It’s official. My Kickstarter campaign did not get funded.
Needless to say, I’m disappointed. And poorer in the end, of course, since I’ll be paying for it all myself now. But what I really am is incredibly disheartened.
I realize I’ve never been a social guru. I was never part of the “popular” crowd in school. I don’t post my breakfast, lunch, dinner, random bathroom thoughts and such on social media every day. Nevertheless, I saw myself as generally well-liked and relatively well-connected. Apparently, though, my connections don’t translate effectively into crowdsourcing.
Before I go any further, I want to give a very big thank you to everyone who did back me. Your support – and more importantly, your belief in my music – means a great deal to me.
And that’s what I am holding onto right now. The knowledge that I have friends and family who really do believe in me, and are willing to support me as best they can.
But you know what’s really disheartening?
Some guy jokingly asks for $10 to make potato salad, and winds up with over $55,000 in his pocket. That’s more than I made in a year at my last full-time job.
Potato salad, for $*&#()@ sake!
I tried to raise just a tenth of that – to pay for recording, mastering, production, distribution, and TWO live performances – and couldn’t even break $1,500.
I won’t get into a discussion of what makes a crowdsourced project “funding-worthy,” because that’s the whole point of crowdsourcing, right? The public picks and chooses what they want to support. If they want to pay for someone’s potato salad, or pirate pancake skillet, or meat soap, more power to ‘em. And statistically, only 44% of Kickstarter projects get funded, so it’s not as though I’m in the minority.
I think sometimes, though, folks lose perspective on what they’re being asked to fund. You know, every project up on Kickstarter is required to produce something tangible, in my case, a CD and a live performance experience. Backers aren’t buying my groceries or paying my rent, they are buying my music. Whether it’s a digital download, or a CD purchase, it is a tangible, real product, with significant, quantifiable costs. So maybe the folks who pledged $110 for potato salad could have knocked it down to $100, and backed my project for the other 10 bucks. Then they could have listened to my piece while they snacked on their bite of potato salad.
In reality, though, the broader issue is even more complicated. When my friend, Ovidiu, put out his Kickstarter to fund a recording of the complete Bach ‘cello Suites (with PARMA as well), he raised over $8,000, pretty handily. My project included him as a performer, and PARMA as a partner – and tanked. So what did his Bach CD have in common with potato salad?
People know what they’re getting.
People know what potato salad should taste like. And people know what the Bach ‘cello suites should sound like. And they already know whether they like these things or not.
But new classical music? That requires . . . courage. It requires the listener to be willing to take a chance that they will like what they hear. Or maybe not. And it’s that “maybe not” part that keeps people away. That makes people decide that they “don’t like” new music, without even listening to it. Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t.
Well, maybe not better. But certainly easier.
Which presents me with a challenge. Tempting though it is to just sit around, disheartened and disappointed, it’s not going to be very helpful. No, I need to rise to the challenge, I need to find creative ways to disseminate my music to a broader audience, and hopefully encourage people to open their ears and their hearts and – potentially – their wallets.
Because I would like to be able to truly say that I make a living as a full-time composer. Maybe it’s a pipe dream in the current day and age, but I want to at least try.
Wish me luck.