Hello my name is Stephen Simmons and I am launching a new Kickstarter Campaign to record my tenth studio album. For those of you that don’t know me, I am a Singer/Songwriter based in Nashville, TN. I am originally from Woodbury, TN but have lived here in Nashville for 14 years. I have been releasing indie albums and touring in America and Europe for the past 10 years now. My debut studio album Last Call came out in 2004. The first two full band studio albums I made pretty much wiped out my life savings at that point. The cost to tour coupled with the amount of compensation the typical artist receives makes it difficult to ever save up again for big studio projects. Being an artist is incredibly rewarding in so many other ways, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the World. However, back a few years ago I wondered how I would ever again record a full band album; and then companies like Kickstarter came along.
I successfully funded my last two full band studio albums using Kickstarter: the first in 2010 (The Big Show) and the last in 2012 (Hearsay). It’s been great to see the fanfunding model really grow in the last few years. Many music fans today understand the limited resources indie artists have. For those of you not familiar with Kickstarter, I set a funding goal and have two months to reach it. It is all or nothing. When you make a pledge Kickstarter processes your credit card to make sure it works, but doesn’t charge you until the campaign ends and IF we hit our goal. In this case $7,000. If we don’t reach our goal, I get no money and all pledges are cancelled.
The money goes mainly to the Studio to record, mix and master the project and the incredible musicians (some of the best in the World here in Nashville) who will play on the album. Plus some for artwork and manufacturing (and maybe even vinyl if we raise enough money). You can check out my past kickstarter campaigns to see how we progressed from the fundraising to recording stage. I will spend more than $7,000 on this album; but this is the minimum I need to get the project made. My hope would be to raise at least 10,000 to have some additional money to properly promote the album; however, as long as we raise $7,000 I can still record the album and deliver to YOU ALL.
Pledgers rewards will range from a simple pre-order of the album; to house concerts and even executive producer credits in the album or a day in the studio. I have a concept for an album that I want to record. It has been brewing in my head for a couple of years; it includes some new songs and some older ones; some I've played live at shows, but none that I've previously recorded. One of the most satisfying things as an artist, is to get to go into the studio and bring your creative vision to life. I'm itching to share this one with the World and hit the road with it.
So thanks again for all the support you’ve given me over the past ten years and counting. And hopefully I’ll see you out on the road soon (with a new album in tow ;-)
Here are a few songs I am considering for the new album:
Additional songs under consideration for the upcoming album:
SILVER MOON SALOON
ON TOP OF A WORLD WITH NO HOPE
RECORDING: I have recorded 4 full length albums with a studio band previously (Last Call, Something In Between, The Big Show, Hearsay). The average it cost for me to record those albums was $7,500. That includes paying studio time, musicians, engineers/producers for the recording and mixing, and a mastering studio. This is why I set my minimum Kickstarter Budget at $7,000.
*Those of you who have followed my music career, know that I also release more stripped down acoustic recordings too. These albums can be made in a day or two with just myself plus an engineer and in a smaller studio. I write a lot of songs and I have many albums I want to make. And rather than sit idly by for two years and not release anything I write, and bury those songs I want to share with the world; I put those projects out in between bigger (and more costly releases).
PHOTOGRAPHY & ARTWORK DESIGN: Sometimes new photos are needed for the album (and we all change a bit over the years ;-), and this can run from $300-$500 for a photo shoot. And the design/layout for a cd project can range anywhere from $300 - $1,000 depending on how many pages are in the cd booklet and what kind of design it is.
MANUFACTURING: Manufacturing costs for a run of cds can be anywhere from $1,000 - $2,000 depending on how many pages are in the booklet, how many colors are used & what type of packaging (jewel case vs. digipak, etc). vinyl on the other hand is even more expensive *this is why I listed a vinyl release as only a "possibility" if we reach our stretch goals. If we reach our stretch goal ($10,000) and I have some money left over, this one of the things I would love to do this time.
PROMOTION & PUBLICITY: I have never had a budget on my own to properly promote an album to radio or use a proper publicist. An Americana Radio Promotion costs around $5,000 and a publicist around $2,000. I've spent my life savings recording my albums, not promoting them. I have been fortunate enough to work with some indie labels as my distributor, where a few times they did promotion for me. Sometimes they hired someone and spent several thousand dollars and sometimes they did it in house with their existing personal. This is one of the reasons to sometimes use an indie label as a partner. But all of the albums I released myself without an indie label, only got promoted organically by myself. This is not the most important thing to me. Yes, I want my album to be heard by more people and promotion helps. But If I'm faced with a limited budget, this gets cut first.
STRETCH GOAL: $10,000
With our minimum goal secured ($7,000) I am hoping we reach $10,000 as our stretch goal to cover some of the additional expenses of making an album. Again, I cannot thank you all enough for being a part of the process of creating another album. We have less than a week to go and then it will be time to get to work doing the fun part: Recording!
Risks and challenges
Risks & Challenges: The biggest challenge will be time. Projects always take longer than you anticipate; no matter how much extra time you try to allow for. Sometimes recording an album is slowed by the studio being booked up or the musicians you want to record with are unavailable. Sometimes the manufacturing hits a snag or the designers for the cd are backed up, etc. Or you think the album is finished and you write a new song that you just have to include on it. I have been self producing albums for over ten years (and you can see my last two projects from Kickstarter were completed and delivered as promised) so the only risk would be something very unforeseen (such as an illness) that would delay the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)