The attempt to raise $5 million on Kickstarter to buy Wu-Tang's upcoming single copy release seems like a positive move based on what the creators told a media outlet. But the campaign has numerous flaws that suggest it's unlikely to reach its stated goals of raising the money and of purchasing the album. And, if they did, there are other problems they would encounter. For example, buying an album doesn't give you the right to freely redistribute it.
The Intentions Seem Positive
Before I go through my list of obvious flaws with this campaign, let me say that if the creators of the Once Upon A Time In Shaolin - For Wu Fans, For Wu People Kickstarter are legit and if they're the people DNAinfo.com says they are, then their hearts are definitely in the right place:
The campaign creators were identified by DNAinfo.com as:
"Russell Meyer, 29, a California native who lives in Astoria, and Calvin Okoth-Obbo, 26, who was raised in Uganda and lives in Park Slope."
Here's what they claim Russell Meyer told them:
"I can’t imagine RZA being upset if enough Wu-Tang fans get together and raise enough money to purchase [the album]"
“We don’t want some guy in Dubai who literally has money to burn to buy it as a collector item that only six people will get to listen to."
“We're all for changing times...But when you make the content exclusive and only able to be accessed by a select few, the fans suffer and it's an elitist stance that doesn't really jive with hip-hop culture.”
Makes sense to me especially since I think the Wu-Tang project is misguided in its aims to treat an album release like a high-end art object traded by rich people.
In fact, there has apparently been some negative response from Wu-Tang fans though I don't have a sense of how deep that runs.
But There Are So Many Problems With This Campaign
Identity of Campaigners is Not Revealed
On Kickstarter the creators of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin - For Wu Fans, For Wu People use the name Fans of Wu Tang the World Over.
Neither the campaign nor the bio identify the actual individuals involved but it does show that they previously supported You can make zombie movie history with "Sobrevivo".
The website link on both the campaign and bio page, intended to take you to a site related to the creators or the campaign, links to a LA Times article clearly not associated with the campaign creators that described Wu-Tang's release plans.
In fact, the only thing identifying the creators is this article on DNAinfo.com. Every other piece I'm seeing either takes their story from that article or clearly does so based on the copy but hides the source.
Web hoaxes and frauds traditionally build their fraud on single media accounts that can then be picked up by other outlets who grab it because it has a likelihood of upping pageviews. Ryan Holiday describes this process quite clearly in "Trust Me, I'm Lying."
While some people won't think this through and others will respond to the idea, to reach $5 million would take a certain amount of trust in people who can be identified and held accountable. Hiding identities does not lead to trust.
The $5 Million Goal Doesn't Make Sense
RZA claimed that somebody offered $5 million for the album so that's the goal of the campaign.
If the offer was real, then a higher offer could easily come in by the time the album is actually available. In which case a successful $5 million campaign would still not result in a successful purchase.
The Pledge/Reward Choices Are Weak
The campaign has only one pledge/reward tier: "Pledge $1 or more"
The reward is that they'll do what they say they'll do.
It does suggest that they are driven by an ideal because it's so out of whack with what we've seen working in crowdfunding that it has no basis in reality.
Buying An Album Doesn't Mean You Can Distribute The Music
The biggest fallacy of the campaign is that they will release the music if they get the album.
Unless they're planning on releasing it illegally or think they can get Wu-Tang to go against their stated reasoning for the single copy release, then they simply can't release it.
Which is why I see no possibility for the situation as presented to result in success.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) posts music crowdfunding news @CrowdfundingM. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.