Writing songs is what I love doing. The last couple years, I've been more focused and intent on my writing. Usually when I'm able to write in fits and batches, those songs end up with a sort of essential commonality to them. And the songs that have flowed from this particular period seem to have taken on a mystic nature.
I'm really excited about that. In sum total, these songs make up a collection that I'm more enthusiastic about than any I've ever worked on before. I'm calling the record "Owls" because when I think of the individual tunes, I imagine them perched overhead, lined up on a branch, somewhat ethereal in their nature, aloof observers of our human condition . . . wise in their nocturnal and elevated perspective.
I really am thrilled to have them come together here on this album. And I'm elated to finally be able to share them with you.
HOW I'M SPENDING THE MONEY - PRODUCTION:
The money I'm asking for is to help me produce the album, and then to help me release the album properly into the world. I'm budgeting $15,000 for the production of the record, and then $5000+ for the promotional release campaign. I'm confident I can fulfill my vision for that amount of money.
Your contribution will help me hire these spectacularly talented people:
- Producer David Goodrich (produced Chris Smither, Jeffrey Foucault . . .)
- Engineer Keith Gary (engineered Paul Simon, Coldplay . . .)
- Andrew Pressman on bass
- Mike Meadows on drums
- Carrie Elkin, Daniel Thomas Phipps, and Ali Holder singing harmonies.
HOW I'M SPENDING THE MONEY - PUBLICITY:
I want to be transparent about how this all works. Publicity costs a fortune. To get widespread attention for an album, you need a large team of professionals spreading it far and wide. There are distinct tiers of publicity that can be hired . . .
$5,000 buys you the basic "Folk Album" level of promotional support, and $16,000 buys you the "Major Media Outlets" level of promotional support. That's a large disparity of cash. And an equally large disparity in results. It marks the difference between getting the album reviewed by independent blogs, small press, and niche folk radio shows versus getting interviewed on NPR, reviewed in the New York Times, and distributed to commercial radio. The higher-priced agencies simply have deeper relationships, access to bigger media, and a larger team dedicated to the project.
If I meet my campaign goal, my budget allows me to hire the more modest (but perfectly acceptable and professional) "Folk Album" publicity team. If I exceed my goal by enough money, I will expand my budget to allow me to hire the "Rock Star" team to promote the album on a broader and higher platform.
STRETCH GOALS DEFINED . . .
If this campaign really takes off, and the sum grows past the level of "Assistance" and into the realm of "Broad Artistic Sponsorship" . . . I've defined two lofty Stretch Goals:
If the campaign raises $50,000 or more: I will take the year off from touring and from the business of music (besides the few shows I'm already committed to), and I will dedicate myself full time to the job of songwriting. Every month, I'll host a free online concert for anyone who wants to hear what I've been working on.
If the campaign raises $100,000 or more: I will release Owls for free to everyone. Downloads will be made free to the world, and physical copies will be made free to the world. The credits on the package will simply say: "Owls is a gift to you made possible by the miraculous patronage of our beloved music community."
Risks and challenges
Assuming I don't flee to the Amazon jungle in a fit of production madness, the only risks and challenges associated with making and releasing my record are in deciding who to work with on the release.
Before committing to releasing it completely independently, I would like the opportunity to shop the album around to a handful of indie labels who I admire and see if it might be a good fit. "A good fit" is an extremely complicated calculus these days, and so the shopping process can be a slow and patient and extremely measured one. So there's that potential delay.
And then if/when I do end up releasing the album fully independently, putting together a team, piecemeal, and coordinating them with the proper lead time can also be a patient process.
So all told, the only real risk is that the release process can take longer than we all think it should. The challenge is that we all might need to be more patient than is our general nature. (You hear that, Danny!)
MY SINCERE GRATITUDE . . .
I thank you very very very much from the bottom of my heart for exploring my music, for considering this campaign, and for your continued emotional and financial support of my music. It is the fuel I run on. So thank you.
All the best --
- (21 days)