I.  An Overview of the Figment Charts and Lucre System 

On Figment, registered users can create fake bands and albums.  By creating fake bands and albums a registered user can climb the Figment Top Band and Top Album charts which are constantly updated.

Registered Figment users may create as many bands as they would like to create.  There are no restrictions on the creation of bands.  However, please note that bands do not appear to the public and other registered users Figment unless they have at least one released album.

Bands are created and albums released so that they can be shared with anyone that visits the site. Those registered users that create bands accumulate Lucre from the actions of registered users interacting with their bands and releases. Lucre is the fictional monetary unit of Figment and does not have any actual monetary value in USD or any other currency.  Lucre can only be redeemed for prizes on Figment. The Top Band Chart and Top Album (releases) Charts are used to demonstrate those bands and releases that performed the best within the Figment Community in both popularity and quality.

The Top Band Charts are the measure of the popularity of a band.

Figment uses the “Favorite” bands features to simulate the fickle tastes of the music consumer. As such registered users can add or remove themselves from the band’s Fan Base at any time. In this way a band’s fan base can grow or shrink based on the number of registered users that explicitly declare themselves fans.

The Top Album Charts are a measure of the quality of a particular release by a band.

To simulate the actual consumption of their releases by registered users.  As such registered users actions are cumulative and cannot be undone.  Once an album is bought, or added to the registered users collection, it cannot be “unbought” and so that purchase is counted as a “sale” for that release forever.  Similarly once an album is “listened to” it cannot be “unlistened to” and so it is counted as a “listen” forever.

Note that “buying” and “listening” to an album are simulated activities.

In the case of “buying” a release no actual money or Figment Lucre  is exchanged.

In the case of “listening” to a release no audio is played over the figment site.

If a registered user should create actual music or accept money associated with a Figment band that band will be deactivated and all Lucre Points associated with that band will be revoked.

Lucre Points and their relationship with the Figment Charts.

The Lucre Point system directly correlates with a band’s ranking as a favorite among registered users, and the band’s releases being consumed by registered users. The registered user that created each band and its releases are the only individuals able to view the actual quantity of Lucre points accumulated from the bands popularity and the quality of its releases.

II.  How the Figment Charts Work:

Top Bands Chart:

A Top Band is the measure of the band’s popularity. The popularity of the band is determined directly by the number of registered users that have a band marked as a favorite.Each registered user who adds a band to their favorites list is considered a “fan” and adds one more person to that band’s “fan base.” The Top Bands chart is based on the size of a band’s fan base. A band’s fan base is the count of the number of registered Figment users who have added the band to their “Favorites”. A registered user gains a member of his fan base when a registered user adds a band as a favorite.

How a band gains a member of their fan base.

There are two ways that a fan can become a member of a bands fan base:

1. Using the “Add to Favorites” button on the band’s page.

2. Adding one of the band’s albums to their album collection, which automatically and simultaneously adds it as a favorite.

How a band loses a member of their fan base.

A band can also lose a member of his fan base. This occurs whenever a band is removed from a registered user’s favorites list. When a registered user removes a band from his favorites, the total fan base for that band drops by one. This occurs when:

1. If a registered user decides to take a band off his/her favorites list.

2. A registered user’s account is deleted or deactivated either by the users request or due to a violation of the acceptable use policy of Figment.

Other rules governing the size of a band’s fan base.

1. A registered user cannot add one of his/her bands, a band created under their own login, to their own favorites.

2. Each registered user gets one, and only one, Top Band Vote

3. A registered user can remove a band from his favorites list without removing that band’s albums from their own collection.

Top Albums Chart:

A top album is the measure of the quality of a band’s release. The quality of a band’s release is determined by both A) the number of registered users that “buy” a release by adding it to their album collections and B) the number of registered users that “listen” to a release already in their collection.

How a release gains a top album quality point.

There are two ways that a registered user can increment the quality point count for a release:

1. By using the “Add to Collection” button on any Album/EP (Album or EP) page, which adds it to their collection

2. By using the “Listen To Album” button on any release in their collection

Other rules governing the measure of the quality of a release.

1. Album creators cannot add their band’s albums to their own collection

III.  Release Format and Frequency

A release can be either the Album format or the EP format. Each month a band is allowed to create one release per release format.

An EP is any release that is 1 to 6 tracks while an album must contain a minimum of 7 tracks with a maximum of 20. 

A user may create as many albums or EPs as they would like for a band over it’s lifetime as long as they keep to the monthly rules regarding releases.

IV.  Figment Lucre Points & Award Redemption

On Figment, registered visitors earn “Lucre,” based on the activities that affect each of their band’s popularity and the quality of their releases. These Lucre Points can be redeemed for rewards in the Lucre Store section of the website.

Registered users earn Lucre from the bands they create and their associated releases in the following ways:

Popularity of the band:

  •  When another registered site users adds a band to their list of favorite bands, the band’s creator earns 10 pieces of Lucre.  This lucre reward is a one-time only award.  Bands can be removed from a registered user’s favorites list without any corresponding loss of Lucre.

Quality of a Band’s Releases:

  • When another registered user adds the release to their “collection” the creator of the album earns 20 pieces of Lucre.
  • Once per week, a  registered user can click on a listen button for any release that they have in their collection.  Each registered user is allowed to listen to up to 50 different albums per week.  The creator of the album receives 5 pieces of Lucre for each album listen.

Exceptional Performance:

  • When a given albums reaches a certain Figment sales numbers will be awarded special sales awards in the form of “Industry Bling” icons on their album page as well as a corresponding special Lucre award To obtain these special awards users must attain the following sales numbers for an album:
  1. Gold Horn Award = 50,000 album sales (adds to users collections)
  2. Platinum Horn Award = 100,000 album sales (adds to users collections)
  3. Diamond Horn Award = 500,000 album sales (adds to users collections)


 Detailed Lucre Award Rules:

All of the following are one time Lucre awards per registered user based on site activity – lucre points will not be removed if the activity is subsequently reversed by user activity.  Lucre awards received by a band will also not be deleted from a registered users account if that user chooses to delete a band and its corresponding albums that he/she created from Figment.

Adding a Band to Favorites – “Fan Base”

Adding to Favorites – 10 pieces of Lucre (one time award)

Industry Heavyweights marking a band as a favorite.

A one time 20 Lucre Points award occurs when an industry heavyweight adds a band to their favorites

Industry Heavyweights are Figment site administrators and professionals from the music business (labels, musicians, press, publicists).  These industry heavyweights will cast votes on their favorite bands and albums.  Any bands that they favorite, albums they add to their collections or listen to over the period of 1 month will receive special Lucre rewards (see Lucre Award details below for more information).

“Buying” a release,  also known as “Adding it to Your Collection” 

EP – 15 pieces of Lucre

Album – 20 pieces of Lucre

Industry Heavyweight buys either release format, EP or Album* – 40 pieces of Lucre

Listens

Listens from a registered Figment User – 5 pieces of Lucre

Listens from an Industry Heavyweight – 10 pieces of Lucre

Band Buzz

Comments from registered figment visitors on a band – 1 piece of lucre+

Comments from registered figment users on an album – 1 piece of lucre+

+ Please note that each registered user may only leave 10 comments per week per band and 10 comments per week per album.  The creator of a band, album or EP may leave a comment, but will not earn Lucre from these comments, reviews, etc.

Industry Bling and Corresponding Lucre Awards

 Album awards and the corresponding Filthy Lucre are only awarded to an individual album and are not rewarded for the combined earnings of a bands discography.

Gold Horns Award for 50,000 adds to user’s collections (“album sales”) – 500 pieces of Lucre

Platinum Horns Award for 100,000 adds to user’s collections (“album sales”) – 1,000 pieces of Lucre

Diamond Horns Award for 500,000 adds to user’s collections (“album sales”) – 5,000 pieces of Lucre

V.  Redeeming Lucre Points for Prizes

These prizes are subject to change. 

Lucre Redemption Totals

10,000 pieces of Lucre = $25 iTunes Card

15,000 pieces of Lucre = Mingering Mike Book

25,000 pieces of Lucre = iPod Shuffle

50,000 pieces of Lucre = iPod Nano

Looking for Inspiration?

January 16th, 2008

Having a hard time deciding how to design your fake band’s album cover? Well here’s a resource that might get the old creative juices flowing – The Museum of Bad Album Covers on Zonicweb.net.

Now don’t get the wrong idea from this suggestion. This site should serve as a source of inspiration, not a place to crib ideas or images, but rather an idea generator! So take a look – there’s plenty of inspiration to go around.

My favorites include:

What’s He Trying to Say?

Can I Get An Amen? Or Maybe a Haaa-Yaaa!

Too Much Information!

Subtlety Always Works

Or Maybe Not…

Know Your Subject Matter

Or Just Let Your Freak Flag Fly…!

Now go get inspired!

Illegitimis non carborundum

January 16th, 2008

Wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?  Work driving you nuts?  Frustrated that your team is bound to finish in dead last again?  Tired of politics as usual?  Girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband or life partner driving you to the end or your rope?  Don’t get mad, get a fake band!  That’s right, get a fake band.  Don’t go see a therapist.  Don’t try to eat better and get more sleep.  Don’t read a self help book about moving dairy products.  Just make up a fake band and feel the tension leave your body so quick you won’t even need to take a Calgon bath.  It’s a known fact that over the centuries great artists in all kinds of artistic disciplines have crafted some of their best work from the sturm and drang of their daily lives.  I know I’ve done it many a time and it’s led to some of my best work as a fake artist.  Now I don’t recommend just writing down some rant or publishing some crude or offensive jab at the cause of your angst, because that’s just juvenile and will only lead to more problems.  Instead, be more creative with your vitriol.  There’s no need to name a problem when you can just describe it.  After all if the focus of the problem figures out what it’s about then it’s that much more effective, and if they don’t, well the joke’s on them…literally.  So sharpen a pencil, jot down some of those pent up feelings, and then hit Figment to let the fur fly.  Believe me when I say, you’ll thank me.

Oh, and for those ex-Latin Club members who may have been upset by my use of a psuedo Latin phrase, please save me the correction emails.  At Figment being technically correct doesn’t earn you any extra credit.  In fact, it may earn you a fake band entry!

Talk about a back story!

January 15th, 2008

Just when I thought I’d considered all the options available to creating a fake band’s back story (former cross dressing monks, Draino addicts, etc.) I run across something so fabulous it could only be real…and of course it belongs to the man who virtually invented the rock star “back story”…Keith Richards. Ashes to ashes, dust to nose candy. You gotta love Keith.

In the end it turned out to be a misunderstanding or so Keith claims, but whether it’s real or not is irrelevant – it’s the stuff careers are built on!

So you’ve registered on Figment and are ready to create a band or release an album. Before you click on that create or release button though there are a few things you should consider about the band or album you are about to create. Have you considered whether or not your band passes muster when it comes to intellectual property rules? How about whether or not your album contains objectionable material? You haven’t? Well here are a few tips to go on before you click that finish editing or release button.

1. Copyright Concerns – A copyright protects original work of authorship such as a picture, drawing, graphics, software program, written work, sculpture, song, or photograph. Copyright law prevents you from copying another’s copyrighted work for any purpose; making things based on the copyrighted work; distributing copies of the copyrighted work; publicly performing the copyrighted work; displaying the copyrighted work; and in the case of sound recordings, transmitting the recording over the internet or in another media. In a nutshell, copyright law protects the expression of one’s idea. All submissions to Figment are supposed to be original creations of your own. If you have taken any elements of your band’s identity, bio or tracks you should definitely seek permission to do so. On Figment we do allow users and the general public the opportunity to report content that infringes on a copyright and we do have the right to suspend and ultimately ban any user that continues to use copyrighted material without proper permissions. Any creations that you as a user submit to Figment are covered by a Creative Commons license, but we do retain the right to remove content or use it for our own purposes once it is submitted to Figment. You can learn more about copyright issues, etc. in our Intellectual Property Policy rules as well as in our Terms and Conditions. If you are looking for copyright free material to use in creating an album cover, etc. there are a variety available on the web and can easily be accessed by using any search engine. Here are few to consider: Stock Xchng, Copyright Free Images and YotoPhoto.

2. Trademark – A trademark is a word, name, symbol or other device that identifies the goods or services of a given person or company and distinguishes them from the goods or services of other persons or companies. Trademark law prevents you from using another’s trademark (such as the name of a musical group or artist) on your merchandise, because such use will cause consumers to believe that the trademark owner has made, approved of, or endorsed your merchandise. In short, a trademark is someone’s name/brand. For example, Coca-Cola® is a registered trademark. So how do you steer clear of trademarked material? First of all steer clear of anything bearing a ®, TM or SM symbol. These all signify that something is trademarked and may be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. For more information on international trademarks you can check out this site.

3. Objectionable Material – At Figment we would prefer if you refrained from using objectionable material when it comes to creating a band or album, but we understand that what is objectionable to one person may not be objectionable to others and that’s why when you created your account you were given the ability to screen out objectionable material from your Figment experience. If you did not exercise that right or did and would like to change it you can easily do so in your edit profile page which can be accessed from your dashboard. In addition, we allow users to bring objectionable materials to our attention and it is at our discretion to suspend or ban content or any user that we feel is not meeting our guidelines for prohibited material. If you would like to find out more about these general guidelines or would like some examples of what we consider prohibited content please read our Intelllectual Property Policy.

In general, try to create your own ideas and you shouldn’t have any issues. We certainly don’t want Figment to become a police state, so exercise your imagination and have fun. If you decide to parody something or someone, make sure you keep in mind their feelings and consult our IP Policy to ensure that your satirical parody is not crossing any lines that might put you in legal situation.

So if you have a clear conscience go ahead and push that button! We can’t wait to see what you’ve created.

Any old schlub can come up with a fake song title and album title, but how many people take the time to give you the level of detail that it takes to create a classic fake album? The real deal will always include such arcane fake factoids (aka faketoids) as production notes (i.e. producer, engineer, recording studio, mixer, mastering studio, etc.), record label info (i.e. © 2008 Burning Pretzel Recordings), publishing info (i.e. Blown Medulla Music, Inc. all rights reserved), and of course the wonderful ?we?d like to thank the following people.? All these faketoids are opportunities to deliver a joke, a shout out to a real friend or just a piece of minutia that makes your fake band, album and songs that much more tangible.  Just keep in mind that on Figment you have a limit of 500 letters to use in the album description box, so edit yourself!

I know, I know, you wanna create an album title first. If you are creating a fake concept album then maybe, but otherwise it’s often a mistake. Let?s face it, the album title may reflect the songs on the album or it may not, but regardless you?re going to have to fill the album or EP with songs, so if you saddle yourself with an album title right off the bat it can often influence the song titles and not always for the better.

Are you doing a serious album or a funny one? If you?re planning a fake album that is actually something you would consider recording in real life (that is if you were really a musician) than I don?t have any real advice, because you probably have some great song titles that have been sitting in that school composition notebook of yours for years. If you?re creating a funny album, then I have two failsafe recommendations ? songs involving real events or people from the news and bad puns! After all, who doesn?t love a bad pun? The real trick is to combine both (i.e. ?Slowly but Surely MacLaine? or ?Boutros Boutros Ghali Miss Molly?). Again totally nonsensical titles will sometimes capture someone?s attention as well (i.e. ?Judicial Shoes? or ?Walking on Stilts in the Mouth of Mars?).

Once you?ve created your song titles then name your album. Sometimes a song title can double as the album title, but if you?re feeling really creative try coming up with something that incorporates all of steps 1 ? 4, because it will really sum up what you?re trying to convey with your fake band. For instance, if you are creating a fake concept album about artists by a band called “Paint By Numbers” you could call it ?Who?s Your Dada??.  That way it’s funny but also consistent with the bands name and the theme of the album.

Every band has a back story ? you know that part of ?Behind the Music? where Motley Crue brags about hosing all kinds of scags and ingesting tons of drugs in an effort to create the scumbag rep they needed to sell more albums, concert tickets and copies of “Dirt.” Speaking of which, can you believe they are going to make a feature film out of thatbook? Word is that they are looking for unknowns to play the parts of Nikki, Tommy, Mick and Vince. Wow, now there’s an acting gig that just screams star vehicle. But enough about those hacks. What you are going to have to do when creating your fake band’s back story is dig deep and really come up with something that will capture your audience?s attention. Think about where your band?s members came from and what experiences helped them become the band they are now. Were they in previous bands? Did they escape from prison? Do they have any brain cells left? Are they hermaphrodites? These are all questions you should consider when creating your band?s bio. One trick is to take elements of real band?s back stories (i.e. Jimmy Page?s interest in Aleister Crowley, Ian MacKaye’s hardcore straight-edge DIY aesthetic, G.G. Allin?s hotdog and banana antics and Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P.’s obsession with exploding codpieces) and mix them all up into a fine stew that produces a fake band like Fugue Ozzy. Needless to say the more salacious or funny you make your band?s bio the better.

Although most people think this is the most logical place to start, I disagree. Music first, name second in my book. And any old name just won?t do. You?ve got to find something that is imaginative, catchy and memorable. Ideally it should help to sum up the band?s sound, but it?s not necessary. After all Extreme was far from extreme. I tend to go for name?s that make people laugh, because I think it helps them to remember the band, especially a fake band, but sometimes just coming up with something totally nonsensical can create something that everyone gravitates towards.

This mean’s more than just what type of music you’ll be playing. You’ve got to decide how many people to have in your band. Are you a power trio, an orchestra or simply a DJ with a sampling program? Will you have 4 guitarists, an oboe player and a drummer? Once you’ve determined the band’s personnel/overall makeup you’ll need to decide what kind of music will they be playing. I realize that many bands dabble in a variety of musical styles, but pick one to start with, you can always experiment with their fake “sound” later.