Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Mar 2nd 2010 12:30PM by Jason Cohen
"As you may or may not know," the band explained on Facebook and its website, "performers at SXSW are not really compensated sufficiently to cover lodging and travel costs."
So, for $100 -- paid at the Pitch-A-Tent Records e-commerce store -- fans got to pick from a list of 35 songs the band intends to play. In Austin, a roller derby girl from CVB's original hometown of Santa Cruz will walk -- or skate! -- across the stage before each song, carrying a placard for the person or business that helped make the music possible. All 35 slots have now sold out.
But bloggers at Hypebot and Digital Audio Insider wondered why Camper couldn't simply tour their way to Texas, or just foot the bill themselves. Camper/Cracker frontman David Lowery was happy to provide an answer, posting grouchily uncensored comments at both sites that also opened up a window into rock band finances:
This makes me wonder if anyone actually understands the economics of the music business anymore.
Camper Van Beethoven plays about 12-15 shows a year. Except for myself, all the guys in the band have straight jobs, and the usual expenses that go with being 40-year-old grownups with families. How much do you think it costs to five people to [get to] south by south west, put them up in hotel rooms (highly inflated due to the crush of industry hacks).Rrent backline rent cars, etc., etc.
I will tell you: a shoestring budget is $3915. That is about $783 each. Sure I can afford that, but not everyone in CVB could. A couple of the guys don't even work full time! This was the fairest thing to do.
Camper violinist Jonathan Segel also weighed in at Digital Audio Insider, revealing that he works full-time for Pandora Internet Radio -- not that they were interested in joining the scheme: "All I got from [Pandora founder] Tim Westergren was a 'saw your post about sponsoring songs, good luck,'" he wrote. Segel is also documenting/satirizing the whole "controversy" -- and SXSW overall -- with a series of animated videos at the moviemaking web site Xtranormal.
Of course, there's one thing that a $100 sponsorship is unlikely to buy you: admission to the show, since SXSW guest list spots are just as rare as big-buck guarantees. For that you'll need a badge, wristband or single-event ticket (though CVB is also playing two free "unofficial" SXSW shows).