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I was going to say that I’m not even sure why I’m writing this, but I’d being lying. After all, if you’re a metal fan with an internet connection, you’d need to have been sleeping under a rock not to have heard of Wintersun’s crowdfunding project, as well as all the reasons why you should hang onto your cash. The truth is that I just love playing Devil’s Advocate; also, I really want to hear Time II.


 

00000_wintersun

So, if Jari and co. are to be believed, the proceeds are going towards building a sauna private studio – dubbed the “Wintersun Headquarters” – which will in turn benefit their fans, giving them with new material graced with ideal production values, released with regularity. Now, if that’s all you’ve been told, it doesn’t sound like too bad an idea, unless you’re categorically opposed to crowdfunding, in which case I’m sure I’m going to infuriate you. Of course, the objections aren’t without merit; Jari hasn’t exactly been considerate towards his rather dedicated fans. Even I noted after the release of Time I that his behaviour “practically reduced his fans to mules eyeing a dangling carrot” – that was five years ago. Time II was due at some point in 2014, and now we’re approaching the twilight of the decade without any concrete word on when we can actually expect it, if at all. If you’re a Wintersun fan, casual or devout, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a slap in the face.

00000_wintersun1Most bands simply have to make-do with what they’re given, and only somebody with an ego the size of Jari’s would think their music is beyond conventional means. You also need to remember that Wintersun are signed to Nuclear Blast, who – it should be pointed out – have handled this situation far better than could have ever been expected of them. Basically, as much as Jari carries on about lacking the resources necessary to fulfil his artistic ambitions, he could have ended up in much worse positions. The label’s money, which could have been spent on more pragmatic bands, has been thrown Wintersun’s way while yielding very little, only for Jari to air his dirty laundry over Facebook as if to say, “it’s not good enough, give me more”.

Fast forward to 2017 and the group have gone the IndieGoGo route, requesting a quarter of a million Euros from their fans and hitting their target in just nine days. But that’s just the start; there are still two equally exorbitant campaigns to come. Should all three campaigns succeed – and I have no reason to suspect they won’t – Wintersun stand to net almost a million US dollars. No matter how you slice it, that’s pretty hard to justify, unless you’re Jari Mäenpää, of course. The guy not only wants to live and work in luxury, without having done the hard yards, but feels he’s entitled to it. It’s only after I take a huge step back that I end up being okay with him getting what he wants. General disapproval from the masses on top of uncontrollable internet piracy makes it almost impossible for extreme metal bands to make a comfortable living off their craft. Even label mates like Thy Art is Murder, with their massive following, gain virtually nothing when the numbers are crunched.

I won’t argue with you if you tell me that playing extreme metal is a labour of love, but that also won’t stop me from being happy for the few bands that catch a break. I’ve read and heard quite a lot of concerns that, should Wintersun achieve their goal, it will set a precedent and other self-entitled groups will follow suit. I guess that’s one way of looking at it, but on the other hand it will prove that you can make it even when your art is completely unpalatable to the masses. It will prove you can be a successful businessman even when your product has most people running away with their fingers blocking their ears, and I kind of like that. Don’t ask me why, though.

Come to think of it, it says quite a lot that I’ve already shit out 600+ words without even mentioning the product itself, but that just goes to show the issue is larger than Jari himself. Don’t judge me. Opinions are heavily divided on whether or not it’s “worth it” to spend 50 Euros on digital files, or whether or not Wintersun are simply ripping off their fans for personal gain. Surprise, surprise! I’m somewhere in the middle. Take a second to realise what they’re trying to do, regardless if you agree with them or not. Pouring money into physical products while trying to reach such a lofty goal would be pretty counterproductive, so in terms of value-for-money, what they’re asking for versus what you’re getting isn’t even that lopsided. A lossy iTunes download will set you back 99 cents a song, and remember Ne Obliviscaris’ crowdfunding campaign from a couple years back? They were asking 40 bucks for a signed CD, and people bought it. Hell, they were asking 50 bucks to chat on fucking Skype, and four living, breathing human beings actually paid that, but I digress.

00000_wintersun2

Personally, I prefer my tangible mediums, but the content Wintersun are offering isn’t unsubstantial: three albums worth of unheard material, two remasters, original artwork and isolated studio tracks, all in different formats. You can’t exactly accuse them of not trying to give their fans something to make up for fucking them around for so long, especially when you consider the hours they’d have collectively spent bringing the package to fruition. And say what you want about the man himself, but Jari definitely knows how to market his brand. But that brings me back to the monetary issues that bands like Wintersun invariably face, as well as the rather bewildering attitudes I’ve seen among a handful of this band’s detractors. Perfectly content to steal the band’s music, these folks will then turn around and complain about a price they had no intention of paying, blissfully ignorant of the fact that their habits are a huge part of the reason bands are occasionally driven to these measures in the first place.

I guess what I’m saying is that this is all just a natural consequence of an online community that has everything available to them without charge, but lacks to manners to even say, “thank you”. I’m guilty of it; you’re guilty of it; even my 58-year-old, technologically illiterate father is guilty of it. And I know that while people might rag on Jari and co. for their antics, these same people will be the first to type “the forest seasons” into Soulseek the very second they hear word of a leak.

I’ll also be the first to call myself a hypocrite because, after everything I’ve said, I’m probably not going to contribute for reasons I’ve outlined above; not until The Forest Seasons comes out in a physical format in July, at least. Nevertheless, I would love for these guys to succeed, mostly because I love this band’s music, but also because I think the denizens of online music consumerism – myself included – owe it to the would-be success stories that we seem to be so damn good at stifling.

Sorry, I was just thinking out loud.





Jacquibim
03.11.17
this message is totally not sponsored by jari ftr

EphemeralEternity
03.11.17
tl;dr no sauna no new material

tempest--
03.11.17
There's a simple solution to this -- if you don't mind dropping some cash then go ahead, however if you hate crowdfunding/Jari/people wanting artistic freedom then don't fucking pay, problem solved. If the material is made and released, it'll surface online and you can illegally download it like everybody else.

Crysis
03.11.17
"Most bands simply have to make-do with what they’re given, and only somebody with an ego the size of Jari’s would think their music is beyond conventional means."

"The guy not only wants to live and work in luxury, without having done the hard yards, but feels he’s entitled to it."

This is how I see it. There is no excuse to stoop so low as to beg for money from fans who have already paid their dues to the band - don't think for a second anyone who contributed to this campaign hasn't already spent money on Wintersun albums and merch. He is taking advantage of his fans, who are not only footing the bill for his own ridiculous antics, but footing the bill for Nuclear Blast, too. You raise a good point about piracy, but I am firm in the camp that if you want to write fruity, symphonic melodic death metal you should be intent on doing for the love of the game rather than to become the next Metallica. It's no secret that members of even relatively successful death metal bands (see Insomnium) have careers outside of music.

You are right in thinking that others will follow suit, and much like crowdfunding in video games it will lead to bands taking advantage of the kindness of their endearing fans, and here with one of the very first major examples of crowdfunding in metal we see a prime example of that. As I said, people contributing to this are people who have already forked over their hard earned money for Wintersun's cause (whatever that may be).

Jari is an egotistical douche who thinks that somehow, some way, getting his own private recording studio to wank around in will do some sort of good for tracking the music he seemingly cannot pull out of his own wild imagination.

OllieS
03.12.17
If the ultimate product was amazing, then maybe all this could be justified. But it can't. After waiting years and years and years, Time I was a boring and dull album. The music was basic in comparison to the s/t. The drumming had lost all spark and was barely audible, the riffs were simpler and there were less solos, and there were only three songs, one of which being some worthlessly dull semi-ballad. I cannot believe that it took 8 or so years to come up with that. One saving grace was the knowledge that Time II was soon to be released - maybe that would have finally been on the amazing level of the s/t. But, predictably, it didn't get released, and now we get these antics. The problem is fundamentally that his music, judging by Time I, is not good enough to justify any of this. What's more, I went to see them live a few years ago; it was the worst gig I've ever been to, and the only one I've ever walked out of before it was finished. The fact they made the audience wait over an hour before they came out (this is, again, the only time I've experienced this) shows their arrogance, I think.

DrKralle
03.12.17
Nice article. I agree with most of it but have discussed the whole issue with some users and staff in the comments of the crowdfunding reveal news already, so I just want to comment on some other things that have been stated below the article.

"What's more, I went to see them live a few years ago; it was the worst gig I've ever been to, and the only one I've ever walked out of before it was finished. The fact they made the audience wait over an hour before they came out (this is, again, the only time I've experienced this) shows their arrogance, I think."

Saw them live three times, never saw or heard anything but a nearly flawless performance. Attitude towards the fans was also always nice (saw them together with Amon Amarth and Tyr some time around 2005 the first time in Germany, then one more time in the Netherlands 2012 and I think 2014 back in Germany again) all these times. I also never waited any longer than for any other band to appear on stage, so what you experienced must have been an unfortunate event which is far from their standard and is imo not to be seen as a general attitude towards the execution of their art.

"After waiting years and years and years, Time I was a boring and dull album. The music was basic in comparison to the s/t. The drumming had lost all spark and was barely audible, the riffs were simpler and there were less solos, and there were only three songs, one of which being some worthlessly dull semi-ballad. I cannot believe that it took 8 or so years to come up with that. One saving grace was the knowledge that Time II was soon to be released - maybe that would have finally been on the amazing level of the s/t."

Kind of feel the same, although I think Time I is still a great album. Far from the magic of the s/t, but still epic and simply good music. By judging the album, you should take in consideration that Jari produced it while practically becoming skilled in producing music in the first place himself and only realizing during that process, that he can't make it the way he actually envisioned it thus putting it out as a compromise. That is what you can hear when listening to it imo and it is also what he is saying now and why he does not want to put Time II out in a similar fashion. The Forest Seasons will be the product Jari and the band will have to stand for in full because they stated over and over that the production for this kind of album was perfect and that they got exactly what they wanted with it. What you can hear in the trailer teaser thingies they put out on a regular basis right now sounds very nice so far, so let's wait and see / hear.

zaruyache
03.12.17
"three albums worth of unheard material"

Are you referring here to the albuns in the Forest Package, or Forest Seasons and two other new records? If the latter, have those albums been confirmed to exist?

50iL
03.12.17
This still seems like a daylight robbery to me

cryptologous
03.12.17
while this is all good and nice, i don't remember Time 1 requiring enough funding to cover spacex

AdolfChrist
03.12.17
"If the ultimate product was amazing, then maybe all this could be justified."

even then it wouldnt be justified.

Maco097
03.12.17
All this shitfest over the years is unjustifiable no matter the quality of the finished product. Which I suspect it will be mediocre, just like the previous two LPs.


Hawks
03.12.17
Jari is a piece of shit.

necropig
03.12.17
Jari is a piece of shit [2]

cryptologous
03.12.17
Jari is a piece of shit [(...)]

50iL
03.12.17
Bruh that's offensive to the piece of shit cmon guys

necropig
03.12.17
Soz soil

XfingTheSullen
03.12.17
Wintersun is an extremely overrated band for the amount of material they've put out over the years, which gives me a sense of injustice for some reason. Other bands labour much harder, releasing an album every 2 years, and many of them don't have half the likes on Facebook Wintersun does. Also, I wasn't aware of this campaign, kinda proves Jari is an entitled prick

rikishiyayo
03.12.17
Their self-titled album is simply amazing. As a person who prefers albums in digital form, the content i get for 50e is satisfying and as a big fan of his music i am hopeful that The Forest Seasons will be great. Yes, this crowdfunding and its ultimate goal is rather bold move, but his art brings me joy so why not support him ?

SCREAM!
03.12.17
The s/t was released 13 years ago though and there's been extremely little going on since. If Time I had at least been of the same quality that would've been a faint glimmer of hope, but it wasn't up to the same standard.

The fact that he feels entitled to this after having spent the last 13 fucking years bitching and moaning while releasing half of a good album is insane. There are plenty of other bands that are consistently releasing great music without all this fuss and entitlement

ScuroFantasma
03.13.17
Great article Jac, and Y'know I actually pretty much agree with everything you've said. I honeslty think the Forest Package is pretty much worth the money if you buy music digitally anyway (it's a tad high imo, but close enough), I have no problem with crowdfunding as a concept either, generally I think it's a great and simplified "I give money, I get something" kind of deal. Hell I don't even mind that Wintersun are doing all this on the back of one and a half albums.

What I really, really have a problem with is the dishonesty, the contradictions, and the crazy standards these guys have (not for music, for work spaces). I'm sorta repeating stuff I said in other threads, but:

1. Says they cannot make albums of high quality without their own studio, fans must support studio in order to get albums; paying for said studio with three albums of apparently high quality.

2. Will not purchase a pre-existing studio, not even a pre-exisiting building to put the studio in, not skimping on any expense at all even when playing with other people's money. Seriously if you want a goddam sauna in the studio that should come from their own pockets, since it seems they're not contributing literally anything financially.

3. The amount of cash they claim they need is not only really high, but justified strangely. A quarter of a million euro going to "taxes and other expenses"? I don't think so. Never heard of a 33% tax on 750,000 euros.

If any of that could be explained I'd be more on board.



AdolfChrist
03.13.17
http://i.imgur.com/z9dhB6p.jpg

zaruyache
03.13.17
the corporate tax rate in Finland is 20% as far as google tells me.

Hawks
03.13.17
S/t is one of my fav albums ever, but he's still a cock sucker. I wouldn't give him a cent lol.

Sevengill
03.13.17
I stopped at "Don't judge me."

UndineParty
03.13.17
Tl;Dr [2]

ScuroFantasma
03.13.17
"the corporate tax rate in Finland is 20% as far as google tells me."

Even if that's exactly correct I also made a mistake in my original post, the tax should only apply to the $500,000 euro being used for building, not the 250,000 extra paying for the taxes, so their estimate is closer to 40-50%

Willie
03.13.17
I see the point from both sides, but I don't see the big deal in the end. Every fan is going to have varying levels of 'disposable income' and varying levels of commitment to certain bands. Nobody is being forced to give money, so if they can and want to, then let them. I'm not going to lie, there are certain bands that I would gladly throw money at if it meant they would release more music.

--Perfectly content to steal the band’s music, these folks will then turn around and complain about a price they had no intention of paying, blissfully ignorant of the fact that their habits are a huge part of the reason bands are occasionally driven to these measures in the first place.--

Perfection...

Itwasthatwas
03.13.17
One of the problems with this crowdfunding campaign is how unlikely it is for the fans money to be put to good use to actually deliver the promised content.

Given his track record, whats the likelihood Jari will release any of the promised music without more drama or delays. This guy is going to design and build a studio/home with a sauna, learn to use all that new gear, then work on the promised albums for years, and then maybe release something - and probably less than what was promised. Also given his track record, you know he's going to totally mismanage the budget and probably not build an effective studio anyways. When has this guy given the impression he has any particular talent as an audio engineer?

No one can really justify the delays for Time I, let alone what he's claiming he needs to release any more music. Too many people have done more with less. Jari confused engineering incompetence and ego with necessity, and too many fans are blinded by the fact that he's a good guitar player and recorded some good melodies 13 years ago to notice.

demon of surveillance
03.14.17
"When has this guy given the impression he has any particular talent as an audio engineer?"

this so hard. he should've just let Devin Townsend handle everything and we would have had Time II ages ago

Scoot
03.15.17
this guy went from my favourite musician to a steaming pile of dog shit about ten years ago

CoreyHaimsGhost
03.15.17
years ago you would have handed over your cash right in his hand like a good lil slave boi

Dis_Con_Nec_Ted
03.15.17

"I see the point from both sides, but I don't see the big deal in the end. Every fan is going to have varying levels of 'disposable income' and varying levels of commitment to certain bands. Nobody is being forced to give money, so if they can and want to, then let them. I'm not going to lie, there are certain bands that I would gladly throw money at if it meant they would release more music.

--Perfectly content to steal the band's music, these folks will then turn around and complain about a price they had no intention of paying, blissfully ignorant of the fact that their habits are a huge part of the reason bands are occasionally driven to these measures in the first place.-"


^This so much.


..some of you people with comments and opinions like "S/t is one of my fav albums ever, but he's still a cock sucker. I wouldn't give him a cent" should feel ashamed, smh.

XfingTheSullen
03.15.17
He is a cocksucker tho

XfingTheSullen
03.15.17
Implying anyone is obligated to still ride his dick because of s/t should feel just as ashamed

Dis_Con_Nec_Ted
03.16.17
I'm not implying that lol. And again, that attitude.. wtf is up with people. I was hinting at supporting a band that's worth supporting, not because of one album, which btw isn't THAT good.

zaruyache
03.16.17
why are they worth supporting tho given all their bologna over the years? That's what you're gonna have to explain to me.

SCREAM!
03.16.17
"I'm not implying that lol. And again, that attitude.. wtf is up with people. I was hinting at supporting a band that's worth supporting, not because of one album, which btw isn't THAT good."

Yeah but you're using the s/t as an example and that was released 13 years ago, hardly grounds to support a band today still

Dis_Con_Nec_Ted
03.16.17
That 'bologna' I believe is part of a struggle that includes lack of resources for ones vision and keeping the band alive, which I can relate to. Granted, Jari has become somewhat of a social media whore/vegetable over the years and it has been a drag at times. The band is unique and he's too talented for people to get up in arms over such matters (years of waiting/crowdfunding). It surprises even more that people who seemingly don't care about the band or don't like them that much find time to spout negativity. Like the band owe people something.

Dis_Con_Nec_Ted
03.16.17
Ftr I'm not using the s/t as an example, I was quoting Hawks' statement. Apart from him labeling Jari as a cocksucker, I gather that even though the band has released some of his favorite music, and while perhaps not following suit with Time I, he's not willing to support the band that could do just that again.

And there also that argument where people say the first part of Time didn't live up to expectations and the s/t. Well that's again a matter of opinion but I will say that the album was a 60% compromise, factors of which are lack of resources and label dispute. So perhaps if the band hadn't been limited by studio time (having a studio!), the album very well could have been recieved better by those individuals. Also not being released in halves (still only half on an album).

AdolfChrist
03.16.17
"he's not willing to support the band that could do just that again."

yeah but they probably wont. and even if they did, im not giving that shithead money.

SCREAM!
03.16.17
"he's not willing to support the band that could do just that again. "

Probability seems to be swinging the other way. Sure he COULD do that again, but after 13 years during which a sub quality album was released, that doesn't give much hope towards that and especially not paying 50E for digital files kind of hope (honestly there are very few, if any, bands I would justify doing that for and a band with a track record like this is definitely not one of them).

"And there also that argument where people say the first part of Time didn't live up to expectations and the s/t. Well that's again a matter of opinion"

Yes, everything in music is a matter of opinion and many people are of the opinion that Time I was a huge letdown and these people are getting sick of hearing lame excuses as to why he couldn't deliver a great album with the resources he had when he'd already delivered a better album (S/t) with fewer.

" I will say that the album was a 60% compromise, factors of which are lack of resources and label dispute"

I will say you need to stop taking everything Jari says at face value. Plenty of bands make do with less (lets not forget Jari had major label backing and likely access to some pretty solid studios, even if they weren't his own custom dream one) and delivers more (both in terms of quantity and quality).

Dis_Con_Nec_Ted
03.17.17
There will always be those who insist on arguing for the sake of it, having the last word in their stubborn ways.^

Needless to say I don't exactly agree with the latest post, particularly the last part.

Dis_Con_Nec_Ted
03.17.17
As for the crowdfunding, I really don't see the big deal. It should be rather simple and is a great opportunity for both parties - Support the band directly by buying the new album and other great content for a fair price. Or you don't, and just leave it at that.

And here's where the only actual problem of the campaign arises. The detractors and haters alike (typically stubborn and disgruntled metalheads) have a new excuse to throw at the band, wanting something they will probably not get. They surely want something (more of the same probably), else they wouldn't be so persistent. Not surprisingly, in the metalhead world it's also not credible for a band to resort to Wintersun's measures. No integrity they're moaning. Most of all though, it's how strongly they feel about expressing a wrong in the crowdfunding, and letting everyone know. Disturbingly pathetic if you ask me.


There's all this talk about being 'metal' and cool and what not. But if being 'metal' is about all that bitching some of you guys are putting so much energy in, count me out.

zaruyache
03.17.17
who said anything at all about metal cred?

SCREAM!
03.17.17
His logic seems pretty disconnected tbh

CoreyHaimsGhost
03.17.17
pathetic how you ppl are just cheapskating and wont pay the bands money they earned. you say you love a band but wont even help them pay rent. that's awful wtf

Tunaboy45
03.19.17
This band is such a joke now

XfingTheSullen
03.19.17
If I really care about a band, I can pay them money. I couldn't care less about Wintersun these days tho

AdolfChrist
03.19.17
lol no one here gives a shit about "metal cred."

Tunaboy45
03.19.17
I don't like what they're doing and I won't be supporting this campaign but damn those snippets sounded good.

XfingTheSullen
03.20.17
To me, the snippets sounded utterly unremarkable, derivative, repetitive and overall a snoozefest. We get several better melodeath albums every year from what I've heard

ScuroFantasma
03.20.17
The 'expendables' gang vocals video they did was pretry awesome

CoreyHaimsGhost
03.21.17
donate to them you fucking bums

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