Escape Artists Metacast

An urgent update on the status of Escape Artists, its three podcasts, our plans for the future and why we desperately need your help getting there.

Escape Artists Metacast


Escape Artists, Inc.
P.O. Box 83
Woodstock, GA 30188
Additional music provided by D-Form – http://www.reverbnation.com/dform
Sound effects provided by users kasa90 (http://freesound.org/people/kasa90/) and TasmanianPower (http://freesound.org/people/TasmanianPower/) of FreeSound.org

Comments (23)

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  1. MM says:

    Whenever I see the desperate need of a donation-based organisation to fund-raise I have the following thoughts:

    – is their need to fund-raising due to the misguided wish to grow?
    – is their need to fund-raising based on expectations to increase profits / salaries

    the issue is, that I have seen this happen too often: a well working online service suddenly wants to grow and grow, and for that requires more funding, which in turn, in many cases means a degradation of quality. Dublab, imo is a very good example suffering this problem.

    My personal opinion is that there is nothing wrong in doing things at a medium scale, growth is not always good. And more importantly growth quite often leads to lowering of quality.

    Having said all this, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG, with growing or fund-raising, BUT I’d find it much easier to donate if I new what the targets would be and what the money would be used for.
    By understanding expenses, income and numbers of listeners it would be much easier for me to understand whether supporting an organisation is something I should be doing or not.

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what you guys do and I’d really like to donate, but for me it is about emancipation of customers and transparency.

    Apologies if this information is available somewhere, if it is, it’s clearly not obvious enough.
    I hope I am making sense with this, it’s meant as constructive feedback.

    • Mat says:

      There is extended discussion here:

      Keep in mind that this is not a Kickstarter or an investment plan, it’s us saying, “we’d like to keep going, and we need money for that. If you can spare $2 for the 800+ episodes we’ve given away freely, that would be great. If not, sorry to have bothered you.”

      • Mel says:

        I do agree with MMs comment.
        You are asking for a donation and transparency helps us see whether the money is invested wisely, and also helps you to let people understand of whether their contribution does make a change, or how much they should be donating.
        Being snippy about it doesn’t really foster your course…
        Or maybe I am misreading your response, maybe because the link was missing?

        • Mat says:

          I apologize, there was honestly no snippiness there. Personally, I just don’t think that way or conceive of how it would make a difference. If I pass a guy playing guitar on the street, and I enjoy his music, and I have some change, I toss it in. If he’s not so good or I don’t have any money, I don’t. If I do, it doesn’t matter what he does with the money, it wouldn’t me benefit more or less for knowing. I’m not paying him to be here tomorrow, I’m thanking him for making me smile today. He already gave away the merchandise, I just decided to show my thanks with some money.

          As it happens, we do intend to use the money to continue going, so in that respect a subscription pays the giver twice.

          And I’m sorry the links didn’t show up, I think I have them fixed now.

    • Mat says:

      Forgive me if my first response seemed curt, it was not intended that way at all.

      To answer your questions, the fund raising crisis is due to the fact that we love our art and are shy about asking for subscriptions. In recent times, as you can imagine, subscriptions have been lapsing faster than they have been coming in, so we needed to ask plainly, in a way that’s a little more expressive than the 3-second mention we put on the end of every episode. Overall, the responses have been almost 50% something like, “oh, mine lapsed and I forgot to re-up it, thanks for the reminder!” So, mission accomplished.

      We do wish to grow, but all of our growth goals are prioritized below the maintenance goals.

      As to salaries, this was from one of my comments in the forum:
      “…if it puts your mind at ease at all, half of the staff is paid, half is volunteer. The ones that are paid earn enough to purchase one or two lunches for themselves every week at a modest restaurant [that’s a fact, not hyperbole]. The rest goes into overhead. There are no rich folks here. If you created a company to do what we do, to cover your cost to an audience of <100k would be $3-$4 per episode. We're hoping you'll consider giving us $.07 per episode, and if you can't or won't we'll still give them to you as long as we can."

      Our priority has never been/is not/is not planned to be to get more money for ourselves. You'd be hard pressed to get this crew to vote for themselves to get more money rather than rolling it back into the shows.

      I hope that helps. Please feel free to discuss it further on the forum or email me directly if there's something I can do to help.

    • Beardmites says:

      Hey Escape artists,

      I’m a great fan of what you’re doing, and I would like to support you regularly. However, I’m based in Europe, so it makes little sense to give a regular subscription, as handling fees basically eat a large proportion of what I give. Instead, I give largish sums (c. $100) about once a year. If you would like a more reliable income revenue from the fans in Europe, you’ll have to work out some way for us to get money to you without big transfer fees. Otherwise, I’ll just keep sending sporadic lumps.

      Oh, once again: love what you do. Rocks my world every week.



      • Yonatan says:

        I second what the gentleman (or lady?) above said. If I donate through PayPal each month, the commission will eat away a large part of the donation. Perhaps setting up a yearly subscription is a good option to solve this, as EA will have subscribers and keep a larger part of the nominal donation.

        • Steph Peters says:

          In the past I was only able to give sporadically, but now I am financially able to commit to a regular payment I find it doesn’t make sense. I would sign up for an annual subscription too.
          Can you please give your email address for Paypal so I can make a one-off transfer? The donation link is denominated in US $, but I need to make a payment in Euros.

  2. Joe Helfrich says:

    Is there a way to set up a subscription that does not involve Pay Pal?

  3. EtherealMind says:

    I couldn’t live without my Escape Pod or Podcastle. I donated another $50 for the year. Hope it helps.

  4. John H. says:

    Sorry to hear folks haven’t been chipping in enough. I’m a subscriber from way back, glad to renew, even though I don’t get to listen as often as I’d like. Keeping you as a viable part of the market for excellent, diverse sff stories is well worth it.

    If you need another reader in your stable, I’d be glad to volunteer. I was Klaatu in the PMRP’s recent production of “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Best wishes.

    • Mat says:

      Email me a sample of your reading (it can be 5 paragraphs from any book you have laying around the house) and I’ll see about getting you into the rotation. You can edit out repeats and long pauses, but please don’t manipulate the sound file in any other way. Send to matweller@gmail.com.

      Thanks for your subscription and for your interest in helping in other ways!

  5. Matan Czaczkes says:

    Hi Escape Artists,

    I’ve never posted on the forums but I’ve been listening to the show since it’s first episode and have been extolling it’s virtues (and business model) to all my friends for years.

    Though I have donated single payments in the past I did not realise that you were in such dire financial straights, thus I found the metacast to very welcome – I would not have liked the show to go under without a chance of doing something about it. Just wanted to say fair play for putting it up even though asking for money doesn’t come naturally, which is nice in itself.

    It would be really nice to have an update close to the end of the year as to how things are going.

    Best of luck, keep up the good work, you guys make thousands of people’s live better.


  6. Norm says:

    We really appreciate all the support coming in. I’m looking forward to us being able to give updates soon on the situation. I hope, as do you I’m sure, that it’s good news!

    On one level I understand the concern of anyone demanding transparency and funding targets be made public. That’s a reasonable request of a nonprofit initiating a fundraising event and legally required in many states. It’s worth noting though that we aren’t actually a 501c3 nonprofit and this isn’t really a fundraising event though. We’ve got one of those planned in 2014, with an actual goal. This isn’t about growing to a new level or expanding, this is Paul our accountant telling us that we’re running a deficit every month and need to increase donations substantially or we can’t pay authors at the same rate or at all.

    We’re asking for $2 a month to keep us going, because if even a small fraction of our listeners give that we’ll be fine. It’s totally fine if that’s too much for your budget or if you’re uncomfortable committing that much a month without reviewing a comprehensive financial strategic plan on our end. We’re still totally cool with giving you 12 free stories a month between the 3 of us. I think the metacast was designed for people who dig our product enough to help out at that minimal level at least, that’s all.

  7. James Cleveland says:

    I was alarmed to see the tweet from the @NoSleepPodcast linking to this. I posted on the comments for their most recent episode and then decided I should say something here too:

    I believe that, while you maintain the model of offering content without requiring payment, it most certainly does not mean that this content is ever “free”.
    There’s no such thing as “free” because someone, somewhere, has to pay for the server costs, royalties and other overheads.

    I haven’t been listening EA podcasts recently because I never seem to find time (and got overwhelmed by the sheer amount that I haven’t listened to) but, ever since they were highlighted back in the 2nd NoSleep anniversary episode, they pretty much became the soundtrack to my life for the rest of 2012. I feel it is only fair that I give something back.

    I’m not in the best financial position myself but, at the same time, I’m also not in a position where I can’t afford the incredibly small asking price for that kind of content. I feel as though these podcasts add considerably more value to my life than say; a TV package costing 10 times as much that I’d hardly ever watch.

    Consider me subscribed and I’m going to try and get caught up now!

    In addition to helping with the bottom line, I’d also love to contribute vocally at some point in the future if you’ll consider me!

  8. I wanted to subscribe last Christmas (or perhaps the one before) when the alphabet series was released. I am so sorry I forgot. I have since added the Pod Castle. I don’t think I liked the forums much, because I didn’t want to “join”, but I really love your work. The only episode I regretted listening to was the one this last summer about a kid selling body parts slowly. (I wanted to wash my mind eyes out afterwards and I really didn’t think that would be enough.)

    You all really do great work. Sorry for slacking on my side.

  9. Richard Vogel says:

    I’ve been wanting to increase my monthly PayPal donation but did not see a way to do so. I would prefer to give a single monthly donation like I have been doing, just increasing the amount. If you can send some instructions I would gladly give more.

  10. Richard Vogel (Dwango) says:

    Never mind. I cancelled my subscription at 5 dollars and increased it to 15 on Escape Pod. I really love the stories and the great hosts and would hate to see this go away. Thanks for all the great stories and the information on other writers to read more on. Let us know if you need more help.

  11. Aaron says:

    I just want to say thanks for all the content and excellent stories. I kept putting off making a donation, thinking you’ll be here tomorrow and I’ll get to it later, but seeing this post and realizing the need I’ve now signed up for a subscription and made a separate one time donation. Please don’t go!!! I drive a lot and these stories keep me awake and sane through all the long hours on the road.
    Thank you for keeping at this. This podcast is important to me. You all are so very awesome!