More testimony

From a readerMore testimony to the power of what we’ve been talking about here: Lara Downes, a pianist, posted a comment, sharing her experience raising money on Kickstarter to fund what seems like a terrific CD. Again, it’s a story of communication and community, with warm benefits for everyone involved.

Thanks, Lara! Here’s what she wrote:

The experience of running a Kickstarter campaign last winter to raise funds for my new recording “13 WAYS of Looking at the Goldberg” taught me so much about channeling the creativity that goes into developing a new project in new directions: communication about what the project was, what it meant both to me as an artist and to the audience I was hoping to reach, what its potential was… I found myself deepening my inner narrative about the project’s relevance even as I was working on communicating that relevance to my supporters. And I also realized the tremendous power of a communal effort. I think that the process of talking to my supporters almost daily, sharing audio, video, journal and tour updates with them, made us all feel that the fundraising process was truly a group effort. Now that the album is out, I feel a real pride of ownership coming from everyone who helped bring it to life. And I’ve made new friends along the way.

Here’s the whole history of my Kickstarter updates. Some were totally silly; some were emotional; every one came with the excitement of seeing my project become closer to fruition:

Lara’s CD is called 13 WAYS of LOOKING AT THE GOLDBERG: Bach Reimagined. Thirteen composers write pieces using the Goldberg Variations chord progression. And they’re framed on the CD by Lara playing the Goldberg aria. I listened to some sample tracks, and liked them a lot.

People in pop music have financed their albums by raising money from fans. Jill Sobule financed her delightful album California Years that way. And its final track, “The Donor Song,” is a tribute to her donors. The lyrics? Nothing but a list of the donors’ names. Truly charming, when you hear it.

Links to other blog readers, telling how they’ve nurtured their audience:

Jeffrey Biegel

Katherine Giaquinto


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  1. Trevor O'Donnell says

    What I like about this is the synergy that grows out of the personal relationships. Artists who connect personally with their networks of fans and supporters learn to focus as much on them as they do on themselves.

    You mentioned in your last post, Greg, that organizations may have something to learn from these examples and I think this is the ultimate lesson. You have to talk as much about your audience as you do about yourself.

    I’m not sure that organizations – after decades of spraying self-congratulatory messages at the world – are prepared to do that, but it sure would be refreshing. And it would probably help them sell more tickets!

  2. richard says

    The Lehrdahl is great fun! I, as a composer, am finding great joy working with “found objects” (pre-existent works) and am doing this almost exclusively. It seems a lot of composers are intrigued with this also. Greg, what is your take on this “old wine in new bottles” approach to new music?

    • says

      I think it’s perfectly reasonable, and very much in tune with what’s going on elsewhere in our culture. Movies are full of references to other movies, often very subtly inserted. TV shows are full of references to other TV shows. Comic strips play off each other!

      And classics from the past are constantly reinvented. One example was the brilliant Sherlock Holmes series on the BBC in 2009, a take on what Holmes and Watson would be like if they were living now. But there are endless, endless variants on this. Pop music is rife with them. In fact, there’s a brilliant book on the way current pop music uses the past — Retromania, by Simon Reynolds. In classical music, we’ve barely scratched the surface, compared to pop.