Alexz Johnson Goes D2F With Crowdfunding After Two Major Labels & An Indie Failed Her

Skipping-stone-alexz-johnsonAlexz Johnson got her start in show biz with a lot of tv appearances in Canada that included her music. But when she got her first major label deal, followed by her second major label deal, she ended up without an album of her own. A couple of indie label releases followed but it wasn't until she went DIY and got into crowdfunding that she really began to build her own career in music.

Alexz Johnson's Wikipedia page does a thorough if somewhat convoluted job of sketching out her career to date though it shifts oddly from future to past tense as if nothing got updated once in place. In her late preteens and teen years she had quite a run on Canadian tv with roles that sometimes included her original music.

In 2005, while still a teenager, she got a record deal with Capitol but never got to complete the album.
She then signed to Epic in 2008, leaving her teen years behind, and was subsequently dropped. Johnson released a pair of albums on inDiscover Recordings, which apparently didn't go as well as she hoped, and then finally went DIY.

Alexz Johnson's Pitch Video for Her PledgeMusic Campaign

I'm sure one day her Wikipedia page will get sorted out but the story only really gets interesting in the last year or so. Last spring she put out her first EP, "Skipping Stone", and decided to fund her tour through a Kickstarter campaign.

In the first day she reached her $30,000 goal and hit $67,140 by the end. The tour was documented on Tumblr with some excellent pictures by Jessica Earnshaw, including many in throwback black and white, that seem designed to help place her in the new Americana movement.

After this experience she discussed crowdfunding, career building and D2F, among other topics, with Tobias Keunecke:

"It’s already changing the music industry. There’s a new wave happening and it’s a great time to be an indie artist. Whether it’s Kickstarter, PledgeMusic or IndieGoGo, the whole idea around these platforms is the power in involving your particular fan base and allowing them to help you achieve your goals. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s direct artist to fan."

"I feel it’s why playing live and touring is so important. You develop a connection that can last so much longer than being packaged, polished and thrown on a billboard. To me, longevity is key – not the amount of listeners, but the loyalty of listeners."

More recently she told PledgeMusic's Brittany Cooper regarding going direct-to-fan to fund her tour:

"I had to be fearless. I didn’t know what to expect, or what to ask for. I just knew it was the only avenue I had at the time to get on tour..ask for help. It was humbling, and in return an exchange for the music the fans wanted to hear live for so long."

Now based in Brooklyn, Alexz Johnson is ready to release a full-length album and she's again turning to her fans for support with a PledgeMusic campaign. In her pitch statement she includes this point:

"To me, a paradigm is shifting in the music industry. We’re able to witness and stand on the forefront of artists connecting their dream and vision to those who want to be apart of it."

Alexz Johnson's story to date is a reminder that there's no template for DIY success but that connecting directly to fans is key. Even big stars are recognizing the need to connect or, at least, appear to connect more directly.

But, remember, crowdfunding and/or fanfunding isn't overshadowing D2F, because it's inherently direct-to-fan.

More on Alexz Johnson: This Is What a Kickstarter-Funded Concert Tour Looks Like

Official Site: Alexz Johnson

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Nice article, Clyde! Alexz sounds like she really IS bringing the fans along. Important lesson for aspiring crowdfunders: including your fans in your project is more than just asking for $$$.

  2. I agree. But I found her pitch video a bit impersonal.
    She never really talks to the viewer. You see her at work and she talks to someone off camera about what she’s doing but never directly addresses the viewer.
    Her pitch text does do that so maybe that makes the difference but she seems a bit distant to me in the video.

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