With barely a day left to go, the documentary project Beautiful Noise has reached its crowd-funding goal of $75,000. I’ve been excited about this project, but like a lot of music fans, I’ve also been watching it with one eye shut – a week ago, they were many thousands short of their funding goal. So, merry Christmas to me: I get to blog some good news about it!
Check the kickstarter page for producer Eric Green’s summary of the project. It’s a documentary about the ‘shoegazer’ movement in early-90s guitar rock. Through interviews with the people involved, concert footage and commentary, Green explores that style and its continuing influence. If you read this blog, I don’t have to tell you this is right up my alley. I’m one of those people who’s always said shoegaze was an under-appreciated movement. For the record, though, I’m as surprised as anyone that the fans managed to scrounge 75 grand.
The punchline? The money isn’t for producing the film. The actual production and interviews (which include Trent Reznor, Robert Smith and Billy Corgan, among others) have been complete for quite some time. No, the $75,000 is what the producers need to license the music. Let that sink in. The rights to include a few tracks from Chapterhouse, Slowdive and Cocteau Twins are so expensive, twenty years later, that the costs nearly derailed a project that only exists to celebrate those bands’ influence in the first place. That just might tell you everything you need to know about the place of the recording industry today. But from another perspective, it also makes Beautiful Noise the very best kind of example of what crowd funding can be: a bridge over the mud of lawyers, licenses and other roadblocks, where fans and creators can put their resources to work.
As of ‘press time’, there are still 29 hours to go, if you want to be a part of the kick-start. But the initial goal has been met, meaning it should be full-speed ahead to release. I’ll bring the popcorn.