As I wrote last week when I launched the Band or Album Kickstarter campaign, it’s been ten years — give or take — since I learned what Band or Album is. If you’ve been alive and alert during the past ten years, you may have noticed changes in the world since then. Your smartphones, your social media, your pair of additional editions of Dungeons & Dragons.
When I learned about Band or Album, there was no reasonable way to publish it. Even with Ken Hite’s majestic name on the front, investing a few thousand dollars in molds, coins, and printing would only have necessitated the additional investment of thousands of dollars to line up distribution, solicit pre-orders, and fall into despair at the lack of pre-orders for any project that seems wacky and new.
It’s really the confluence of Kickstarter, social media, the charitable expertise of the folks at Campaign Coins, and the able assistance of Renee Knipe that have come together to make 2015 the Year of Band or Album. Can I tell you about them?
Although Kickstarter serves many different marketplace purposes these days — It’s a marketing platform! It’s a pre-order system! It’s a three-tier disintermediator! — the original idea was to get projects just like Band or Album off the ground when they couldn’t succeed any other way. Projects where creators wanted to make something of marginal or unknown commercial viability, with as little risk as possible.
It was pretty much unimaginable, ten years ago, how social media would change the landscape of human relationships. I don’t need to sell that idea to you. Less obvious, though, are the webs of purpose that have arisen through it. It’s not just people talking to (and past) each other, it’s also people organizing themselves to do things for themselves, rather than waiting for the Pope or some corporate marketing department to tell them what to do. The rise of a community around making things has been astounding and welcome, and — to me, anyway — a completely unforeseen benefit of the rise of social media.
I’ve made coins before — remember my game, Pieces of Eight? — and what I remember of that experience is that it was a lot of work that resulted in products that had to be priced waaay higher than the market would bear. (Need a good deal on some Po8 sets?) Getting hooked up with the folks at Campaign Coins — who have sorted out how to make beautiful, wonderful collector coins at affordable prices — was a necessary Band or Album ingredient in no uncertain terms.
For the last year, I’ve been working with Renee Knipe on a number of projects. Personal creative projects like this one as well as projects for Atlas Games, Gameplaywright, and Drive & Energy (the company that will publish Gravstrike). Her assistance over the past year has revived dead projects, moved stalling projects forward, and paid dividends in sanity. Renee has facilitated art, coordinated meetings, written text, provided feedback, and edited video in service of Band or Album. I’m extremely grateful, and this project could not be where it is without her help.
Band or Album as a thing that will happen in 2015 comes down to Kickstarter, social media, Campaign Coins, and Renee Knipe. It’s good to know why things happen.
(Interested in backing? The Band or Album Kickstarter campaign runs through November 24, 2015!)