Banana Stand Media is a really interesting project that focuses on making live recordings by Portland bands for a small audience in what they claim is a "secret venue." Since it's apparently in someone's house, I'm assuming that after four years of activity it's not as secret as it once was. But the cool thing is that they don't charge the bands and they release recordings on a "pay-what-you-want" basis while documenting their local scene.
"We host Portland's best bands to record before a live audience at our secret venue. Our high-fidelity, multitrack captures of those performances are then mixed and mastered by talented producers. The resulting live albums are distributed as pay-what-you-want downloads and, often, $5 CDs. Live shows and recordings are offered for free and profits from live recordings are split 40% Band, 40% 'Stand and 20% Mixer."
Pitch Video for Banana Stand Media's Kickstarter Campaign
Last spring Banana Stand ran a modest Kickstarter campaign which was successful. Afterwards they shared the details of their crowdfunding experience and it's worth reading to see what they learned and also to see how much work goes into even a fairly small music crowdfunding campaign.
But given the concept and the testimonials, it's clear that Banana Stand Media plays a bigger role in Portland's live music scene than their Kickstarter campaign suggests.
Banana Stand says the goals of their "Live from the Banana Stand" series are to:
preserve and make available documentations of Portland's live sound,
increase appreciation for this city's live music and those performing it,
generate a new stream of revenue for artists, and
create a sustainable, efficient new model for music production and distribution.
The combination of a local venue and an ongoing series of recordings is powerful. I've certainly experienced numerous community-based venues over the years and heard of various recording series designed to document a niche but putting those together with a public web presence that deepens the documentation and distribution aspects speaks strongly to how approaches developed pre-web don't have to disappear in the digital age.
Keeping Things Organized
Unlike some alternative arts projects I've checked out in the past, Banana Stand seems well-organized and communicative. In particular, they offer very clear guidelines to bands who want to participate including online documents that explain:
I guess some things haven't changed from the good old anarcho-hippie days.
[Above thumbnail courtesy eddievk.]