Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

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Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby jb » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:36 pm

Hard to argue whether they are a successful indie band. Without some kind of a hit to drive them. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the same kind of shape that somebody like an OK Go, or a Wheatus are in these days.

https://medium.com/@jackconte/pomplamoo ... 435851ba37
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Niveous » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:55 pm

Thank you for posting that.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby fluffy » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:20 pm

I think it's also great that Conte founded Patreon in the first place. I'm surprised to learn that they only get around $50K/month in their cut of pledges (which is enough to pay for only a couple of developers on SF salaries when you consider overhead and so on) but they do have $17 million in VC funding at this point, so that side of the equation probably at least breaks even with a comfortable runway (although he probably isn't getting directly rich from Patreon either).

Meanwhile, this dude is pretty bitter.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby jb » Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:56 pm

It's cool that Patreon is growing and has some runway. But I think the key facts are about their ability to make a living from the music-- or not.

Specifically, that they take a $2500 salary per month from Pomplamoose. $30k per year, in San Francisco? Is that before or after taxes? Does it include health insurance? How about a 401k?
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:44 am

They live in a house up in the North Bay somewhere, if I recall the hearsay I've heard correctly. They definitely do not live in SF itself.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby fluffy » Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:19 am

jb wrote:It's cool that Patreon is growing and has some runway. But I think the key facts are about their ability to make a living from the music-- or not.

Sure, it was just an aside about how Pomplamoose mostly makes their money off Patreon directly from patrons, and a bit of surprise at how little money Patreon makes off of the artists they help fund meaning Conte is probably not relying on his Patreon founder money to fund Pomplamoose.

The criticism I linked to was pretty shitty but it does raise an interesting question about how they considered the band members' salary to be a loss as part of the tour. Is their touring band just a work-for-hire arrangement, or do they have a long-term relationship? And I wonder if the salary includes money they (Conte and Dawn) paid to themselves or if that's just for the touring accompaniment. It does sound like their shows are a bit bigger than they as a band can really justify, though.

I'd be interested to see how other touring indie acts' finances break down, especially ones who go with lower-key show productions that just use house lighting and so on, and also how it'd compare for solo artists who just tour with a bag of gear and no backup at all or only pick up local session musicians or whatever.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby jb » Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:48 am

There should be an anonymous anecdotal report of some kind. Asking a bunch of people to anonymously reveal their stats.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Lunkhead » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:31 am

That "response" is really fucking stupid. I think he is completely missing the point. Yes, they could obviously have lowered their costs. Duh! The dude apparently didn't get the part about how they treated this tour as an investment in future tours. Whatever you want to say about Pomplamoose or their music, when they do stuff they really do it. They are not half assing things.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Lunkhead » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:22 am

Man, that wave of outraged unsuccessful "real" musicians responding to Jack Conte's post with ill informed vitriol has been sad to watch. :(
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby jb » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:41 am

Kind of seemed like either young idealists or old burnouts to me.

Like this guy's op-ed in Pitchfork: http://pitchfork.com/thepitch/574-op-ed/

I mean, $2150 ($2500 - $350 plane fare) from just 6 shows! He can eat off that for months! And his wife and two kids!

He's been touring for the last 13 years, so he knows. Love that. Just keep swimming. Don't get sick now, ok?

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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Niveous » Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:19 pm

jb wrote:He's been touring for the last 13 years, so he knows. Love that. Just keep swimming. Don't get sick now, ok?


What's wrong with speaking from experience. Isn't that what Pomplamoose did?
And it's not like he slammed the article or just spit venom for no reason. He basically said, 'Pomplamoose could have cut some corners and made a profit. Don't give up on the ambition to tour.' What's wrong with that?
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Lunkhead » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:54 pm

I don't think Pomplamoose was trying to convince anybody to give up on touring, or on profiting from touring. The whole post, as he sets out in his second and third paragraph, is about the idea that Pomplamoose has "made it" (past tense) vs. are "making it" (present tense):

One question that our fans repeatedly asked us was “what does it feel like to have ‘made it’ as a band?” Though it’s a fair question to ask of a band with a hundred million views on YouTube, the thought of Pomplamoose having “made it” is, to me, ridiculous.
...
But the phrase “made it” does not properly describe Pomplamoose. Pomplamoose is “making it.” And every day, we bust our asses to continue “making it,” but we most certainly have not “made it.”


Also, right after that:

Being in an indie band is running a never-ending, rewarding, scary, low-margin small business.


They are an indie band, hopefully people won't contest that, as they are not signed to a label. I think some people object to the notion of an indie band as comparable to a business. They just want it to be about the art. I think those people are living in a fantasy world. Maybe it's a nice fantasy world that I would like to live in, too, but it's clearly not reality, where if you want to make a living at something, you can't just simply 'art into the wind.

He then goes on to detail their costs and revenue. Pretty cool. Obviously this is just one tour, one data point, and they never make it seem like anybody should take it as representative of touring in general.

Then he states clearly that a) they are not saying 'boohoo, poor us' and b) they know they could have just done a cheap duo tour in their own car and saved $50k. Then he states pretty clearly that they made a business decision that at this point in their band's career they wanted to have the shows meet a certain quality level that they felt they had to invest more time/money/energy to achieve. They chose to lose money on this tour and not cut corners as an investment in future tours.

So, I really think it's premature for anybody to judge their success/failure on this tour, since this tour wasn't even about the end +/- dollar amount for them. Next time they tour, if it sucks, OK, they made a poor investment and it didn't pay off, bummer. More likely though, I think, their next tour will be bigger and better and will profit.

He also explains that they are lucky that they are in a position where they can afford to make a risky investment in future tours, with some details about their "background" income, including from Patreon.

Then he even explicitly says:

The point of publishing all the scary stats is not to dissuade people from being professional musicians. It’s simply an attempt to shine light on a new paradigm for professional artistry.


So he's said "the point is NOT A" and so many people reacting are saying "why are they making point A?!!!!!". WTF?

Anyway. I don't know why the negative reaction is bugging me so much. Mostly it just feels like a lot of people who hate Pomplamoose completely missing the point because of their hatred of Pomplamoose. I don't love them but I don't think they deserve to get dumped on so much by people who aren't making any effort to understand what they're saying.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby ken » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:04 pm

Funny, your post reminded me what music labels do, they loan bands money to lose until they start making a profit. Why is it when a band does this for themselves it is odd, but when labels do it, it is just business.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby jb » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:39 am

Yeah, I think that non-musicians probably got Conte's point better than musicians did.

To me, it's a question of the difference between notoriety and revenue, and I think that's Conte's point.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby josh » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:52 am

Great article, thanks for posting that!
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby glennny » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:08 pm

Do they do originals?
All I ever hear from them are covers. Some are amazing.
Personally I have no interest in seeing a band that does mostly covers.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Lunkhead » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:12 pm

They do some originals, for example:



They both do original songs individually too. Jack Conte does EDM stuff, and Nataly Dawn does singer-songwriter stuff.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby jb » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:43 pm

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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Lunkhead » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:07 am

Yeah, I like that one too. I felt like it addressed one of the responses that I felt like was logically inconsistent:

Operate outside the capitalist system and we’ll praise you for your creations, call your poverty a quaint kind of martyrdom that has nothing to do with us, and at the same time resent you for being holier than thou. Try to operate within the capitalist system and we’ll call you out as an imposter.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Lunkhead » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:46 pm

Here's something the CEO of my previous employer wrote. They're good buddies and Jack hung around the office occasionally, though I never actually met him.

https://www.facebook.com/j.sider18/posts/594987828448

(It should be public, so, no Facebook account/login required to view and read.)
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby fluffy » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:10 am

Oh wow, I didn't know Conte doesn't take a salary at all from Patreon - the only income he gets is that which Pomplamoose gets from patrons. That's amazing, and shows a huge amount of faith in what he's doing.
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Re: Pomplamoose publishes their tour financials

Postby Caravan Ray » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:54 am

That was really interesting. THanks JB. I like Pomplemousse. And not just because the girly is cute.

I have been recently wondering if I should become "pro". I currently play 3 or 4 nights a week around town for free at open mic things. I just roll in, play, get drunk, have fun and go home.

Or - I could spend about $500 on a small PA - and play for about $300 a night. Suddenly I am an employee, so no getting (too) drunk, and if my friends decide to go to another pub - I am stuck having to keep playing for 3 hours. I hate playing without a captive audience. As a "free" player - if no-one is listening - I just stop and walk off and have a beer.

$300 a night for 3 hours of my time just doesn't seem worth it to me. I would be slightly better off financially, but much worse off socially. I think I will stick with my home recording and tiny dribbles from royalties that come in (just got a cheque for $350 from APRA the other day for songwriting royalties - that was cool). I will not become rich - but at least I won't grow to hate something I currently find fun.

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