Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Track Grifters on Kickstarter So You Don't Have To: A Nataly Dawn Update

About a month ago i posted about the massive grift being perpetrated by Pomplamoose (name spelled correctly for Google indexing purposes) singer Nataly Dawn over on Kickstarter--a campaign to raise money for her first solo album after building her reputation by using other people's music to buy a house and remove any need for a day job: a twee, cover band Captain & Tennille, but with a lamer catalog. At the time, her campaign had well exceeded her (seemingly arbitrarily chosen) $20,000 target, netting $43,393 as of August 1.

The campaign ended at Midnight and--strap in, believers in a just and fair God--pulled in a final tally of $104,788.

Pictured: your only sane response

Clearly, Slayer isn't really the house band in Hell; it's Matt & Kim or some shit.

Let's break down what these dolts suckers patrons paid for with enough scratch to keep the Latest Flame roster in vinyl and weed for two or three years:

$10 Pledge: A download of the album before it's released (982 backers): OK, fine. Nearly 50% of the initial target was raised by offering advance mp3s. For $9,820 my band could record three albums, but whatever.

$30 Pledge: A signed hard copy of the album + a digital download of the album before it's released (557 backers):
Are they getting vinyl? A CD? DAT? Wax cylinder? Anyone else see the format specified anywhere? For $16,710 my band could record three albums, advertise them, and shoot Pitchfork a bribe for a "Best New Music" mention--and by "bribe" i mean we'd donate $250 to this campaign and ask Nataly to Skype dirty with Ryan Schreiber--we'll toss in an extra sawbuck if necessary ($250 pledge, limited reward SOLD OUT [0 of 10 remaining, Sweet Chocolatey Jesus]).

Oh, and speaking of creepy and gross:

$100 Pledge: SPECIAL EDITION SIGNED POSTER AND ONE-OF-A-KIND POLAROID OF ME TAKEN IN THE STUDIO WHILE RECORDING + special edition t-shirt + signed hard copies of "Her Earlier Stuff" and the upcoming album + a digital download of the album before it's released (110 backers): Ooh! A one-of-a-kind Polaroid! For $11,000 I could take the entire LFR roster to Glamour Shots and offer fetching portraits of Billy from Trophy Wives in rouge and a feather boa, which would be way more entertaining than your very own private dead-eyed gaze from a Christian Fundamentalist hipster on washed-out-looking, obsolete film stock.

If you don't think this is more awesome than a Nataly Dawn polaroid, i'm not sure why you're reading this blog

$2,000 Pledge: I WILL COVER THE SONG OF YOUR CHOICE (within reason) AND UPLOAD THE VIDEO TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL! I'll give you a call and we can talk over the details! (+ poster + t-shirt + signed hard copies of "Her Earlier Stuff" and the upcoming album + a digital download of the album before it's released) (limited reward SOLD OUT [0 of 6 remaining]): I'm guessing that "within reason" means that we couldn't have all pooled our cash and made her cover "I Got Athlete's Foot (I Showered at Mike's)" by Anal Cunt or "Victory Day" by Prussian Blue. People, for $2000 IfIHadAHiFi will cover the song of your choice, without reason. "Forever Your Girl" by Paula Abdul? Done, but "Opposites Attract" is the clear jam, c'mon. "Beverly Hills" by Weezer? OK, maybe i'm being hyperbolic.

$3,000 Pledge: A HOUSE SHOW at YOUR HOUSE with ME playing all of MY SONGS for YOU! If your house is more than a 4 hour drive from my place, you will also have to cover travel and one hotel room for 2 people. If you have any questions, please message me. Thank you!!! (Includes poster + t-shirt + signed hard copies of "Her Earlier Stuff" and the upcoming album + a digital download of the album before it's released) (limited reward [3 of 5 remaining]): I have a message for the two people who spent THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS for a Nataly Dawn house show: is your company hiring? Wait, i have another message: next time, just book David Bazan--he only costs around $800, he sells tickets so it's cheaper for you, and the music's wayyyyy better. And he's better looking.

For hosting the Passion of the Christ of online fundraisers, Kickstarter gets their standard 5% fee, which comes out to $5239.40. Hey, it's a free country, so good for them, i guess. But i feel the need to repeat the last section of my previous post on this matter:

Even more than this just being an extended "other people don't like what i like, i guess i'll go eat worms" snit-fit, it begs to be asked: is this not a complete abuse of Kickstarter's mission? Am i wrong in thinking that a project like this undermines the projects of real struggling artists who legitimately need Kickstarter in order to fund their films, albums, and other projects? I can't be the only one who thinks that this campaign is a classic lesson in Doing It Wrong.

Stay tuned for future Kickstarter projects like
"Help U2 Fund Their African Concert Tour"
"Help Google Buy Kickstarter.com"
"Buy Cher a New Face And Help Her Cheat Old Age For Another Decade"
"Help Keep Prince Fielder in Milwaukee"

OK, i'd actually donate to that last one.

Fuck. Let's end this post on a positive note. Here's something that kicks the entire Pimplepoofamoosealump empire into the dirt: the new Wild Flag video, made, as far as i can tell, without Kickstarter donations.


  1. Kickstarter and all the related crowd-funding sites are starting to piss me off. Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are begging for funds right now--who is going to give to the little guy when big names are asking for whatever spare scratch they've got? A documentary moviemaker is asking for 100k when they've already got the rights to the films they're using and have put together trailers etc--but if you don't pony up the dough to put it out, it never sees the light of day. It's made it so bigger names don't have to invest any of themselves in their so-called-work anymore and the little guy has to work that much harder to get noticed.

  2. Okay, so Pomplamoose is bullshit and people are suckers. Worth re-iterating, but how is it a "grift?" Like, yeah, it's stupid that people would pay that much, but is there something inherently dishonest about it?

  3. Well, i'd like to see a breakdown of how much her album really costs to make--like, what was she going to spend that $20,000 on? Why does she need to rent a studio instead of using the one in her own damn house? I dunno, it does feel dishonest to me. I suppose her supporters would disagree, naturally.

    Mellzah, that's really appalling. I totally agree with you--the people who would benefit the most from Kickstarter are going to slowly get elbowed out by bigger names who don't really need to use it. It's ridiculous. More people need to be calling bullshit on this.

  4. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/an-evening-with-neil-gaiman-and-amanda-palmer

    $20,000 target, $49,000 raised. Fucking Christ.

  5. There has to be some kind of push back on people that don't NEED to use a tool like this using it. But where is the line drawn? Who decides that? To our bank accounts and pockets Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are preposterously famous and successful and shouldn't even have to ask. But if their fans want to give them money in exchange for goods (or services), I don't really see anything wrong with that. It's irritating personally, that it is more than many folks make in a year at a day job, let alone creatively. But that's caste, it's not as if they haven't done the work to get there. And even if they hadn't... they are still there. Even their lowest level of contributions you get digital downloads... which is more than the "thanks for the duckets, chump!" that Nataly Dawn woman's lowest tier is.

  6. Yeah I felt really weird seeing Neil Gaiman (who I love) & Amanda Palmer (on whom I'm fairly neutral) using Kickstarter. What?

    Amanda Palmer on her own probably isn't rich. Neil Gaiman definitely is. WTF.

    I should possibly actually submit my nursing school fund.

    I really just hopped over here from my RSS feed to say that for some unknown reason I started singing Opposites Attract last night while doing dishes, so that mention ruled.

  7. I have several reactions to this.
    First, it's just infrastructure. Kickstarter built it and people use it. Going with your U2 example... how is donating to Natlay (WTF is up with that spelling?) any different from paying $100 to go to a U2 concert? Totally not worth it, but whatever...

    Second, I think Kickstarter's business model could use tweaking now that they are seeing these kinds of high-profile projects. Why not take a bigger slice from projects with higher goals/totals? That would be an incentive to ask for only what you need and if done right, could actually attract more little projects than big ones.

    Third, the Glamourshots idea is genius. We might have to do that.

    Fourth, I can't help it, I think Nataly Dawn is *incredibly* hot.

  8. Yeah, i agree, Rusty--it's a tool that can be used in cool ways or gross ways. I really like your idea of Kickstarter tweaking their business model -- a tiered percentage is an excellent idea.

    I can't get behind your feelings on Nataly's looks, but that's neither here nor there.