Rock G.P.A.: The Blow Monkeys [part 28]

Blow Monkey 2014
The Blow Monkeys leaned into Crowdsourcing to record album number nine, photographed in their native environment, as ever, by Michele Siedner-Howard

[…continued from last post]

“Feels Like A New Morning” was barely cooled off from manufacturing when one of the most thorough Blow Monkeys compilations ever was the first one to be issued now that the band was back in the swim. And it was licensed by Sony, marking the one time thus far when they had released anything by the band…on music disc. There was a Sony live “Video LP” on VHS dating back to 1985 that was their one brush with the conglomerate. Interestingly enough the curation of this one was very up to date with disc one being comprised of songs from the full spectrum of Blow Monkeys albums; including the three that were from their post-RCA years! So buyers heard strong, new material next to songs they might remember from the radio.

Sony Music | UK | 3xCD | 2013 | 88883712752

The second disc was an even more ambitious bit of licensing as it was a full-spectrum trawl through the solo career of Dr. Robert apart from the famous Blow Monkeys. Eighteen tracks with a few rarities thrown in for good measure. Twenty tracks worth. Rare are the compilations that give equal weight to the band and the lead singer’s solo career. Finally, the third disc was a live recording from Hammersmith Palais dating back to December of 1984. Several early B-sides from the first album period were culled from this show, but this was the first time that it had been released in its entirety. Having it out after 29 years was certainly unexpected.

The Blow Monkeys didn’t wait around for the paint to dry on their eighth album. After a one-off with Cherry Red, they went back to their original plan of crowdsourcing their newest material. The Blow Monkeys mailing list [they used MailChimp, of course] got the word on July 6th, 2014, announcing the campaign for album number nine, to manifest in April of 2015. They had done this once before for “The Devil’s Tavern” in 2008, but in the subsequent six years, the notion of crowdsourcing had seriously matured with several 800 lb. gorillas having sprung up to monetize the monetization of fans.

While the famous Kickstarter was the most well-known crowdsource platform, among music crowdsourcing campaigns, Pledge Music was a well known and serious player. For this album the band had a highly granular series of buy-ins for fans to part with their cash in anything from £10-£5000 for an Executive Producer credit. It sold too, to Kay Anderson! Meanwhile several iconic pieces of couture from legendary Blow Monkeys videos also tempted fans to part with serious money. Admirably, the band weren’t just fattening their wallets during this campaign. Any monies collected above their stated goal were donated to Crisis; the UK homelessness charity. It was good to see the band still walking it like they talked it.

Unfortunately for me, this campaign coincided with a period of intense savings for a rare large vacation we’d planned for the pledge period. I reasoned that I could miss this campaign but pick the album up later when it went into wide release. Make a note of that. We’ll return to that topic eventually. I did have an interest in one of the pledge perks. Only $15 netted the pledger a demo version of the album that I really should have gone in for; budget be damned.

Next: …If Not Now, When?

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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