My Vitriol – How Not To Run A Pledge Campaign 

PledgeMusic is a great forum for artists and fans alike. It gives a two way form of communication between everyone that is unsurpassed. With a good campaign you feel involved with the whole process, with a great one you become personally invested in it. That moment when it tips into 100% of the target is amazing, you get a real sense of accomplishment, that you’ve helped an artist you like achieve their goal of making an album. 

With so many good projects it was kind of inevitable that there would be at least one that would leave a source taste in your mouth. 

I fell in love with My Vitriol back when they released their Finelines album album back in 2001. There was something about their wall of noise approach to guitars but a fine ear for melodies. Seeing them live supporting Feeder cemented my love for them. 

When I heard My Vitriol were doing a new album through PledgeMusic, well, me and a bunch of friends got quite excited. I’d missed the start of the pledge but noticed it was getting towards the end of it so I thought I best hand over my cash and order the cd. And I waited. 

Just to put things into perspective a little bit. The first update on the pledge that I can find goes back to 8th July 2013. They’ve put up 61 updates, none which have mentioned a concrete release date. The original fulfillment date was 30th April 2014 which was amended back a few weeks to 16th June 2014.

Things have moved on on the world since then. There have been odd stories sneaking out of the My Vitriol camp. The nature of the campaign they started has changed. What started out as their fans pledging for album #2 has changed. We’ll now get a ten track album called “The Secret Sessions” whilst the second album proper will be getting a record company release. There have been tales of illnesses, kids being born, real life getting in the way of things. Rough mixes have been put up to steam. Teasers have been put up but still the finishing line is not in sight.

The latest calamity to befall them is the fact they didn’t realise they had to form a company so they could get the cd printed up properly. This is after the fact that they had to wait for clearance for a cover song they wanted to put in the cd. 

The campaign had become incredibly frustrating for fans involved. There has been little communication from the band themselves. Updates have been vague and non committal. There has been nothing to really download. They’re even refusing to put up the album for download before the cd is ready to be released in case it’s leaked onto the Web. 

It all seems suggest a band paranoid about themselves and what they’re about to release. If people ask for a concrete update they’re told to be patient or ask for a refund. My friend asked some questions a while ago and he was told he was an “entitled asshole” and was refunded. People’s comments and questions seem to mysteriously disappear without a trace with an update referencing how the band want to focus on “remaining positive” whilst slowly pissing off their fanbase 

I’m still in the pledge. I cancelled once but I came back. Sometimes I question why. I think it’s because I’m hoping for some excellent music. As days go by I worry. I’ve been part of some great pledge projects, projects with great interaction between artist and fan, something that the PledgeMusic format is perfect for. 

It’s not about the money I’ve put in, twelve quid is pretty much nothing. Now it’s more the fact that I kind of feel disrespected as a fan of the band by the band themselves. I understand they have things going on in their lives. They seem to have gone into this with a very naive attitude. Mistakes have been made but not addressed. It seems to be one thing after another with it. If they’d been open and honest I think people would have been more forgiving. I also think that three years to write and record a new album is a little wrong, especially after people have paid for it in advance. I wonder how many people have asked for the refund, that would be an interesting statistic to see. Eventually we might even see the album. I hope so, and I hope its a good one. I want them the reaffirm my faith in them. But they’re pretty damn close to losing me all together…….

But at least I’ll always have this.

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