From Sam

Propelled past the goal, your part in the new paradigm of my art

  • July 31, 2017

Journey to AktehiPledge at Kickstarter

In the three days since my last email, 75 people pledged Journey to Aktehi, my collaboration with Mark Seelig. 199 amazing backers pushed us past the $7000 goal, assisting in the release of this album.

There are 33 hours to go, Aktehi is still gathering support.

Visit the Kickstarter page to pledge/preorder your copy; watch the video to hear some of the music, and follow the link to a Bandcamp preview of the first track. Aktehi is an album of hallucinogenic ethno-organic-electronic music, centered around Mark’s Bansuri flute and chant vocals, with a subtle layer of my electronics & processing.

We’re in a new paradigm in the music industry. Or perhaps better to say: For my own music, I am working within one of a number of new paradigms, each with their own set of rules. Crowdfunding works when artists ask their audience for support to help a project succeed. It’s definitely more ask-y, more direct, more blatant than the old music industry.

In my role as a creator, I am honestly saying that I need your help to release my albums. That’s my reality. Making art costs money, from the investment in studio gear, to the time spent making the music (instead of doing something else for income), to the manufacturing of the various parts of the release (CD, cassette, t-shirt, poster, etc). It all costs money. With sales decimated “at stores,” my albums have become limited and collectible releases for a small group of dedicated people who believe there is worth in what I create.

I think some people mistake the ask for saying, “Whine, whine, I deserve your money because I make music!” That’s not it. If nobody liked or listened to what I create, I wouldn’t feel entitled to getting paid. I understand there’s an exchange going on here: people appreciate the work, and some of them want to chip in to cover the costs of making it. Others want to listen for free on Spotify or youTube or torrents. That’s part of the new reality. I accept that, I understand that.

But I gotta tell you, I find it really cool when I see a $10 or $70 pledge from a first-time backer. Not just first time supporting my music, but first time to Kickstarter. That makes me smile because it tells me, “Here’s another person with the desire to contribute to music and art.” I love seeing that! And then there’s the person who has backed 786 campaigns, and I’m blown away as I think, “I wish I could be so dedicated to art that I searched out 786 things I cared about enough to subsidize!” Both types are amazing. And of course, the people returning to support a seond or third of my Kickstarters: you are the core that propels my album to the goal.

Years ago, I used to write a lot on this elist and Facebook about the devastating effect of torrents and illegal downloads on creators; the need for artists to be paid for our work. There’s no way to put all the cats back into the bag on that one. However, the possibilities for compensation for creation has morphed and evolved. Artists are uncovering and exploring the new paradigms of what it takes to fund their creations.

I like this new model

On Sunday morning I wrote to Mark, “Aktehi is a great album, a great collaboration! And people like it enough to make it happen. I find crowdfunding more rewarding than the old way we released albums. I feel love & appreciation.”

Back in the 80s when I reached my audience via my paper mail-order catalog, I received hand-written letters-in-the-mail from fans of Black Tape For A Blue Girl. Fast forward to the 90s: the CD and big-distribution-era; I no longer heard from the people who listened to my music. CDs sold at Best Buy or Tower or a cool local shop, but we weren’t in touch. Now with crowdfunding, I communicate with the people who like my work. Some people are still with me after all these years (Hi, Erik!), and there are people who have joined along the way. It’s a great mix of people who care about art and are fortunate enough to have some money to spare to donate to projects they believe in.

Thanks for your support, I appreciate it! You really are helping out here! My Kickstarter campaign ends in about 33 hours. Check it out, pledge if you like what you hear.

Thank you all so very much.