Think that every great artist needs to releasing their music through a major label? That they need to have efforts bankrolled by a record company that gets them into a studio then quickly takes any profits whilst still saddling the artist in debt?
The business model for the music industry has changed massively in the past twenty years or so as the internet became more and more of an important part of people's lives. Now entire back catalogues can be streamed directly to your ears on demand. You can satisfy your musical mood in moments. CD collections can now be shrunk down to portable players the size of cassette tapes. This instant nature has almost devalued the product, with record labels signing less and less artists as returns decrease constantly. The labels still manage to make their money whilst the artists that actually create the music struggle at times to actually make a living.
This has resulted in a shift in attitude as more musicians adopt a more Punk/DIY approach with their music. Albums can now be recorded at home on a laptop with great results. Mediums like Patreon, Bandcamp and PledgeMusic have allowed musicians a global platform to get their music heard like never before.
I use all three platforms. Why? I like to support the artists I listen to and these methods really help me. Most of the time you're dealing with the artist directly which is rewarding. In fact, sometimes you're actually directly funding the recording of new material. You become passionate about it, you're invested in it. For musicians it allows a connection directly to their audience. In effect the audience also become the artist's label. It becomes a perfect symbiotic relationship, both artist and audience directly connecting and nourishing each other.
This year sees the release of the Eureka Machines new album via PledgeMusic. It's a method that has worked incredibly well for them in the past, probably allowing them to release material they would have struggled to release otherwise to a select fan base that increases with every release.
If you're not aware of them, Eureka Machines are a Pop/Rock/Punk band based out of Leeds, and are one of the tightest live bands in existence. How they haven't been made huge by the music industry is a loss to most people as their blend of bouncy songs and vocal harmonies are incredibly satisfying.
The new campaign is not only for their fifth album 'Victories' but also for a limited double disc of rarities called...... 'Rarities'. If you're not aware how a pledge campaign like this works you basically pay your cash in advance for the album. Often this is used to fund the recording or pay to get the album pressed up. There's various different levels to pledge (I'll explain more in a moment) with various rewards. When you get a good campaign, like these guys have done at various times in the past, there's videos documenting the process (we'll cover these in future updates) making you feel invested in the process.
This is part of the process I love almost as much as the finished product itself. You, the audience, become part of what happens. You feel a sense of pride when you see a cool update, frustrated with delays with production.
The campaign launched a few weeks ago and reached its target within a few hours. Previous campaigns had offered many different rewards for the audience to choose from. This one, however, is a relatively slimmed down version (deliberately according to frontman Chris Catalyst). This doesn't mean that they don't want to reward their pledgers, far from it. People who buy into the campaign (on any level) receive a new EP as soon as they pledge, as well as the promise of other things as the campaign draws on.
I had a look the various options available as soon as the campaign went live. These include digital downloads of either album, back catalogues to download, physical copies of the cd's (signed or unsigned, your choice), t-shirts, lyric sheets and signed drum skins. I opted for unsigned copies of both cd's, thinking I can always get them signed the next time I see them live. With a couple of clicks it's all done and I'm a happy shopper.
Within a few minutes there's an email confirmation as well as the the first free EP to download. Entitled "T' Yorkshire EP" it's a collection of covers that Eureka Machines have chosen of other Yorkshire bands. Fans of the band will be happy as Chris, Pete, Davos and Wayne do like putting their spin on other people's songs. First up is 'Babies' by Sheffield's Pulp with Mr Catalyst providing his best Jarvis Cocker impression. They quickly turn housewive's favourite 'Don't You Want Me' by Spandau Ballet into a new wave rifftastic beast, with palm muted guitars and the addition of Victoria Liedtke (Fierce Ideas and ex Hey! Hello! vocalist) taking over the second verse, coming across very Blondie at times. Next up is 'I'll Sail This Ship Alone', allowing a softer tone to be added to the release, the band's vocal harmonies reminding you that The Housemartins were more than just 'Happy Hour'. Then, just as you're starting to relax, 'Spinning Round' by Red Lorry Yellow Lorry comes crashing in, knocking you off your feet, it's sharp, angular, slashing guitars cut you deep.
So, that's the launch covered. Over the next few weeks we'll update you with whats happening with the pledge project, right up to the release of the albums. Of course, we'll be reviewing them here at 3 Songs & Out for you.
But if you want to join in the fun, head over to www.pledgemusic.com/projects/eureka5 and hand over some cash. You won't be disappointed.
To be continued.....
Words - Scott Hamilton