Pledge Campaign FAQ

By now most of you know (or should know) about the Pledge Music campaign I’m hosting to help release the new EP “Where Did I Go?” As we near the final two weeks of the campaign I thought I should take a moment to answer some recurring questions I’ve been getting about this whole project. Hopefully after reading through this little rundown you’ll be more inclined to pledge if you have not already. I really need you for this one, sincerely, I do. You are in control of whether or not this music gets finished and released. Each and every pledge makes a huge difference, big or little, so here we go…

1.) What is a pledge?

When you make a pledge you are essentially “pre-ordering” your copy of the CD. You can do a basic pledge for $10 which will get you a CD, a digital download of the tracks, and access to all of the updates (some updates can only be seen by pledgers). If you are feeling a little more adventurous and giving there are loads of cool and unique items offered in exchange for your generosity. Some of them are one of a kind, others are available in very limited quantities, but all of them are here to make our experience a little more interesting and personal for the both of us.

2.) Why do you need money from fans to make an album?

This was asked by a fan the other day and I imagine a lot of people have this question so I’m just going to copy and paste what I had written before. It’s lengthy but I think it’s important to understand…

“Don’t feel bad for asking, MOST people don’t understand the music business. It’s actually in really bad shape right now, some even say it’s a dying industry. This is in part to new technology (the internet, file sharing, etc.) which is causing many labels and artists to take a hit on not only what they get paid, but how much money they have to make one album to the next. For an artist like me, I’ve always been independent, which means I’ve always funded my projects myself without any help from any label. A lot of artists are choosing to self-release their own records these days simply because they’re better off working this method than signing to a record label. Many people still think artists aspire to be on a major record label, but that’s just not the case anymore. The major labels are no longer interested in developing grassroots artists so if an artist signs and doesn’t immediately do well, they’re more than likely going to be dropped by the label and not own any of the rights to the album they recorded under contract, which leaves them broke and stuck to the term of their contract. Some songwriter friends I know that have signed found themselves stuck in a contract for three years without the label allowing them to release even a single song because they don’t want to invest in them anymore. That brings us to the benefit of all this new technology. It cuts out the “middle man” and gives the fans an opportunity to connect directly with the artist. However, releasing an album costs a lot of money, not only to make it, but to promote it as well. As you may have noticed over the last several years, though, music sales have declined substantially, so independent artists like myself aren’t making enough of an income to continue making music like they used to. That’s why hosting a campaign like the one I am now can help keep the music “alive.” Essentially, the Pledge Music campaign acts as a “pre-order” for the album, which means fans can order it now before it’s even finished. That way the finances are available to complete the album thanks to fan support. In turn, the fans that contribute will be the first to get the album. Does that all make sense? Really it all has to do with the new generations perspective on music. It’s not valued as much as it used to be because you can listen to just about any song for free online, and most people will choose the free option rather pay. What they don’t realize is that every time they choose not to buy a song or album, they’re choosing not to support the artist that created the music, which puts a handicap on their future work. Most independent artists use the money they make from one album to make another, so if people aren’t buying the first album the second won’t happen. This is why I am needing the fan support for this album. I have a large fan base all across the world, but most fans choose to listen for free online. It is great that they listen, but it doesn’t financially support my career. This is why I am stressing the importance of pledging to the campaign. Without their help, the album won’t be released. Anyway, this is a long answer, haha. I hope it has educated you at least a little bit… I could write a book if I had the time!”

3.) What’s the actual goal amount?

$6,500 – which really isn’t that much compared to your commercial pop record. This is VERY do-able (and reasonable) with a little fan cooperation!

4.) How many songs are on the EP?

The EP (as of now) will be 4 tracks.. but a GOOD 4 tracks at that. I actually recorded 6 fully produced tunes in the studio but with the current budget I’ll only have enough to mix and master 4. One of the reasons I’ve been pushing the campaign so much is that if we exceed 100% there’s a chance I could finish the other two remaining songs. It all depends how active the fans are, the more the project raises the more tracks there will be.

5.) When does the campaign end? Do you get to keep the money if it doesn’t reach 100%?

The campaign ends October 5th. If it is not 100% funded by then I will get nothing, the songs will not get finished, you are not charged anything, and we basically hang our heads together in shame and cry. That sounds awful, so let’s not even worry about that right now.

6.) When does my credit card get charged?

Your card will not be charged UNTIL the project goal is met (basically when we reach 100%). That means you can pledge now if you have interest in one of the limited exclusive items so somebody else doesn’t get it before you. You can also pay via Paypal but that particular method will be deducted automatically.

7.) “I don’t have any money right now, but I’ll buy the CD when it comes out.”

It’s reeeeeally important to note that the music won’t be released if the campaign isn’t funded. By supporting the project now you help ensure it’s future in your music library. Besides, why wait?? I’m sure you can come up with $10 in change somehow : )

8.) Are you REALLY not going to release this EP if the project doesn’t get funded?

I am not. I guess my thought is if fans aren’t willing to support it, well, there’s no reason to make it. I’m very proud of these songs and it’d be a shame not to finish them, I’ve already invested a lot into the project but I can’t afford to do it on my own anymore. That’s simply the life of an independent artist within today’s culture. People have the control, more control than the artist itself sometimes. So, let’s work together and do this thing : )

PLEDGE CAMPAIGN SITEhttp://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/bradleyjamesImage

Pledge Music Campaign is LIVE

Pledge Music Campaign is LIVE

Greetings all,

Apologies if you’ve seen the facebook and twitter updates (not to mention if you’re on the newsletter list) but I’m covering all my sites, networks, and blog to let everyone know that the Bradley James Pledge Music campaign is now live! You can listen to the first track “When the World Ends” and contribute in any way you like. There are some unique limited and one of a kind items available to pledgers, so enjoy your visit and thank sin advance for your support!

Sounds like a plan…

A lot of you might remember that back in 2009 I ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the Five Times August album “Life As A Song.” Back then the site was still in beta testing and I was one of the lucky few musicians to take advantage of the site before it became the quintessential online funding tool it is today for so many other artists. My project was the first to raise what was considered (back then) a tremendous amount of money… $20,000 in 31 days. A project that size is pretty typical now, but at that time it was a pretty extravagant venture. It was certainly an exciting month, to say the least, and we somehow managed to actually pull it off with help from the fans. Obviously since then Kickstarter has become a much bigger online commodity and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t friends with someone (or friends of a friend of someone) who hasn’t raised or given funds through the site.

So while it’s all great and good that we raised the money and got the album released with the ’09 project, I was actually ballsy enough to try it again a year later in 2010 while we were on tour in the RV. In short, I don’t know what all factored in during the second go around, maybe it was simply the fact that it WAS the second go around, but unfortunately Kickstarter project #2  didn’t succeed. If you’re familiar with the site you know that if a project is unsuccessful the artist/creator does not get any of the funds and the end result is basically as if it never happened. I was pretty upset and depressed about that at the time. The second campaign was so crucial to making the next FTA album that after the project failed I basically scrapped it all together. You may have noticed that there really hasn’t been a new full length album from FTA since ’09’s “Life As A Song,” only a couple of digital singles have been released (The Minute & Fix Me) along with a second volume of the “Acoustic Sessions” series. That’s the constant dilemma of the indie artist, finding funds to not only make a living, but to continue producing new work. So, that little heartbreak from the second Kickstarter shut me down for a bit. It eventually sparked the notion that maybe I should try something different and give myself a fresh start with a side project. That’s when I began work on Music by Bradley James. It’s been a great second outlet for my creativity over the last year or so, and though it has taken a while to get the wheels in motion we’re just about ready to release some new music again… just about, BUT… I’m going to need your support getting over the last hurdle…

In the coming weeks I’ll be launching a new campaign on the site PledgeMusic.com to raise the final amount needed to finish up the first Bradley James EP. Don’t worry, I’m not shooting for $20,000 again! The goal amount will be just enough to get the tracks mixed, mastered, and into a nice little CD package for you. In addition to the EP being offered in digital and physical formats, I’ll be offering some really unique one of a kind and limited items to pledgers. I won’t get too heavy into details as of yet, I’m still putting it all together as we speak, but expect some interesting stuff! It should be a lot of fun and I sincerely hope you are excited to take part! To entice you to help finish the EP I’ll be ‘unvailing’ audio for the first track the day the campaign begins (I figure you probably want to hear SOMETHING before handing over your dollars!)

So why am I telling you this now and not a few weeks from now? Well, I’m telling you because I basically want you to be ready! There are a ton of artists raising money for their own album, it’s a very saturated avenue to go down right now. But, truth be told, this new fan funded business model IS the new model for indie acts, that’s why so many are doing it now. I’ve already stood on both sides of the fence having had a success and a failure with the Kickstarter campaigns. The outcome? One side got my album a review in People Magazine, the other ceased production all together, leaving songs unfinished, incomplete, and unheard. I don’t want the ladder to happen again, it’s a sad situation to be in! So, consider this blog entry something of a “save the date” without a specific date, just know it’s coming! I’m very excited about the new songs and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear what I’ve been working on.

With that said, hang tight! Next time you hear from me we’ll be up and running!

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