MeFi Compilation Album call for submissions April 17, 2006 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Metafilter Compliation Album:
Phase one: call for submissions.
[everything of substance inside]

posted by cortex (staff) to MetaFilter Music at 8:20 AM (84 comments total)

The short of it: there is enthusiastic discussion of the compilation of metafilter-user-made music into one or more volumes of a proper small-scale CD release. I'm collecting submissions: if you're a mefite, and you make good music, please send me one or two mp3s (attachments or links) to this address:

joshjosh atta gmail dotta com

I'll host 'em and start looking at them; that's one thing we can do safely and without cost, before ever having worked out the rest of the (many) details. So get sendin'! And be explicit about your username; that'll help keep my mail tied to the mefi userbase.

The long of it:

There's been, in two recent threads, a lot of happy mefite music discussion, and compilation discussion in the last few days. There is a lot of enthusiasm from mefites wanting to contribute music; there's also been a decent foundation of mefites will to support the project.

I'm stating here my willingness to take the lead on the project and organize and delegate the needed objectives and duties so that we can make this thing happen (or establish why this thing isn't feasible in whatever form we imagine, and work on finding the compromises that will get us as close as we can).

What's involved, exactly? See the previous metatalk thread, especially, to see the sort of ideas folks have been suggesting. A summary of the key steps:

1. collection, review, and selection of tracks (this thread!)
2. establishing copyright/royalty issues
3. establishing liability for shortfall and beneficiary of profit
4. collection/assignment, review, selection etc. of cover art
5. collection of preorders, support pledges, or other means of establishing the capital to pay for cd production
6. mastering of final mix
7. duplication of the CDs
8. distribution of the CDs

We're at 1 right now. 2-8 have not been established, though ideas have been put forward. If you have specific expertise on one or more of the above, please comment to that effect here and/or send me an email at the address above, so that we may discuss.
posted by cortex at 8:21 AM on April 17, 2006

And, because you haven't read enough of my writing so far, here's my brief take, item by item:

1. See above.

2. We will be best served by simplicity here. All tracks submitted will be assumed to be (and credited as) copyright the submitting user (or their band) unless otherwise specified. If otherwise specified, it ought to be something more and not less permissive than traditional copyright. (Public domain, etc.) Royalties should, I think, be a non-issue; but that ties to the next'n:

3. We need some amount of capital to start this. Either we get enough and then start spending money on production, or we start spending and hope we get enough. If it's the former, we're safe; if it's the latter, someone is going to end up holding the difference. And if we do make a 3. Profit!, where does this money go? To metafilter? To charity? To the artists? To the investors? This is a big discussion.

4. Art: another submission cue, another editor. Mefites submit cover art, editor goes over it, one or a few folks get to grace the cover.

5. We'll need to establish a source of starting cash: pre-orders, simple pass-the-escrow-secured-hat, etc. How much we need depends on whether we do a bulk duplication run (market is about $1300 for 1000 basic, good looking CDs) or an ad hoc middleman duplicator (e.g. CafePress or such -- running CDs on demand, with little/no initial cost but at much higher per-CD cost).

6. General agreement among Those Who Know: we want to master this thing—it'll be a better sounding disc if someone with mastering experience takes a crack at the final mix. Several production-pro mefites have spoken to their willingness to do this pro bono or for a nominal fee (depending, it figures, on where the profits are going). I'll be contacting these folks to discuss further.

7. Duplication: if we can do a proper bulk dupe run, we will—it is by far the most cost-effective way to produce these. Again, 1000 CDs, in jewel cases with cover and cd-liner art and on-CD art, for around $1300. If we can get close to that in preorders/pledges/etc, that's the way to go. If we can't drum up that kind of initial investment, we can make do with something like CafePress or another ad hoc/vanity producer, and leave duplication to them as folks actually order the CD.

8. If we do a bulk dupe run, someone needs to mail those things out. If that means I spend a long weekend (or three) with envelopes and stamps, I am willing to do that. If we need to coordinate multiple people to handle international shipping needs, I'll organize that; we've had a couple UK volunteers, etc, though if it's not prohibitively more expensive to just ship direct from the US point of origin (my apartment?), we may not need to worry about that.

The above is my interpretation and early opinions on the things folks have been saying. I have a greater or lesser grasp of any given issue, but I'm want to hear why the above is right, wrong, underdeveloped, overcautious, etc.
posted by cortex at 8:21 AM on April 17, 2006

So... How do I pre-order? Someone with more knowledge than I should probably set up a means to pre-order/pledge as soon as possible, while excitement for the project is high.
posted by amro at 8:46 AM on April 17, 2006

1. Is this to produce an actual CD that will play in my car? Or is this to produce just a burned CD of mp3/wavs? If it is the latter, why not just collect a resource on-line of mp3s?

2. Is this general music made by Metafilter users? Or is this project about music about Metafilter made by Metafilter users? I'm not sure I would be inclined to purchase the former, because it would probably be a bunch of Creed knockoffs or some other alternative rock sound that I'm not interested in. If it is the latter, then I would be inclined to get one. Especially if there is an "Ode to dios" song on it. Ha!
posted by dios at 8:52 AM on April 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

"Ode to dios," eh? What's the aural equivalent of a large paragraph of blinking text?
posted by UKnowForKids at 8:55 AM on April 17, 2006

I have a question.

I have a file of a song I wrote (lyrics and music) which is now on a cd sold by my church. I hold the copyright (actually my "publishing company" does) according to the liner notes. Nobody has gotten around to signing any paperwork. Someone else sung it, and it was backed up by our musicians for the most part.

Legally can I submit this, or does the fact it exists on this cd change anything?
posted by konolia at 8:56 AM on April 17, 2006


1. The former. This will be an Actual CD usable by anybody with any sort of CD player.

As for an on-line resource of mp3s, that's a fantastic idea that should really happen but stands as an independent venture.

2. General music by mefites. It will not, however, be a bunch of Creed knockoffs; by all appearances it will be a fabulously varied mix of styles and genres.

A mefi-themed volume 2 (or 3, or etc) is a possibility, but that's something that would require more planning and writing and recording to fit the theme and so seems a subpar idea for this first, way-finding adventure.
posted by cortex at 8:56 AM on April 17, 2006

You should probably consider non-physical (e.g. MP3) distribution when discussing 2,3,5, and 8.
posted by scottreynen at 8:58 AM on April 17, 2006

konolia: that it exists on a cd is not an issue. That other folks are involved, performing and etc, may be—it falls to you to establish whether you're violating anyone else's rights by having the track appear in an unrelated compilation.
posted by cortex at 8:58 AM on April 17, 2006

If you were to sell and distribute an online-only version of this CD, (ie, a bunch of MP3s in a zip or equivalent) then I can help with that, since the vast majority of my work regarding the upcoming version of tindeck (tindeck being the mp3 hosting site I run) involves access control and distribution for exactly this sort of project. I'm happy to do it for free minus whatever the bandwidth costs, which should be a few cents for each full album download.
posted by Savvas at 9:31 AM on April 17, 2006

As for an on-line resource of mp3s, that's a fantastic idea that should really happen but stands as an independent venture.

This existed once, at Matt took it down fairly recently, like in the last six months. It was there for a couple of years, but it didn't get much use.

It's too bad it's gone.
posted by interrobang at 9:32 AM on April 17, 2006

Unless MetaFilter's about to fold tomorrow, I actually feel a bit weird about MetaFilter getting the proceedings (unless, of course, MetaFilter contributes to the costs). Many of us have paid quite a bit to MetaFilter, and it seems to be doing pretty well for itself. If this project is to generate revenue I'm all for it going to a charity, though if artists want to shout me down because they want their cut I won't complain ;)

Also, would any artists be up for releasing this CD under a Creative Commons license? Would they be up for offering a download alternative (preferably for free, as far as I'm concerned). If we can get a packaged article put together reeeeaally nicely hopefully enough people would want it to be it instead of taking the free option.

My view is, if we have an opportunity, let's take it to do things a bit differently, in a way we believe in.
posted by nthdegx at 9:37 AM on April 17, 2006

And, not to push an agenda, particularly, but how would people feel about the EFF being a potential recipient? Any other ideas?
posted by nthdegx at 9:39 AM on April 17, 2006

nthdegx: "Any other ideas?"

What about the scholarship fund for needy MeFites?
posted by macadamiaranch at 9:48 AM on April 17, 2006

oh aye , i had a couple of songs on that it down ?

thats not nice matt.

well there wont be snow in dios house this christmas time....the biggest gift he'll get this year is life......where nothing ever rain or river flows....etc etc

can i do the bono bit ?

isnt the scholarship fund for people going to college ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:50 AM on April 17, 2006

Regarding 3, 7 and 8:

3 - beneficiary: How about a mutually agreed upon charity or something? I love MeFi and all, but I don't think it really needs a "benefit CD". Matt makes money from ads and whatnot.

7. - Duplication: I recommended CDMan in the other thread, and have worked with them before so I have a rapport with them. I can probably get us a good deal. They are competitively priced (damn near the cheapest if not the cheapest), and produce a very high quality product.

8.- Distribution: I suggest the following:
- A person signs up to have CDs shipped to him/her and perform the following one time tasks. This person is to be compensated for the costs incurred:
- Task 1: Send boxes of preordered CDs to the band(s) that preordered them.
- Task 2: Send the rest to a distributor like CD Baby, where the CDs can be sold online and distributed automatically for us.

The idea would be that bands can preorder CDs at a steep discount from "retail", and can resell them at their shows, etc etc. The rest of the CDs go to CDBaby and are sold through that channel.

Perhaps a certain number of "reserve" CDs would be held somewhere for MeFi prize giveaways, etc.

If each band chipped in $100 and got 50 guaranteed preordered CDs in return, they could EASILY make back their money.

Say there's 15 bands - that's $1500, and 750 CDs accounted for. CDs are paid for with a bit of extra money to kick to the sap who's gotta ship the CDs to the bands and to CDBaby.

Just throwing this out there on the fly, so surely there's things I may be leaving out, etc... thoughts?
posted by twiggy at 9:50 AM on April 17, 2006

One possible target for profits: seed money for volumes 2 through n.
posted by cortex at 10:00 AM on April 17, 2006

It may also help to have a deadline for submissions, cortex, what do you reckon? I'd quite like to produce a track specifically, but don't know whether that's feasible.
posted by nthdegx at 10:00 AM on April 17, 2006

I'm not going to worry about a deadline just yet; I'm planning to send a one-time mailing + mailinglist invite out to any music-makers who spoke up in the related threads, and we'll get things rolling; and when we've got a great disc worth of material and the plans to execute in good shape, I'll announce a closing of submissions for Volume 1 and go from there.
posted by cortex at 10:13 AM on April 17, 2006

What's the aural equivalent of a large paragraph of blinking text?

posted by davejay at 10:58 AM on April 17, 2006

What's the aural equivalent of a large paragraph of blinking text?

Philip Glass.
posted by interrobang at 11:05 AM on April 17, 2006

This sounds like a great idea! I'm sure we'll send in a track or two-- let me ask the band about it tomorrow at practice.
posted by InfidelZombie at 11:29 AM on April 17, 2006

Why not distribute the profits to the contributing artists?

Note: I will not be a contributing artist.
posted by mullacc at 11:31 AM on April 17, 2006

My opinion: Album released under creative commons, any money made off the project goes to a GOOD [read: not some stupid digital copyright EFF/ Downhill Battle] charity. I suggest Oxfam.
posted by cloeburner at 11:37 AM on April 17, 2006

Why not distribute the profits to the contributing artists?

I agree. If the artists want to, they can of course pass it on to a charity of their choice; I think it sucks to force people to do that.
posted by languagehat at 11:44 AM on April 17, 2006

I'm all for the proceeds going to artists, and I'm saying that from the pov of someone that will hopefully be contributing. I'm not advocating forcing any artists to give up proceedings, but it doesn't hurt to ask to see if there's a consensus concerning good causes from the outset.
posted by nthdegx at 11:53 AM on April 17, 2006

Why not distribute the profits to the contributing artists?

Eh, I'm -1 on that. I imagine there won't be large profits, especially after they're divvied up, and it just seems like a bad idea to bring money into our collective goofing. I'd vote for giving the proceeds to some charity acceptable to the contributors.
posted by gsteff at 11:58 AM on April 17, 2006

No one would be forced to give up anything. If the point of the project is framed from the outset as one of charity (as well as making a cool CD of course), artists will decide whether or not to contribute based on that.

Proceeds going to charity would not only make the project "good", but would probably increase sales, and thus get the artists involved wider distribution.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 12:01 PM on April 17, 2006

That sounds like a reasonable model: proceeds after costs are split n-ways among the n contributing artists, and each artist may agree to redirect their cut to a charity of their preference. As languagehat says, it may be a bit coercive to retroactively direct the proceeds to one charity.

This discussion is one that will largely need to be settled by the contributing artists and any financially liable parties, I reckon. And it'll depend in part on the expectations of costs vs. actual revenue. And so forth.
posted by cortex at 12:02 PM on April 17, 2006

Why not distribute the profits to the contributing artists?

Because, as much as we struggling artists desperately need the money, I think there are others who need it more, and this seems like a cool way to go about collectively doing something (however little) towards that. It goes from being a fun but ultimately meaningless vanity project to a Good Thing that benefits others. Plus I think people are more likely to buy a copy if they know their cash is going to a good cause. Of course, now we all have to arm-wrestle over what that cause is. I vote for the Artificial Fabric Trust.

I do like the idea of using profits for future projects, though - maybe we could do a split - once costs are covered, x% goes towards Volume 2 Electric Boogaloo and y% goes to chairidee. And so on and so forth, so the project becomes one huge snowballing gigantic monstrous living, breathing self-replicating organism that eventually controls us and takes over the galaxy, propogating increasingly eclectic compilation albums and funding fresh water in third world countries as it goes about its terrible, nightmarish business.

On preview: oh, ok, sure, whatever people want. But if any of my stuff makes the cut, then I'm waiving my royalties on the condition that they don't get given to the other contributors. I don't want any of you lot getting rich at my expense.
posted by nylon at 12:05 PM on April 17, 2006

I'm not sure I would be inclined to purchase the former, because it would probably be a bunch of Creed knockoffs or some other alternative rock sound that I'm not interested in.

posted by ludwig_van at 12:05 PM on April 17, 2006

Or rather, it's hidiculous, a word I just coined which is a cross between hilarious and ridiculous.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:06 PM on April 17, 2006

I really think people will be far, far more willing to take a chance on a comp of dubious quality when they know their money is going to a good cause.

There's nothing retroactive about it, as long as the artists know going into it that they're not getting a cut.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 12:09 PM on April 17, 2006

nylon writes "It goes from being a fun but ultimately meaningless vanity project to a Good Thing that benefits others."

I guess I consider it a Good Thing to help someone who is trying to make a living creating music (or even just earn a little extra on the side).

Anyway, what is the Artificial Fabric Trust? It doesn't turn up anything in a Google search.
posted by mullacc at 12:15 PM on April 17, 2006

I really think people will be far, far more willing to take a chance on a comp of dubious quality when they know their money is going to a good cause.

I agree. And I think people will be more willing to take that chance if it's clear that 100% profit goes to charity X vs. 14% goes to charity X, 27% goes to charity Y, 35% goes to charity Z, and the rest goes to the few artists who opted to take the money themselves. Also, is anyone really going to do that, knowing it will just make them look bad next to everyone else who opted for charities?
posted by scottreynen at 12:24 PM on April 17, 2006

So if we're going the charity route, I'd like to see us donate any proceeds to a charity connected with the artists' endeavors. Perhaps we can find a charity that is somehow connected to music, then. For instance, when a bunch of other musicians and I put on a hurricane benefit concert last fall, we decided to look for a charity that would benefit displaced musicians and found the Backbeat Fund, to which we donated. Here's one that supports music education and buys instruments for kids who attend struggling schools. I'd be interested in seeing what others might be out there.

But another consideration is that we might want to pick a global charity. Since submissions are likely to come from several countries, it doesn't make complete sense to target a US charity.
posted by Miko at 12:57 PM on April 17, 2006

As charities go, I like very much the idea of anything benefiting music education and related ideas.
posted by cortex at 1:04 PM on April 17, 2006

Guess I'll have to get my Creed knockoffs elsewhere. See ya.

I'm with cloeburner's suggestion of it being a major, mainstream charity.
posted by fire&wings at 1:22 PM on April 17, 2006

This could so be the indie version of Live Aid....
posted by public at 1:38 PM on April 17, 2006

As a possible contributor, definitely give the money to charity. Any exposure granted to the artists is worth enough for their contribution anyway, and other people could use the money more.

Also, I haven't heard anyone explain where the initial investment of $1500 or whatever for duplication is coming from.
posted by rooftop secrets at 1:38 PM on April 17, 2006

~ Desperately Seeking Email ~

No email readily available for the following folks, all of whom I'd like to get a hold of:

Chris Micali

And, one or more alleged mefite members of The Monkey Power Trio, mentioned here.

If this is you, drop me a line at josh atta gmail dotta com; if this is someone you know, ask them to do the same. Thanks!
posted by cortex at 1:44 PM on April 17, 2006

sigh. the best i can contribute is the sound of armpit farts. can't imagine it'll be a popular track.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:52 PM on April 17, 2006

Needs to be a fundraiser, and the beneficiary should be something MetaFilter related, such as the MetaFilter scholarship fund. It doesn't make any sense as a profit-making venture--just for starters, the work & investment needed to make this happen will all be donated. Plus I think you will get a lot more mileage out of the project if it is by the community for the community, etc.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 1:52 PM on April 17, 2006

I agree with nylon and Espy Gillespie. I also think the people directly involved in the project should pick a potential good cause because if it's open to more people there probably won't be a clear consensus. languagehat's point is well made, but if all the artists involved in the project are happy upfront to donate to a good cause, his point is ultimately irrelevant.

Also, the project can quite simply be a bigger deal if its for something. The down side with it being a mainstream charity is that a relatively small contribution might be a blip in the ocean to them. If there's a smaller cause we can all get behind it might be a more significant donation, and a more significant message.

I suggest this discussion is put on hold, however, til cortex has his list of submissions. I think the discussion can then be had by the people directly involved.
posted by nthdegx at 2:10 PM on April 17, 2006

How long are you going to be accepting submissions, cortex?
posted by danb at 2:16 PM on April 17, 2006

Submissions will be open for, let's say, the near future. If you have a couple of great tracks that already exists, I'd be interested in seeming them pronto—but if you've got a great track that is in progress and will be ready in a week or two, that's no issue at all.
posted by cortex at 2:21 PM on April 17, 2006

My $.02...

Artists who wish to participate should contribute money up-front with the knowledge that they will be the first to be paid back. In the meantime people who want to buy the CD should contact cortex(?) to commit to a pre-order. Artists who contribute can pick the charity of their choice (including themselves) to receive a percentage of the proceeds. For example if 10 artists are on Volume I then those 10 artists will be each be able to designate 10% of the proceeds to their charity.

I know this has been discussed with cortex in email, but people should consider sending WAV or AIFFs and not mp3. No use mastering if the files are mp3s.

I too can be counted on to buy at least one copy of the final.
posted by terrapin at 3:07 PM on April 17, 2006

To be clear, people should be prepared, at some point, to send their lossless WAV or AIFF versions—terrapin is right that mp3s aren't are target platform for our final product.

However! For now, mp3s are welcome and in fact preferred—I'd rather be dealing with a pile of 5MB files for auditioning than 50MB bastards.
posted by cortex at 3:14 PM on April 17, 2006

I support any profits going to charity. I see this project as being more about getting our music to new people rather than making money. I wonder if some MeFite might have some publicity experience to help us get the word out? I think the music and art will be the easy part. Making this project something special will be directly related to what we do with the finished product.
posted by tcobretti at 3:51 PM on April 17, 2006

I'd just like to amplify previous comments regarding mp3s. EQ and compression do not play well with mp3s or other lossy compressors.
posted by ryanrs at 4:17 PM on April 17, 2006

Is there a trustworthy member that can set up for pre-orders right now? If a site went up I'm sure you'd have the seed money in a couple of days...count me in for one.

By the way I MUCH prefer the idea of "proper" music - maybe one hidden Metafilter related track or just hold onto those tracks for a 2nd volume...
posted by meech at 4:24 PM on April 17, 2006

Just send me all of your donations. I'd be happy to guard them for you. Just paypal to:
posted by aburd at 4:30 PM on April 17, 2006

Don't listen to him! He's a cheat! I never received my fl—

I mean, I bet he's a cheat!
posted by cortex at 4:39 PM on April 17, 2006

Is there a trustworthy member that can set up for pre-orders right now? If a site went up I'm sure you'd have the seed money in a couple of days.

Jessamyn offered up her paypal account. I'd trust her. But that may be because she only lives around the corner from me ;) Seriously though, take Jessamyn up on this and tick one more item off the to-do list.
posted by terrapin at 4:56 PM on April 17, 2006

Seriously though, take Jessamyn up on this and tick one more item off the to-do list.

I'd like to encourage working out all the financials before accepting money. Otherwise, you risk ending up with a bunch of money with no aggrement on where it belongs.
posted by scottreynen at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2006

cortex, thanks for taking the lead, this is very exciting.

Questions: 1) Matt/Jess can you make a sidebar for this? 2) Should contributors follow the "mathewchen is spamming" lead, or is this about mefites showing off their musical prowess?

Also, I'm for charity. This could raise quite a bit of cash but not much for each individual involved. I would get much more satisfaction from having my name associated with a good cause.
posted by snsranch at 5:59 PM on April 17, 2006

1) idea = awesome
2) charity = awesomer
3) cortex = awesomest
posted by joe lisboa at 6:16 PM on April 17, 2006

- sidebar would be great—visibility for the submission request would be a good thing. It'd be nice to set up a small page to explain and hold contact info—I'd better email Matt.

- charity is, I'm thinking, the way to go; figuring out which causes to work with will be a job for the contributors, I think.

- pre-orders will be worked out in the next couple of days, with a proper formal post of some sort when that's done.
posted by cortex at 6:52 PM on April 17, 2006

2 more cents from me:

From 1,000 CDs, profits aren't going to be that huge anyway. For those of you saying the artists should divvy it up equally - I understand your perspective, but it just doesn't really make sense for a project like this. Dividing profits 14 ways out of just 1,000 CDs at say $5 or $10 a pop is a huge pain, a tax mess, and not really enough money to be worth the bother. Not to mention the logistics of someone being the collector/distributor of said money.

For bands who want the profit: Profits can be made from getting dirt cheap CDs with a song or two of your own band on it, and selling them at your shows.

The suggestion I proposed gives bands some of the CDs in order to:
1) Collect up front production costs
2) Allow bands to sell the CDs for their own profit at their shows

The remaining CDs can be sold online, and the profits given to charity.

I think this makes everyone happy. No?
posted by twiggy at 10:33 PM on April 17, 2006

twiggy, the only thing I don't get about your proposal is: Why would someone at a concert for one of these bands pay to get a CD where only one of the songs on the CD is by the band they went to see? These people may like Band A, and their style, but hate Bands C, D, E, etc.

Personally, I think the main focus at this point should be finding out who is interested in submitting songs to be considered, and figuring out from where the up-front money will come. I still think the people/bands are the ones who will get some exposure and that they should pay a fee to be on the CD. If this money isn't enough to get the initial $1500, then the rest can be made up with pre-order money. This gets the ball rolling. Once the CDs are done, the CD can be sold via CD Baby (or another group mentioned above) and the artists are the first to be paid back. After that has happened the money left over can be discussed and distributed to artists, charity (or charities) or can be put back intot he project for the next volume (hopefully with all new artists).
posted by terrapin at 6:10 AM on April 18, 2006

terrapin: The bands on the compilation that I did sold all of their CDs very quickly, because they put a song on the compilation CD that was not available on their other CDs. They sold them for $4 or $5 a piece, giving people 1 "exclusive track" and 13 or 14 other songs from independent bands as well. They sold just fine.

Plenty of people showing up to a show to see an independent band play are thrilled to hear 13 or 14 new ones they can tell their friends they heard first for 5 bucks.

For a pressing of 1,000 CDs, proposing "bands will be getting exposure and should pay a fee" is not really appropriate.

1,000 CDs is nothing. Bands will not be put on any significant map from this, it's just a fun thing to do and a nice way to maybe make a few bucks and hopefully be heard by a few extra people. My proposal gets the money up front by bands pre-ordering their own CDs to sell at shows.

Finally -- once again: distributing the money to artists is a huge pain. Do you want to write 14 checks once a month? Do you want to distribute it out via paypal to 14 people and have what little money there is slowly dwindle itself to nothing due to transaction fees?
posted by twiggy at 7:20 AM on April 18, 2006

Understood, twiggy. I am basing this on my own experience. If I had never heard of 9 of the 10 bands I wouldn't buy it at a show. Your idea certainly doesn't hurt anything.
posted by terrapin at 7:49 AM on April 18, 2006

My proposal gets the money up front by bands pre-ordering their own CDs to sell at shows

But I'm a sound artist! I don't do shows.
posted by nylon at 8:02 AM on April 18, 2006

Speaking as someone who may contribute, asking for money from us up front is going to make it a lot harder to convince the rest of the band to go along. None of them have even heard of MeFi (hard to believe, I know), so there will be concerns about what the project is for and about copyright on the songs. Money just adds another hurdle.
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:50 AM on April 18, 2006

Asking for some money up front is ok, as we have no other way to fund this, but asking for a significant amount (i.e. the entire amount of pressing shared among the 10-15 contributors) is likely to put a few people off. The more people that share the initial costs, and therefore the lower the individual hurdle is, the better.

Regarding your idea, twiggy: the demographics of a MeFi compilation are significantly different from a 'normal' compilation. There are some bands that do gigs, sure, but there are also a number of studio/bedroom based projects that don't/can't play live, and also plenty of rank amateurs just messing around for the fun of it. So while I agree with you that this is a totally inappropriate project for 'pay to play', as terrapin was suggesting, I also think it's inappropriate to expect everyone on the compilation to buy 50 cds. Will PST have to buy 50 cds to get Ringle Jell Bock on there? Although, on reflection, he's far more likely to sell them based on that than I am with my contributions. Heh.
posted by nylon at 8:58 AM on April 18, 2006

Mailing list invite fired off just now; all of you active in this conversation should have gotten it -- and if you haven't within a couple of hours (dreamhost sometimes mails these slow), let me know.

It stands that every contributor ought to want a copy, and hopefully more, so I've proposed offering a tiered discount for bulk orders. Bands who want to order 25 can do so on the cheap; folks who want to order 5 or 10 can do so on the cheapish; folks who just want one or two copies can pay full (read: less than gouging RIAA retail) price.

The specific numbers are tweakable, but the idea seems like a sound marraige of the need for pre-orders, the desire of some to have several CDs, and the desire to keep the involvement of folks who only want to make a small financial outlay.

There will be, god help me, no compulsory pre-order. PST can order 0 or 1 or 50 copies, as he sees fit, and the same goes for everyone else. If we simply do not generate sufficient capital via pre-orders and donations to pay for a 1000 CD pressing, we will change plans. Smaller run, ad hoc printing, unconditional refund in the absolute worst case.

I have confidence that we can make a 1000 CD pressing work, but I'm not going to strongarm anyone just to prove myself right. We'll see what happens in the next week or two.
posted by cortex at 9:13 AM on April 18, 2006

Agreed on not making a pre-order compulsory.

I respect the fact that bedroom projects don't do shows, etc.

For bands that do shows - a 50 CD preorder at $100 is a great investment - sell 20 of those 50 at $5 and you're break-even. If you can't sell 20 $5 CDs over the course of 3 or 4 shows... well ... work harder :-)

I like that it's not compulsory, and we can be flexible about plans, but I think any band that plays shows would be silly not to take advantage of a pre-order situation.

One thing that might be good: For bands that do play shows, making it "highly preferred" that they provide a track that does not already exist on a CD they sell would be beneficial both for the compilation AND the band.
posted by twiggy at 9:22 AM on April 18, 2006

It's a great idea---make sure that each individual who contributes can specify the exact rights/nonrights they want to have tho--whether it's CC or restricted or allowed for personal use, etc.

A portion of the money going to charity or a scholarship would be nice too.
posted by amberglow at 9:49 AM on April 18, 2006

or maybe a portion should go to waiving the 5-buck membership fee for people who can't afford it?
posted by amberglow at 9:50 AM on April 18, 2006

I'd be all for letting people pick their good cause of choice, but that *massively* diminishes the potential impact of the project compared to all the contributors having a common cause. Speaking as a little known artist, potential sales mean (from a selfish point of view) fuck all to me compared getting exposure. As far as I am concerned, no order of proceedings makes sense to me, other than the follow:

(i) Interesed artists email their music (in a lossy mp3-type format for now, mastering comes later) to cortex.
(ii) cortex (who I trust above and beyond to tell me that I, for one, or anyone else, suck way too much to be included) and a selected few choose a playlist.
(iii) the shortlisted artists have a conversation about where they want the money to go, and reach a consesnsus.
(iv) while production design and mastering occurs, the consensus view of the artists is put to a) MeFi for first dibs and perhaps b) the wider internet community as a whole for pre-orders.

All other contributing ideas are, naturally, most welcome, but I think the artists involved should converse to attempt to reach a consensus. Even a token gesture toward a common cause could speak volumes.
posted by nthdegx at 4:41 PM on April 18, 2006

nthdegx speaks wisdom. That order of operations is almost certainly how things will proceed. Whether we target one or several causes is a matter for discussion, but I agree that concensus on a smaller charity would have more direct impact for said beneficiary.
posted by cortex at 4:57 PM on April 18, 2006

So far so good, but let's use some marketing sense.

1) This is a Vanity Piece. (They never make money)

2) It won't make tons of money (the first time out)

2b) Some of your bands may have a following and surely Metafilter does but that doesn't ensure insta-fame and fortune.

3) A collaborative effort towards a group-chosen charity will gain huge exposure in the field.

4) If it's any good and you gain some exposure from your charitable effort, people will want more.

5) Repeat the process

6) Profit.

I will be investing in this and will contribute a song or two too.
posted by snsranch at 5:17 PM on April 18, 2006

Possible cover

And if the proceeds do go to charity, the album could be titled "Please Hope Me."
posted by whir at 12:39 AM on April 20, 2006

Late to the fray as ever, I'd just like to register my interest in both delivering a tune and purchasing the thing.

Excellent. I was just setting up my new mini-studio, now I've got a good motivator for actually recording something :-)
posted by ajp at 4:03 AM on April 20, 2006

First of all, kudos on the idea, of course.

cortex, I would be obviously thrilled to contribute, but I would really appreciate some sort of deadline. I'm just starting new recordings, and would prefer to submit something new if it's finished in time. If not, I'll send in something from the back catalogue.

Also, is there some sort of consensus on the inclusion of metamefi songs? That is to say, is there room for "matthewchen is spamming"or "blink" on there? If so, I would submit "blink" and a "serious" song. Otherwise, I'll submit two serious songs.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:56 AM on April 21, 2006

New thread
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:57 AM on April 21, 2006

Heh. What gnifti said. More news coming; proper submission deadline will be announced soon.
posted by cortex at 8:12 AM on April 21, 2006

Quick question: Can the following be printed on the cover/liner?

1. Lyrics.

2. Contact details for each contributor.
posted by ajp at 8:54 AM on April 22, 2006

contact details are probably manageable. Lyrics may be a stretch, depending on the amount of booklet we go with.

Both can, regardless, be provided at an Official Website referenced on the cover.
posted by cortex at 10:37 AM on April 22, 2006

I didn't want to inline it, but... here. Please don't hate me.

(I'm gonna submit it to Interrobang too.)
posted by JHarris at 8:51 PM on April 22, 2006

Oops, sent to wrong thread, my bad.
posted by JHarris at 8:52 PM on April 22, 2006

JRun Error (4:04) is comedy gold.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:44 AM on April 23, 2006

Selections announced! See for details.
posted by cortex at 7:33 AM on May 4, 2006

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