The demos are sounding great and you can’t wait to get into the studio. The only problem is you’re flat broke. Is Kickstarter the key to recording your dream album? Make sure you take the following into consideration:
Well, this is why you’re doing it, right? Records are expensive, especially if you want to do vinyl or any packaging that goes above and beyond. Depending on how much you ask for, that ideal album could be yours instead of something that had to be trimmed down because you couldn’t afford it.
It Informs Record Sales
If you’re asking people to donate X amount of money, with that amount entitling them to the new record, then you can see how many people out there are willing to preorder your album. That will give you a good sense of how many copies to make in the first place, meaning you won’t be left with hundreds of records collecting dust nor will you be rushing to repress.
It’s Good Promotion
Most bands don’t get any press when they plan to go into the studio. People only want to know when the music can be shipped straight to their ears. But with a Kickstarter, the marketing and hype begins months beforehand which can do a pretty good job of keeping the band in people’s minds. Because…
It Forces You to Promote
You spend so much time working on the music you may forget that you need to let people know about it. If you expend the energy for a Kickstarter, you are pretty much forcing yourself to tell everyone about your band, the upcoming record, and any other relevant info you may have been less than enthusiastic to mention before.
It Forces You to Promote
You have to come up with prizes, write a tantalizing pitch, put up artwork or maybe film a video, bother your friends on social media for a few weeks… if you think you would rather spend your time honing your songs a little more, this is going to be what eats up those practice sessions.
It is Hated by a Lot of People
Whether they’re right or wrong, you are going to get criticisms from people, to your face or behind your back, who think asking people for money for your precious new batch of songs is too arrogant and self-important. No one is going to criticise a band that coughs up their own dough for an album, but there is definitely the risk through Kickstarter of some people slandering your musical charity case.
It is a Lot of Work if you Succeed
Plenty of inventors, writers and musicians have realized far too late what the price of success is when it comes to a Kickstarter. All those gifts you promised? You have to mail all that out. The one crazy bonus you never expected anyone to pay for? Well, they gave you their money and they want to know when they can expect it. And you haven’t booked studio time yet. But that is the best case scenario, because…
It Could Fail
Maybe you don’t want to hear any negative thinking about your popularity, but you have put a lot of time, energy and passion into your music. And if you don’t make your goal, do you want that specter hanging over the recording?
Kickstarter turns your art into a commodity and fans into investors. But if successful, it also allows you to process these ramifications while recording the album you always dreamed of. Whatever you decide on, the most important detail is that at some point you get your music out into the world.