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Get a Kick Start

May 10, 2010

If you happened to catch this article over the weekend, then you know that two New York producers have raised enough funds to head out here to Memphis and start production on a documentary about Big Star’s Alex Chilton. What’s even cooler than the fact that the documentary will be made is the way in which these producers were able to raise the money to do so. The New Yorkers told their story through a nine minute video on a website called kickstarter.com. In just a matter of hours, they had reached their funding goal, raising more than $6,000.  With three days left to go until their deadline is reached, they have more than doubled their original goal.

So, what is Kickstarter? Check it out for yourself.  It provides musicians, artists, performers, and creative types of all kinds a platform to display their work and allows fans and strangers alike to support their craft.  Musicians can supply a sampling of their music and raise money to fund the creation of their first album, a west coast tour, a new bass guitar, a used VW van …whatever.  Kickstarter’s “all-or-nothing” policy reduces risk, as only projects that meet their funding goal will come to life and be charged the 5% commission.  There is no limit to how much a project can raise, and if for any reason a project does not meet its funding goal, backers are not responsible for their pledge.

And while many will donate out of the kindness of their hearts, incentives are also necessary, particularly to draw in larger donations.  Users of the site get creative with these rewards- from a thanks blasted throughout the band’s social network sites to used guitar picsk, Kickstarter musicians have also offered their songwriting services and free passes to their concerts for life.

My suggestion? Grab your Flip, get creative, and get people’s attention. Take a look at Kickstarter’s musician success stories to see what approaches other musicians have taken, and then take your own.  The guy pictured above raised over $1,000 to rap about potatoes.  So really, what do you have to lose?

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