When Chris Farmer’s VOD from Vibralux went live last week, many people gladly paid $4.99 for it.
But, for a small window of time, if you Googled “Chris Farmer VOD” on your way to the Sellfy page, a YouTube link came up.
Well, that fun is over.
So Farmer’s VOD that was released this week—part of the Vibralux series that’s included Alex Broskow, John Bolino, Brian Freeman, Chris Haffey, and next Don Bambrick—skirted the $4.99 charge for a few hours.
Someone downloaded it and posted it to YouTube.
But that’s not the end of it and those behind it—or at least in favor of it—put in extra effort to ensure their version was seen in favor of the paid downloads.
/r/rollerblading, Reddit’s subreddit for all things blading, was spammed with dozens of links pointing toward the pirated video. Moderators spent hours watching the activity and removing the links.
Hunter Dasten, one of the mods, sent these over:
The accounts doing the posting were created within minutes of each other, and hammered /r/rollerblading with links of the YouTube upload the same night it came out. As you can see, the account names centered on rollerblading, anti-VOD, or anti-Vibralux.
Technically speaking, that kind of spamming is simple work for a bot. It’s not even that hard for someone with an axe to grind, like the kind of spiteful hatred that fuels comic book villains.
A reddit user going by the name mike_jibbs—whose account was created in the same barrage of new handles as the spammers and since been deleted—had some choice words to share on threads related to Farmer’s edit going live.
The first was on a link to the Sellfy page:
“So we should blindly give money to a ‘pro’ that is too lazy to be professional enough to get sponsorships from large brands that aren’t in the small circle of aggressive companies? Fuck that. Some guy posted it on youtube, go watch it there.”
And on another post on the pirated version, he’s essentially taken away /r/circlejerk’s thunder:
“More people need to do this. VOD for income generation is just fucking lazy. Pros need to market themselves and get sponsored by companies that are outside blading. Look at the Yasutokos, they have huge brands paying for them to travel the world and don’t need to work service jobs to pay their bills.
Every VOD should be spammed all over youtube so this bullshit will stop.
I wish there was more to go on regarding this. That’s as far as my internet sleuthing has on whoever had such a crusading vendetta against VODs, AJ, or Farmer to hit them where it hurts most.
I’d love to know who was responsible, just to ask them what’s got them so riled up they need not only upload the video to YouTube, but to go to such efforts (i.e. spamming /r/rollerblading) to make sure people see that version over the $4.99 version.
At this point in rollerblading’s history, if you don’t think people like Adam Johnson, Chris Farmer, Chris Haffey, Alex Broskow, John Bolino, Brian Shima, and other who have released a VOD—all equating to pennies per hammer—don’t deserve a few bucks, then fuck you.
But Chris took it jokingly as a compliment that of all the people in rollerblading, the instant piracy would happen to him.
“It is what it is. Shit happens. All we can do is move forward,” Farmer said. “All I know is that I’m going to be the happiest dude on Earth to be rolling around tomorrow for the first time in a month plus.”
(Chris injured himself repeatedly in the making of the VOD.)
People can harp and moan that pros should blade full-time but find outside sources to pay rent so the audience doesn’t have to pay $5. Maybe next time you see Chris he’ll be wearing a T-shirt from Red Bull or Draft Kings, but as I’ve noticed, but that’s really not his style.
AJ’s thankful for the support of his videos, and prefers that the $5 pirate go ignored.
“I like that the community responded by notifying us to the bullshit rather than taking advantage,” AJ said. “Fifteen snitches to the 230 views. Pretty good.”
Before we leave the topic of /r/rollerblading, check out the AMA with Jelle Van den Audenaeren, the developer behind the upcoming inline skating video game “On A Roll.”
Floyd Mayweather Doesn’t Rollerblade
Blade video pirates aren’t revolutionaries and they certainly aren’t Robin Hood because in this game, they’re hurting the artists dedicating their own time and resources to make videos that rarely break even.
If this sounds too much like a MPAA PSA, I apologize. It’s not meant to be because the people you see in videos—and those behind the camera—aren’t working on Hollywood budgets. Personally, I like that AJ flies people out to film awesome tricks and puts together something I own and can watch whenever I want.
The VODs being released are seeing a miniscule number of eyeballs compared to anything shown in a place that charges $12 for a popcorn and soda. We’re not talking downloads in the millions here. Not even in the thousands. Maybe, if it’s a good one, it’s in the thousand.
If making videos continues to be a money pit, well, there’s only so long a love of rollerblading and art can remain top priority. Facts are facts, rent doesn’t pay itself, and Comcast doesn’t accept hopes and dreams as a valid form of payment.
Instead of asking pros to sell-out, why is it so taboo to ask rollerbladers to buy-in?
I don’t think I’m reaching too far in saying the majority of rollerbladers—most who are strapped for cash themselves—are forking out their debit cards. We may not have the numbers, but those who put up their own hard money to watch rollerblading videos online, well, you know you’re awesome.
In February, Broskow did an AMA on Reddit. One question asked if Alex could say how much he made, as the user inquired about supporting VODs.
“I can’t, but I will tell you that the VODs help a tremendous amount. Its kinda unreal,” Broskow replied.
Tuesday, he was out filming for his section in the upcoming Thee Strange video.
I hope when that head injury heals he’s ready to go pitch himself to Vitamin Water or the Navy to cover the hospital bills.
We’re fortunate that such talented people have stuck with pointing lenses and people who want to wrestle with inanimate objects at high speed. Even the worst rollerblading clip is still better than whatever gender a Kardashian chooses.
Popular culture, well, they disagree. Doesn’t means they’re in the wrong, but it does mean they’re wrong.
Rollerblading kicks ass. We all like watching it. And unless you’re experiencing it with your own two eyes, thank a blade videographer and the skaters getting injured to do it.
“The function of the artist is to make people like life better than they have before.” — Kurt Vonnegut
That’s what video makers do and improving your life ain’t cheap.
Right now, someone with a name you probably don’t know is schlepping away at crappy job for too long to buy their first legit camera.
And that’s why we’ve had people like Dave, Lonnie, AJ, Ivan, Beau, Erik, Todd, Joey, GL-Joe, Carl, Lomax, Vinny, V3000, Yeter, Negrete (RIP), David, Kevin, Blake, Bruce, Danny, Victor, and countless others that have arranged spots, directed skaters, collected footage, run out of battery, brought spotlights, risked their gear being stolen, went blind in front of a computer editing, waited on renders, pulled their hair out over technical difficulties, and still had to deal with ocial media strategy and execution, interviews, and everything else that comes with promotion just to make something people demand to see but don’t believe is worth any money.
I tried walking away from a Best Buy with all the equipment needed to produce a quality blade video, and now I’m facing shoplifting charges the prosecutor is considering charging as felony burglary.
Who knew all that shit wasn’t free?
But I’m with you in the idea that it’s hard to justify paying for content on the internet. Fuck if I’m ever going to be the guy who has to explain porn charges on my credit card.
It’s good advice to put your money where you mouth is, and so many rollerbladers have been pulling out their wallets that VODs are helping supplement pro blader income.
No one is excited that the current economic climate of aggressive inline skating has turned itself into feeling like a strip club, but like both places, if you want to see something, pay something.
But standing outside the front door holding copies of Hustler won’t change things. If anything, it’ll get your picture in the paper, or some half-ass blade blogger calling you a piece of shit in a thousand different ways. But this is where the crusade ends.
It’s over. You lost.
It’d be cool if you used your obvious talents on something useful, but you do you, and the rest of us, well, we’ll keep investing in the people who put in the blood, sweat, and tears to entertain and inspire us.
Blade or Die,
— Brian Krans
P.S.—I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written here. We do a blading podcast you should check out, if you haven’t already. (Yes, it’s free.)
If you want more to read from me—especially if you don’t fancy yourself a reader and and you’ve made it this far—try out one of my books: A Constant Suicide, Freeze Tag on the Highway, or Assault Rifles & Pedophiles: An American Love Story.
You can get them from your local skate shop or at RockTownPress.BigCartel.com. Use the promo code BLADING to get 20 percent off your entire order from Rock Town.
If you don’t want to read them and can’t afford to pay for them, check your local library. If they don’t have it, let me know and I’ll send them a copy.