The Zappa Family Trust is attempting to raise funds to complete the film The Roxy Performances for theatrical and DVD release. Focused on concerts from 1973, they are offering 1000 people the chance to be a distributor" with their own copy of the CD Duplication Master" for $1000. From what I can find, response on the web has been mostly negative with the recurring suggestion that crowdfunding would have been a more appropriate choice.
The Roxy Performances is a long anticipated film based on three legendary live shows at The Roxy in Hollywood by Frank Zappa. Statements in May from Zappa Records and widow Gail Zappa indicated that a release was in the works and that they were planning to raise funds with a soundtrack for the film.
Last month an email from Gail Zappa announced Roxy By Proxy which Bobby Owsinski describes as"
the Zappa Family Trust's effort to raise at least a million dollars to fund the making of a film of Frank's 1973 performance at The Roxy in Hollywood. In order to do that, they're offering 1000 fans the right to become official 'CD distributors.' That means you pay a license fee of $1,000, receive a duplication master, and then have the right to manufacture and sell as many CDs as you wish, although you still have to pay a royalty of $1.20 on each one that you sell."
Though it's an interesting idea, Oswinski and numerous other voices on the web have suggested that a crowdfunding campaign would have been a better way to involve the community rather than trying to get a bunch of amateurs to play at sales and distribution. Given that the offer does not include digital distro but does leave the option open for a competing official release, it just doesn't seem like a good business deal and isn't appealing as a general fundraising effort.
Negative comments abound at Hidden Tracks, Head Heritage and alt.fan.frank-zappa. While negative comments are an easy thing to find on the web these are surprisingly consistent without opposing voices.
In what might be taken as sign that the Zappa Family Trust has yet to receive the needed response, a press release was issued this week reiterating the news.
Unfortunately Roxy By Proxy seems an unlikely experiment that would have benefited by a crowdfunding approach.
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