Crowdfunding/FunRaising and the Music Biz at Large April 11 2017, 0 Comments

I thought I’d try to put my thoughts down on paper after watching the news coverage last night of our new Suburbs album release, and the crowdfunding campaign behind it.

People like to use the words ‘crowdfunding’ and ‘kickstarting’ (which, btw, is a bit like using the word 'Kleenex' when you mean 'tissue') for marketing campaigns that we and our other artistic brethren use to launch the release of new material these days. There are some questions about these practices, but really they're our best options. It works, simply, like this:

In lieu of investment from a larger corporation (major labels like Universal Music - which swallowed up all the old labels we used to be on) we now rely on going directly to our fans - the Crowd - with our own marketing via the far-reaching internet to give our record releases the financial kick in the pants they need to go toddling out into the world.

So, we developed our own crowdfunding platform, a "FunRaiser". Because if you're not having fun, then why bother? Believe me, I know it's hard to find levity these days.

The initial orders we receive by these sorts of campaigns fund the start-up costs that we would have gotten - as recoupable debt, mind you! - from the big labels: the investment into the recording, mixing and mastering of the music, the manufacturing and initial distribution of the product, the marketing and radio promo, and of course if we’re lucky, some sort of compensation for the musicians! After the short window of these "special offer" crowdfunding things, the album is available on all the normal outlets, at the normal price, and we take our fortunes as they come. But please know: downloads from iTunes net us artists pennies on the dollar, a significant percentage of your money goes to Apple, Inc. and of course streaming outlets like Spotify and Pandora, where most listeners access their music, generate fractions of pennies for the creators. We'd like to encourage people to try to forgo those avenues. Always buy the music, tickets, merchandise, whatever, from the artist's own website, if possible.

But I’m not going to complain about something I cannot control. I’m just going to knuckle down and find the most efficient and fun way to get my art to as many people in the world as possible, and try to eliminate the middle man.

After our last Suburbs release - 2013’s “Si Sauvage” - became the largest grossing Kickstarter music campaign in Minnesota, we began to understand how this thing worked. We knew there still existed a passionate fanbase, we knew they were knowledgeable about the way the music business had changed, and they loved being involved in the effort to change it back if possible to a sustainable model for artists, we knew we just needed to provide a simple button where you could pre-order the new album, and if someone somewhere wanted to pitch in more we could bundle up teeshirts and cocktail parties, back stage passes, etc. Perks that brought folks who cared closer to the action.

We could make our OWN web store that could succeed in being the little engine that could, that could generate the capital to run our OWN label, and make our own music and tour and interact with folks on our own terms.

This DIY model may not be the magic cure-all for the music industry malaise at large, but I think it's a start.

Check it out here.

Thanks for listening,


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