Wintersun Launch Patreon to Continue Grifting Money From Fans
Depending on who you ask, Wintersun mainman Jari Mäenpää is either a con man of the highest order of a skilled marketing tactician. The internet masses have always been quick to throw shade Jari’s way for allegedly taking money from gullible fans, but by the same token those fans have never wavered in their support of the band, willingly handing over their hard-earned dough.
Now Wintersun are once again asking for fans to chip in. And, what’s more, they haven’t fulfilled several of the promises they made years ago.
A quick refresher: Wintersun’s decade-in-the-making album Time I finally came out in 2012. Its sibling record, Time II, was supposed to be released in 2013, but here we are seven years later and it’s still not out. Meanwhile, in 2014, Jari got into a public feud with the band’s label, Nuclear Blast, alleging that the label wouldn’t allow him to launch a crowdfunding campaign to finance the completion of Time II. Jari and Nuclear Blast eventually hugged it out, and two years later Jari launched a crowdfunding campaign seeking €750,000 (!) for the purposes of 1) releasing an already-completed album other than Time II, called The Forest Seasons, and 2) leveraging fan interest in Time II to build a recording studio / band headquarters Jari claimed was necessary for its completion. Jari successfully crowdfunded over half a million dollars, released The Forest Seasons (on time, it’s worth noting), and yet here we are, several years later, and there’s still no Time II.
Jari has now extended his beaten up coffee cup for your loose change once again: Wintersun have launched a Patreon!
We’ll get to the analysis in a minute, but first, this launch statement is rich:
“Welcome wanderer of time!
“Join the Wintersun Patreon and travel through the portal to enjoy treasures and secrets. This is the sanctum where you get to witness the birth of never-before-seen visions from the sons of winter and stars.
“You get to also take part, share ideas, interact and discuss about the past, present and future of the Wintersun multiverse, together with the band members!
“Besides the creation of dimensions, the fire burns in our hearts to come together with our fellow wanderers of time.
“So join us on now on this mysterious journey through the stars and let’s open the doors of time, together!
For starters, what do we think of Jari’s decision to ask fans for even more money without having released Time II yet? Audacious? Forgivable during this time of need, when all bands are struggling to make ends meet? For what it’s worth, the only pledge level currently available is $10 — totally reasonable. Here’s what he’s offering for that:
“Exclusive content and interactive Wintersun community, including:
“Monthly live videos
Monthly Video Podcast with band members
Wintersun Forum to interact directly with the band members
Playing and gear videos
Behind-the-scenes and vlog videos
Photos and posts
Monthly giveaways of rare items”
Seems fair, and in line with what other band Patreons offer for that price point. To date, he’s got 242 backers. That’s a nice $2,420 in income (minus whatever fees Patreon takes) that he didn’t have before. And, if he keeps up with the rewards and puts time and effort into them, it’ll be worth it for fans.
But here’s the part that really gets me: he makes no specific reference to Time II! You know, the album that fans have been waiting eight years for and the creation of which fans have already donated half a friggin’ million dollars.
Jari knows what he’s doing, though! While he hasn’t mentioned Time II by name, he drops the word “time” three times in the brief statement. Clever! Subliminal marketing, Jari knows thy name. Way to play on fans’ deepest desires without promising anything related to them whatsoever!
What’s more, in an introductory video posted to Patreon, the band reveals… wait for it… they will be launching another crowdfunding campaign!! “The crowdfunding plan is still the same,” Jari says to his phone’s camera, “to eventually build our very own Wintersun headquarters.” Next, some non-Jari member of the band enthusiastically pumps his fist as he says, “The Patreon is additional, killer, exclusive content for you guys!”
Wait — what what what??? You mean to say Wintersun didn’t build the studio they’d promised with the $500,000 they collected last time?? And they’re asking for more money, right now, for something other than that studio, and then they plan on asking for even more money again to build the studio they were supposed to build with the $500,000 fans already gave them?
Is anyone else noticing a pattern here?
Look: give Jari and Wintersun your money if you want. It’s a free market, blah blah blah. They’re a good band. Just don’t complain a year or five or ten from now when they inevitably will not have done all the things they promised they’d do with that money. I don’t wanna hear it not if, but when, that happens. Deal? Alright, cool.