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Possible end of Das Klub in 2018

Das Klub has been a project that I have learned a lot from for the last 7 years but the costs in keeping it going into the future at the level I want needs to be addressed now or it may not exist soon.

This year I would like to run another Kalendar contest and aim to have 100 or more sales to cover the costs needed for the radio server, this website (plus SSL) and the guide website. I think it is possible to achieve that goal even if only 1/3 of that number bought the 2017 one.

To take a step back, I will explain the history. Das Klub was launched with an industrial dance contest in 2011. I spent a lot of money on prizes but it was quickly a widely known contest that people still remember. I tried to get enough people on the site so that advertising could enable another contest but not enough people joined. I tried many other contests but nothing really changed.

In 2013 I became pretty upset about all the time, effort and money I had spent and thought it was time to stop the site and first stopped the dance contests. It became more complicated to do that than I wanted because I realized people were upset about this decision. So, since then I've kept the site online and tried to add other things to it with the same goal, get enough people on the site so that advertising could bring it back to what it was/ should be.

I developed a few different things, one being the club/ concert guide, another being, greatly improving the radio station. In 2015 I decided to try producing a calendar to raise funds. I was very generous with this contest, paying all the winners and giving them a free calendar. Sadly, not enough people bought it and I lost a lot of money. In 2016 I tried again but could not afford to pay the winners in cash. More people bought it but it still wasn't enough to even cover the cost of printing and mailing of calendars to the winners.

At this point, I am out of ideas. I do not like to ask for donations, donations are not predictable and you don't get a physical product. The thing that makes the most sense is a calendar because 1) it is needed every year 2) it showcases members on the site 3) I can order exactly how many people want ahead of time so I don't end up with stuff no one wants sitting in a box. The reality though, I can't believe that the winners don't even have 10 followers each to buy it, not even 4 each! You'd think for all the social media that people's fans would want one, right?

By now I have travelled the world meeting people, interviewed many bands, been to many concerts and festivals, created a lot of different code and projects for this site. I am not sure what I personally gain, experience wise, from it anymore so I have to look at the costs of continuing in 2018 and beyond.

It's really only because of people who have contributed or participated that I have kept things going and I definitely appreciate everyone who has kept the passion alive. The people who have bought merchandise, donated money, who have showed up in real life, who have reviewed music, who have made video projects, that is what has kept things alive.

The simple truth is, I have bills to pay for this project, and they cannot be paid without either loosing money or finding a way for this site to make enough money to keep it going. So, that is why I am deciding not to pay the bills in 2018 if I cannot use money from the Kalendar sales to pay them. If that happens, I will not be working on anything else for Das Klub.

So, this is the situation, I need to raise funds to keep this project going. One day this issue has to be addressed so why not now? If things do work out, then I would be willing to bring dance contests back and strive towards my other goals for this project, like an actual music festival. But I cannot have such big dreams in my head when I am buried in dirt.

If people want to be a part of a unique online community that enables them to meet each other, share their videos, their music, their experiences and their photos then it should motivate people to buy and make the goal achieved. If people take things for granted then, like a lot of other projects/ bands in the underground, it cannot survive.

Scenario 1: Das Klub shuts down - if there are less than 100 Kalendar sales, Das Klub ends. In January, 2018 Das Klub Radio ( https://dasklub.com/radio ) and Das Klub Guide ( http://guide.dasklub.com/ ) will go offline. This website will go offline later in the year after the SSL expires. Social media for Facebook, YouTube and Twitter for Das Klub will become inactive.

Scenario 2: Das Klub stays online with dance contest - if there are 100 or more Kalendar sales, all Das Klub services will be paid for through 2019 and a dance contest will be created.

Posted By: admin admin
4 months ago 2017-07-05  

4 months ago

What will happen if Das Klub does shut down? There are people here, like me, who love it here. I honestly hope the site doesn't shut down. I love it here too much.

4 months ago

If/ when Das Klub shuts down then this site will not resolve when requested.

4 months ago

I hope we will be able to keep this page alive.

Got to say I don' treally use guide or radio station because I have other webpages and services that work better for me, but it would be really a shame for the forum and "main page" of Das Klub.

4 months ago

Hope never solved a single problem. I may get rid of these other services first because they are the most expensive.

Either way, this project is never going to be what I want it to be because there are too few people interested and basically nothing people are willing to pay for.

4 months ago

I was thinking about helping the site i mean since i don't have nothing to do i can keep it alive i know you being busy doing stuff or stressed out but il be donated later today

4 months ago

As much as I like DK Radio - if it's that expensive maybe it's time to get rid of it. We could start a forum thread for links to podcasts, online radio stations and playlists.

4 months ago

I would love to have das Klub still alive! But I have a admit, that I never (not even once) used the das Klub radio. I find my music in other ways (concerts, youtube,...) As for the calender, I really hope that sales will be up next year!!

4 months ago

With regards to the radio station, I understand that it may not be the first choice people have for listening to music and I also understand that there are other radio stations out there, some of which may be better. Ideologically, there should be a radio station, a way to find clubs/ concerts and ways to communicate (forum, messages, sharing video/ photos) all apart of this site.

4 months ago

I hope we can keep perhaps the main page and the forum alive..it`s the only place where we can meet each other and stay in contact and exchange, other social media isn`t working like that. Donations wouldn`t only help, so what shall we do besides the calendars?

4 months ago

I honestly think the best thing we could possibly do is try to find sponsors. Or possibly have ads added to the site. I say ads because usually, that brings in money for the site the ads are on. So that is two possibilities.

4 months ago

I tend to agree with the previous comments - sometimes it is necessary to go with what works - if DK Radio doesn't, so be it - it needs to go. It's really about the people here, streaming music you can find in in a lot of places.


Edited   4 months ago

There isn't enough traffic here to have ads be profitable. Only about 20,000 views a month, typical ad rates for a music site, which are some of the lowest paying, would only get maybe 20 cents CPM. That's only maybe $10/ month in the best case scenario.

But this site has been rejected by Google AdSense and even after many appeals, they will NOT allow ads on this site. All the other ad networks out there pay total shit, I have tried them. I don't think having annoying pop ups and ads on this site from a low tier network is worth $1/ month in ad revenue.

There's a reason people don't buy banners on this site, because there isn't enough traffic! It has happened in the past, some people did buy banners, but advertisers complain about paying only $20/ month to have banners everywhere on this site. So, I don't see how it's possible to have sponsors and since Google has rejected this site after being accused of click fraud, there is no network out there.

I do have links that go to Amazon where I would get paid if someone bought an album, but NO ONE is buying music from these links. So, all the reviews on this site which try to help the bands and make a few cents on music sales DO NOT WORK.

This site is too geographically dispersed for most clothing advertisers. People in Europe are not going to pay lots of money in shipping to order something from North America when they have many shops there, the same is true for people in North America not ordering products from Europe. If everyone on the site was located in one state or even country, then it might make sense to an advertiser but that's not the case.

Again, my goal has been to produce a product that would be something people can buy to support this site and the members on it. The Kalendar is the right thing to meet this criteria but too few people are buying it. It also doesn't help that the shipping is higher to Europe, where most people are located. Ideally, a digital product could be sold. As I said, people are not buying music from the music reviews so what else could people possibly buy that is digital? I have no idea.

I am very knowledgeable about the numbers and the situation. The problem isn't the model I have, it's the quantity of people interested. I don't see a way to grow the quantity of people interested, there would need to be 3x as many people buying the Kalendar to solve the problems I mentioned or a new product/ service that is created.

4 months ago

You have the same problem that the whole scene has.

How should clubs keep alive if people only buy one drink in a whole evening? How shall bands earn money if music is a medium that very few people stil honour and buy (streaming on Spotify isn't helping, Noisuf-X gain ~7€ each year for all their Spotify clicks).

People don't want to pay for quality. They don't want to invest because the market of entertainment is so huge.

I have the deepest respect for you, your work, your enthusiasm and motivation, I enjoy my time here. I will buy a calendar this year, and maybe make a donation.

But you might be right, it's nearly impossible to get people to constantly pay for entertainment and it's even more difficult in this scene...


4 months ago

Yes, this is a good point. I am not alone in this situation, a lot of underground music exists as a hobby. But I have many hobbies, many ambitions and I need to decide what to put my time and money into.

As I said, I faced this issue in 2013 but for the last 4 years I've kept things alive to an extent because it's been worth it.

I have to make this decision with other things, such as my own music project. Should I keep going and then pay a lot of money for professional mixing and mastering? Should I try to play shows or tour and loose money just because it's a life experience I want to have? I haven't decided this either and honestly it's somewhat related.

4 months ago

it would be to bad to shut das klub down.
there are some new people like me on this and i really love this site.

4 months ago

As do I Blacky. Many people love it here.

4 months ago

Please refrain from speaking of love or hope or these kinds of things, none of them address the problem of MONEY. You can't pay bills will love.

The costs are:

$800/ year so have an LLC in California to have the ability to accept payments x 7 years = $5,600

$720/ year in hosting to have a large hard drive to serve radio content and run background processes x 7 years = $5,040

$1,500 in 2011 in dance contest cash prizes and $1,200 in cash prizes for Kalendar models in 2016 = $2,700

Facebook advertising, on average $100/ year x 7 years= $700

SSL for website, last 3 years, $100/ year = $300

Lost money in merchandise not being sold and then given away, probably = $500

Cost or production of Kalendars that resulted in low sales for 2 years, probably = $400

Offset this by donations of about $100/ year on average and ad revenue of maybe $50/ year on average = $1050

That means, at this moment, I am $14,190 USD in debt from this project. And all I'm asking for is NOT loose money ONLY this year so I can pay ONLY the hosting costs, not even the cost of the business tax, advertising, etc. by buying a printed calendar. This isn't asking for much in my opinion but this is the problem to focus on. I've ignored lots of other costs by the way...

4 months ago

Could you give a brief explanation about what the site is actually about to you?
It may sound so basic but in my experience, whenever I find myself overwhelmed by a project then it's a sign that I need to get my priorities straight and rethink the base concept.

I came here because I wanted to connect with other people who also have an interest in industrial dancing. That's it.

I have no interest in the radio, the guide, chat room or any other feature really than having a simple profile and being able to PM people besides forum posting.

Speaking of the latter, if the site was "reduced" to your standard phpBB forum with some fitting graphics work (of which by the way I'd gladly help out with) I would honestly consider it an upgrade.

The "Status Update" page would be nice to keep though. It would serve well as the starting page for the site. It gives the impression that stuff happens here, which perhaps could encourage more people to join. You could also mix in the news items here as well.

So to summarise I definitely think the situation calls for finding out what is most essential to the users, keep that and get rid of the rest. "Kill your darlings" as the saying goes.
Still this is just my perspective and while I don't have any experience with running communities I still feel compelled to give whatever advice I can, and knowing your vision that will increase the chances of people giving useful suggestions.

This post is getting too long already but I also want to mention that I think competitions have the lowest priority and personally I don't have much interest in them. I'd rather see collaborations, but that's something the users can manage on their own (and already are for that matter).

4 months ago

And yes I do realise that I did not suggest anything useful in regards to the whole money problem.
In hindsight, what I was trying to say is that I don't think cost is the main problem here, but rather that there are too many cost generating components.

4 months ago

I understand that focusing on the most essential features in and effort to reduce costs does make sense. In my opinion those features are primarily: profiles, messaging, status updates, forum and news.

I do realize that some of the forum features are lacking but that's because I wrote all the code myself and didn't put the time in for things like rich text editing. Rich text editing doesn't work well on mobile, so I wrote my own text parsing, which is more like a Facebook status update, which most people are familiar with (links just appear automatically, links to images just show images automatically, YouTube videos just show up automatically, no text formatting, etc.).

I am opposed to using 3rd party forum software, migrating the data into another application and then it not being my own code, is not something I am interested in doing. It's too labor intensive and if it's not even code I can edit, I would have no interest in it. That makes everything too generic as well.

The reality is, I open sourced this project and I had intended to make my own free online community platform, like an open source forum + social network. In fact, I had other online communities with this code base for other music genres but I killed off those projects a few years ago. Those projects had users but they too were unprofitable. This instance of the code base has the most users and most activity, that is why it is still going.

I open sourced an online radio updater as well, that enables anyone to run their own online radio station from crawling podcasts. I also created a way to generate a geo-located event guide that could do ticketing, allows 1-click Uber rides and more. These were labor intensive projects, taking many months to do, that had the ambition of being used for other things. Killing these services off means they will probably never be used for anything else but I suppose that is what could happen.

So, I have had big ambitions in creating online communities, in allowing anyone to run their own online community. I used to attend online community meetups and learned a lot from them. Generally, the only successful online communities are formed from existing businesses that already succeed in selling something. Those existing businesses can listen to what people think about their products or services in those communities and make their businesses better.

In the case of this project, I started in the opposite way, making an online community and then trying to add a product or service. This is, in brief, why it has been so difficult. That is why I struggle to succeed with Das Klub, I am retroactively trying to find a way to fund the project when I should have started with a product or service and then added the community later.

Edited   4 months ago

Okay, I can definitely identify with wanting to do everything yourself. If that's your goal then all the power to you.

So this community came about due to your passion for constructing communities in general? I was kind of asking more about the abstract ideas behind it, like bringing people together and such, although that's probably a discussion for another time.

I'm not sure if I've ever participated in many communities that where based on a product, but when I think about it I know at least two big art communities that were also selling educational material so perhaps the scenario you describe is more common than I thought.
A product sounds like the most stable solution, but what it should be, that's a tricky question and I'm drawing a blank right now but it comes back to my point about rethinking the concept.

As I was writing, "Vampire Freaks" came to mind. I had a quick look at it and see that they seem to have a proper store. So that proves your point to me even more.

Even though the whole cyber goth genre is relatively small it's still substantial. I see many of them at festivals but judging from the forum activity most of them are not members here or at least not active. How come? Where do they go for their cybergothy needs? Does "social media" provide that or are there other communities that I'm ignorant of?
Just thinking out loud here. I get the feeling that there is some kind of solution in this but I'm not sure what. Perhaps collaborating with other businesses is an option.

4 months ago

I apologize for not directly answering your question and getting more technical than was necessary. There's a lot of history and projects spinning off of Das Klub and its predecessors.

The mission/ goal of Das Klub is to connect people around Industrial Dance (music, dancing, and real-life connections). The motivation was that I, when in high-school and college, wanted to meet people around this music and I had very few ways to do this. So, I thought that if I could create some kind of social network that allowed people to connect around self-expression, that would make people not feel so lonely.

I, having had interests in video production, wanted to create a social network centered around online video. There was at one time a way for people to stream themselves on this site. But, mostly I wanted a way to group existing videos that had no organization. YouTube is just too chaotic, I spend months cataloging music videos, dance videos, etc. on here to be like: this is everything for this genre. Then I made the dance contest and later the social features.

I can't say adequately why some people never join an actual online community and instead just rely on existing social media. Perhaps they don't know of other places to go online or perhaps they are just so stuck in their ways that they don't care. Maybe people think they have to be a great dancer to join here, I don't know the answer scientifically.

As you did identify though, Vampire Freaks is first and foremost and online store. That is how they make money. I have met Jet a few times. At one time, I was reselling their products here but I stopped because they stopped their program for it.

For all the things on this site now, there are many that you don't see. I had at one point almost completed a way for people to set up their own stores on this site, but it became too complicated and more importantly, re-educating people about what Das Klub was, would take a lot of effort. Even to this day, most people just think Das Klub is a dance contest. That was never true, it was just a way to actually build a community.

4 months ago

With regards to dance contests, I should also add that I'm not excited about running one again. I'm only bringing them into this situation because it's a way to encourage people to buy the Kalendar. Like I said, many don't think of Das Klub as anything but a dance contest, hundreds of thousands or even millions of views on YouTube have made this the common perception.

I've proven you cannot sustain an online community with competitions alone. People come just for a brief while then go away. It also brings a lot of annoying drama each time.

On one hand, people do tend to become better dancers as a result of competition but on the other hand, it doesn't really facilitate people working together towards anything. So, I think annual dance contests can be healthy but I have no interest in doing one every 3 months like I did. Ideally, all the music used in such videos comes from smaller bands in the community and is used to promote them. That was a goal with these videos, assisting smaller artists with promotion.

4 months ago

Thank you. That clarifies things a great deal.

I was under the impression that the youtube channel was the start and in a way, a product to base the community on, albeit a nonprofitable one. That wouldn't be a bad idea in terms of community building if the channel became more prominent. Besides dance videos it could contain tutorials (something that I feel is lacking on the internet), reports from festivals etc. That would of course require a lot of production time for videos and I still don't know how to make that profitable unless you could get a Patreon rolling (like so many youtubers seem to do nowadays).
Just another idea but I'm getting sidetracked. You're doing this for the community first and foremost.

From my point of view, if you still can afford to run the site with just the minimum essential features and if it will ease up effort spent on maintenance then I suggest you go for that. That way you still have your user base and can spend more time on figuring out what you want to do in the future, cause it seems that you already know what the solution is but not necessarily how to implement it.

Still, if you manage to keep the site going the best long term solution might be to shut it down anyway. If it's not resourceful enough for enough people then it should give way for something new, that's set up in a way that better supports your goals.

4 months ago

As for the YouTube channel, it's extremely difficult to make that profitable. First of all, the music has copyrights and there's not the ability to run ads because of it. So, while I've tried to interview bands in the last year, I can't generate any money from these videos. I had hoped people would buy music from these bands from my links but again, buying music is a thing of the past.

The simple question is, what do people buy in this space? I think it's just clothing. But I'm not interested in competing with Vampire Freaks or the dozens of businesses that are pure shops. The shipping costs to foreign countries makes it too hard to compete and I can't afford to buy tens of thousands of dollars of inventory that might never sell.

I hate having to come up with ways to monetize this site at this point. It's been a problem I've mostly ignored to gain experience with the many things I've tried.

When I tried to address the problem in 2013, I felt depressed about stopping the site and letting people down. It's not something I want to do but it's my fault for creating a situation where people expect things I can't sustain financially.

The goal was never to make profit, actually one of the reasons I created this site was to deal with job stress. I am upset that I haven't found any way to just keep things going aside from begging for donations or starting a patreon.

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