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Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?

GUEST,steve baughman 22 Mar 16 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Musket 22 Mar 16 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Mar 16 - 04:03 PM
Joe Offer 22 Mar 16 - 04:07 PM
Doug Chadwick 22 Mar 16 - 04:21 PM
Cool Beans 22 Mar 16 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,steve baughman 22 Mar 16 - 05:01 PM
GUEST 22 Mar 16 - 06:04 PM
ChanteyLass 22 Mar 16 - 07:21 PM
Mr Red 23 Mar 16 - 04:17 AM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 23 Mar 16 - 04:18 AM
Will Fly 23 Mar 16 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Musket 23 Mar 16 - 06:43 AM
matt milton 23 Mar 16 - 06:46 AM
matt milton 23 Mar 16 - 06:55 AM
Doug Chadwick 23 Mar 16 - 09:57 AM
Doug Chadwick 23 Mar 16 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,Musket 23 Mar 16 - 10:07 AM
Will Fly 23 Mar 16 - 10:12 AM
matt milton 23 Mar 16 - 10:19 AM
matt milton 23 Mar 16 - 10:24 AM
Will Fly 23 Mar 16 - 10:38 AM
matt milton 23 Mar 16 - 10:44 AM
Will Fly 23 Mar 16 - 10:51 AM
matt milton 23 Mar 16 - 11:01 AM
matt milton 23 Mar 16 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 23 Mar 16 - 11:21 AM
mg 23 Mar 16 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,JB 23 Mar 16 - 04:54 PM
meself 23 Mar 16 - 05:26 PM
Anne Lister 23 Mar 16 - 05:49 PM
Joe_F 23 Mar 16 - 05:54 PM
matt milton 23 Mar 16 - 06:04 PM
meself 23 Mar 16 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,JB 23 Mar 16 - 06:16 PM
meself 23 Mar 16 - 06:19 PM
Joe Offer 24 Mar 16 - 01:59 AM
DebC 24 Mar 16 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 24 Mar 16 - 02:44 PM
mg 24 Mar 16 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 24 Mar 16 - 04:06 PM
meself 24 Mar 16 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,steve baughman 24 Mar 16 - 05:02 PM
Anne Lister 24 Mar 16 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Steve Baughman 24 Mar 16 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 24 Mar 16 - 07:26 PM
meself 24 Mar 16 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 25 Mar 16 - 06:35 AM
Phil Cooper 25 Mar 16 - 08:12 AM
meself 25 Mar 16 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 25 Mar 16 - 02:22 PM
meself 25 Mar 16 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 25 Mar 16 - 05:27 PM
GUEST 26 Mar 16 - 03:08 AM
Janie 26 Mar 16 - 09:37 AM
GUEST,Howard Jones 27 Mar 16 - 10:42 AM
punkfolkrocker 27 Mar 16 - 10:59 AM
meself 27 Mar 16 - 09:37 PM
Stower 28 Mar 16 - 08:34 AM
DebC 28 Mar 16 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,steve baughman 28 Mar 16 - 04:41 PM
DebC 28 Mar 16 - 09:52 PM
GUEST 30 Mar 16 - 01:05 PM
DebC 31 Mar 16 - 07:43 AM
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Subject: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,steve baughman
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 02:44 PM

I don't like being cranky, but the flood of folks, including friends of mine, asking for my money for what are essentially their music hobby projects, is bothering me a bit.

Can someone please help me not be cranky about this? After all, I imagine that the practice is here to stay so I probably need to make my peace with it.

But I am old school.

1. If the world wants our music it will initiate the giving.
2. "It never hurts to ask" ain't always true.
3. We have developed a sense of entitlement to having a CD out.

I understand the desire to have our music memorialized on CD. I just don't feel comfy with the view that it is OK to ask others to help finance it.

Please help me be more compassionate and understanding about this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 03:27 PM

Perhaps when you buy a Beatles album you are funding a desire to have your art financed by others?

Just a thought. It's a matter of scale.


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Subject: RE: BS: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 04:03 PM

...errrrmmm.. if anyone wants to paypal me a few quid to put back on the wife's credit card before she finds out.....????

Well.. it was the 3 P90 dogear pickups... and I've never had a Bigsby tremolo before...

A proper rockabilly guitar it is.... 😜

10 generous donors could sort it before the end of the week..

Each will receive a signed photo of my hands holding the guitar in front of a mirror.

[ might be a bit blurred as I'm shite at taking selfies...]


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 04:07 PM

Hi, Steve (are you the Spring Sing Thing Steve?)-

I get cranky about it, too - and sometimes people have jumped on me for being hard-hearted. Same goes for other kinds of crowd-funding, like using the Web to solicit funds for somebody who's had a tragedy. On the Internet, it's hard to tell what's authentic and what's not.

Back in 2013, somebody started a thread here (click) at Mudcat, asking for funds to help Andy M. Stewart, who had medical problems that eventually led to his death. I questioned the authenticity of the appeal, and some people weren't very happy with me for a time. I was eventually convinced the appeal was authentic, but it's really hard to tell.

There are some Mudcatters who have used crowd-funding to put together a CD, and most of them have done a very good job of it. Deb Cowan is one of those people who does everything right, anyhow; so I expected her to do a good job of crowdfunding a CD. She didn't disappoint me. She took supporters along with her on the journey, telling them of her experiences and she went along the process of producing the CD - and sending us MP3s along the way.

I know you and I disagree about songbooks, but I've been a user of Rise Up Singing since it came out in 1988 - although I try to follow the editors' intentions and I use my songbook politely. Well, the editors, Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, did a couple of fundraising campaigns to get support for producing the Rise Again sequel one Sing Out! couldn't come through with a book. I contributed, and then joined their staff as a volunteer. It turned into a fulltime, unpaid job that lasted a year. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I guess Peter and Annie liked my work because they named me Associate Editor.

So, I guess I'd say I have mixed feelings about crowdfunding, but it does seem to have value.

-Joe-





    I moved this to the music section, because it has a lot of significance to us folk people these days.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 04:21 PM

Perhaps when you buy a Beatles album you are funding a desire to have your art financed by others?

I don't understand, Musket. If I buy a Beatles album with my own money, how are other involved in financing the deal?

DC


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 04:25 PM

I have made four CDs, all with my own money. I do it with five-dollar bills. Every time I get a fiver I put it in my sweater drawer. I also finance my trips to music camps this way, so nothing comes out of the family budget. I would never dream of asking my friends to chip in, but if they want to buy a CD I'm happy to sell them one. And I'm not above a little self-advertising, so if you're interested check out
http://www.cdbaby.com/artist/martykohn


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,steve baughman
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 05:01 PM

Cool Beans. That's cool. Paying your own way.

Self-reliance seems non-controversial, and unquestionably honorable.

I agree with Joe Offer that there are legit crowd-funding stuff. Vietnamese orphanages and what not. And it CAN be done gracefully by musicians offering the donors something along the way.

But I still feel a bit queasy about the whole "Please donate to help me make a CD of my really cool music" thing.

It seems to me entitled.

Again, I would like to not think this.

(Joe, yes, that's me :-)

    Hi, Steve! -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 06:04 PM

I was uncomfortable with the crowdfunding thing for making CDs, but then I started thinking it through. I'm old enough to have experienced making records for actual record companies (not the big ones, but some of the bigger folkie record labels). The record label would pay all the recording costs, they would pay for a photo shoot (sometimes), they would pay for the design of the cover and the label, they would pay for mastering,they would pay for the manufacturing, then they would pay to send out a press release and send a bunch of records to record labels and magazines all over the place. Then they'd sell the records to the artist (for kind of a lot -- I think we had to pay $8 for a record that we could sell for $12) and we'd sell them at our gigs and that was the main way we made money on records.
Now, for big-time artists on big-time labels, it would be different --- they would often end up in debt to the record label, but they still wouldn't have to put out any $$ out front in order to make the record. Sometimes the label would give a huge advance which would never get paid back. Sometimes they would have a hit and everyone would make a lot of money.
For a while, it became cost effective to do-it-yourself and it didn't cost that much. But now, things have changed. Hourly studio cost has skyrocketed, and no, you can't make a really really good sounding recording using your computer and some cheap microphone. Mastering, which can make all the difference in how the final product sounds, costs more too, Manufacturing is cheaper than with phonograph records, but it costs something to pay a designer.
But what's REALLY gotten expensive is promotion. I checked out several PR firms that other people I know are using or have used and it cost between $5,000 and $12,000 for a not very big "campaign". I've made whole albums that cost less than that and I bet you have too.
Wonder how people get on Tiny Desk or All Songs Considered? A lot of times it's from having a high-priced PR firm in their corner. That's what makes the difference between a great artist who gets the exposure and an equally great one who does not.
One band that I know raised a bunch of money to record their CD and then did a second kickstarter and raised $30,000 for marketing. Just for marketing. It's an excellent band but they are not yet a household name. For that I imagine you would need to spend more like $500,000. Just guessing there.
Anyway this is a very longwinded way of saying that the game has changed. Also, not all the folks doing kick starters are amateurs or hobby musicians. Some have been in the folkie trenches for decades, earning a modest living with their music, but without making a lot above that. You could think of it as asking folks to pre-buy the CD, which is exactly what a lot of "supporters" do, albeit at a price higher than they would have to pay if they bought the CD at a show.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 22 Mar 16 - 07:21 PM

Before the days of online crowd-funding, some local artists did this by email, and I was on their email lists. A donation of the price of their CDs would be rewarded with a copy of the CD when it was released. I did this for two performers because I especially liked their music, but not for others. As with modern funding, they had higher levels, like for a much larger donation they would do a house concert within a certain radius of their homes. I don't feel guilty about not donating, though, and am comfortable with saying something doesn't fit my budget right now but if I can afford it when the CD is available, I'll buy it then. Also, I tell people I never do anything with money online, so people were more likely to get my support when I could just snailmail a check.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Mr Red
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 04:17 AM

A friend who is a real whizz with old media (think cylinders) even designing the gear to play them on. He has a website selling out-of-copyright music and speech http://poppyrecords.co.uk and is firmly of the opinion that CDs these days have a negative value. You have to pay to give them away.

I make CDs and give them as a thankyou to contributors to http://stroudvoices.co.uk - an audio archive website. I even declined a fee for giving a talk and demonstrating what is my hobby.

Such crowdfunding is no more insidious than sponsorship to run a marathon for charity. But it is irksome. Emotional blackmail would not be wide of the mark.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 04:18 AM

A student I knew (from UK) was trying to fund himself for a jazz piano course in Berklee, US and came up with a grand list of 'rewards' for supporters including house concerts etc.

I donated twice, for two new tunes, and had the loveliest afternoon discussing tune types, possible titles etc. before he went off to the States -- and the proviso was that said tunes would have a traditional feel, because that was our mutual background.

Anyway, a year or so later I got the call and we met up again, at which point he handed over two framed manuscripts -- one of a jig and the other a slow air -- together with a home-made recording of same. What a joy and delight!

Because I was so lucky with generous, non-financial support throughout my own introduction to traditional music, I'm happy to be 'paying it forward' for current youngsters when I can, but I'd probably be happier not funding CDs...


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 04:31 AM

I've made a number of CDs for sale and promotion over the years. All paid for meself. Never expected help from anyone, and CD production need not be a massive expense.

- recorded the music on good quality micro equipment
- burnt the master
- created the sleeve and CD label design
- got a firm to print the blank CDs with the label design and supply thin cases
- got a local print shop in the village to print up the sleeves
- duplicated the printed CDs on a 4x copier
- folded the sleeves and inserted them and CDs into the cases

All for about £2 each. Sold them as I saw fit, in person at gigs and online.

I crowdfunded myself from a crowd of 1.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 06:43 AM

I'd stay confused Doug, it's easier for the rest of us that way.

The OP spoke of artistes asking people to fund their work. When you buy an album, you are funding the work of the artiste anyway. I used Beatles, I could have used John and Esmae Hand, The Dead Kennedys or The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.

They all got record companies' shareholders to "crowdfund" if you think about it.

It isn't difficult.

Oh and yeah, I recently lent someone the cost of a day in the studio and 500 CDs to peddle whilst he gets gigs. I didn't see it as crowdfunding, I saw it as a loan of sorts. Crowdfunding and cadging money aren't mutually exclusive.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 06:46 AM

If you're uncomfortable with crowdfunding, are you equally uncomfortable with buying a ticket in advance for a concert, or paying an instrument-maker in advance for an instrument?
It's the same thing.

It's just paying in advance for a CD. No different to pre-ordering a book or CD on amazon (which I've done once or twice).

I suspect the discomfort comes from the fact that it's often one's peers, fellow musicians on much the same amateur level as ourselves, who are the ones asking. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: if you don't think the person asking is any good, don't contribute. I have never contributed to a kickstarted, for the simple reason that nobody whose music I really like has ever asked me. And also, none of my actual friends have asked either. If any of my favourite musicians, who I genuinely would like to hear an album by, asked then I would gladly contribute.

Ultimately whether you consider it justified or not is entirely down to the music. As far as entitlement goes, everyone is 'entitled' to put out a CD, for the simple fact that it's a financial transaction that you can either afford or not.

It's not like we're talking door-to-door salesmen here, or annoying PPI spam phone calls!


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 06:55 AM

...Also, when you look at the more imaginative/ingenious crowd funding campaigns of musicians, they are actually doing more than just begging people to give em money. They will frequently offer things like instrumental tuition, or a cooked meal, or a personalised song or something.

Granted, it's a little irksome if the person asking is that guy who always sings floorspots completely out of tune and can't really play guitar. But those people rarely get as far as crowd funding an album...

The only real problem I can see with crowd funding is the law of diminishing returns as more and more musicians - both amateur and professional - start doing it. Then again, I just have to remind myself how I would feel if Alasdair Roberts or Tom Paley or Mary Hampton or Martin Carthy asked me to pay in advance for an album. I know I would.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 09:57 AM

Musket, what you wrote was:

Perhaps when you buy a Beatles album you are funding a desire to have YOUR* art financed by others?
(*my emphasis)

The O/P made the point:
1. If the world wants our music it will initiate the giving.

When I purchase an album by the Beatles or any other established artist, I am initiating the giving. It will be a straightforward commercial transaction, the same as buying clothes, food, etc. It will involve no-one but myself, the artist and those involved in the production/supply/retail chain. No-one else will be asked to finance anything. I will be buying a proven product as I will normally have heard at least a few tracks that make me want to buy the album. I am not being asked to part with my money on the promise of something that might be good but could be awful.

The record companies and their shareholders are investors, not crowd-funders. They are looking for a return on their money and accept the risk based on their commercial judgement.

If people seeking crowd-funding can provide returns in other ways then that is fine. If people want to make philanthropic gestures to those who they feel have artistic merit, that is also fine. Kickstarter appeals that make people feel uncomfortable are not fine. It can be difficult turning down requests from friends and you may be persuaded to part with your money to save embarrassment.

DC


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 10:03 AM

....... are you equally uncomfortable with ....... paying an instrument-maker in advance for an instrument?


Yes.

DC


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 10:07 AM

Yes. McCartney's desire. Tsk

Sorry for using English. I'm sure Google has a translation to whatever you understand.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 10:12 AM

Paying for a concert ticket in advance or for a deposit on an instrument is not quite like crowdfunding - because crowdfunding/kickstarting, i.e. helping to get a project off the ground, doesn't necessarily mean that the project will materialise. Whereas the concert ticket or the instrument generally does materialise.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 10:19 AM

Who are these musicians directly importuning their friends to contribute? That's never happened to me.

I suspect you're just talking about Facebook notifications and the like. That's not the same as someone sending me and me alone a direct request. Or phoning me up. Or asking face to face.

If you're just talking about people updating their Facebook status to inform people that they're doing kick-starters that's hardly a hard-sell. I think you should stop being so oversensitive. I've never felt remotely obliged to buy anything my friends have made.

If you don't want to buy something ... don't buy it! Simple.

Actually, I once contributed to a kickstarted for someone whose music I don't like. He organises loads of gigs, including several I've played. He's a good guy.

But get this - a kickstarted might even conceivably introduce me to some great music I would never have heard otherwise....


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 10:24 AM

Will, concerts get cancelled all the time!

But I've never yet heard of a crowd funded campaign that didn't materialise. I think kickstarter et al would come down hard on that kind of thing and would insist all money be paid back: that would be tantamount to fraud. I've never read the small print on kickstarter but I bet there's quite a bit of it!


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 10:38 AM

I've supported two crowdfunded projects - i.e. pledged money should the total required be met by pledges. Neither materialised as the total required was not met.

I can't recall any concert for which I've bought a ticket being cancelled - but perhaps I've just been lucky! :-)


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 10:44 AM

So you weren't charged and didn't pay anything. No loss, no inconvenience.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 10:51 AM

I have no objection to people trying to raise money through pledges - I just think that sometimes you have to go it alone to make it work. I funded my CDs from gig money, and I suspect that if I wasn't good enough to get paid gigs, then I didn't deserve to sell CDs that nobody would want to listen to!

Just my view of the world.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 11:01 AM

But if you want to do more than record just yourself at home, solo, a campaign is probably necessary.

Here's a sampler from Hannah James' album, which was crowd funded. She plays paid gigs. She could doubtless have home-recorded an album on her own and it would probably have been good. But it wouldn't have been the album that she ended up making, which lots of people crowd funded, and which lost of people liked.
https://hannahsandersfolk.bandcamp.com/album/warning-bells


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 11:03 AM

(I should hasten to add that, annoyingly, that sampler doesn't feature the more-produced studio tracks featuring other musicians! But I think the point still stands - it sounds much better than home recordings!)


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 11:21 AM

Funding a CD from gig money is all very well, but if you're a professional musician trying to live off gig money with not much left to set aside it could take a long time.

There are several ways to fund a CD:

- Find a generous sponsor who will pay for it
- Get a recording contract with a record label
- Save/borrow the money and hope to recover it from sales. However that can mean a big outlay of several thousand pounds which some can't afford, and given the nature of this music it can take a long time to get the money back
- Ask people to pay in advance. This removes, or at least reduces, the cash-flow problem but of course you then have to deliver the goods.

Crowdfunding depends on an element of trust, that if you contribute you will in time get something back for your money. If you're not confident that will happen then don't contribute. It's not compulsory.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: mg
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 01:14 PM

Here is how I see it..first of all I do not have a highly discriminating ear so I am comfortable with what sounds good to me and do not have the money for perfectionism...but pretty darn goodism.

I think you can put out something very good in Seattle USA for under 1K. Recording can go very quickly in a good studio with good engineer. Say you have 18 songs and pay $60/hour for good engineer..rates are terribly higher elsewhere I know. Go quickly and efficiently and tune up, rehearse etc. first. 20 minutes per song. Yes it is more than possible. We have done it with groups of people and instruments. That is $360. Then two hours of mastering..this particular engineer does not require much mastering because he does stuff as he works..$120. Art work..free free free. This is where to save money. I regret every penny I have put out for this because I can do a modest but better by far job myself. It really really adds up...tweaking with fonts, colors etc...you need to do this yourself....I am assuming you will be satisfied with a fairly simple cover. Get friends to advise you on aesthetics if you are not comfortable. Don't be too complicated. I have now figured out online design with CD baby and can put out something simple that looks better than what I have paid for, and I expect to improve as I learn more...

Then, another place to save money...use smaller runs. CD baby works well for this..you will pay more for smaller runs, but you can sell, order more..it would not hurt to do a very small run, perhaps just the cd and no covers, to make sure no glitches. I did this last cd and there was a serious glitch in something...

Also I recommend having the options of selling with cover and without...people want to know there is a cover out there, but will buy the cheaper no-cover versions.

So 100 copies with cover at $4 each (I know you can get them cheaper but quality at CD baby seems good), $400.

I think you have spent $980, not counting taxes and shipping etc. Sell your 100 copies for $10 each and you have covered your costs. I am not taking into account free copies you give to friends, radio stations etc..that can really eat into things.

So it can be done. Don't end up with boxes of CDs you have to sell, get depressed over, dust, move etc. Just pay as you go...and with CD baby if you find you want to add a song, change liner notes, whatever, you can do it.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,JB
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 04:54 PM

4 days studio time, £800-£1000, Record material that is well rehearsed, and will not take too many takes, another few hours of the engineers time mixing and mastering. Find a friend who knows a bit about graphic design to do the artwork, and a good replication company who will do an initial short run, with complete production costs of around £2.00-£3.00 per unit, sell for £10.00 and if you are an artist worth your salt and people will purchase your disc, you'll soon be in profit, and banking money to fund the next recording. Easy!


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: meself
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 05:26 PM

I must have the same genetic mutation as mg - I listen for the music, not for the "sound". Maybe I've spent too much time listening to pre-1960s field recordings. In fact, my favourite recordings are some that were made onto tape at house-parties as long as 70 years ago.

There are a number of musicians who I wish would just record something in their living-room, with an old-fashioned tape-recorder, label the cassette with their name and the price in Bic pen, and let me know! Instead, they record nothing, because they don't have all kinds of money to play with.

Remember: the music business is like any other - it is full of people who will try to convince you that you need something that will take money out of your pocket and put it into theirs .....

Okay, old-man rant finished. Next!


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Anne Lister
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 05:49 PM

My last album was crowd-funded, via MudCat, largely (but not exclusively). A number of people were asking me when my next album would be out and I had no prospect of affording studio time or manufacturing costs. I firmly believe that if I am recording an album I want it to be of professional quality (and therefore my husband and I pushing buttons at home really won't do the job) and I want some other musicians to add to the texture of the overall sound, who will need to be paid. We collected enough on the appeal for "angels" which went out at gigs and on Mudcat and to other friends and relatives to record an album and manufacture it (including a very fine piece of art for the cover, by my husband). This meant everyone had the albums they paid for, some people had t shirts and additional albums, and credits on the CD, and we were able to produce a product to be proud of. What I didn't have the money for, however, was promotion, and that's the big difference these days between albums that exist and albums that get out into the bigger, wider world and stand a chance of nomination for awards etc.
I don't think any of my friends or fans or family felt they were in any way emotionally manipulated into putting some money into the pot and I had money from some quite surprising sources along the way. It was good to start the album's life knowing it had broken even on costs. Previous albums had been made possibly by generous loans from individuals, and I repaid them all in full as soon as I could - but that was quite a pressure.
I am constantly now asked to crowd source albums, books, artistic projects and to contribute to charities, all via Facebook and emails. If I like the project then I do - if I have any doubts then I don't. I don't think I've offended anyone by not joining in. It's no more difficult a choice than deciding which gigs to go to or what albums to buy.
As to GuestJB's post - if all I did with money was save for a recording then yes, that's how the sums would work out for me, mostly. However there are a number of albums for review and airplay, which need to be factored into the cost as well as postage for these albums, and there's the small matter of travelling to the studio - oh, and food, drink, mortgage or rent, clothes, guitar strings and the rest of those things called "living". The album sales very often make the difference between a gig being financially worthwhile or not.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 05:54 PM

meself: Hoo bloody ray! For more of the same, see
this blog


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: matt milton
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 06:04 PM

However you look at it, releasing an album - even a digital-only album - is going to cost you money. So you may as well ask the people who are likely to be buying it if they'd mind paying for it in advance.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: meself
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 06:16 PM

Thanks, Joe F.! That was a good read; I'm going to pass it along to the gang.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,JB
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 06:16 PM

We all have to live Anne, and I have exactly the same expenses as you list. All the band chipped in a bit to pay for the studio time when we did our first CD, we're now on our fourth and it's self funding. We did a 'launch' at our local theatre, and sold 150 copies at that gig at £10.00 each. Plus our share of the box office take, it was a most worthwhile excersise and there's money in the kitty for the next one.

I've had some friends recently use crowd funding to pay for a first recording, with a target of £5,000.00 which was reached. The CD is being recorded by a mobile engineer in a front room, bearing in mind the actual costs I've posted above, it begs the question as to what they are actually spending the money on!

I've always been a little suspicious of crowdfunding what for most of us is mainly a hobby rather than a main source of income. There are any number of hobbies that people spend an absolute fortune on, how successful, for instance would an attempt to crowdfund buying a horse, or building a model aircraft?


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: meself
Date: 23 Mar 16 - 06:19 PM

Not quite a valid comparison - unless you promise a ride on your horse or a turn at flying your model aircraft!


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 01:59 AM

If somebody like Anne Lister or Deb Cowan does crowdfunding for a CD, I'll contribute willingly. I know they're going to do an excellent job on the project, and that I will be proud to have contributed to their work.

But there are other people I'm not so sure of, and I might contribute mostly because I don't want them to feel bad.

So, I dunno.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: DebC
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 01:33 PM

Just saw this thread and thanks for the kind words, Joe O. I decided to crowdfund my third CD back in early 2007 before Kickstarter or any of those came into existence. If they were in existence, I didn't know about them. I won't get into the opinions of the economics of making recordings but FOR ME and at that point in my career, I knew I wanted to use a producer and I also knew that would cost a lot of money that I didn't have at the ready.

Anne pretty much said it all and I do understand Steve's (the OP) point.

About promotion: I didn't have the budget for a huge promo campaign with that third album and I was very fortunate in that my producer, Dave Mattacks was as proud of that recording as I was and called in 40 years of favours to help with promo, mostly in the UK and it really helped.

Not sure how I'll finance my next recording. DM and I want to do another together and maybe I'll do another crowdfunding appeal.

Thanks for the discussion, all.

Deb Cowan


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 02:44 PM

I think only in the folk world would it be seen as a virtue to put out a CD which doesn't aim to achieve the best possible sound quality.

It is possible to make a CD fairly cheaply, and if the engineer knows what they are doing it can still sound pretty good. However you will make a better one if you are prepared to devote more time and money, for example by recording each instrument separately.

However much you spend, if you can fund it from your own savings then you don't have a problem. If you can't, you're going to have to find other sources of funding. Bank lending has more or less dried up, and credit cards are an expensive way of borrowing.

Crowdfunding is just one alternative option, but it can only work if the artist can generate sufficient goodwill and trust for enough people to be willing to support them. However it is increasingly being seen as a legitimate way to raise finance for all sorts of projects, especially now banks are so reluctant to lend, and as a way for investors to get a better return at a time of unprecedently low interest rates. It's just another way of doing business.

The OP apparently feels uncomfortable about being approached. Fair enough, but it's not compulsory (although it can be difficult to turn friends down). However a lot of people are happy to contribute. I remember Ann's crowdfunding on Mudcat, and it became apparent that for many it was not simply a matter of paying in advance for something but they also felt a sense of involvement and of giving support, which they wouldn't have got from simply buying a CD.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: mg
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 03:26 PM

I can think of lots of reasons. 1. it would probably be the only way you could do it period. do the best you can with what you have. 2. your goal is to put out the best possible songs, with the best quality you can produce, but it might not be technically perfect. 3 it might be your last chance to capture certain singers before they die or become incapacitated. I can think of our friend who had a stroke years ago. I would rather listen to her on a less than perfect recording than not at all...her voice was magnificent and is thankfully coming back to a certain extent. 4. your sales can not justify the additional expense. Your audience/fan club might be made up of people who just can not afford what it would take to produce the highest quality perfection. 5. besides money issues, you might have issues of plain old energy. 6. you might not have geographic access to those who can do a perfect job and have to settle for less than you would prefer.

The question would be should I then drop the project entirely, or do what I can do and have truth in advertising so that I don't advertise it as perfect perfection. I say go for it and price it accordingly and don't eat yourself up over imperfections.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 04:06 PM

Having read through all the posts, my preference would be to support a young person accessing a new learning experience (visiting expert practitioners abroad, buying books for study, making introductions to prospective mentors etc.).

And I admit to being a bit of a cynic about the desire to produce a CD, having been aware of "vanity projects" in the past….


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: meself
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 04:07 PM

Right on, mg.

" besides money issues, you might have issues of plain old energy." And you might prefer to put your energy (and time) into making, playing, and creating music, as opposed to making technological artifacts.

I mentioned above (or below!) that I have some old house-party tapes that I like to listen to. By comparison, I have commercial, studio recordings of the same musicians done with the top-notch technology of the day (1950s & '60s) - and re-done digitally - that I rarely listen to, because the studio recordings are not nearly as interesting, exciting, or moving.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,steve baughman
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 05:02 PM

Several folks have said that they used crowdfunding for their past CDs and will do so for their future ones.

That raises the question, what happened to the money from the past CDs?

Two possibilities I see:

1. The past CDs did not make money, but the artist still wants to keep making more, or

2. The artist used the money from past CDs for something else, and now wants others to donate to the future CD.

(Of course there are other imaginable possibilities, like the CD made a million but the artist got kidnapped and had to spend the million to be released. But in the real world I only see those two.)

Personally, I would not be comfy with either of those. If my first CD did not make enough money to fund the next one, I would not feel entitled to ask others to fund the next one. If my first CD did generate enough money, I would feel ethically obligated to put that money toward future CDs. (There is also the option of using money from a decent day job to fund CDs, as I did with my first one. But not everyone has that luxury.)

I guess the question emerging from all this is: what limits might there be on artists asking for money for their projects? Are there any? Or is it that as long as we don't deceive people with our fundraising we are ethically free to do it as early and often as we want?

Thanks for an interesting discussion. I may have softened my crowdfunding crankiness a bit, but not much.

Still trying. Keep 'em coming.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Anne Lister
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 06:20 PM

To answer Steve above: if you are a touring musician and this isn't just a hobby or a part-time interest, the monies raised to make the first crowd-funded album made that album happen, and any extras raised by sales of other copies of that album might well be absorbed into the day-to-day living expenses of the touring musician. That's certainly what happens to mine - yes, in an ideal world it would be great to have a separate savings account into which all monies for album sales would go, but I've never been rich enough to make that happen myself. You're expecting the crowd sourcing to fund two albums, it seems - I'm not sure why. Or, in your experience, is the money paid to touring artists already sufficient for someone to live on? They must be getting a lot of very well-paid gigs if you think that.
As to "artists asking for money for projects" you seem to be assuming the funders get nothing back for this - but of course they do, and it's not a question of the artist sitting and holding out a hat. From one book I helped to fund I received a signed copy of the book plus some beautiful limited edition prints, for example. Most album funding requests are simply requesting money up-front for the album itself.
There have been "angels" in the entertainment industry for many years now, putting money into theatrical events, helping to pay for printed programmes, putting money into building theatres and all manner of other schemes.
However, it all comes down to a simple thing - if you're not comfy with the notion of helping an artistic project come into reality, then don't bother. But why complain when others feel differently? Do you object to other ways in which they choose to spend their money? People buying raffle tickets, for example? People putting money into a busker's hat? I'm not sure there are limits, as long as the artist is upfront and honest about the project and makes sure they keep to all of their promises.
There's at least one of the commercial sites (not sure if it's Kickstarter) which does say that if the target isn't reached then the monies will be refunded to the funders. As PayPal takes a cut of payments made, this will ultimately cost the artist money, so it's a risk they have to take.
Meanwhile my next album will probably be funded by some money inherited from my parents ...I still won't spend a fortune on production or manufacturing, especially as many people these days are downloading rather than buying physical albums, but I may try to spend a little more on promotion.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Steve Baughman
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 06:42 PM

These are good points.

I do indeed feel less bothered when something of value is offered to the donor. And, as you point out, that is sometimes the case.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 07:26 PM

It does not need to be and either/or...

plenty of music obsessives like me enjoy listening to finished product commercial CDs and dodgy bootleg recordings of the home demos and live rehearsal versions of the same material...


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: meself
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 09:21 PM

Agreed. I don't know why the notion of 'virtue' one way or the other was brought into this ....


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 25 Mar 16 - 06:35 AM

As Anne points out, crowdfunding isn't the same as charity (although charitable donations are a form of crowdfunding). It's a recognised form of alternative financing, outside the traditional financial system. The traditional financial system is often unwilling to invest in small businesses of any sort, and especially in creative arts, so they must look to other sources. In most cases the crowdfunder expects to receive some form of return for their investment, whether it's a copy of the final product, equity in the business, or interest on their investment. Like other forms of investment, there's a degree of risk.

How many CDs you expect to sell is irrelevant if you don't have the funds to make it in the first place. However if you don't expect to sell very many it is unlikely you'll attract many contributors. Crowdfunding is in effect advance sales, and resolves the cash-flow problem of having to pay all the recording, licencing and manufacturing costs up-front, before you have anything to sell.

Those of us with well-paid 'proper' day jobs and for whom music is a paying hobby may be able to fund an album from our own savings. Many others, especially those trying to make a full-time living from music, can't spare the cash for this.

As the person who introduced the question of 'virtue', let me say two things:

Firstly, some of the posts have implied that the answer is to cut corners and make it more cheaply. It is possible to make a CD relatively cheaply and with a competent sound engineer it should sound pretty good. However it will sound very much better if more time and resources can be devoted to it, and that costs money. "It's good enough for folk" is not, in my opinion, ever a good enough answer (with the possible exception of recordings of historic interest). The answer is to find a way to raise sufficient money to achieve the artist's vision.

The second point is that a number of the the replies seem to assume that crowdfunding is only being used be artists who are not really good enough, and who don't really deserve to be making a CD. This is far from the case. In fact the opposite is true - only artists who are good enough to generate enough sales will raise sufficient funding through any means, whether traditional loans or crowdfunding. Why would you invest in a project which you don't think will succeed? Vanity projects are unlikely to attract sufficient funding this way, and are most likely to have to rely on self-funding.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 25 Mar 16 - 08:12 AM

I don't have an objection to kickstarter/gofundme operations as an idea. We have chosen not to do them up to now. Some friends of mine have done so with their projects, and I don't mind being asked. I do object to getting buttonholed by people I don't know. I got a friend request on FB a couple years ago and just a minute or two after accepting, I got a message thanking me and then giving me a link to their kickstarter campaign. I had no idea what their music sounded like, but that sort of action killed any interest I might have had. Needless to say, I did not kick in any bucks. Some of the deals almost strike me like someone at a business conference with a mattress in their display booth offering curb service. I repeat I have no problems with people I already know asking me for help. I generally not in a good position to offer much in the financial realm.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: meself
Date: 25 Mar 16 - 11:00 AM

And now the notion of "It's good enough for folk" has been introduced ....

If your 'artistic vision' requires the raising of lots of money, go for it; knock yourself out. But why others should have the same approach, I don't know. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I've heard far more really good music recorded on the cheap, or not recorded at all, than produced in big studios and professionally packaged and marketed.

I'm speaking, by the way, as someone who has published a couple of professional quality CDs, that received a (small) bit of air-play, etc.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 25 Mar 16 - 02:22 PM

I'm not suggesting you should spend more than you need to. However if you haven't got the money to make it the way you want, cutting corners (which some appear to have been suggesting) is not a satisfactory solution if the option is there to obtain the funding from other sources.

I fail to see why seeking funding, whether from conventional financial sources or through crowdfunding, might be considered unethical. It's no different from any other enterprise which needs capital. Kickstarter exists to bring together people who need money for a project and people who are willing to invest. Alternatively you could approach people directly, in the real world or online (like Anne did on Mudcat). Just as with a conventional loan, you're only likely to raise sufficient funds if the lenders or crowdfunders have confidence in you to deliver.

Of course, you have to approach potential funders in a way which will leave them well-disposed towards you and willing to invest (unlike Phil Cooper's FB friend). That's understandable that complaints arise from situations where this hasn't been handled very well, but it doesn't invalidate the method itself.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: meself
Date: 25 Mar 16 - 05:07 PM

I don't have any particular opinion about the use of Kickstarter or anything like it. If you have the chutzpah or self-esteem or organizational fortitude or whatever it takes to make use of it, why not? sez I. But I don't think a person's merit as an artist should to any degree be judged by their ability to raise funds.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 25 Mar 16 - 05:27 PM

Plenty of great bedroom recording 'artists' uploading their tracks to internet free music showcase sites...

...all that requires is a minimum expenditure on equipment.

..and fingers crossed 2 or 3 more people apart from your mum and nan might ever bother to listen to it...


Might be even lonelier for our age group.
My nan passed away 25 years ago, and mum is nearly 84 and hasn't a clue how to use the internet....


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Mar 16 - 03:08 AM

When I was young we were brought up with the maxim "Never a borrower or lender be." We were always told we could buy something when we had saved up for it.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Janie
Date: 26 Mar 16 - 09:37 AM

As a consumer, not a maker of music, I have no problem with crowdfunding requests.

If it is a project I am not interested in contributing to, then I don't.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 27 Mar 16 - 10:42 AM

"I don't think a person's merit as an artist should to any degree be judged by their ability to raise funds". However their ability to raise funds might be judged by their merit as an artist.

On the other hand, neither should a person's merit as an artist be judged by whether they have sufficient savings to fund the CD themselves.

When you purchase a CD you're contributing towards paying for the cost of making it. Why should it make a difference if that contribution is made before the CD is made, rather than afterwards?


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Mar 16 - 10:59 AM

Consider the old guard of prog rock / heavy rock / etc, bands now in their later years,
who all lost recording contracts when the industry abandoned them for boy and girl bands.


Some famously big ex album chart topping names now depend on their loyal fan base to commit to advance funding their next CDs.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: meself
Date: 27 Mar 16 - 09:37 PM

"Why should it make a difference if that contribution is made before the CD is made, rather than afterwards?"

My earlier comments had to do simply with the question of the necessity of expensive vs. cheap recording, a bit of a side issue. I have no problem with crowdfunding a CD if someone wants to give it a try; I just don't think a person should feel that they can't record or publish until they've come up with ten thousand dollars one way or another.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: Stower
Date: 28 Mar 16 - 08:34 AM

Some large projects would be impossible / too risky without a backer, crowdfunding being one widely-spread alternative to a single flush person or entity. I've recently contributed to the first ever Medieval Music in the Dales , a huge financial undertaking for the 2 lovely people involved. It's worked, I'm delighted to say, and I am personally chuffed to have contributed.

I've never given crowdfunding any thought before this event, and it's only arisen because it's something I really want to succeed and will go to. As Janie said, if I don't want to support something I won't. Since we all have that choice, I'm genuinely wondering what the overall issue is.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: DebC
Date: 28 Mar 16 - 09:15 AM

It is always a choice as to whether or not to fund/purchase/support art. I think many of us are uncomfortable with just asking; I know I am, but when I did crowdfund (and BTW-we called it "CD Pre-Orders"), I felt a tremendous responsibility to those that did Pre-Order because I also felt that by taking their $$, they deserved to be informed as to the progress of the project every step of the way.

Many of us do go into debt to create our art and for myself, putting that kind of money on a credit card isn't for me. That third CD cost about $30,000 and about $10,000 was raised in crowd funding. The rest came out of some mutual funds I had, and that turned out to be a decision that came out pretty well in the end. You can read my blog post about it HERE.

Yes, it's a lot of money, but I don't regret paying a single penny and I am extremely proud of that recording. The experience of working with such fantastic musicians and delivering an album that many people enjoyed, not to mention giving me a modest career boost, was worth it.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST,steve baughman
Date: 28 Mar 16 - 04:41 PM

Debra, you and John sounded great here in California last year, or was it the year before? House concert at Charlie's in Oakland.


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: DebC
Date: 28 Mar 16 - 09:52 PM

Awww, thanks Steve! We'll be back in the Bay Area in November on the Balclutha, Nov. 12 I think. I'll get in touch with Charlie and see if he'll have us back.

Great discussion and thanks for starting it!

Debra


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Mar 16 - 01:05 PM

Debra, Bring that ultra-sweet banjo you had last time. Wow!

Sorry to start thread creep in my own thread, but the discussion seems to have wrapped up.

Thanks everybody for it.

sb


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Subject: RE: Uncomfy with Kickstarter appeals?
From: DebC
Date: 31 Mar 16 - 07:43 AM

The banjo is John's department, but if he got it on the plane then I am sure he'll bring it in November.

I join Steve in apologising for the thread creep as well.

Debra


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