Last night, Monday, May 13, 2013, at 11:59 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, the indiegogo.com crowd-funding campaign of Misery Signals — which they launched to help pay for the recoding of a new album — officially came to an end. Do you know how much money they raised? I’m not gonna make you guess. They raised $104,295. Let me repeat that: They raised
One Hundred Four Thousand Two Hundred Ninety-Five Dollars!!!
I shit you not.
They started the campaign on April 3, with a goal of $50,000. A pretty ambitious goal, one would think. Yet in less than 24 hours they had received pledges that exceeded half of that amount. On April 9 they met the $50,000 goal. In six fucking days.
But the campaign deadline was May 13, so they just let it keep going. You’d think people would have stopped contributing once the goal was met. Obviously not. Misery SIgnals doubled their money over the last month. Hell, I was watching the money counter at indiegogo last night and people were still contributing thousands of dollars more in the last few hours of the campaign.
How the hell did they pull this off? I’m so fucking glad you asked.
You might think it was because Misery Signals are based in one of the biggest cities in the United State, with a local fan base so large and so committed that they’d give blood instead of money if corpuscles had been requested. Nope. They’re based in Milwaukee. As in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, population 600,000.
Well then, maybe it was because they’ve been pumping out albums so fast and furious that their fans have been slobbering and sweating like junkies anxious to get their next fix without delay. Uh, nope. Misery SIgnals’ last album (Controller) came out in 2008. As in five years ago. In 2010 two of the band’s founding members, guitarist Stu Ross and bass-player Kyle Johnson, left the band, and Misery Signals’ future looked questionable despite protests to the contrary.
Okay, well you might be thinking that their music is so cutting edge, so out on the uncharted frontiers of metal that they’ve sparked the imagination of thousands waiting for the next big thing. Um, not exactly. In the pithy summing up of a Lambgoat article from 2010, “Post-hardcore act Misery Signals blend math rock tropes like tricky time signature shifts and twiddy guitar parts with strained aggression and sore throat vocals of screamo”, and it doesn’t look like the band plan any kind of dramatic departure from that sound on the new album. Who knew metalcore was still a thing?
Okie dokie, then it has to be the perks they offered for donations. That’s the way these crowd-funding things work. You’re basically selling things that don’t exist yet. People pledge money, and then when the idea becomes a reality, the contributors get something back, something more than the sheer selfless pleasure of helping their beloved band continue to live the dream.
So what kind of reasonably priced goodies did Misery Signals offer to induce this massive outpouring of cash?
Well, they offered a guitar that will be used in the recording of the album. Autographed, “if requested”. With a photo of the guitar actually being played by Misery Signals’ guitarists. It’s an ESP Deluxe Series LTD Eclipse Guitar, presumably used, which seems to retail new for about $800. They offered it for $2000.
There may be some other details about that offer on indigogo, but I can’t tell you what the fuck they are because the details are obscured by a big SOLD OUT label on that offer.
You know what the next priciest item was? The chance for you, the contributor, to have your voice heard on the album by contributing to gang vocals at one of two recording sessions — in either Connecticut or California. The price? $350 — and you pay for your own travel. They sold six of those babies.
I could go on, but I won’t. You can see the other prizes and how many they sold by going here.
Now you might well ask yourself, what are these dudes going to do with all that fuckin’ money? I know what you’re thinking: hookers and blow for everyone, seven days a week and twice on Saturday’s. Nope.
When the band started the campaign, they put this verbiage on their indiegogo page:
Your pledges are going directly into the quality and reach of the album itself. They allow us the means to book time at studios we revere, travel to those locations, carefully record, mix and master the album in an effort to capture and articulate it in the best way that we can. This is an important album to us and we sincerely and passionately want to make the final outcome reflect that. Beyond that, your funding will allow us to manufacture physical copies so that we can continue to tour, distribute, promote, and spread the music to as many people as possible. This isn’t a glamorous lifestyle and we don’t plan on personally keeping any of the money raised – it is all going into making the band function again and toward making this the best album that we can create.
Then, when the band reached their goal a month ago, they added some FAQs to their indiegogo page, including this question and answer:
6. What are you going to do with additional money beyond the $50,000 goal?
The contributions above $50K do not go into our pockets. We’re putting all additional money into promotion for the album. We know damn well that this money came from supporters of the music, and we want to give back to all of you and further the reach of the album. Demand appears to still be high, and we are brainstorming ways to add content that supporters will be stoked about.
Speaking only for myself, I’d be stoked about getting my CD with gold plating on the outside. Plus hookers and blow.
I’m thinking that Misery Signals ought to change their name right now. Because when “Misery Signals” books studio time, it might suddenly cost an arm and a leg. When “Misery Signals” tries to book a non-refundable coach ticket to wherever they’re recording, the airlines might suddenly double the fare. “Misery Signals” might get a price for the cost of manufacturing physical copies of the music that will make their bungholes sore. “Misery Signals” may suddenly discover a horde of new friends they never knew they had. And expectations for the new album by “Misery Signals” are going to be pretty fucking high (no pressure dudes!).
So yeah, they need to work on a new name, and fast.
Meanwhile, Misery Index need to keep their name just as it is and start an indiegogo campaign. Maybe lightning will strike twice. Though at this point I feel compelled to add the kind of warning that appears on things like weight-loss supplements: “Your results may vary”.
But seriously, congratulations to Misery Signals on a jaw-dropping show of support from their fans.