Local Band Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New Album

January 25, 2012 - By Trigger  //  News  //  39 Comments

Late Tuesday night, local indie Ameri-fusion band “The Sandusky’s” announced their intentions to record a new album at a local studio in March. It will be the band’s third release, and the working title for the new album is Here With Me. They have decided to fund the project with the new online threshold pledge system called Kickstarter.

“We’re really excited about this one,” says lead guitarist and songwriter Butch Frankenfurter. “We think our first two albums are good, but we really let the material come to us this time, and we hope our fans think it is worth the wait!”

When asked why they decided to use Kickstarter to pay for the production of the album, Butch explained, “A lot of bands around the country are using Kickstarter to fund their projects now. Kickstarter has really taken off, and a lot of bands that we’re friends with, and a lot of the bands we listen to have used it successfully. I mean, what’s better than guilting your fans, friends, and neighbors into giving you money?” Butch jokes. “Actually we’re going to be offering some really cool incentives for folks that pledge, so we hope for it to be a really fun process for everyone involved.”

When asked how The Sandusky’s funded their first two albums before the advent of Kickstarter, Butch explained, “Well, our first album Built For Speed we did in the drummer’s basement. We took a bunch of carpet remnants out of the dumpster of a local carpet store to deaden the concrete walls, and then borrowed various pieces of recording equipment from our musician friends around town and paid a sound guy from a local venue here $50 and a 12 pack of Pabst to engineer. It was a little crazy, but it worked out just fine. The second one we all saved up money collectively until we had enough for some studio time. We also recorded part of it at the local university. We simply asked if we could use one of the music department’s practice facilities after hours, and they said ‘yes’.”

And so why did they need Kickster for their third album, if they figured out how to make the first two without up-front financial help from fans and friends?

“Well, we really want this third album to be special, and a label has never really been an option for us, nor is it really for anybody these days. Don’t get me wrong, we’re proud of our first two albums, and we hope that the heart and songwriting shined through some of the lower production value, but this time we want to make the album we envision in our heads. We hope our fans will help us do that.”

Another local band “The Brittons” are also planning to record a new album soon, and have decided not to use Kickstarter for funding.

“I just can’t justify asking people for money for something I’m going to do on my own anyway,” explains The Brittons’ drummer Ed “Gonzo” Johnson. I mean, do The Sandusky’s have cable TV? Do they all have the latest iPhones? How much money do they spend on beer? I honestly don’t know, but I have trouble holding a cup out asking for donations and asking our fans to do the hard part for us when it has always been our responsibility. Making music is not a right, it is a privilege. You want to make an album? Tighten the belt. If you believe in the music, it’s worth sacrificing for. If it’s not worth sacrificing for, it’s probably not worth being made. That’s my 2 cents.

“I mean, I got no problem with the Sandusky’s,” Gonzo continued. “We let them borrow some of our gear to make their first album, but that’s another thing. Instead of spending a bunch of money on a studio, why not just spend that money on gear you’ll still have the next time you go to record? The technology you can get at home now is the same in the studios pretty much.”

When asked what The Sandusky’s would do if the Kickstarter fails, if their 3rd album Here With Me would ever see the light of day, Butch assured, “Oh of course. We will probably go back to begging and borrowing gear and space, and just like our first two albums. And hopefully the songs will still shine through.”

39 Comments to “Local Band Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New Album”

  • i would feel like i would deserve a free CD or more if i donated toward the recording of a cd. kind of like being a partner in a business. kind of doesnt make sense to me. shit anyone can make a great record with a few great mics and some good preamps into protools nowadays. suck it up and buy the gear is what i say


    • “i would feel like i would deserve a free CD or more if i donated toward the recording of a cd.”

      Kickstarter is not a donation.


      • think if it more as pre-ordering an as of yet unmade cd.
        unless you donated to Brent Best’s solo album. Then, you just gave Brent beer money it appears.


        • sorry thats just what i got out of the article. i am wrong alot


          • “I mean, what’s better than guilting your fans, friends, and neighbors into giving you money?” sound like a donation to me. i guess maybe an article about Kickstarter or better definition of it would have made it more clear, if you wanna disect every line i type.


  • I can’t say a whole lot, as I’ve received a lot of generosity from folks when I’ve been hard up on the road, but I’ve never asked for it, or expected any of it, but have always been grateful.

    That being said, a lot of this Kickstarter stuff that I see is kind of ridiculous. I’ve seen people on Facebook, getting ready for their first tour, asking people to donate money to them so that they can do it. The same with albums. If this really lives in you, if you really want to do it, if you’ve got the drive, you’re going to find a way to make it happen, without expecting others to do it for you. I spent a summer working 12 hour days, 7 days a week at a canning factory to fund the first proper record I made, I sold a majority of my possessions on Craigslist to register/insure my car, and have a little incidental money for my first tour. I know plenty of other people who have done it in a similar fashion.

    A couple of good uses of Kickstarter that I have seen, when working musicians have been robbed, had gear break, things like that. If I had money to spare, I’d gladly donate to see one of my friends, or a band I enjoy be able to keep going when they hit bad luck like that. Personally, I’d feel very weird about having something like that done for me, but still, it’s a much more reasonable cause.

    Just my 2 cents. But it’s a good article, brings some attention to a sad trend I’ve been noticing for a while.


  • If anybody’s interested, check out the samples on http://www.reverbnation.com/whirledboogie and hear what can be done with one 8-hour day in the studio. you can hear all 12 tracks in 9 minutes if you ‘play all’.

    On the other hand, my old band from highscool spent about $12,000 (as far as i know) to record an album at the fancy studio. We ended up scrapping it, going to a smaller studio, recording all 12 songs again (for thousand$ more), and releasing that. (I said “releasing” not “selling”)

    Production value is important if you want to sell music, but it’s not the be all, end all. All I know is that if a band can’t sell their last CD, or the current one, the way they are, don’t expect to sell the next one just ’cause it sounds perty.

    Recording in a basement deadened with carpet remnants is a perfectly acceptable way to go in my opinion. If you do that, let it be just that, a basement recording. Don’t act like you get special underground street cred for it. Don’t hate on the band next door when they get signed by a label record and record at the hi tech studio.

    For the record, I bought some equipment last month. We’ll see how it goes. ;-)


  • Seriously. This has gotten a little out of hand. I’ve noticed at least a couple of “well established” acts have used Kickstarter recently…. one I have great respect for, but have to question a bit now. I see the usefulness of Kickstarter or the like if you’re just starting out or have had some hardships befall you, but if it’s just to save a little overhead I can’t agree with going this route.


  • For the past year and a half I’ve seen Kickstarter (and just general fan-funding) be used to fund some great projects.

    I have to say that I think the lack of general knowledge of what kickstarter does, is to blame for the negativity towards it. I feel like I’m watching a news segment where a bunch of thugs shoot up a park and guns get blamed. Kickstarter is a remarkable service… we should hold the artists accountable for their mis-use… not blame Kickstarter for being the avenue. I also find that the majority of the fans that say “you don;t need that much money” have no clue what it takes to make an album… just an uneducated opinion.

    I once had a musician answer my questions about his first album with “I heard about this Kickstater thing.. you just put a request out and people give you money” *facepalm*

    But on the other hand… there are ALOT of fans with resources that would help at the drop of a hat to fund a new record. I’ve seen firsthand a record that’s about to be released this year, that was completely fan funded. And because of that, they could do exactly what they wanted to in the studio.. they made the record without cutting any corners. And it shows. I heard the masters this week and was blown away. It worked. His fan base is larger and more bought into his work and he doesn’t owe one single person for that album. But he also took the entire campaign very seriously.

    I think TM’s stance is spot on when it comes to Kickstarter. Well done.


    • I agree that Kickstarter shouldn’t catch the blame here. It’s a great site/service to have around. I think that the majority of the time, Kickstarter is the wrong way for bands to go because it doesn’t address the REASON that they’re underfunded to begin with. Since only 44% of projects get funded, that opinion is backed up by a majority.

      If a band isn’t making money, the first thing they have to consider is that maybe, not enough people like their music. There IS a reason that real studio recordings cost money. The quality is more widely (and commercially) acceptable and appealing when it’s done professionally. However, if a band can’t sell a self produced CD to enough people to at least get close to funding the next recording, I don’t think they should try to pan-handle. If they didn’t buy the last one, why would they essentailly buy the next one twice? In this day and age, the game depends on self reliability. The margins just aren’t there for others to handle business the way they have in the past.

      An artist certainly CAN produce their own quality recordings. If they do, they need to be honest about it and not try to inject it into a class where it doesn’t belong. That makes the difference between fan funding and panhandling.

      Good (expensive) recordings Do make a difference. However, there are plenty of paid-for, independent recordings out there. Marketing them is a whole other ballgame. I’d say that most of the time, the quality of the studio sound etc isn’t the CAUSE of sluggish sales. The problem is a general lack of interest for whatever reason.

      If someone has generated enough interest, and it does happen, then Kickstarter become a lot more logical.


  • If some fans want to fund a bands album, that is their choice. This kickstarter thing is just an new way to do it. How is this any different than trying to find investors for a business??? Or finding funds for albums in the past????

    No one is forcing you to fund it. If you like them, help them out. If not, don’t.

    And no one should be jumping at these guys as taking the easy road to cut an album.
    Kickstarter is the easy road.
    Amer. Idol is the easy road.
    Big Nashville label is the easy road.


  • The Sanduskys? Might want to rethink that band name.


  • seems like nothing is ever easy. there’s always something. say, you get signed by a record label for $40,000. most folks who know anything about the music business realize you may never see any of that 40 grand. studio time, promotion, braces for some guy’s second wife so she can make it into the all important trophy category, etc.
    i suppose kickstarter is a good thing if that’s what you want to do. however, if your fan base is large enough they’ll buy what you make if they like it. work hard, spend your money then recoup it on sales. or that’s the hope. if not then you end up like a million other bands that never made it. it all boils down to the end product. i’d be more than disappointed if i kicked in some money then didn’t like what i heard when all was said and done.


  • One point with Kickstarter I may have missed is that you are required to offer incentives. You can’t JUST beg for money. In most cases, donors are just buying something at an inflated price. I saw one successful campaigner offer house concerts at the $500 level. That’s brilliant. You get paid well in advance and also work it into the tour stops and likely have places to stay along the way.


  • Trig, couldn’t tell if this was a quote from Ed Johnson. Thought it was you, because you didn’t use quotes.

    Anyway, here’s the quote: ” I honestly don’t know, but I have trouble holding a cup out asking for donations and asking our fans to do the hard part for us when it has always been our responsibility.”

    Then there’s this: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=vDSKRRIwCibSz0-V9xwlr-cHcshzxbEc9c7iefWf8wNYsKYObQN0n9MTzT8&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d4026841ac68a446f69dad17fb2afeca3

    Not stirring shit, because I happen to agree that Kickstarter is maybe being overused. We’re funding our third release out of pocket (money we don’t really have). More a pride thing than anything. That said, I don’t see much of a problem in a band asking their fans to help burden the cost of a record. Like IceColdCountry pointed out, you don’t have to donate, and like Chad above pointed out, it’s not a donation. You’re literally getting something back. Not much different than major label bands doing pre-orders: that’s to help shoulder the up-front. Except major label bands already have money, and indies don’t.



    • I’m not quoted in the article, so it must be from Ed, but I think Ed took inspiration from a comment left on an article I did a while back on Kickstarter (at the bottom)


      As for whatever you linked to, the link doesn’t work. But I see it is from paypal, and I am going to assume you are referring to the SCM Donate Button. First off, I’ve received a grand total of 4 donations directly to the site in almost 4 years, so if it bothers anybody, I am more than happy to take it down, but what it also does is act as a community resource. I have used it to collect money for Ruby Jane and Banjer Dan when they had gear stolen, and I also used it to generate donations for Rosie Flores’ medical bills and other occasions.

      But nonetheless, I see your point, if that was the one you were trying to make. The thing is, tons of man hours went into creating SCM and to get it to the point where it is today, and we did it with no up front compensation, and the compensation now, 4 years later, is just enough to cover expenses. Today, I could start a Kickstarter, lay out my plan for this website, and hope people give me money to start it, but I never would.

      A lot of times I post articles like this and people think I am passing judgement, when many times my main focus is to stimulate discussion. I’d say that was also the point of the “punk gone country” article a while back. If fans want to give money to bands before a record comes out, then that’s their right. I’m simply trying to get people to think of when it may be appropriate for a band to use Kickstarter, and when it is not. And I think that answer is very complicated, and there’s really no clear right or wrongs. That is why I did it in this context.


      • Roger. And nor was I passing judgment on yer Paypal link (sorry the link didn’t work), more playing devil’s advocate. Like I said, I don’t have a problem with Kickstarter per se, but we considered it and decided against it for our upcoming record.



  • Haha great article! I had to read all the comments and article twice to realize it was fake news goddamn that was well done. I agree with it for the most part. I would never feel right about asking people to fund my music but if bands want to go that way and people want to pay hundreds of dollars to have dinner with them then why not I guess. I just dont understands why its so expensive like others mention recording technology has changed you dont need thousands and thousands of dollars for some uppity studio to crank out a good album especially when a band is up and coming. Though im biased I guess I like the gritty productions much more than the slick crystal clean super studio stuff. Also I fully support it for when it comes down to stolen gear or funerals etc


  • I really don’t see a moral or ethical problem with a band asking for donations, it’s just that at a 44% success rate, why bother? It’s a waste of time. Subtract from that the number of projects that are funded but not otherwise successful. That’s an embarassing failure.

    Would you take your car to a mechanic that fixed the problem 30% of the time? Would you pay extra up front? Wouldn’t you think it’s insane for a mechanic to ask that?


    • Wait, scratch that.

      I’m a part time mechanic who’s dream it is to own my own auto shop. My whole family has driven cars for generations. My grandfather, father, and two uncles all owned cars. When I was a kid I had posters of cars on my wall. I rode in a car to school almost every day.

      When I was 18 I got a job at an auto parts store stocking shelves but knew what I really wanted was to work on cars. After my manager wrote me up for taking 2 hour lunch breaks and being “under the influence” (which is bullshit, I hadn’t smoked since like 11am, and that was only like a real small bowl, how the hell am I still under the influence after lunch?) I quit that job. Since then I started changing oil and rotating tires at another shop and haven’t looked back.

      All I need now is $10,000 to buy tools from Sears and rent a garage. Then I can start my own shop and start living the dream. Oh yeah, and I’ll continue to work really really hard too. Thanks in advance to all my wonderful friends and fans. Now who’s in?!?!


    • I think one of the things at the crux of the Kickstarter moral dilemma is that so many artists are starting them because they do not think there’s anything to lose by a Kickstarter failing, which odds are, it will. As I pointed out in my previous article on Kickstarter, it can taint a project. But the sheer volume of Kickstarters differs attention from all of them, including ones that may have justified or altruistic aims, which admittedly, is determined in the eye of the beholder.


      • It’s really a cross-section of many things bands do to shoot themselves (and others) in the foot. Every comment I’ve posted here is a reflection of my own failures. Fortunately, internet wasn’t this advanced when my old band was playing so we failed privately. We sooooo would have Charlie Sheened ourselves. Just because you can reach out, doesn’t mean you should.


  • just my own personal 2 cents … I get the backlash to a degree, but as a fan that is geographically removed from any viable music scene I know I enjoy contributing to artists and projects that appeal to me — I’m getting something tangible in return as well as the ‘feeling’ of being a part of the process… win-win from my perspective. I’m surpised at the low success rate, but would imagine those numbers might be skewed a bit by the wide array of projects on kickstarter (many of them, esp the non-musical ones, fairly bunk quite honestly — but I’ve contributed to quite a few band projects and have yet to have one NOT be successful)…
    As a means of further connecting fans to the artists and music they enjoy and helping foster those artist’s careers and thus make more enjoyable music, rock on….


    • sorry… my win-win scenario left off the part where the artist gets to spend a little more to acheive the end product they envision AND eat more than ramen occasionaly….


    • Without question there is going to be a disconnect between fans and artists on this issue, and artists and other artists. That is why I broached the issue like I did, to illustrate this. If being a part of successful Kickstarters makes you feel good, that is excellent, and I am glad that there are a lot of successful Kickstarter projects out there. What I was trying to illustrate here is, how is one band who pinches pennies to make their album supposed to feel when another band goes out and asks for the money from their fans and gets it, especially when that first band, fully knowing they could have been successful on Kickstarter as well, passes up the opportunity doe to the feeling it is a compromise of ethics? And may this also cause more and more bands to get onto Kickstarter, diluting attention from possibly more worthy projects using the site, and causing fewer Kickstarters to be funded?

      Like many folks have pointed out, Kickstarter is not the problem. But there must be a governor, a line somewhere where a project is worthy of Kickstarter, and where it is not. And as fans and artists, we must draw that, and draw it soon, or my worry is Kickstarter will become a flash pan fad. It is already showing signs of an economic bubble.


  • I dont have an issue with the idea behind kickstarter, I have an issue with who is using it. Rhett Miller, Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids and who has put out over 10 albums in his career and had his own label before, Amanda Palmer who was signed to Roadrunner Records, Five Iron Frenzy, a christian band getting over 150,000 dollars when they announce a reuinion. Established bands should NOT be using this. It is not our fault that you didnt save or budget at the high point of your career. Asking us to foot the bill so you can put out your art is a huge slap in the face. What are you doing to support us, the fan, during this? Are you lowering ticket prices for your shows? Are we getting deals on something? We are giving you an interest free loan for up to a year, and we get a cd for 30 dollars in return? Not cool in my eyes.


    • People are taking something simply because it’s there for the taking, not because they need it. A lot of these bands champion social issues. Can’t this money go to more worthy causes than enabling bad financial practices that lead to bands, especially wealthy ones asking for hand outs?


      • One would hope so. I would be alot more interested in “donating” to a kickstarter campaign if the artist was donating half of that money to a good cause in the area. Also, the lack of transparency during these products scare me. What is to say that these artists dont actually have the money needed and are just getting extra spending money from fans because they can?

        I understand that the music industry is changing and has been for a decade or so now, but I never thought that the DIY approach would turn into the “On the backs of our fans” approach.


  • In finance, a lack of funds is rarely the problem, it’s a symptom. It’s not that you don’t have the money, it’s that you can’t get it, or when you do, it leaves quickly. Like a current in a river, it’s called “currency” because it’s designed to flow. You can get water in your hand, in a cup, in a bucket, in a pond etc. A river also has a BANK where deposits are made. With Kickstarter, it can be like asking people to throw water at you. Do you have a bucket? If not, it won’t help.

    In the modern age, we can’t use the old record company model. The 90’s and 00’s brought an earthquake that shifted the flow of the currency. It’s still there’ still flowing, it’s just changed course.

    Without just giving up money, there are small things we can do to support the indie community. Think of something you’re going to buy anyway.

    I highly reccomend:

    The Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business by Loren Weisman

    Copy that. Scroll down to the bottom of this page. Where it says “Support SCM and start your Amazon shopping here”, paste and search. Do that whenever you buy something from Amazon anyway. No biggie, it just alters the flow.

    Take that for what it’s worth. It’s not like I’m rakin’ in the dough. But my “job” does involve a lot of doing whatever I feel like doing and has very few people telling me what to do. I also get to spend most days watching my little girls grow up so I have to put that all on the scale.


  • Interesting post. The only exposure I’ve had to it is an American friend trying to raise $6,500 for his band to record via Kickstarter, and posting the link daily on facebook for several weeks. I read his post asking for people to donate and my immediate reaction was “Whoa, that’s kinda cheeky”. I must admit to being glad he is pretty much just an acquaintance these days so I didn’t feel any pressure to donate. However I did think that if he had have been a good friend I would have felt some obligation to donate to the cause, and I don’t like that. If he’d needed a new kidney it might have been different, but asking for handouts so his band can record an album?!? What next? I think I’ll create a Kickstarter campaign to reupholster an antique chair I have. If you donate, not only are you helping to preserve a piece of history, but I will let you come over and sit on it! Even have your photo taken if you want! Seriously, what are you waiting for?


    • Yes, the guilt component is a whole other issue. What if you can’t give? Or can’t give that much? Does that make you less of a fan or friend? What if you believe in the band, but not in the Kickstarter? If you know the band personally, their habits, their managing flaws with money (and we all have them) and you know for a fact they could scrape them money together themselves if they just tried a little harder.


      • I think a better way to do it might be to ask for a donation that is the same price as the CD retail price. So ask for donations of (say $12) and for that you will be sent a CD when the album is done and dusted. That seems to have a bit more integrity to me. I just figured for this person to go on Kickstarter and ask for money was lazy and rude.


  • The concept of patronage isn’t something new. If the great Renaissance artists hadn’t had patrons, we’d be much poorer, culturally. I feel fortunate to have seen art by Michelangelo, DaVinci, Boticelli, Titian, etc. etc. They all had patrons or, to put it in modern terms, sponsors.

    I should clarify that my band’s recent cd was entirely self-funded. We are still scrimping and sacrificing to catch up from the money and time we had to devote to the project. That was just our choice.

    But today the record deals just aren’t there. The chances of getting signed (a business model in which some corporation becomes the art patron, putting up the front money) are about the same as buying your weekly lottery ticket. So if some band has a worthy (in my opinion) project, I have no trouble with them asking for sponsors on Kickstarter. I’ve contributed before and I will again. And the system is self-correcting. If the project is BS, it almost never gets funded. Also, like any human endeavor, there will be shysters and con men who try and sometimes succeed in taking advantage.

    Bottom line, I don’t think there’s anything unethical or shady about an artist seeking a patron. Humanity has never financially supported art, as a whole. But humanity would be a lot less interesting and satisfying without it.


    • Great point, but in my opinion Kickstarter in many cases is counter-intuitive to the idea of patronage. One alternative I would suggest to bands looking to use Kickstater is to try and find a patron, one patron or a few patrons, instead of broadcasting your financial hardship to the rest of the world and asking them to do something about it. Find a rich uncle, a local fan who happens to have lots of money. Draw it up as an open-ended loan. In my opinion, how a band gets their album funded is none of their fan’s business, and many times, they don’t want to see it or know about it. Like in the sports world, a fan is not going to care about a teams explanations of budget restrictions of why they didn’t re-sign their favorite player. The difference here is that Kickstarter is done in the name of “art”, and so their is a guilt quotient.

      All that said though, yes, the patron or patrons is an important point in how the funded of art has evolved, and I’m glad you made it.


  • The record labels are/were ‘investors’. They spent the money because they would turn a profit. The late 90s and 2000s brought a rapid decline in the profit. The bands who think they’re replacing label money with fan money probably miss that point most of the time.

    Let’s say an artist has a job as a schoolteacher. They’ll need to finish a project by spring in order to promote it, tour, and make money over the summer. Time is limited. If they had a Kickstarter campaign I could handle that. Rather than “donations” they could use it to clear out old merch, CDs, even instruments. Contributors would be helping by buying, not donating. That’s easier to swallow. It also takes care of the time issue as the campaign would end on a definite date.

    Unfortunately, it may be coming down to the fact that the Kickstarter ‘brand’ has been damaged. Before, when [your fav band] showed up in your facebook newsfeed with a kickstarter logo, you clicked to see what new project they were working on. Maybe now when that happens, you avoid them like the dude that asks to borrow 5 bucks every time you see him.

    I’ve never wanted to do a kikstart myself though I have considered the ‘what if’ scenario. What it comes down to, and is highlighted by the fact that there’s even a debate, is that there are a number of people who see “Kickstarter” and think “bum”. The concept is good but as was pointed out in the previous article, there may be too much baggage due to misuse.


  • I say if you are going to do it, at least make it entertaining. THIS was the funniest thing I have EVER seen on Kickstarter.



    • HA!! Perfect!


  • I’ve done some work in philanthropy and the problems are very much the same. My biggest hurdle is transparency. Show me the numbers! Some of the biggest charities in this country are quagmires of economic waste and mismanagement.

    Kickstarter can be a fantastic way for us fans to be a part of the process that helps underground artists achieve their goals without dealing with Mike Curb. I think the answer for all charity is the same; it’s about your individual view on it. Most importantly: do some research, if it passes the sniff test and you feel that your hard-earned money will be efficiently managed in something that you personally value, go for it. If not, don’t feel bad about passing on it, your absence of donation has a voice as well.

    If you’ve tried to raise money with Kickstarter and failed, that’s just as important as success. If you can figure out why you weren’t able to raise capital, only then can you change the business plan. Mistakes are only worth it if you learn from them.


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