UPDATE! We've hit the minimum goal! Woohoo! There are still a lot of additional costs to cover in this project. The STRETCH GOAL for the last 15 hours of the campaign is $13,000. This will help cover final touches in the studio, proper promotion and publicity, and a radio campaign. Even if you're just coming to the project after we've hit our original goal, please join us in reaching for a bigger budget to make the album even better. Thank you!
6 years ago I thought I was done making music (at least seriously) for good. With my band, I'd released two records that I was proud of, and played a couple hundred shows. We were doing well, but not “making it”, and I decided it was time to try my hand at something else. A winding road brought me to graduate school and eventually elementary education in Colorado.
I loved working with my students and found great satisfaction as a teacher. But one night a couple years ago, I was driving my scooter home and got hit by a truck making an illegal turn. All told, the scooter was totaled and I had a broken nose and a few bruises. To say I was really lucky is an understatement, and I felt overwhelmed by the idea that it could have all ended in an unexpected moment like that. Processing my experience and seeking solace in one of my oldest friends, I wrote a few newly inspired songs on my treasured, beat up, objectively worthless Sigma dreadnought guitar. The tune "You're Okay, It's Alright" came out of that and became a kind of mantra for me for the coming years. It was a comfort in moments of doubt, and a reminder that I wanted to be sure to follow my deepest passions with my time on Earth, however long or brief.
Fast forward two more years. I've since taken it as a kind of obligation to myself to make music with passion and discipline and to share it with others. I've written dozens of new songs, played another hundred shows or so, and formed a great band. Together, we've headlined at various local venues and festivals, attracted scores of new fans, and formed a family of our own around these tunes.
the new record
Now it comes to this. My band and I are going to record a full length record with producer Joshua James at his studio in Utah. I'll be bringing the whole band out for several days to record the best versions of the best songs I've written out of all of the last 6 years off of recording, but especially from the last two years of new vision, new purpose, new hope for a future in music.
We need to raise what feels like a lot of money to make this record. But the cool thing about this kind of funding is that when everyone jumps in, it’s not too much for any one person. And the band is contributing too: Over the last two years, we’ve pinched our pennies from music earnings and saved $7,500 toward this project. I’ll explain the details below, but we need to raise at least $11,500 to make the record. Not too bad! For some perspective, Planet Money* calculates that producing and promoting a hit song (1 song! NOT an album!) costs roughly $1,000,000! WHAT!? On that scale, my budget is pretty reasonable. I also have a really important stretch goal of $20,000. This amount would fund not only making the record, but also properly promoting it. Why make a work of art that barely gets heard at all? For a very detailed breakdown of the budget, scroll to the bottom.
There are a ton of great things to reward support for this project! Take a look at this awesome t-shirt Mr. Mikel Howarth designed, for instance:
Also - if you don't see a reward package you'd like, please reach out to me and I'd be happy to find a way to accommodate your request. Another note! If you really only want the CD (or any other particular reward), but you'd like to support the project for an amount not listed for that reward, please keep in mind that the dollar amount for each reward is only a minimum; you can definitely pledge more if you want!
Help me by joining this story with your financial contribution and by sharing this with your friends. Ok? Ok. Thanks x1,000,000. I love you all.
samples of past work
Need some proof that I've done this before? You can see my past releases at https://davidburchfieldmusic.com/store. Here's a couple tunes from those past releases as well:
And here's a more recent video of the full band as it is today. We're excited to record this tune!
So for anyone who's made it this far, here’s the actual cost breakdown:
- Production/Recording/Engineering/Mixing/Mastering - This is how the music actually gets made - $13,000
- Travel costs and session fees for musicians - $1,850
- Artwork - $400
- Printing CDs - $1,000
- Digital Distribution - This is how the music gets to your Spotify/iTunes/Amazon/etc. - $100
- Kickstarter fees and taxes - Kickstarter takes a 5% cut of the total raised and charges an additional 3-5% for processing fees. Then the IRS takes it’s cut, counting anything raised here as income taxed at my personal rate, which is around 11% in my bracket. - $2,000
- Instrument rental - Flying some folks in from out of town means they can’t bring it all. I’ve gotta rent a pedal steel. - $200
- Instrument repair - I’ve been playing so much guitar that I’ve literally worn my frets down so much that they don’t make the thing sound the way it’s supposed to sound. I gotta get new frets on that baby. - $450
- Total production budget - $19,000
- Total production budget minus money I’ve already saved ($7,500) - $11,500
That’s just the production budget (you know, to make the stuff), and it totals $19,000. But lately I've been saying to folks "Why would you spend $19,000 to make a record and then spend nothing to promote it and get it into new listeners' ears?" It's surprisingly common in these campaigns. These days, if you want to make a splash, you’ve got to pay for some help to get decent reviews, interviews, blog mentions, blog performances, and a place or two on some hot internet playlists. To get there, I want to run a three-month publicity campaign. So here’s that part of the budget:
- Publicity campaign -$6,000
- Radio campaign - $2,500
- Grand total with these post-production costs - $27,500
- Grand total minus my $7,500 raised - $20,000
Yikes! That’s a whole lotta money to raise. It would be a dream come true, but let’s stick with $11,500 minimum and hope to raise the dream amount. $11,500 feels like a number we can hit! Let’s do it!
I'm grateful to work with amazing photographers and videographers in all that we do. Here's the folks who made stuff you see in this project.
- Main project image - Chugach Peaks Photography / Joe Connolly
- Live band image - Nancy Isaac Photography
- T-shirt Design/Mockup - Mikel Howarth
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk with a project like this is release timeline. Here’s an incomplete list of holdups that could happen along the way:
Scheduling issues break up our recording dates and we don’t finish in the studio till later than planned (which is the end of October 2018, by the way); Mixing or mastering takes longer than expected; My publicist feels strongly about releasing in the fall rather than the late summer; By some miracle, the process of “shopping” this thing to labels picks up some steam and stalls the release through the process of contract negotiations; the print shop I’m using has some issues and can’t get stuff to me quickly enough.
All that said, I’ve set a very conservative release date for July 2019 to give me plenty of time to manage all of the above. Better to do it right than to do it quick, right? I can say that for backers, you’ll get everything before I release it to the general public, by at least a couple weeks.
Another risk is just timing of getting rewards out. In my last Kickstarter campaign I offered original songs and it took me a ridiculously long time (like... way too long) to fulfill that reward. There were a couple problems with that reward mostly based on funding. I didn't set the cost of that reward high enough for me to be able to afford to take time out to write the songs folks wanted in a timely way. I also didn't require enough guidance from my song commissioners; vague song prompts from a few folks made it really hard for me to finish those things up. For this time around, I've appropriately adjusted both the cost and the guidance instructions for this reward.
Otherwise, there’s an inherent risk in Kickstarter’s model. If we don’t raise enough money, or if unexpected costs arise, the project will get stalled. Will it get totally dropped? NO! I’m finishing this record one way or another, but if I run into any serious snags it might get delayed. But gosh. I hope it doesn’t! 6 years between releases is long enough!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)