Undead Band Redefines Crowdfunding

Who needs record labels anymore?  With recent advances in the web and social networking, bands are not only able to go independent, but are even thriving without the overhead and pressure of executives.  Helping these artists are companies like Kickstarter and Indiegogo who have made the concept of crowdfunding more streamlined and fan-friendly.

There have been countless success stories of bands, artists and other creative endeavors finding unbelievable success in this avenue. None however can compare to the return of legendary ska band Five Iron Frenzy.  Nearly ten years ago Reese Roper and his band mates said goodbye to a world of devoted fans and moved on with their lives.  Some went back to school while others got jobs in the music industry.  Then after eight years of silence, a sign of life came from the ashes – a countdown, to be exact, showed up on their website.  Their web designer was planning to update the page at the nine year mark and was counting down to the day.  Of course, he didn’t explain this on the website he just put up the countdown.  When the fans saw it and word got around that something was coming it created a buzz! Was it a reunion?  Perhaps it’s a new album?  Maybe even an upcoming Tour?  The rumors reached the band (now spread out all over the country) and they heard the demand for something new.  So they decided to do a Kickstarter campaign and see what might happen.  The countdown ended at 7:00 on November 22, 2011 at which point the Kickstarter project was announced.  They were asking for $30,000 to make a new record.  Their fans, now adults with jobs and families, responded.  Within less than an hour, they had reached their goal and the numbers just kept climbing.  By the end of the campaign, the “undead band from Colorado” had raised $208,000, a never-before heard-of record-breaking percentage jump.  A band who’d disappeared for ten years had reemerged and turned the young world of crowdfunding upside down.  In humble response, they are now finishing up work on a new album, playing sold-out shows and booking a tour to accompany the album.

So, how does a band do this?  We can read all the articles we want about social networking, and we can post on the various sites until we’re blue in the face.  These are all great tools for getting word out, but the root of social networking is the oldest thing in the world – relationships.  Five Iron Frenzy received 300% of their goal because they’d left a legacy that survived a decade and returned when they called upon it.  They spent eight years as a band connecting with people all over the world, touring, playing honest music and spending quality time with fans until they became friends.  They invested in people, and that is a thing that lasts beyond a catchy song or a witty Facebook post.  So, how do we the artist build our fan base?  The websites and media networks are great tools, and even necessary in this day and age, but they’re not the end-all-be-all.  You’ve got to get out there and interact, build relationships outside of a computer screen.  Once you’ve done that legwork and you’ve shown your face to the world, who knows, maybe you’ll be the next success story!

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