A rant about established musicians who use Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a great platform for funding creative projects. There are a lot of creative ideas that wouldn't get traditional funding but now have a chance thanks to Kickstarter. I've supported several projects.

But I'm seeing way too many well-established musicians and bands turn to Kickstarter to get their 2nd, 3rd or 4th album funded. I sour on this use of Kickstarter for several reasons.

Why are musicians asking fans to foot the bill before the product is made? If a record is good, people will pay for it. It's as simple as that. But asking fans to pay for something that isn't even made yet is like just like getting a business loan from a bank.

Musicians who use Kickstarter are going to make a new record anyway, regardless of the outcome of their funding project. So they're basically asking for handouts. They'll take what they can get but it's not going to affect their decision on whether or not to make a record. In the real world, if your company doesn't get funding from traditional investors, there's a chance it's because what you're offering isn't something people actually want.

It's lame when signed bands use Kickstarter. I find it pathetic when bands signed to record labels turn to Kickstarter for support. If they were good enough to get signed in the first place, shouldn't their label be doing their job of getting the music out there to fans who will buy the band's existing music (in the form of promotion, tours, etc.), which in turn will fund their new record?

There obvious counter-argument to my opinion is that Kickstarter lets fans invest in bands they believe in, which in turn reaps rewards when the record is done.

I just think that if a band is good enough to get an album or two or three on the market, they should depend on forward motion from previous albums and tours, and support THEMSELVES if their music career is something they really believe in, rather than asking for a loan from their fans.

    Buick tries to 1-up Lexus on a problem Lexus doesn't have

    This Buick commercial shows that if you lock your keys in your car, you can unlock your doors with their iPhone app. While it might be a nice feature, the commercial infers that the Lexus owner locked his keys in his car. But it's actually impossible to lock your keys in a Lexus. Details below...

    Every Lexus comes standard with their SmartAccess keys. These keys don't ever have to leave your pocket, and more importantly, don't let you lock the car when the key is inside. I find it humorous that the makers of this commercial would choose to compare the Buick to a Lexus ES for this specific feature, full while knowing their whole point is moot. Hey Buick, if you're going to target buyers of the Lexus ES, at least point out a problem Lexus actually has, not one you make up.

    Introducing my new home office: The Barn!

    A couple months ago, I finished building my home office in the shell of a barn. It started as a old horse barn with a dirt floor and no ceiling and over the course of a few months, turned into my new creative space (with a small recording studio) where I now spend most of my time. Here are some shots of the final product. (Scroll down if you want to see some progress shots of how it all came together.)

    A Few Things to Note...

    • Wall artwork is by the talented photographer Cole Rise (still need to hang the last piece on the bare wall).
    • You might notice that around the double-doors is writing on the walls. I turned to IdeaPaint, a special type of paint that dries into a slick white board surface. Pretty awesome stuff. Cleans better than an actual white board!
    • My track lighting is all LED lighting, greatly reducing power consumption and heat produced.
    • To keep the tunes going all day long, I went with SpeakerCraft in-ceiling speakers and a BIC subwoofer. The sound is insanely awesome.


    "The Barn" as it has been so originally named used to be a horse barn in the 70's, but has been nothing more than a storage unit for yard tools and a place for junk since then. (First pic is now the office, second pic is now the recording room.)

    I employed the help of 2/3 of my nephews to get the junk out. (It's not breaking child labor laws if they're related to you, right?)

    And then my dad helped loosen the tightly packed soil so we could level for the floor.



    Here's all I came up with in terms of plans. I'm thankful that our handyman was willing to run with just this.

    Got a large delivery of "real life lego pieces" from Lowe's and proceeded to carry it 100 yards from the street and down 60 steps:

    Once the junk and rat poison were out, we were ready to frame the floor (handyman Brian on the left).

    Side note: did you know that handling wire (used to hold insulation up off the ground) with bare hands can make you change colors?

    Now that we had a floor, it was time to frame in the ceiling.

    Once the ceiling was framed, I noticed that my favorite local coffee shop (Kean Coffee) had an awesome recessed ceiling for their chandelier.

    So of course, I decided I wanted a recessed ceiling too, to make the room feel bigger. (This would eliminate the exposed wooden beams I had drawn into my plans.) So we chopped a hole in the framing we just built and made a recessed section.

    Then came insulation and wiring. I'm pretty sure we used several miles of wiring.

    Among the things being wired up were:

    • Wiring for 5 speakers
    • Independently controlled track lighting
    • HDMI ports
    • Between the office and recording room, a DVI plug, USB connections, XLR inputs and 1/4" returns
    • Way to many ethernet ports and power receptacles

    Oh, and we had to install a subpanel for power, so we got to run lots more wire underground to get to the barn. In the pic below, you'll notice my ingenious solution of getting all the wires we needed to automatically feed to us as we pulled them underground. (That's our handyman you see in the later pics.)

    And the last pieces before the finishing.


    The Finishing Touches

    Naturally, the most fun of the whole project was wiring it up.

    Here's where the interior started going Tuscan. Yes, the walls have a faux finish (texture). That was a lot of fun to apply (note: texturing is hard work).

    And then came the final pieces like my four speakers. This stuff could power a mid-sized rock concert.

    Eventually it all came together. I did go a bit over the top, pre-wiring for a wall-mounted projector (HDMI and power) and a motorized projector screen, just in case I ever want to add them later. Oh, and don't forget the keypad door locks. Just like with cars, physical keys are a thing of the past!


    Post-Construction Uses

    The Barn has even been turned into a full-on video production studio!

    The Barn has really become my home away from home (by about 30 yards) and I've been able to focus in this creation like nowhere before. It was well worth the high price and the hard work that went into it.