Sunday, July 27, 2008

From today's Courant: Fans Help Underwrite New CDs

New Spin On Records
Independent Acts Turn To Fans To Help Underwrite New CDs

By ERIC R. DANTON, Courant Rock Critic, July 27, 2008

It's a standard deal: You sign a contract with a record label, which lends
you money to make a record, and unless you're unusually successful, you spend
the rest of your career paying it back.

Mark Erelli was disenchanted with the standard deal. After funding five
albums more or less the same way — by borrowing money, either from his label,
Signature Sounds, or from friends and investors — the Boston folk singer tried a
new way of paying for his latest record: He asked his fans to chip in.

Fan-funded albums are the latest variation on do-it-yourself recording for
smaller acts keen on making a professional-quality album while avoiding some
of the entanglements of the record industry. By paying for albums without
borrowing from a label, artists have complete creative control and retain
ownership of the songs. The model has worked so far: From folk to indie-rock to
metal, musicians have raised tens of thousands of dollars by appealing to their
listeners for help.

Borrowing from New England tradition, Erelli dubbed his fund drive a "barn
raising," likening his craft to the interdependent spirit by which communities
gathered to help build a barn for one resident.

"As an independent artist, I see echoes of old barn-raisings in what I do,"
he wrote last year in one of his monthly e-mail newsletters. "Through my
songs, I try to raise spirits, yours and mine alike, and help us all feel a
little less alone. In a modern world that often divides and isolates, I like to
think that my music, in some small way, exemplifies the importance of

Enough of his fans agreed that Erelli was able to raise about $10,000. By
stretching his budget, it was sufficient to pay for time in a _Maine_
( recording studio,
the services of producer Zack Hickman, session musicians and various related
costs, including music gear, for his seventh album, "Delivered." The record
comes out Sept. 6 — unless you donated, in which case you've already received
your autographed copy.

The rest is at,0,3933763.story

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