I have to admit, when my friend showed me a particular YouTube video in early 2008, I had no idea it would change the way I thought about music forever. With those tinny little voices singing so unintelligibly over that dry accordion and harpsichord line, I laughed and wondered why he thought that was good music. Well, don't I look silly now...Here I am trying to make an album with the very same software I laughed at not so long ago!
Translations: 日本語で読む - Japanese
My name is Eric "Kodakami" Freischlad, and I am merely a month away from seeing my dream for the last few years become a reality. My dream: The world's first music album dedicated to showcasing the amazing versatility of PowerFX's "Big Al" VOCALOID voicebank.
So a little bit about me. I've been a semi-professional video game musician for almost six years, with 15 projects to my name. Many of these titles were developed with Enterbrain's RPG Maker, most notably Whisper of a Rose by RosePortal Games.
While game music is my professional passion, VOCALOID has become my musical sandbox. Since 2009, I have produced 14 singles featuring VOCALOID voicebanks, with Headline Love being performed live in concert at 4 different venues over the last year!
Big Al is a virtual vocalist created by PowerFX and is powered by Yamaha's revolutionary VOCALOID voice synthesis engine. He boasts amazing clarity, is capable of tackling almost any genre, and has a level of utility not seen in rival VOCALOID voicebanks. With The BIG ALbum, I hope to showcase just some of this versatility.
Why VOCALOID? I am convinced that singing synthesis is the next big thing in the ever-evolving world of electronic music, and I want to have you convinced as well! It's a worldwide phenomenon with virtual singers in Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and of course English, featured in music all around the globe. Virtual Idol Hatsune Miku even headlined an event held in 2010 at L.A. Live's Nokia Theater and served as a spokesfigure for the Toyota Corola.
Big Al is property of PowerFX Systems AB. Used with permission.
The BIG ALbum is my first attempt at putting together a full and proper album of all-original, never-before-released VOCALOID songs. Each song features lyrical tracks in the voice of Big Al, which I meticulously sequenced in the VOCALOID Editor.
Even though I know it's not the most economically savvy choice, I've never charged a dime for my VOCALOID music, and I don't plan to start today. The BIG ALbum will be free to download from my website at Kodakami.com. The album just needs its finishing touches, and will be ready for release on Big Al's birthday (December 22nd, 2012).
BUT! The physical CD can't happen without you! While digital downloads are certainly the future of media, there's nothing like the irony of grasping a physical CD starring a virtual artist in the palm of your hand! That, and having an album professionally cut and pressed is a landmark achievement that artists, even in this digital age, still strive for.
You might ask, "Well, what's in it for me?" I hardly expect you to throw money at me for nothing, and that's why Kickstarter has Rewards Tiers!
- All backers will receive early access to the digital download.
- Backers who contribute $10 or more will receive a physical copy of the CD (complete with jewel case, and 8-panel insert).
- Backers who contribute $15 or more will receive an autographed version of the album, and a thank-you email.
- Backers who contribute $30 or more will receive the Premium Package, which includes all the previous rewards tiers plus a USB Flash Drive pre-loaded with special bonus content, including instrumental and dub versions of the album tracks.
[International backers, please include extra for shipping outside the US]
While the the full album will be available free to download everyone for the physical edition will include one 'bonus' track exclusive to the physical CD.
*Final USB drive model/design is subject to change. Details in Update #1.*
I want to thank you all for your time, and hopefully your interest in supporting The BIG ALbum. Remember to check Kodakami.com on December 22nd, and your email inboxes for early access if you decide this project is worth backing. Please feel free to share and tweet about this Kickstarter to all your friends! Together, we can take this project to the next level!
Without Kickstarter, and backers like you, our dream of publishing this album would never have been possible. We solemnly pledge 5% of all future profits to help make others dream a reality. Learn more at KickingItFoward.org
Visit Our KickTraq for project stats, cool graphs, and more!
Risks and challenges
Physical CDs faces their own set of challenges when compared to digital distribution. First and foremost are the hurdles of physical production, the economics of scale, and the man hours required to tackle such a project.
Initial costs to have a physical CD pressed, particularly in a small production run are high, if insufficient preorders are made, to keep things economical it may be cheaper to have a larger quantity produced, eating the costs, and sitting on the excess product, than having a small quantity (less than 100) produced. Good news is that after that tipping point the economics of scale kick in and each CD only becomes cheaper to produce. That being said, production, cost and time overruns are always a risk, making it very important to get an accurate estimate from the publisher and keep in contact with them throughout the production process.
Second after the physical CD is actually produced, getting the product to your backers is a hurdle in itself. Particularly challenging will be the international backers who are significantly more expensive to ship to, and you have the various customs agencies to deal with. Though extra will be charged to international backers, $2-3 asked is not likely to cover all the additional international shipping costs. Shipping was built into domestic reward tier pricing, but international shipping remains harder to predict, although it is still something we want to do.
The largest risk that faces this project is the perfect storm of a low number of backers, and a disproportionately high number of those backers being international. It was this reason our funding goal is set 15% higher than our projected ‘break even’ point, giving us a bit more breathing room if there are any cost overruns in either international shipping or physical CD production.
Though easier than physical production and shipping, digital distribution will have its own hurdles. Usually you would partner with an existing service such as Bandcamp, but none of these existing services allow for the pre-release digital albums for specific users. For this reason we have developed a solution ourselves, through our own website, Kodakami.com. As this will be our first major album release the digital distribution method is as of now untested. Hopefully there won’t be any problems, but we will have our web developer and server administrator on hand on release date just in case.
Thanks for your consideration,
- The BIG ALbum Team
- (17 days)