Blue Monday

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Monday, 11 January 2010 is the day on which LoadingReadyRun began licensing their weekly videos to the Escapist. The day is known among fans as 'Blue Monday'.

Lead-up

Foreshadowing

On 11 November 2009, Graham wrote a blog post explaining how and why the format of commodoreHUSTLE would be changing. In this post he said:

In addition to the reasons I mentioned above, there’s another big reason not to have a monthly update that’s exceedingly self-referential and 17-minutes long, and that reason is something I can’t tell you about now.

Speculation was rampant on the forum.

Announcement

During Desert Bus 3, after a phone conversation with Russ Pitts (editor of the Escapist), Graham announced that LRR would be partnering with the Escapist. At the time, he did not go into detail, merely saying that the Escapist would be distributing their videos, and attempting to assure fans that it would be to the benefit of all.

Shortly afterwards, James wrote this blog post confirming the announcement, though not revealing any other information.

Reaction was rampant on the forum.

Fan reaction

Initial elaboration

On 28 November, after Desert Bus was over, the Crew spent some time during their next LRRcast discussing the deal in more detail. Both here and on the forum, Crew members (especially James and Tim) attempted to reassure and answer questions of fans. James neatly summarised the changes in the official forum thread:
The forums are staying here.

Bonus content stays here. Phailhaus, Iron Stomach, Loading Time, LRRcast stays here. We are not selling the videos, we are licensing them. You do NOT have to join the Escapist forums. The store stays here.

This is really an awesome thing guys, trust us.
These main points were consistently repeated by the Crew in their conversations with fans.

Major concerns

Over the next five weeks, discussion of the deal continued on the forum (both in the official thread and in this additional thread, created about a week before the switch.). While there were plenty of fans who fully supported the deal right away, there were also many who had doubts and concerns. In brief, there were several main points which seemed to present problems:

  • Many active forum members were worried that the forum might be shut down, or die off, and that they would have to migrate to the Escapist forum. Because of the rich history and tightly-knit community at LRR, and the more lowbrow nature of the Escapist's forums, this was a seriously worrying prospect. Fortunately, the Crew were equally adamant about keeping the LRR community intact. There were still concerns, however, that Escapist members would migrate to LRR, thus ruining the forum. Shamus Young, a webcomic artist, described how his site had changed little when he began licensing his content to the Escapist (here). This, along with some common sense from other fans, largely put the matter to rest.
  • Some were worried that LRR would not retain enough creative control or distributing rights over their content; a few people even thought that LRR was being completely bought out. Graham clarified that they would be keeping all creative control of their videos, as well as all of their rights to all of their other content. He, Tim, and Matt emphasised that the only change would be that new videos would be posted on the Escapist, thus earning the Crew money. They further explained that this would result in more free time for several of the Crew, thus resulting in more content being produced (such as the Phailhaus, on-schedule LRRcasts, and bonus videos.)
  • Finally, there was some concern that the Crew would 'stop caring', since they would be paid no matter how much effort they put into production (and similar issues). Multiple Crew members strongly denied this possibility; Matt said of the matter:
    The best I can offer is that we do this not for the money, but because we love it. Period.

    Faces may change, peoples involvement may increase or decrease over time, but LRR is a major unifying force in all of the crews lives. For many of us it's a fundamental part of our personal identity. Something that powerful is tough to break.

    But we can't know what the future will hold. For now, all we can do is pursue the course of action that seems to be in our (and the site's) best interests. And hopefully, you can take it as granted that the continuation and success of LRR is more important to the crew than it probably is to most of you.

    We may be the crew, but we're also the sites biggest fans, and we aren't about to just give up on it at the drop of a hat.
    Graham and many fans agreed, so the prevailing attitude was positive on this subject.(see footnote 1)

Minor concerns

Though most fans were supportive of the switch in general, there were several wide-spread nitpicks.

Support

(Fan support)

Speculation

(Speculation about introduction)

. . .

The Switch

Actual changes

(Title card, credits format)

First Video

Reaction

Results

For the Crew

(Increased crew productivity)

For the community

(New forum members)

(coining of the term)

Possible far-reaching effects

Coinciding changes

LoadingReadyRun v7.0

(v7.0 overhaul)

(new store system)

(Crew status changes)

Notes

  • 1) The user who originally posted this 'concern' later claimed that he was being facetious. While this is probably true, it was not known at the time, and thus everyone's responses were genuine.