Features•February 16, 2013•13,277 views
Jonny Craig sells, but who's buying?
Troubled singer Jonny Craig is trying to raise $20,000 for a solo EP.
If you read the news section on this very site, you may have noticed that Jonny Craig launched an Indiegogo campaign this past week to raise funds for a solo EP. Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular move these days, so it's not a big deal, right?
On the surface, it is indeed standard fare. However, if you know anything about Jonny Craig, it's a curious move. This is the same guy who defrauded fans in a MacBook Internet scam, subsequently entered rehab for drug addiction, was then kicked out of Emarosa, later jailed on narcotics charges, and ultimately booted from Dance Gavin Dance.
I don't personally know Craig. He may really be a good guy; drug addiction is a horrible thing and it can make people do horrible things. But it takes some real hubris to ask fans for money when you have a history so absurdly rife with broken promises. But let's face it, Craig has essentially been forced into this awkward position. He's burned almost every bridge in sight, even alienating his most reliable ally - Rise Records.
Desperation without humility is a recipe for intrigue, and here we are. Jonny Craig asks fans for $20,000 to record and release a solo EP. He does this via a poorly recorded YouTube video in which he dons sunglasses and puts his boots up on the table, all in the shadow of a MacBook. If that's not a big "fuck you" to the haters, I don't know what is. Not only that, but some of the perks offered for this campaign are straight out of the "I'm a superstar" playbook. If you contribute $150, Craig will call you and sing to you. Craig says, "Pretty awesome, right?" No, not really. And not suprisingly, only one person has claimed that perk. Chip in $250, and Craig will post a YouTube video in which he personally thanks you. OMG, a public video in which Craig talks directly to ME?! No dice; 0 out of 25 claimed thus far.
If you have some real money to burn and you adore Jonny Craig, you can spend $500 to have dinner with him. 0 out of 10 claimed. For $1000, Craig will sing few songs for you a cappella in "your own private performance." Of course you must be in a city on his upcoming tour. So basically, you'll be shoved into a dressing room, stand there and watch Craig sing two songs, then you're out. Does this guy think he's Frank Sinatra? 0 out of 5 claimed. In fact, only a single big ticket item on the perks list has been purchased - somebody paid $2,500 to perform on one of the EP's tracks. But that says more about the person who paid the money than it does about Craig.
His fans are purchasing some signed EPs, magazines, and t-shirts, but these are inexpensive, small risk items. As of today, February 16, a total of $8,365 has been raised. That's a repectable amount, but this is Jonny fucking Craig. The guy was supposed to be an indie star. He has 79,000 Twitter followers, whom he has bombarded with mentions of this campaign for the last several days. 79,000 followers, complete scene media saturation (Alternative Press, Absolute Punk etc.) regarding this campaign, and only 190 people have put money on the table? Jonny Craig is out there selling himself, and very few people are buying.
There are still 37 days left for the Indiegogo campaign, and he'll probably reach $20,000 eventually. But I'm confident that Craig thought he'd already be there at this point. I suspect he was hoping for some Protest The Hero type action. As you may recall, Protest The Hero raised $125,000 in little more than a day (they eventually got $341,000). Four days in, and Craig is struggling to raise one tenth of that number. Craig may have an inflated ego, but he's not stupid. He chose Indiegogo over Kickstarter for a good reason - if you don't meet your goal in Kickstarter, you don't get a dime. With Indiegogo, you can still get your money, albeit with an increased fee. Craig can't afford, neither figuratively nor literally, to walk away with nothing in this case. He's out of options.
I hope things work out for Jonny Craig. I hope he turns his life around, puts out a solid EP, and becomes a responsible, contributing member of society. But I wouldn't bet on it. And it doesn't appear that even his biggest fans are betting on it either.