CROWDFUNDING RADAR: Unique Approaches to Funding New Projects
Adeem the Artist (photo by Holly Rainey)
One of the first Todd Snider songs I heard was “Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues.” For those unfamiliar, the song satirizes the dying days of grunge, when it started to be consumed by the same excesses that helped it kill hair metal. Snider plays the leader of a band trying to stand out in a crowded Seattle scene by refusing to play music. While I don’t recommend trying anything as gimmicky as that, crowdfunding is as competitive as any cliché-filled grunge glut Snider might imagine. Having something that makes you stand out from other campaigns can only help get eyes on your page. This week, I’m highlighting three artists who have found their own way of drawing attention. One is crowdfunding in the most unique way I’ve seen, one is tying his campaign to an important cause, and one has packed his album full of amazing guests.
Adeem the Artist – Redneck Fundraiser (click here for campaign)
Adeem the Artist’s Redneck Fundraiser campaign was recommended to me by a friend, and I’m glad it was because it’s one of the most unique campaigns I’ve seen. It’s fitting this was suggested to me around the holidays because Adeem is using the George Bailey method to fund their new album. Just like Jimmy Stewart’s It’s a Wonderful Life protagonist, Adeem isn’t getting his money from the bank or Old Man Potter but rather from small donations from folks who appreciate their work. Adeem is asking fans to Venmo (or Cash App) them a dollar. Just a buck? With the goal of raising $15,000 four quarters at a time? It’s nuts, but so far they’ve found enough people who like the idea to raise over $11,000. Unlike traditional campaigns, the dollar (or multiple dollars, for those who feel so moved) isn’t getting you any swag, just a chance to say you were part of their creative process for the price of a very small cup of burnt gas station coffee.
Trevor Lewington – The Wilderness Club (click here to view campaign)
Thankfully there are still some people who will give you money for good music, but if you can connect your music to a cause they care about, they’re even more likely to buy instead of stream. Trevor Lewington is a guitarist and vocalist for Canadian Celtic rockers Enter the Haggis. After spending 2019 writing and recording one song per week, Lewington is releasing an album titled The Wilderness Club and has tied his Indiegogo campaign to what he is calling The Wilderness Club Forest. A passionate environmentalist, Lewington started his campaign by buying native seedlings and pollinator plants and has teamed with a land trust to plant one per campaign donation of any amount. He’ll even send the GPS coordinates in case you’re ever in Canada and want to go see your tree. Other campaign perks include scout patches, a reusable water bottle, planting three additional trees in your name, and handwritten lyrics.
Owen Marshall – Debut Solo Album (click here to view campaign)
The downside of being a career accompanist is no one knows who you are. The upside is, when you decide to change that, you know a lot of folks who people do know and, if you’re lucky, they’ll play on your record. Multi-instrumentalist Owen Marshall’s work has primarily been in the Celtic genre, but he’s made some pretty good friends in the American roots music world as well, if the guests on his album are an indicator. Among those contributing are banjo player Allison de Groot, fiddler Jenna Moynihan, and Lula Wiles’ Isa Burke. Backer perks, in addition to the album in digital and CD formats, include a pottery mug handmade by Marshall’s mother, T-shirts, and lessons in the various instruments Marshall plays. Want to learn how to play a bouzouki? Marshall’s got you covered.