One of the recent success stories on the Kickstarter scene is indie-rock band Black Lab. With the help of Kickstarter (and their fans), they have released their latest labor of love, A Raven Has My Heart.
Kickstarter, the online crowdfunding platform, has been a revolutionary way for independent artists to obtain funds — investments, if you will — that help them achieve their project goals since its creation in 2009. As the popularity of Kickstarter continues to grow, so does the number of artists who are jumping on the bandwagon.
Black Lab gained popularity in the late 90’s with hits like “Time Ago” and “Wash It Away,” and was featured on a number of popular-at-the-time-but-easily-forgotten soundtracks such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spiderman and Blade. However, once their label at the time, Geffen Records, went under so did the band’s mainstream momentum. Front man Paul Durham has continued releasing their music independently, but it’s tough to get radio attention when it’s not cost-effective to tour.
In February 2014 Paul launched his first ever Kickstarter campaign. The goal was to raise $28,000 in 30 days so that Black Lab could finish production on their latest aural offerings, and word of the launch was sent out to his Facebook, Twitter and website followers. A mere 36 hours later — on Valentine’s Day! — all $28,000 had been raised. By the end of the campaign, a total of $72,391 had been raised by just over 1,000 people, or “backers” as they are called.
What’s great about being a project backer is that you get something back, and not just the warm and fuzzy feeling inside that you’ve helped someone realize their dream either. You actually get something tangible for your contribution.
To thank their fans who were able to give, Black Lab promised things like a copy of the new album, a limited edition T-shirt, stickers, etc. And for a mere $5,000, the band promised to come to your house, play a 60-minute acoustic set, drink all of your beverages (yes, that was part of the deal) and include additional limited edition, deluxe, Kickstarter-only things — a pledge that actually had three backers.
Four months later, the swag has all been mailed out and the band is in the process of making good on their owed acoustic-playing beverage-guzzling sets. Their next plan of attack is to get radio play and keep this word-of-mouth marketing machine rolling. Who knows? With hard work and a rabid fan base, the band may even be able to tour, major record labels be damned.