Every year, thousands of independent artists take to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo to skip the traditional label system and secure funding for a new album or tour from their fans. The trend has become so popular that even more established artists who have label funding have begun to use sites like PledgeMusic as a place to pre-order new material, as well as securing extra revenue streams by offering album-related merchandise for an additional fee. Each week, I will bring you three crowdfunding campaigns that have gained my interest.
Paula Cole is best known to most music fans as the chartmaker behind ’90s adult contemporary hits like “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” and “I Don’t Want to Wait.” But for her new project, Cole is reaching back to her roots, recording an album of jazz and roots music standards called Ballads. To help with this, Cole has enlisted instrumental assistance from the likes of Jay Bellerose, Dennis Crouch, and Chris Bruce. In addition to the album, which is expected to be released in early 2017, backers can pledge to get extra rewards like a hand-written postcard from Cole, a personalized “happy birthday” song, and a chance to choose any song for Cole to cover, the results of which will be posted on YouTube.
There aren’t many roots acts as hot right now as Shovels & Rope. The duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst have been festival darlings over the past five years and have racked up significant Americana airplay with their albums O’ Be Joyful and Swimmin’ Time, as well as last fall’s collaborative covers project Busted Jukebox Vol. 1. Now they’re back with a new album, Little Seeds, due to release in October and are experimenting with using PledgeMusic for the pre-release platform. Backer rewards include Little Seeds on cassette tape for those who have moved past the vinyl revolution (vinyl copies are also available), and a signed and numbered letterpress poster.
It’s been a time of change for Colorado’s Paper Bird since the release of their last album. The band’s lineup has seen some changes, with Carleigh Akins joining the band, replacing Esme Patterson who has gone on to solo work, and the group moving toward a fully electric sound. For their self-titled album, Paper Bird is working with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Oates, who co-produced it with Dave Kalmusky in Nashville. Backer rewards include a signed setlist, a disposable camera filled with pictures from the road, and a VIP soundcheck experience.