CROWDFUNDING RADAR: Pandemic Turns Plans from Tours to New Recordings
Ma'am press photo
For months now, the COVID-19 outbreak has stifled the crowdfunding market as artists tried to figure out what their business model was, when touring might resume, and whether physical rewards for campaigns could even be produced. While crowdfunding is still considerably thinner than normal for this time of year, it is starting to make a comeback, in large part because of the pandemic. Many artists, increasingly facing the reality that life on the road is going to be postponed indefinitely, have turned to writing and, where home studios are available, recording using remote technology. This week I’ve got three campaigns that directly reference how the pandemic has either pushed forward or changed their plans for new music.
Ma’am – Fire Pink (click here to view campaign)
The West Virginia native duo Ma’am, made up of vocalists Mary Ashton and Amy McIntire, had already signed on to record their new album, Fire Pink, at Plaid Dog Recording when the pandemic kept them from driving out to Boston for their planned session with producer Mike Davidson. Instead, the duo holed up in McIntire’s grandmother’s home to work on the album’s songs. They also collaborated remotely with Davidson to record their first single, “Tiny House.” They’ve tapped into Plaid Dog’s proprietary crowdfunding platform to ensure that they’re prepared to hit the ground running once the pandemic eases. Backer perks for this campaign include the album (currently as a digital-only release); access to early recordings, demos, and rough studio mixes; a campaign exclusive poster; and a custom cover song of your choice.
Among the Acres – Dreamcatcher (click here to view campaign)
Connecticut-based band Among the Acres had plans for the summer that involved playing live shows and recording their new album, Dreamcatcher, in between. Instead, they found themselves able to completely focus on the album, pulling energy from the process of being together and recording instead of from their live performances. The band’s blend of folk, pop, and Americana has been a favorite regionally for a while now, as evidenced by how quickly they reached their modest $4,500 funding goal on Kickstarter. Now they’ve introduced a stretch goal of $10,000 to fully fund the album and possibly allow for a vinyl release and music video. For now, their backer rewards include the album in digital or CD format, a personalized “thank you” card, T-shirts, tickets to a non-festival show of your choice, and a “Tiny Desk”-style rendition of a cover song of your choosing. And yes, according to the band, that does include “Freebird.” No word on “Wagon Wheel,” but you could ask.
Phil Henry – Chasing Echoes (click here to view campaign)
If you wonder what has driven Phil Henry to record his first album in five years, you only have to watch the first few seconds of the video that accompanies his new Kickstarter campaign. Henry, guitar in hand, stands on stage in an empty concert hall, shouting “Hello? Where is everybody?” The result of Henry’s forced vacation from touring is Chasing Echoes, a collection of 16 songs featuring his band The News Feed and remotely recorded contributions from artists Henry has met and worked with in his long career touring the northeastern United States. Backer rewards for this project include the album in digital and CD formats; two “deluxe digital” packages, one with demos from the new album and one with unreleased songs from the archives; and a Vermont Care Package full of locally made products selected by Henry.