Category Archives: Ramblings
Thoughts about all things metal, from metal truisms to thoughts about the music we hear.
Over the past couple years the whole Kickstarter and crowdfunding craze has really began to make quite the impact on the world. My 2 biggest hobbies, video games and music, have seen the largest impact from this so far. More or less all the stuff that record labels and game publishers haven’t been paying mind to have an audience and that audience is more than happy to toss large amounts of money at the artists to go ahead and do their thing. So far results have been quite successful and music, games, and concepts that I never thought would see the light of day are getting a chance to compete with the big boys. Given this whole crowdfunding business is still in its infancy and while many crowdfunded games and albums have now been released there still hasn’t been enough proof, only provable through the test of time, that this way of funding can continue to compete with the big dogs. So I wonder, would it be possible that crowdfunding eventually makes big name publishers and labels go the way of the dodo? Will we enter a world where the music that you listen to and the games you play are only discovered through good ol’ DIY and word of mouth methods and the days of creative influence from the investors ceases to hamper some wonderful games and albums? Well, my opinion, simply put, yes and no.
In the 80′s there were 2 major pasta sauce brands, Prego and Ragu. Ragu was the best-selling of the two and Prego wanted to outdo them, so they went and modified their recipe and created a sauce that trumped Ragu in all blind taste tests. When Prego released their revised sauce to the market, they were astonished that even though it tasted better, they were still selling less. So they brought in a market analyst to discover why and what they could do to become the leading pasta sauce brand. One experiment the analyst did was to make various different styles of pasta sauce; creamy, chunky, spicy, salty, garlicy, etc. About 20 different styles in all. When he taste tested them he discovered was that of all the different flavors, the one with the least flavor change won. Chunky style pasta sauce tasted nearly the same as the classic recipe and only changed in the texture, yet it won something around 80% of the taste test (actual number I don’t remember and am too lazy to research). The discovery was that while trying to make the perfect tasting pasta sauce, they were oblivious to a large market of people who didn’t even know that they wanted chunky sauce and being obsessed on making the best flavor blinded them to even think about checking for texture.
Prego released their sauce into the market and did exceptionally well finally out selling Ragu until they copied the chunky idea and it’s been an exciting food fight ever since with more options and experimentation in the pasta sauce lovers world than ever imaginable.
Now think Ragu as the bigwig labels and game publishers, and Kickstarter as the Prego. Through Kickstarter we have discovered games and music that we never even thought we wanted, and now that they are exposed, we can’t imagine not wanting them. Surely the labels and publishers have noted on this, and especially in the music scene, a lot more risks to branch out is the result. Win Win, right?
Sorta, what I think that this crowdfunding vs. bigwig will lead to is more of a symbiotic relationship where labels will see crowdfunding as proof of success and reduce their monetary liability. Band crowdfunds their debut, has successful sales, the following record gets that big contract, maybe more than what bands are getting today since they have already proven themselves and the risk is much less for the label. And again, since the band is proven in their artistic merit, the label will most likely hold back on influencing the musicians. Apply the same principles to video games.
Then we can add in the argument of over-saturation and crowdfunding becoming diluted and turning into nothing but a popularity contest. We can also say that no crowdfunded project will ever be able to reach the numbers needed for those big AAA block buster games and that people will just innovate for innovations sake. But no matter what, with crowd funding, we are all aware that there are many things that we want that we would have never realized we wanted and the competition in the market will just increase for our attention and money. And as always, competition breeds excellency and true innovation. Exciting times are coming in the music and video game world and I’m looking forward to what the future may bring.
What say you on crowdfunding? Discuss below, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Thanks to the Jimquisition for the inspiration and Ragu vs Prego idea behind this post.