Cecilia here, with a bunch of things to chat with you all about today, including:
-glow-in-the-dark-vinyl records! (not for us, just cool)
and some polls…
So as you know the band is about to hit the road for a tour. I need a show of hands… who wants a tour T-shirt?
See, I’ve already mapped out the dates and cities and venues… a surprising number of which don’t exist anymore. So it’d be a kind of almost alternate history artifact, you know? The thing is, the band needs a logo, and I need to figure out how I’m going to do the shirts.
For example, I’m trying to decide if I should actually do a Kickstarter to do a printed omnibus book, in which case the T-shirt could be a donation gift. Or I could also just sell them if people really want. (Or both?) OK, here are two polls, one on which logo you like best and one on whether I should do a Kickstarter for a printed book or just sell the shirts separately or what.
Sample logos are below.
THE BIG BIZ
Came across a blog recently about how money works in the music biz these days. This isn’t that different from how it was in the days before MP3s, which just goes to show you how little has changed in these big companies.
A truism from the 80s was that 80% of bands who signed a major label deal ended up in hock to the record company. What this often meant was a kind of indentured servitude, since you were still under contract, which meant you couldn’t work for anyone else as a musician. Back to washing cars and mowing lawns. People always treated getting a big contract like it was the goal, but for four out of five bands who “made it” that far, it was the end of their careers. I have the guys in the band talk about this a bit. The “income calculator” at the link above shows that probably hasn’t changed…
COOL STUFF ON THE INTERNET
In the other cool stuff I saw on the Internet category, Retro Virus Records advertised recently on DGC through Project Wonderful. I clicked through to see what they were all about and how cool is this? Punk, goth, industrial… and they came out recently with a Glow in the Dark vinyl album that is “The Worst Music Dracula Ever Heard.” (You get a CD in the package, too.) A mere $25 including shipping for the vinyl album and CD. That is just plain cool, so I had to link to it:
So, Paypal is going around telling ebook retailers that if they don’t get rid of all erotic fiction that features some perfectly legal (if potentially tasteless) erotic topics like “pseudo-incest” (fiction featuring people who aren’t actually father/daughter but are either pretending to be or are stepfather/father figure, etc…and have a relationship), then those retailers won’t be allowed to use Paypal anymore. Some very big sites, including Smashwords and All Romance eBooks, have changed their TOS to exclude some perfectly legal material under pressure from Paypal. The hysteria has gotten to the point that books that have no incest or pseudo-incest at all, but just have the word “Daddy” in the title are getting yanked in fear that sites will lose their Paypal.
So we’re just one step away from Paypal saying “we’ve don’t like legal gay content, either.” There are plenty of folks out there who find any mention of homosexuality just as abhorrent as bestiality, incest, et cetera and who will do whatever they can to try to stuff people back into the closet or shame them into going out of the mainstream.
It seems to me that Paypal is doing this NOT because of legality–it’s not that they are afraid the feds are coming after them for taking money for porn–but because of a censorious agenda. Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, sent a letter to all SW authors recently saying he doesn’t agree with this, obviously, but Paypal tells HIM that it isn’t just Paypal. Pressure comes on PP from the big credit card processors pushing this agenda, he has been told. So we need to be writing not only to Paypal to tell them to knock it off, but also to Bank of America, Citibank, etc… and saying “you don’t get to decide what we can spend our money on.” Writing to congress is also an excellent idea. Let your congressperson know that credit card companies, banks, and paypal shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what retailers or consumers legally do! (Update: just saw a headline go by in my Twitter feed: VISA says Paypal policies not their doing. Huh.)
The upshot of it all is that I’d like to quit using Paypal if possible, since I feel at any moment they could freeze my account and tell me they just don’t like “my kind.” But this site runs on donations, most of which come in $5 to $25 at a time, and there seems to be no other alternative for taking online payments. I’ve got a Square, which lets me run people’s credit cards when I meet them and sell them a book or CD in person using my iPhone, but I don’t have a way of hooking that up to an online Tip Jar. I don’t think people phoning me with their cc numbers is a good idea.
Any suggestions, folks? If I dump Paypal will you still donate and if so, how? I’ve already looked at Google Checkout. Google’s TOS is just as bad, saying basically “no adult content whatsoever of any kind ever, and we get to decide for ourselves whether what you do is adult.” As I mentioned, there are plenty of people who think the word “gay” alone should get books pulled from libraries or moved into the “adults only” section. And of course one of the things I take donations for is the specifically 18+ bonus content. So yah, I worry.
One possibility is that I just stop taking regular donations on the site and instead do a Kickstarter as mentioned before, or other “annual” campaign that would be people’s one chance to donate for the year, and do that through checks and credit card processing on Square, or via Kickstarter where they handle the payments.
Anyway, poll on that below, too, or just leave comments with your thoughts on the issues.
Version 1: Black and gray on white shirt
Version 2: Black and gray on blue shirt
Version 3: Black and red lettering on white
Version 4: reverse monochrome on black shirt
Version 5: reverse with red on black shirt
Another possible variation would be white lettering on a black or other dark-colored shirt.
Daron’s very fond of red and maroon, though moreso for the lettering than for a shirt color.