5/19/10 FINAL COUNTDOWN
We’re in the final countdown to raise money for the White Horses album release through Kickstarter.com. We’ve met the minimum of what we need to get the record out there and now we have a chance to promote it by funding a tour. That’s why I’m still asking you to tell friends about this, to post the link on your blog or facebook, and to order an advance copy of the record at Kickstarter.com..
I am so grateful to those of you who have dug deep and given your support. Your words of encouragement mean so much. It’s a huge deal to release a record with the support of fans and friends. I feel 100 times more accountable knowing that people who believe in my music are joining me in funding its release.
So I want to let you know exactly what I’m doing with your money and mine to make this happen. Since I started in 2005, I’ve funded all my records independently, by working as a waitress, cleaning houses, editing copy, and of course playing shows and selling those records. With every new record, I gain more exposure, play better shows, sell more copies. I have yet to break even, but I’m getting closer. My goal as an artist is to live as an artist, modestly and consistently, devoting my time and attention to songwriting, recording and touring. I have high standards of quality for my work and I’ve been blessed to find people who are willing to give their time and energy to help me achieve those at less of a cost than they normally require. I recorded White Horses in an amazing studio with a band of pros and an incredibly talented producer. On a shoestring.
A recent article in the New York Times discusses the Kickstarter method of bankrolling a rock band versus the traditional way:
"The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry released a report last month that said record companies invest around $5 billion a year in musical talent. The sum spent on a new artist or group is typically $1 million, including an advance of $200,000, a package of three videos that cost an additional $200,000, and $300,000 in promotion and marketing.
The report did not point out that the approximately 4,000 lucky artists who are on the rosters of the major record companies represent 0.3 percent of the artists found on MySpace."
I won’t go into why I’m not in that .3 percent. That’s another discussion, but it has a great deal do with the economy and the state of the music industry. There are a lot fewer labels for one, and therefore, a lot less support. And that’s all tied to the fact that the majority of people do not buy records anymore, they download them for free.
So let’s think about this.
A record that fans can and do download illegally costs me quite a bit of money and a year’s worth of time. I’m lucky to have listeners who buy my records, often for more than I’d ever ask them to pay, but compared with the amount of people downloading my songs illegally, those loyal fans aren’t even scratching the surface.
I spent $12,000 to record White Horses.
I needed at least $5,000 more to give it a proper release. That’s where Kickstarter came in.
With your generous help, we’ve raised that $5,000. Here’s how we’ll spend it:
$2,000 for CDs
$3,000 for promotion
That doesn't include money spent on mailings, websites, advertising, merch, and certainly not touring. Touring is something I’ve never been able to do as I’ve been at home working to fund these records. That’s not a complaint, it’s just my reality at the moment.
I spent $470 on promotional mailings this week. These seem like big numbers, but when you look at what the industry spends, I’m doing this for next to nothing. And it can work.
I’d need $5,000 to go out on a US tour to support the record. That would be a sleeping in the van, eating Cheetos, living off t-shirt sales sort of a tour. But it’d be worth it, cause we’d reach thousands of people who’ve never heard these songs before.
I’m not asking for a million dollars, not even a $300,000 promotions budget, not even a $100,000 studio advance. I just want to keep making records and playing shows and meeting good folks like you, to be part of this thing we call life, through art and music and love.
Thanks again for your amazing support, your listening ears, your love.
Look what all y'all did!! We met our goal with time to spare! Thank you for believing in this project! I can't wait to send you all shiny new records!
$5,000 is a great start for releasing this record. CD's are now in production, promotion is starting up. We even have an official release date, June 29, 2010!
It'd be great to raise even more money to TOUR out to your hometown. Records, promotion, touring, it costs lots of money. We've hit $1,000 a week thus far and I'd love to keep it going through June 4. That would mean I'd be able to take the band out for a full on NATIONAL TOUR, which would mean awesome shows all for you, complete with super fab swag-- t-shirts, vinyl records, giant posters, you name it.
Thank you thank you thank you for making this possible!!
YOU and ME. ME and YOU. We the People. Make it Happen!
3/26/10 KICKOFF MESSAGE
Hey there! I’m in my hometown of Akron, Ohio gearing up to release White Horses, a record that I made in my other hometown, Seattle, Washington. I'll be putting it out this summer on my own little label, Red Valise Recordings.
A wise man once told me that it doesn’t matter how good your record is if no one hears it. Its like a tree falling in a forest. That’s what I’m here to talk with you about. As you can imagine or perhaps know first hand, making a record as an independent artist takes a lot of hard work, creative thinking, and money.
The hard part is over; after twenty straight days in the studio, the record is finished and ready to go. I cannot WAIT for you to hear it! It's been blood, sweat, and tears all the way and now its time to give White Horses a proper release.
That’s where you come in...
If you want to hear it, own it, read about it in Rolling Stone and see me play your hometown, you can make it happen.
Kickstarter.com makes it easy to become part of something you care about and believe in. It's about putting your money where your heart is. No matter how big or small your gift, you become part of the project, part of my music, and part of an amazing community of artists and friends.
If we don’t meet our goal by June 4, 2010, your donation is refunded, I don’t get to send you the new record or any cool prizes, and I’ll be back to square one with my tree falling in a great big forest.
BUT IF we DO meet our goal, you’ll get some super rad prizes, presents, rewards, and surprises and I'll get to finish this project and play my new songs for you.
My favorite prize has to do with one of the best parts of being an independent artist and that is participating in the artist community. In this day and age so many are struggling economically and yet the arts continue to survive and even thrive and that’s because people are coming together and working creatively to support one another. I would not be here making records if not for the help of so many friends, fans, and fellow artists. Gratitude is mainline for me. Every day is a gift.
So I’ve decided to create a Wall of Fame, or the Karma Wall as I like to call it, on my website. It will feature people who are involved in supporting my music in many different ways. Give at the $200 level and not only will you receive some cool prizes and surprises like a signed and numbered copy of White Horses, but you’ll also be inducted to the Karma Wall of Fame where we’ll post your photo, a description of what you’re all about, and a link to your website or a website you want to rep. This is especially fab for you artists, entrepreneurs and creative types.
Give what you can and you’ll become part of this great community of artists and friends. Any money raised beyond our goal will go toward a tour of the great USA. $5,000 is just enough to get this started.
Help make this record more than a tree falling in a forest. Thank you for your listening ears and your continued support!!
All my love,
- (70 days)