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Jari Mäenpää of Wintersun discusses crowd-funding while on a label contract

Posted by on July 31, 2014

WintersunTimeITwo years after the release of Wintersun’s second album, Time I, fans are anxiously waiting for information regarding the release of its follow-up, Time II. Today, band mastermind Jari Mäenpää took to Facebook to discuss the obstacles facing the album’s production and the possibility of crowd-funding the album. Some of the most striking details revealed in the post are as follows:

I’ve been thinking about this Kickstarter/Pledge crowd funding thing for a while and I’m very confident now that there is enough of you guys that would help us raise the money for the Wintersun studio! This would give me the freedom to make music efficiently and nonstop. It would eliminate lot of the problems I’ve struggled with all my life and still continue to struggle everyday. For example right now I need a studio to reamp guitars for TIME II. And not just any studio, my own studio where I can craft my sounds exactly like I want them. 3rd party studios have never worked for me and I’ve never gotten satisfactory results for the insane prices they charge.

I live in a small shitty apartment building and I have neighbors. It is very very hard to work like this. I can’t record vocals, I can’t practice my singing, I can’t record guitars…I can’t record drums or basically any acoustic instruments, I don’t have the room or cool space for a big computer farm which is a must for the orchestrations for the next album (the place is too small and hot even for the one computer I have), I can’t mix properly…I can’t do pretty much anything properly in this situation. Building a professional studio for Wintersun would erase all this and give us the freedom to make music nonstop…

…But the problem is this. I have a record deal with Nuclear Blast. If I would do a Kickstarter with a downloadable album for example, they would come with lawyers and take % share (more than half) away from the money that is your money meant for the Wintersun studio and the album production. Would you even want to pledge if Wintersun didn’t get 100% of the money you’ve pledged for the album production? Then our management would take their % share away. Then there’s taxes of course. The Finnish government would take something like 40% away. This would leave me nothing. I would be totally screwed. I’ve been trying to have a discussion with Nuclear Blast about crowd funding, but they are totally freaking out. They see the crowd funding as a threat to their business and they would rather see Wintersun dead, than me doing a crowd funding. I think this would not hurt them at all, only benefit them, but they cannot see the big picture of Wintersun doing well. They actually told me point blank that I should just stop making music and they will never release Wintersun from the contract. It’s really like this, because they can’t or won’t loan me enough money to build a studio and fund an album, they don’t want other people (the fans) to fund it either… unless they get a crazy big cut of the funding (for doing absolutely nothing).

You can read the entirety of the statement here on the band’s Facebook page.

This is definitely a tough situation all around. On the one hand, it’s easy to label Mäenpää as a perfectionist or say that he’s asking for too much because he wants his own studio and won’t work in a 3rd party location. However, anyone that has been a fan of Wintersun and experienced the eight-year gap between their self-titled debut and Time I understands why Mäenpää is this way and accepts that it’s necessary for the band to function. On the flip side, though, Nuclear Blast allegedly telling Mäenpää that he should just stop making music rather than allowing him to formulate a crowd-funding project is a pretty extreme response. At this point in time, it’s too numerous to count the number of examples of bands that have successfully crowd-funded albums and done extremely well with those albums. Although Wintersun may not have a huge following in the US, their support in Europe is enormous, and it’s reasonable to expect that those fans would give more than enough money to Wintersun in order to make Time II happen faster. Nuclear Blast being seemingly blind to that reality is surprising, to say the least.

No matter how the situation unfolds, we hope that the end result is a third Wintersun album that sounds just as epic and amazing as Time I. Here’s the song “Time” from Time I to give you an idea of what we expect and hope to hear on Time II.

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Categorised in: Controversy, Crowdfunding, News