Around the beginning of April, 2015, roughly two-thirds of the way through the promotion of my self-hosted PayPal crowdfunding campaign, I realized that by focusing solely on the charity of friends and family I was not going to come anywhere near raising the money I needed to reissue Lemonymous for its 10th Anniversary. It was clear I needed another tact. And although I had avoided doing the major crowdfunding sites – due mainly to their high fees – I knew that the only way I was going to get what I needed was to utilize one of them.
In this case, I chose Kickstarter. And I did so because a Kickstarter campaign is all or nothing. I was either going to raise the money I needed or this simply wasn’t going to happen.
Changing The Pitch For The Kickstarter Campaign
After a long chat with a trusted acquaintance (a former coworker from my call center days), I came up with my pitch text:
Ten years ago, my third album Lemonymous was unleashed. Now, to celebrate this milestone anniversary, I’m putting together a new release, and I need YOUR HELP to make it happen!
Released in 2005 and considered a complete departure from all my previous work, Lemonymous was an experimental album that fused a wide range of influences, from U2 to Passengers, Smashing Pumpkins to Bowie (for starters), and featured entirely instrumental tracks (some dancy, some meditative) up against more conventional pop pieces. It was full of vibrant colors, soaring sonic sounds and infinite textures.
But in 2005, hardly anyone knew of it.
That’s because things were different for indie artists a decade ago. Back then, we didn’t have the same kind of access and tools to get ourselves out there and heard like we do now. How serendipitous then that an album considered by many listeners to be ahead of its time seems poised to be heard just when it might be relevant?
And not only that, but with it looking, feeling, and sounding exactly as it should have back in 2005?
Lemonymous will be completely remixed and remastered, and given new, beautiful packaging in a double-pocket wallet and 16-page full-color booklet – just as it was always intended. It will also be distributed through various retail and digital platforms, and set up to collect royalties throughout the world. And it will be accompanied by another CD of remixes, rarities, and alternate takes called Lemonymix, which will be released in a full-color jacket.
In 2015, ten years removed from its original debut, the tools are now in place for this album to reach an audience that has waited a decade for its arrival. Are you one of those people? Then help me get it into your hands!
The Anatomy Of The Kickstarter Campaign Pitch
I was trying to tell a story. To explain why one should care, or why this was something you had to have. As far as I was concerned (and still am), celebrating the 10th anniversary of something I put out into the world is actually kind of a big deal. I wanted people to feel that.
And I wanted people to know that this release wasn’t just about a celebration of a decade of these songs. It was about putting the album out the way I had always intended it. In a way that I couldn’t have done it when it was initially released because the tools to do so didn’t exist at the time. I had thought I had made this clear in my video pitch. But even though I actually received great feedback on the video itself, it appeared the real message had been lost. Perhaps, in utilizing the above text, I could make the whole intent more clear.
Re-Editing The Kickstarter Campaign Pitch Video
I also went ahead and did a re-edit of the original campaign pitch video, removing the information about PayPal. In the end I cut nearly a whole minute out of it:
The Kickstarter Campaign Rewards
Besides offering the Lemonymous reissue and its Lemonymix companion as payment tier rewards, I also offered a package that included a hand-written lyric book. The concept behind this was that I would hand write my entire catalog with little notes and other things written in the margins that explained a lot of the inspiration behind or inside little facts about each song. I managed to sell four of these, though I had offered up to ten.
In the end, I’m grateful it was only four – I’m still writing them. I genuinely had no idea how long a process those would take. And I’m about seven months into those. Keep this in mind when you’re offering stuff like this. I feel terrible that it’s taking so long just to do this last thing for those who purchased it. But I’ve learned a lesson, and I think that’s important.
Kickstarter Campaign Launch And Results
I launched the Kickstarter campaign, I think, in late April and ran it for only three weeks. Half the intended duration of the PayPal campaign. You can still see the page here.
I Facebook messaged and emailed everyone I knew, and I Tweeted constantly. Even though I started making a good chunk of the requested amount ($1,000 – modest by typical crowdfunding standards) it was looking like I was still going to fall well short of the mark. And it was rather humbling. I had hinged upon this as a means of launching my newly-reinvigorated career. Not only that, but I had put a lot of existential stock in the outcome. If it wasn’t successful, maybe I wasn’t supposed to be doing this after all.
Side note: don’t do that. I can’t explain why except to say you’re doing yourself a disservice by attributing that kind of meaning to something like this. For all you know, this failure is part of your ultimate success. Do not give up on dreams.
I got lucky. In the twilight hours of the campaign, a few very generous donations came my way. I now had the money to reissue my third album, just the way I had always intended it.