John Vanderslice is Kickstarting not one but two album releases, originals on "Dagger Beach" and a cover of David Bowie's album "Diamond Dogs," and he's already gone way over goal. The campaign is a great example of a well-pitched project that focuses on Vanderslice's fans and will probably earn him some new ones. He's gotten some great coverage and, along with the campaign itself, there are lots of lessons here for crowdfunding music.
John Vanderslice's Kickstarter campaign requested $18,500 and he's received pledges of $61,906 as of early this morning. Based on press reports he hit $50k in the first few days so it's possible he's peaking at this point but it's an impressive achievement. Given that I believe in smart marketing with a personal touch and close fan relationships, it's also nice to see both strongly displayed in this campaign.
John Vanderslice's "Dagger Beach" Pitch Video
I love this campaign on multiple levels starting with the pitch video. It's personal, professional, humorous, connects you with everyone involved including all the musicians, makes a good case for supporting the project and even includes a bit of music along the way.
The text that follows the video begins with an update on press coverage and new rewards including a stretch goal if the campaign exceeds 60k which it has at this point. Adding this info on the main page is smart cause most people won't go past the first page and only people that have already pledged will get push notifications of updates and announcements.
Fans that care will relate to the personal material Vanderslice then shares but he makes it clear it's not just about him and his music but about that relationship:
"There were only two aspects of what I was doing that had to stay: recording my songs and nurturing the relationships with people who have supported my music. That means you."
Rewards and related releases include a digital download of "Dagger Beach," a personalized CD-R of rarities, a limited vinyl release of "Dagger Beach," a vinyl release of the cover version of David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" (the full album) plus tshirts and all sorts of special one-of-a-kind events and experiences.
Vanderslice benefitted from some high profile coverage, including a news piece in Brooklyn Vegan, and shared some behind-the-scenes info in at least two interviews. In both he pointed out that the more he gets the less likely he'll be rich but he's not complaining.
Vanderslice on Amanda Palmer
Tom Hawking, writing for Flavorwire, asked Vanderslice if he'd followed "that whole Amanda Palmer thing," to which he replied:
"Yeah, [and] I saw the whole backlash, too. I mean, I didn't have as much of a problem with that stuff as much as other people did. I was very interested in it. The less barriers that you have between people listening to your music, and the less barriers you have between the distribution of your music, the more you control it. And I think that for me that was the lesson with Kickstarter."
And Working With Kickstarter
"Well, I got to say one thing, man, just from a user perspective: they're smart motherfuckers. They contact you, they guide, in a way, because they don't want you to fail. You're a reflection on them and vice versa. They got in touch with me and helped me in a way that I honestly did not think was going to happen – they basically emailed me and said, 'Hey, if you want to have a phone conversation with me, I can help you with some problems I see.'"
"I sent someone at Kickstarter a preview of what I was going to post. They called me [about it], and they were incredibly insightful...they pointed out things that would've been really stupid for me to do. And also, they helped tighten up the language and the idea of what [I was] doing. They're just really, really smart. Whatever input they gave me didn't interfere with the content of what I was saying, but it definitely made it a lot clearer for people. In a weird way, they were involved as much as some labels that I've been on..."
"I've heard of many small bands who have had phone conversations with Kickstarter, and that is so useful, because you're operating in the dark. You really have no idea how it's going to go."
Vanderslice on Embracing Direct Approaches & New Technologies
David Greenwald, in an interview for Billboard, noted Vanderslice's 2007 "blog tour" using "exclusive videos" and asked, "Beyond Kickstarter, are there other technologies or platforms on the horizon that excite you?" He replied:
"That was an incredible tour. It was really the beginning for me thinking, going to people directly was so much more interesting for me. I will do one club tour in October, but the rest of the summer is devoted to personalizing all of these packages to people who were nice enough to kick in, and I'm going to do a series of house shows."
"They can be anywhere, the requirement is it's not in a bar. It completely changes the relationship to you and people in the room, it's much more conversational, and it's much more about storytelling. Playing in clubs is great, but Christ, man, we've all been collectively doing that for 50 years. We can do something different."
"As far as social media stuff, I know that within a year someone's going to come out with something super-interesting for bands. I actually loved Vine when it came out, that made me want to do an 8-second song to someone. So I'm sure that story is not totally written as far as what I'll do next, but it will have something to do with whatever someone invents in the next year, for sure."
Official Site: John Vanderslice
- Video: Amanda Palmer's Impressive TED Talk: The Art Of Asking
- How To Plan Your Music Crowdfunding Campaign From Start To Finish
- 15 Top Tips For Successful Music Crowdfunding And Fan Funding Campaigns
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.