Sunday, July 15, 2012 0 Comments:

Possibly the best way to show the world your project is worth!

Pretend you’re a musician or an artist. Maybe you don’t have to pretend, maybe you are one. You have this great concept that you want to see come to life. This idea could be an album, but the cost of studio time, a producer, making physical media, etc. adds up quicker than rabbits when you’re back is turned. Enter Kickstarter to save the day like indie music’s own personal Powdered Toast Man. Kickstarter runs on the crowdfunding concept that allows an artist to accept donations to reach a set goal in return for rewards determined by the artist. If the preset goal isn’t reached, no worries, your aren’t charged! Details, success stories, and current Kickstarter projects abound after the jump.

Many of you have probably done plenty of fundraising the old fashioned way (banging on neighbors’ doors, begging Joe from across the office, and hitting up the parents) but Kickstarter gives artists a way to fundraise without the guilt and without the debt. Plus, it’s amazing to see the kind of support you get while working toward toward your goal. The guys behind Kickstarter have done a great job of making it easy and intuitive. They give the artist the freedom to set the project up however they feel and for however long they think they’ll need to raise the money. Say Jim really likes a project and wants to throw down some ca$h, perhaps some dolla dolla billz – it’s super easy. He becomes a “backer” and pledges whatever amount he likes (even $1). This payment is authorized through Amazon (which makes it even easier if you have an Amazon ID). If the project reaches fruition, the payment is pushed through and BAM! you’re done. If the project doesn’t get there, no big deal, you don’t lose any money. Kickstarter takes a small fee if the project is fully funded, but no money exchanges hands if a project can’t get there. Not a bad set up (I wish I would have thought of it!)

    Kickstarter.com is one of the smartest ideas for a website since Al Gore invented the Internet.

    -The Miami New Times [Reed Fischer]

The idea and concept behind Kickstarter is new – it’s only been around since April 2009. Here in Pittsburgh we’ve seen a few music related projects started that finished fully backed as a result of great community support. Every city has an indie music community, but Pittsburgh is lucky enough to have an outstanding and overwhelming local music scene in which Kickstarter could become an incredibly useful tool. Here are two examples:

Boca Chica is one of my favorite local bands and initiated a Kickstarter project late spring/early summer of this year. They set a goal of $1600 to help them make their new record and found themselves exceeding that goal with a few days to spare. Hallie sold it like a champ. With a charming video and a rewards scheme to fit any budget, how could you not want to back it? The rewards ranged from a digital download of the new album to determining a concert setlist to house shows. Draw Us Lines was more than happy to back the project and now we’re anxiously awaiting our catalog of Boca Chica records to come in the mail. We spoke with Hallie about her Kickstarter in our Few Pints segment (and Jim babbled insanely about a Huey Lewis and the News inspired song). Anyway, Hallie did it right, the band hit their goal, and now we get a new Boca Chica album. SICK!

Ben Hardt had plans to release an album like Boca Chica, but with a twist. He wanted to throw two more albums in there too, oh yeah…in 9 months. Ben had a goal of $7500 over 70 days that he achieved with time to spare. Ben told stories of the difficulties of recording an album and big labels not seeing eye to eye with him. It was personal, and his fans, friends, and of course the Pittsburgh music community loved it. Hugh over at HughShows had a nice post at the end of August trying to rally some more support of the project (and it worked). Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to contribute to the project as we were late to the game and the deadline was over (next time Ben. We promise). Congrats Ben, can’t wait to hear all the new music coming our way.

                                                 FUCK YEAH MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
So you might be thinking, “Geez oh man. These are all projects that are already funded. That’s all well and good but thanks for nothing!” and I’d say “Hey you’re rude. Chill out.” Mace Ballard, Pittsburgh’s premier pop-punk band, recently won the Pittsburgh Rocks Title and needs your help! They’re in the process of writing and recording a new album, but need a little help funding the business. Even if pop-punk isn’t our number one genre, the guys in Mace Ballard are working their asses off, making good music, and trying to give their fans everything they can – and we’re all for supporting that. It doesn’t hurt that they’re offering some pretty great rewards for your monetary donations. Hit up the link and see what it’s all about. They’ve told me a brand new video and blog will be up next week, so make sure you check back. Great job and good luck, fellas.

I love the concept of Kickstarter and we’re excited to see what else it will bring us. Maybe with a bit more awareness more local musicians and artists will be able to do more and continue to create amazing things in the city. If you’re a local band or artist thinking about starting a project, let us know and we’ll help promote it when you get it going! Do you know of a project going on now, local or in some other city? Let us know about that, too! You can comment about it, tweet at us, email, yell at us at a local show, do whatever it takes. Kickstarter is all about getting people and the community involved, so do it. 

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