Monday, December 8, 2014


Over the years, I have amassed a plethora of Christmas titles, and each December I get them out of the box for the season that celebrates the birth of Bethlehem's favorite (and God's only begotten) Son.

This year, I thought I'd share some of them with you.

My affinity for Marillion has been well-documented on these pages.

One of my favorite artists (behind Mr. Rundgren), it always bothers me that they do not get credit for being the first to implement the crowd-funding model that is now being used by almost every artist (even those with major labels behind them).

Marillion had always maintained a fan club via snail mail, and developed a strong internet presence by the mid-90’s.

In 1997, the band was not planning to tour the US due to a lack of financial support from their new label. Their online fan base raised $60K to fund the tour. 

In 2000, Marillion asked fans to pre-order their forthcoming album to fund the recording, a model that has worked for them to this day, and kept them relevant (in 2004 the same fans bought their single release in a coordinated effort that put them on the UK charts-not bad for a progressive band left for dead by the major labels a decade before).

I have always felt that Rundgren first put the idea in play (with his PatroNet subscription service in 1995), and Marillion perfected the model. 

Kickstarter just borrowed the idea and sold it to the masses. A smart move, but give credit to the innovators.

I digress.

The band began issuing Christmas cd’s to that same rabid fan base back around the turn of the millennium. This year, they released an album compiling songs from those fan club releases over the years, along with a new song.

The band is donating part of the proceeds from each CD to charity, but the disc is only currently available from the band’s site HERE.


By the way, you can get a free CD sampler of the band's music HERE.


  1. Their version of 'CAROL OF THE BELLS' wasn't bad, but then I really love that tune and someone would have to genuinely work at messing it up to mess it up for me.

    This might have been a good song to use as a December 15th BOTB. Marillion against a more traditional performer might have made for an interesting "Battle" with closely divided results.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. If I were to do a Christmas song for BOTB, and I ain't sayin' I were, I would probably go with someone more mainstream than Los Marillos.

      Heck, after the last one, I'd probably go with Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash singing "Yee Hah Santa," since it seems like almost everyone who stops by likes both kinds of music-country and western!

  2. Wow, I had no idea they pioneered that system. Now even crappy newbie artists who haven't put out a single thing can somehow raise $10,000 to create an album that's garbage. ...Thanks, Marillion...?

    1. To be clear-they had nothing to do with the Kickstarter entity-but they certainly perfected the idea (and process) of crowd funding long before there was a Kickstarter.

  3. Thanks for the heads up! Always liked Marillion. Ironic that Kickstarter now makes millions off their idea.

    1. Everyone seems to be using the scheme now, even artists backed by labels.

      The one thing that frustrates me having particpiated in many a Kickstarter venture is that the artists are generally not very customer focused..

      Often, I will see the CD in the stores at a much lower price than I pledged weeks before I get my copy.

      That was the problem when Rundgren started his service-he never delivered everything that was promised. The fact that he abandoned that model is not a shock to me-it's a lot of work over and above the creation of the art. When you have a label, they take a cut, but they do that work for you.

      It's easy to say you'll do it yourself, but you have to be willing to do all of it yourself!

    2. Not sure where you live in relation to Montreal, Alex, but there are still tickets available for the Marillion Weekend in April!

      I'm just sayin'....