The stories behind four successful IndieGoGo campaigns (2011-2018)
The campaign for my sixth full-length album, and an accompanying video, got underway at the start of December. It had been two and a half years, I was living in Europe and most everything else had also changed. My initial plan was to make an album in Japan, but the complexity and cost of making this work made me focus closer to home-- my new home of Hamburg.
I was more nervous than in previous campaigns, since the sum that I needed was more than ever, and the currency was Euros instead of Canadian dollars. I realised too late that crowdfunding over the Christmas holidays was actually not the best idea.
With January beginning, I resolved to be as present and responsive as possible in the final stretch. With just seventeen days left, I began doing a daily video on Facebook that showed people how far we had come. The campaign's funding shot through the roof, and in the end over 175 people had made the Hamburg album come true.
'New Harbour' (2015)
The 'New Harbour' campaign in the spring of 2015 was a shorter one than the previous two, but quickly rose to meet its goal in 3 weeks. The 'MF-IGG' team and I discussed offering the best perks possible, and the word spread quickly. Meanwhile, my friends Adrian and Andrea helped me connect the dots in Newfoundland, and covered nearly all of the groundwork before I'd arrived.
I personally was a little trepidatious since it was a bolder plan, a tighter time frame and the budget I needed was more. This time, most of the budget did not need to be converted into Euros, since the album was conceived and mostly recorded in Canada. Waking up in the cabin in New Harbour and writing and recording was perhaps the most inspiring creative situation I've been in, in my career so far.
The extra money raised was used both to pay some of the musicians who performed on the record, which had never been affordable before, and to cover the mixing and mastering studio at SoundJack, in Chemnitz, Germany.
'Fault Lines' (2013)
When we did the 'Fault Lines' IndieGoGo campaign in 2013, my team and I felt confident after the first campaign and already I had learned some important lessons about crowdfunding. We blasted past our goal in just over half the amount of time, and I got to work right away recording the ground tracks of the album in Shanahill, on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry.
Once again, I took tons of footage and applied myself (and a bundle of time) to making three campaign videos. These ones were quite long and in hindsight I'm impressed that people sat through them! Over the course of the campaign, when I wasn't out walking and getting fresh Irish air, I was basically walking between the sunroom (where the internet connection was best) and the kitchen (where the Guinness was hiding).
The extra funds were very helpful to make the conversion into Euros (funds were raised in Canadian) and were used to pay photography & graphic design costs, and some travel costs.
'Latitude' was my first time crowdfunding, on the recommendation of my friend Terry Mackay. He had initially told me about Kickstarter, but at the time Kickstarter was not quite as popular in Canada, and the terms were that either you reach your goal and receive the money, or you miss your goal and get nothing at all. After the effort that I intended to put into this crowdfunding, not getting anything was not an option.
I decided to film three videos, one at the start, one in about the middle and one before the end of the campaign. I had a lot of fun walking around Vancouver and shooting bits of film, especially near my home on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. My first IndieGoGo team was formed to help spread the word, with ten friends who were excited to help.
We reached the goal of $5,000 USD a few days before the deadline; I was relieved and blown away by the endorsement of 97 supporters (and their partners!). The extra funds raised were swallowed up by fees and currency conversion rates.