My rock album launched 15 months ago. It’s incredible, if I do say so myself. 10 original tracks of energized rock, with tastes of punk, opera, electronica, gregorian chant, metal, and gothic sensibilities, produced by the legendary Martin Bisi of Swans, Dresden Dolls, and Sonic Youth fame. It is my pride and joy, and the thorn in my side.
The thorn because I am still struggling to pay it off. I live hand-to-mouth, and had no savings to speak of, but I knew I couldn’t put off creating this album any longer. I was afraid of getting involved with a label (if one would even have me), and my bandmates weren’t willing/able to chip in (they are as broke as I am). So I came up with the brilliant solution to take out a personal loan from the bank. Of course, they wouldn’t give ME a loan, since my income bracket is so pathetic (even though my credit is good), so my dad had to co-sign.
It still seems like the only way I could have gone, and I don’t regret it. But I severely underestimated how hard it would be to sell albums. I assumed all my friends and many of my acquaintances would buy it the second it came out, as I always did for my friends’ bands. Some did, but I got a lot of “You should give it to me for free,” “I’m broke, maybe next month,” and “um, I don’t like rock music.” I thought I’d be able to sell to our enthusiastic audiences, but people hardly ever come up to you and ask to purchase one, and if you ask even a raving fan, they usually say they don’t have any money on them.
For 4 years (2.5 now) I need to pay the bank $126.83 a month. That means I need to sell 12 albums a month. At the time, that sounded totally manageable. In reality, it’s been impossible. I sell about 1-2 albums a month. Not because my album isn’t fantastic, just because it’s really hard to sell albums without a huge following (and even with one).
So we’re gonna try another tactic. Starting today, my digital album is available on Bandcamp for $1. $1 is the minimum donation, but you can pay as much as you like.
I owe the bank $3,101.83. After PayPal and Bandcamp take their cuts, I get 75 cents out of one dollar. That means I need to sell 4,135 albums.
Do I think I can do it? Well… not exactly. I’m doubtful that I’ll be able to literally sell over 4,000 albums. I am really counting on a few things happening:
1. A few generous people giving me really wonderful donations- $100 or more.
2. People who have been meaning to buy the album but putting it off taking this as their cue, and paying the full $10 for it (or whatever they can afford).
3. My contacts with much larger platforms than me really pulling for me- spreading the word to their networks and really recommending me. I hate to ask that kind of favor of people, but at least since I’m trying to get out of debt and not just doing regular fundraising or marketing ploys, it has a charitable enough slant to it that I can get away with asking for help.
4. Getting a small bit of media attention just for trying this stunt. Even if it’s just the next college radio DJ to play a track off my album mentioning that you can buy it for $1 online, or my hometown newspaper running my press release- you never know what can get the right person’s attention.
The album is available here. You know what to do. Buy the album for $1. Buy it for more if you feel you can afford it. Share the link with your friends. Put in a good word for me and what I do.
A few last notes:
>The hard copy will still be $10, available from me in person or by post if you include shipping and handling. (It’s also available on CDBaby, but it’s more expensive and not as profitable for me.) Even though I’m keeping this campaign digital, I would LOVE to sell off some hard copies and move some of these boxes out of my tiny apartment!
>If you already have my album but just want to contribute, or if you want to avoid the bandcamp charges, that’s fine. As much as I hate to feel like a charity case, I will certainly not turn down random donations! You can paypal me at amanda at notjustanotherprettyvoice dot com.
(Oh man, my email address is way too public for my taste. Should probably get a new one and keep it more secret… I fail at being famous on several levels!)
Finally, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting independent artists. Even if you don’t purchase, just that you took the time to read this says that you care. That gives me a lot of hope for the future of music and musicians.