go. Sure that gets you out on the road, but what happens when this tour is done and we’re back to square one?
And then to throw in how you’ve done this all for your fans, as though you are owed this somehow? Fans are there to support you because they love your music. It really is that simple – remember that and don’t take advantage of it. (The same goes on the fan side: you are there for music, don’t take advantage.)
What really sucks about it is you get one shot at a pledge project – and Eisley blew their’s. Pledge projects are great, but they really aren’t a sustainable way to finance a band. I’ve donated once to several bands for various projects, but I’m not likely to do so again.
All that aside, I do still love Eisley and I can’t wait for Currents to come out next Tuesday. I just wish they would have gone about their Kickstarter differently – or waited to tour until their babies were older. I could have gone another year without seeing them if that meant pledging to a music-based project…