Indie Pop Hearts Generosity
April 5, 2005 9:00 PM   Subscribe

Indie pop cares a lot! Sure, you could buy a tsunami relief album from famous or even religious folks, but wouldn't you prefer to get a free cd as a reward for your generosity instead? South Asia still needs your help, and some fabulous indie rockers (including a number of songfight celebrities) have pitched in to entertain your earhole.
posted by equipoise (24 comments total)
So I'm given a free CD when I donate money? Isn't that just buying the album, essentially the same as what the others are doing? I could "donate" to Madonna's cause, and in return I will get her "free" tsunami relief CD...
posted by Sangermaine at 10:42 PM on April 5, 2005

Here you donate to whatever charity you want, then trade the receipt for the CD. Kind of the same, except some of the money you would give to Madonna covers her company's replication, promotion, distribution, salaries, blah blah blah.
posted by damehex at 10:59 PM on April 5, 2005

It'd be nice if you donated to whatever charity you want and didn't feel like you needed a CD in return to make it worthwhile. Wishful thinking.

Hell of a publicity stunt for the bands, though. They get exposure and future record sales out of humanity's suffering and your compulsion to ease that suffering.

But in the end, if this convinces hipsters to save the world, the world will be saved, the hipsters will have their tunes, and the artists will be enriched.

And richer indie-pop artists means better music, right? Oh, hope, fleeting hope.
posted by breezeway at 6:25 AM on April 6, 2005

If you like purdy fonts and dingbats you can get 400 glyphs made by 220 talented designers when you buy Fleurons of Hope, all the while donating to charity. Aw.
posted by dabitch at 6:40 AM on April 6, 2005


Many of the bands on the CD don't need the exposure in the first place. I'd be willing to bet that there'd be fewer requests for CDs if MC Frontalot and MC Hawking had not contributed tracks. I know some of the contributors personally and can say with extreme confidence that they contributed to this compilation out of the goodness of their hearts and not out of some desire to use the tsunami to get exposure. These are good people writing good music for a good cause.

And in regards to "richer indie-pop artists means better music", did you miss the part where none of these artists are making any money off of this? As far as future record sales goes, most of these bands (if not all) give away their music for free in the first place.

Don't be such a goddamn cynic.
posted by ddf at 9:30 AM on April 6, 2005

Here is another CD by indie artists with proceeds going towards tsunami relief. Streaming preview of all the songs is available, so you can hear what you're getting.
posted by tdismukes at 9:52 AM on April 6, 2005

From their FAQ:
Can I buy a charity CD (or other product) and send you the receipt from that?

Yes! However, the organization selling that product must donate 100% of the purchase price to the cause. No skimming, no shipping, no "handling" charges, no nothing. You're most likely to find products such as this in a retail store, or downloadable items, such as "Fleurons Of Hope" by Font Aid. We have confirmed that is absorbing all banking and other costs associated, so that 100% of the purchase price for "Fleurons Of Hope" goes to the DirectAid tsunami charity.
So there you go.
posted by frenetic at 11:37 AM on April 6, 2005

Many of the bands on the CD don't need the exposure in the first place.

Yes, they do. Nobody's ever heard of them.

As far as future record sales goes, most of these bands (if not all) give away their music for free in the first place.

And plan to do so forever? Get real.

Whatever their intentions, this is good exposure, unless they suck, in which case no exposure is good exposure.
posted by breezeway at 2:07 PM on April 6, 2005

indeed, the bands on the CD benefit from any and all exposure, whether they want to make money from being a band or just want people to hear their songs. But to call exposure their motive for putting a bunch of work into a charity project seems like a particularly unkind assumption.
posted by damehex at 4:01 PM on April 6, 2005

Chillout/trance tsunami benefit cd (or actually 3).
posted by ikalliom at 1:24 AM on April 7, 2005

Celebrity entertainers are just as goofy as anyone else, so they generally aren't worth paying much attention to when they start talking about politics and so on, but I like it when they apply the leverage of their celebrity and stupid luck to helping people, even if through such acts they also help themselves.

Have any celebrities ever tried the ransom method? Bands (or filmmakers or writers or whatever) could promise to release their next work only when a certain charity fund they've set up reaches a certain level. Then you wouldn't have to buy anything, but fans (and people in the business) would want to contribute to and promote the charity.

They could even set political goals, like, for example, recording songs that will be released only when the next Democrat wins the presidency.
posted by pracowity at 1:57 AM on April 7, 2005

It's not an unkind assumption, damehex. It's the business. This promoter says, "You give money to charity, we give you a free CD." All it costs the production company is CDs.

What they get in return, for unknown bands, is invaluable: exposure. It's hard to get a list of interested listeners. Lack of exposure is the kiss of death for most bands.

These bands are doing nothing charitable. They are just piggybacking on your sympathy -- you've already done the work sending money to charity. All they want is your address so they can send you a CD.

This is not charity. This is mailing list harvesting, and they've figured out a way to make you feel good about it.

posted by breezeway at 6:03 AM on April 7, 2005

I'm one of those artists, and Breezeway- you are acting like a delusional turd.

But what do I care? Thanks to this awesome tsunami, I'm gonna be $$$raking it in$$$
posted by Jefff at 8:33 AM on April 7, 2005

Man... and this is what it took for me to come out of lurking. Irritating.
posted by Jefff at 8:37 AM on April 7, 2005

I'm glad you're here, then. Maybe you can explain to me what the artists give in this charity scheme. I understand very well what they get (publicity is hard to come by).

I don't see how the artists can claim this is a charity endeavor when they donate nothing to those who are in need. All the donation is done by others, and the artists just give pats on the back that charitable folks can remember them by. Self-serving. Barely charity.

Seriously, I don't see how this is anything but a publicity stunt. Maybe you can disabuse me of this notion.

I may be acting like a turd, I may irritate you, and you may not care, but I'd like to know how I'm delusional.

Please tell me.
posted by breezeway at 11:06 AM on April 7, 2005

Your cynicism and unkind (to put it kindly) assumptions may be too powerful to disabuse, but I'll see what I can do.

So is the problem that the ratio between our personal investments and the publicity we'll get is too low? How high do you need it before we're not crassly exploiting countless tragic deaths?

As far as publicity goes, you are seriously overestimating here, but I guess that's par for the internet. I will be shocked if I see any kind of surge in my (admittedly limited) fanbase from this. I mean, check out this Metafilter FPP, which is the biggest deal we've gotten so far - the discussion is limited to how one random person thinks a bunch of internet musicians he doesn't know anything about must be scamming south Asia.

And our contributions? Well, it's actually not all that easy to write and record a song. And if it's a good one, it's kind of drag when you can't play it for anybody who's interested. This is where you completely misunderstand who you're talking about. We're not struggling rock bands trying to break. We're just people who spend their freetime making songs and putting them on the internet (which, I'll have you know, is far more effective at publicity than putting them on an obscure charity CD). Also, I hope I'm not being too immodest when I say that my presence on the CD will undoubtedly convince at least a handful of people to donate. And that's true of everyone on the disc. So there's a contribution.

We don't need the publicity to continue making music, and we don't need the future record sales (internet musician is not a very lucrative position - I don't recommend it as a dayjob). We just got asked by a friend (who did sink cash into this, while not contributing a song himself in order to avoid just your sort of nasty accusation) to send him something to help out.

Oh and the mailing list idea is just insane.
posted by Jefff at 12:48 PM on April 7, 2005

The website, and this discussion up to now, gives no indication that you aren't all struggling rock bands trying to break.

Since you're just a person spending his free time making songs and putting them on the internet, maybe I should explain that struggling rock bands trying to break often do whatever they can to put their music in the decks of listeners.

Without the secret knowledge that you are an internet musician and have no intention of making a career of this, the only conclusion that could be drawn was that you're after exposure.

And if that had been the case, it's a rather vampiric way to do it. Up-and-coming bands put loads of effort into putting their music out there. One major way is to get people's addresses and send them free music. The "charity" cover story seems effective, and posting it to MetaFilter is a good way to get a few thousand people to take note.

But it's not real charity at all for the bands, who aren't giving anything but their music, which you point out they'd be making anyway. It doesn't have anything to do with investment/publicity ratios. Indie-pop-cares-alot, as presented on the website, doesn't give anything to victims of the tsunami. The listening public does that, sends your "charity" its address, and some charitable soul, somewhere, listens to your music, giving you exposure.

Why aren't up-and-coming rock bands doing this left and right? Because it's a creepy way to get exposure.

But you aren't a struggling rock band, and you never plan on your music taking you anywhere, and you don't expect or hope your fan base to expand from your involvement with this charity.

Why doesn't it say so on the website?
posted by breezeway at 1:54 PM on April 7, 2005

Because you only disclaim to those who assume the worst about people. (Hi.)
posted by Jefff at 2:32 PM on April 7, 2005

the only conclusion that could be drawn was that you're after exposure.

More accurately, that's the only horrifyingly shitty conclusion that could be drawn. There's another conclusion that can and ought to be drawn: people worked hard to make songs in the hope of helping to raise $10,000+, in direct personal response to an emotionally draining world-level tragedy.

Breezeway, do you go to church and narrow your eyes when people throw coins in the tray, muttering to yourself "those showboating bastards! they just want the community to think they're a bunch of GIVERS! FUCK THEM!!"

You're a mean one, mister grinch.
posted by damehex at 6:57 PM on April 7, 2005

posting it to MetaFilter is a good way to get a few thousand people to take note.

breezeway, none of the artists on the cd posted it to metafilter--i did. i think it's an interesting, kind-hearted, and innovative way to encourage charity, and i wanted more people to know about it. i'm not expecting a windfall because of my posting.

you think the cd is a deeply sinister plot on the part of a production company? as others have explained, there's no production company here--there's some guy making cds in his basement. because he was touched by this tragedy. because maybe some folks will think, "hey, i want that cd, and i really do want to help the tsunami victims. this is just the kick in the pants i needed!" maybe some folks will think, "screw the victims, but i really want this cd, so i'll contribute." and maybe some will think, "i contributed--it would be cool to get this cd too!"

you said, "it's not an unkind assumption. it's the business." you know, it is possible for people--even people involved in the music business, which sometimes makes money--to want to do something for altruistic reasons. too bad you're so deeply cynical that you can't even acknowledge the possibility.

i think the world would run more smoothly if people contributed what they were good at or already enjoyed doing--doctors should volunteer medical services, lawyers should volunteer legal services, and carpenters should volunteer building services. it doesn't work so well when carpenters try to heal the wounded and lawyers try to install plumbing. these are musicians who are contributing their talents, and i'm proud of them.
posted by equipoise at 8:14 PM on April 7, 2005

and thanks to all the folks who have posted other's heartening to know how many artists are trying to help. even urban outfitters put out a record, although it's sold out by now.
posted by equipoise at 8:15 PM on April 7, 2005

Okay, I was wrong about my assumption. As a compulsive maker and recorder of music myself, I know the lengths bands go to, to get themselves out there. I wasn't being fair.

That said, piggybacking on charity for the publicity is not a new scheme that I made up. I don't ascribe insidious motives to everyone automatically.

There was nothing on the website, though, to tell me otherwise. And since I know how these things can work, I posted what I did.

I'm sorry, Jefff, that I had you and all the other bands on the CD pegged wrong. But I don't feel like it's all my fault; if your website had made your status and intentions clear, I would never have thought wrong of you.

As far as encouraging charity goes, I understood the deal more as, "if you've already given and have a receipt, send it and we'll give you a CD -- of course, give again if you don't have a receipt." It seems more like encouragement to send receipts more than encouragement to give more money.

I drew my conclusions based on the scant information the website gave me, plus my own experience and knowledge. My conclusions were wrong.

But I didn't know that until I learned more from you, Jefff. I'm sorry for forcing you out of lurking with my comments, which I regret as I do any misunderstanding. I hope, though, that you stick around and enjoy this place as much as I do.

I know a lot more about your project now, and it's admirable. If your website said what you told me, I would never have reared my ugly head. I'm not insane, I'm not a grinch; I'm sorry to have acted like one.
posted by breezeway at 6:35 AM on April 8, 2005

That's very awesome of you Breezeway. Incidentally, I've been lurking for like 4 years, so it was probably high time.
posted by Jefff at 1:36 PM on April 8, 2005

thanks, breezeway--i really appreciate your last post (although it wasn't really aimed at me).
posted by equipoise at 3:07 PM on April 8, 2005

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