Ne Obliviscaris Fan Membership: An Interactive Experience
Australia’s most successful progressive metal band Ne Obliviscaris have been at the forefront of innovation since their inception. Not only their music is stretching genre boundaries, experimental and progressive but also the band’s approach to the new standard in the music world is innovative. In 2014 Ne Obliviscaris run a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign gathering A$86,000 to support the world tour. To this day this campaign remains on of the most successful music crowdfunding campaigns worldwide. It allowed Ne Obliviscaris to tour the world with their latest album ‘Citadel’. Currently the band is about tho finish their tour with Cradle Of Filth throughout North America.
The music world of 2016 has changed drastically. Over the last two decades we saw album sales dwindle. The advent of the internet lead to more and more music becoming available free – whether it may be legally or illegally. On the one hand genre veterans like Gene Simmons proclaimed that ‘Rock is finally dead’. On the other hand the internet opened up opportunities for band never imagined before. Filesharing, YouTube videos and social media allows bands to build a fan base before they even sign a record deal. The landscape has changed and bands these days need to find clever ways of supporting their recording and touring ambitions.
Ne Obliviscaris are again innovative and found a new way. In a world-first campaign they just started offering their fans an interactive membership through the Patreon platform. Check out the video below. It explains how the membership works. The band’s statement below goes into more detail and reveals some extremely interesting details about the financials of a touring band. This is information that you normally don’t get. So even if you are not a dedicated Ne Obliviscaris fans I suggest reading it. It is quite an eye opener.
Ne Obliviscaris Patreon Campaign Is Live Now
Ne Obliviscaris Official Band Statement
JOIN THE NE OBLUMINATI
LET’S EMPOWER THE PEOPLE
The music industry is changing and we need to change with it.
We have inherited a broken system that is no longer what it once was, yet has not found a definitive new way forward. A system where only the biggest of the big bands are able to make a living and the rest of us sacrifice our whole lives and risk financial ruin every step of the way.
So where to from here? Well, we want to create an interactive fan experience unlike any band that has come before us. We want to help create a path, not just for Ne Obliviscaris, but for the countless bands across the world that are working incredibly hard, touring the world to perform for their fans and losing money every step of the way.
And we want to do it by empowering YOU, the fans, so that you get to decide who succeeds and who doesn’t. The old establishment is dying. Let’s show that we can create our own new way forward and put the power back where it should be, with the fans who love and believe in the music that we, and so many great bands out there are creating.
To start with though, we want to give you guys a bit more background on the reality of our situation, and then we’ll explain exactly how you can get involved in our career in an unprecedented new way.
THE EFFECT OF THE INTERNET
Rather than fight the inevitable change that the industry has had thrust upon it ever since the advent of the internet in the mid 90’s, here in NeO we are always embracing new ways forward. NeO first built an underground following across the world in large part due to the benefits of file sharing, torrents, youtube and the internet in general. We didn’t have a huge label spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to make us the next big thing; it was a grass roots thing… Fans discovered us, told their friends, discussed NeO on forums; they shared our music with each other and helped spread our music to more and more people over time.
The internet has resulted in an industry that actually gives more bands an opportunity to build a decent fanbase, as the music is now available for everyone to listen to anytime they want – for free. Lots of people in the industry refer to the “good old days” when everyone bought albums and many bands made a lot of money, but in some ways it is much more democratic this way. Instead of it being like the old days where the only bands that could become successful were the one’s that had the support of a big label, these days it is YOU, the people out there that decide which bands succeed or fail. The bands that get signed at all are often the one’s that have acquired fans at a grass roots level and forced the labels to take notice, not the other way around. That is what happened with NeO and is happening with many other bands.
FINANCIAL REALITIES IN THIS NEW INDUSTRY
The one downside, is that though a band like us owes much of our popularity to the internet and the way the industry works in 2016, the industry no longer supports bands financially in the way it used to. The harsh reality is that you now have bands that have tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of fans all around the world, and yet still make less than minimum wage.
We’ll level with you…here in NeO we don’t even make that. In fact we have never been paid anything for playing in this band, as the little money we do make gets continually re-invested to finance all our tours rather than paid out to members.
The first time we ever made a profit on a tour was our 2014 Citadel Australian Launch tour. All up we made just over $20,000AUD. This was an incredible result for us at the time and it might sound like a lot… Until you realise that since then we have done 3 major international tours lasting between 4 and 7 weeks each, and lost AT LEAST $20,000AUD on every single one of them.
THE AUSTRALIAN FACTOR
Things are tough for bands all across the world right now, but realistically part of this is because we are from Australia. We start every tour having to pay $10-15,000AUD in flights to some far off part of the world (they all are pretty far off to be honest…), plus Visa’s, Bus Deposits, Merchandise (T-Shirts, Hoodies, CD’s, Vinyl etc.) which can still cost many thousands of dollars despite getting them at wholesale price and more. As a result we may start a tour with over $30,000 in debt, and then hope that we make enough money each day on the tour to start chipping away at this total so that we can afford to do another tour after that one.
TOUR INCOME/EXPENSES BREAKDOWN FOR OUR LAST EUROPEAN TOUR
To be more specific, on our Oct/Nov 2015 European Tour with Cradle of Filth our total gross income from Performance Fees and Merchandise Sales for the 33 shows combined was $46,789AUD. Once again, that probably sounds like a lot until you realise that when you add up our international flights, bus hire for 6 1/2 weeks, petrol, tolls, UK Work Visa’s, UK wireless permits, Ferries, Merchandise, Booking Agent Fees, Sound Engineer, Backline Hire & more we had more than $67,433AUD in expenses. So the final result from that tour was a LOSS of $20,644AUD ($14,625USD/13,504 Euro) and honestly that is with us doing quite well compared to many other bands.
THE HUGE IMPACT OF THE WORLD TOUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
The reason that we are doing better than most is in large part due to our amazingly supportive fan base that contributed over $86,000AUD to our World Tour crowd funding campaign in mid 2014. That campaign was so successful that it did exactly what we hoped it would do, it gave us the start up cash to tour all around the world and play for so many of you guys! Since then we have toured through Europe, Asia, India, Middle East, Australia and now finally here we are in North America. It has been the ride of a lifetime and we have decided once and for all that this is what we want to do with our lives.
Many bands have to pick and choose where they can afford to tour, but we wanted to try and play for as many of you as possible and YOU guys helped make that happen. The only issue is that simply doing one tour of Europe or North America or Asia doesn’t all of a sudden make you a big success in these markets. The bands that are successful come back over and over again – so that’s what we want to do. But realistically, the money we are losing on most tours is unsustainable and so we have been trying to work out how to stay on the road so we can keep performing for you guys as often as possible.
So while the crowd funding campaign was a huge success and did exactly what we needed it to do, the limitations of a campaign in that setting is that it is designed to fund a particular project (in our case a world tour) and then once the project is done, the money is gone. We’ve often been asked in interviews what we would do after the crowd funding money was gone. Would we crowd fund our next world tour as well? And the response from us was always the same…we’d have to wait and see what felt right when the time came.
A few weeks ago we started our USA tour with $36AUD in the bank and about $25,000 in debt due to the massive up front costs of international touring, plus some unpaid bills from our European tour in Oct/Nov. If this current tour is a success we can get some of that money back, but we are treading an extremely fine line now between giving ourselves the best opportunity to tour and make new fans, and going broke.
To make things even more precarious, in the past few months all of us have lost our primary day jobs back home. Dan left his job as a train driver as they refused to give him more time off work to tour, Tim’s job as a violin teacher at a school back in Melbourne didn’t work out anymore seeing he was rarely there, and while Matt managed to keep a job he had to downgrade to casual, meaning he’s had to do some insane financial juggling to be able to pay his mortgage so that his wife and two kids were going to be ok while we’re away on this tour. In general everyone in the band is facing significant financial hardship.
The reality is that there is a gap in the industries ability to provide enough revenue for a band like us and as a result we are stuck in a situation where we tour too much to hold down a normal day job, but at the same time aren’t getting paid for playing in the band.
WE WANT TO DO THIS FULL TIME
We love playing in this band, and we’ll be straight with you, we want to do this full time. It is extremely difficult to hold down any sort of normal job with the amount of touring we are doing at the moment and that leaves us with only two options:
1. Find a way that we can start making a profit and get paid for what we do in NeO, so that we can continue to pursue this as a full time endeavour and tour the world on a regular basis.
2. Cut back on how seriously we are taking the band and instead just do it as a hobby and maybe do one big international tour every 2 years.
WHAT ABOUT DOING IT FOR THE LOVE?
Nobody playing in a metal band, let alone a band as unique as ours is doing it for the money, but the reality is that Tim’s 3 year old daughter, Matt’s wife and two kids, and Dan’s mortgage – any of these real life concerns don’t get paid by the love and affection of people who enjoy our music.
The only reason we do this IS for the love of it, and that is why we want to do this full time. In the last 10 months we have spent 5 of them on the road not getting paid a dime. If you can imagine what it would be like to try and survive the next year if almost half of that time you had no job and no income whatsoever then you can understand that regardless of how amazing it is to tour the world, that you can’t survive long term with so little money.
Realistically, this is an issue that affects thousands of bands across the world; it’s just that nobody likes to talk about it. However we strongly feel that if given the opportunity, many fans would be willing to help fund the future of the bands that are creating music they love, and so we want to put that belief into practice.
A NEW WAY FORWARD IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
We wouldn’t have been able to take that next step in our career without the massive support we have received from our fans. But with the crowd funding money long gone and enormous touring opportunities on the horizon, for a while now we have been trying to work out what to do next.
What we are asking of NeO fans is a small ongoing commitment; to become patrons of Ne Obliviscaris through a new platform called Patreon, where you can contribute as little or as much as you want on a monthly basis:
In return, as well as the knowledge that you are directly supporting and financing the music and career of a band you like, we are also going to be creating a host of new content available exclusively to our Patreon members.
Some of this content includes exclusive and/or early access to:
· New NeO music, interactive tour video diaries, exclusive merch ranges, pre-sale ticket options, giveaways and competitions, tour podcasts, feature band interviews,
Drum, Bass, Violin & Guitar video tutorials from NeO members, live online chats with the band, live video streaming of NeO rehearsals, access to exclusive cover song recordings & more.
· PLUS VIP levels that include benefits such as free tickets to shows, phone calls from members upon signing up or on your birthday, personal thank you in the liner notes of our next album,
side of stage access at shows and even the ability to help choose our set list when we play in your town.
It is the fans that have the power to decide which bands are successful. Every band that earns a living from their music does so financed by their fanbase, regardless of how many middlemen jump into the mix to dilute the money pool. What we are doing, cuts out all the middlemen and provides a direct way for fans to support NeO in an ongoing fashion.
Minimum wage in Australia is $17.29AUD ($12.36USD) an hour or $656.90AUD per standard 38 hour work week. Our ultimate goal is to try and reach a monthly contribution on our Patreon of $17,079.40AUD ($12,211USD).
Divided by 6 people this works out to $34,158.80AUD ($24,422USD) each per year, the minimum amount one can earn for a full time job in Australia. We have no expectations of wealth or riches. That is of no interest to us. For us it is much simpler, the dream of being able to do NeO full time and be able to survive financially in the process.
So, if you would like to live in a world where a band such as ours can actually make a living from our music then this is for you. No band has ever done something quite like this before… so let’s make history together!
We want to create an interactive fan experience unlike any other band in history and we need YOUR help to pull this off. So please, sign up and show your support for us and for this new way forward in the music industry. Below is the band’s personal email address- feel free to send through your comments and ideas to help us give you, and all our incredible fans across the world, the best possible value for your contribution.
We know that we are nothing without our fans and so we figure that putting our fate in your hands is the safest place we could possibly be. Thank you all in advance for all your amazing support! – NeO