NONVIOLENCE is Selected for RocketHub’s First LaunchPad Opportunity

We are proud to unveil the artist selected for the prestigious Gibson Music Retreat. Joshua Reuben Lewis, a.k.a. NONVIOLENCE, is the chosen musician for this uniquely valuable opportunity.  Josh and his band will receive week-long access to the New York City Gibson/Baldwin Showroom. Once known as The Hit Factory, this historic location is where Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Madonna, Jay-Z, Santana, Sting, Barbra Streisand, U2, and Stevie Wonder cut their hits. In addition, Lewis will be rewarded with a $1,000 cash stipend. During the week-long retreat, we have arranged for numerous pop-ins and feedback sessions with notables, including Ed Steinberg, music video producer and director for the likes of Madonna and the Gypsy Kings, Eric de Fontenay, indie-management and PR icon, as well as representatives from Atlantic Records, EMI, Sony/ATV, and others. Joshua Reuben Lewis was selected based on his immense talents, musical fit, and the ability to massively mobilize his fan-base through RocketHub’s crowdsourcing mechanism. The 45-day crowd-powered talent discovery involved thousands of fans and mobilized numerous high-quality musical submissions. The NONVIOLENCE submission can be found here. In addition to NONVIOLENCE, there were many strong submissions. Several finalists were chosen based on fan engagement and A&R feedback: Jacob Moon, Anthony Cekay, Blake Whyte, Manitoba Hal, Evan Shinners, Alfonso Velez, Le Mood, Michele Riganese, Rale Micic, Kris Lakota, Shariese Katrell, and Niall Connolly. These finalists will have their work directly introduced to the notables associated with the opportunity.  This opportunity with Gibson is the first of countless LPOs that are in the works. “This is the first step in a new era of creative empowerment and engagement,” says our own CEO, Brian Meece, “Brands can now support creativity in an authentic way and also have a new avenue for high-quality engagement with their audience.” “RocketHub’s partnership with Gibson is another disruption of the old model: It unites brands with artists without the need for a middle man.” — The Washington Post -RocketHub Team  

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  • April 13, 2011

Giving to the Crowd The Healing Power of Music

Darren Hall is a passionate seeker (and finder!) of spirituality who became interested in the healing arts and practice of medicine. The RocketHub team was mesmerized by the musical result of his work. We had to speak to Darren to learn more about his project and about his approach: What was the inspiration behind the music healing project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you and your team? Quite simply I was looking to raise money in a way that was fresh, dynamic and wouldn’t leave me with the the hassle of long wait periods for grants and dealing with impersonal government institutions. On a personal level, I was looking for a way to offer something to all the people who come to my performances and ask me after where they could buy the CD. After a couple dozen people asked me I figured destiny was trying to nudge me into a certain direction! I’m inspired to make a revolution in the approach of music in the 21st century. Music is rediscovering its roots as a healing art and the magnificent tones of these crystal bowls along with intuitive singing that ventures into the shamanic and the sacred science of mantra are my humble offering toward this transformation. RocketHub is important to me because it gives me a chance to interact with my fanbase and friends by giving back rewards for donations. It also gives people the chance to support me. So far, the outpouring has been amazing! Awesome - it’s great to hear about your successful approach. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music and health - how are your supporters responding? As I stated it’s been really fantastic. People really like the idea of supporting and then being able to create a relationship of value for their donations with the gift incentives. I am more than happy to recompense as it really allows me to make it worth it for supporters. I think it’s a wonderful way to connect people to the true generosity of communities and help earnest entrepreneurs get a foothold in a world that often stymies dreamers with the speedbumps of pragmatism. In short, it gives dreams strong roots to grow. Moreover, it’s re-inventing the economy, making it more communal, friendly and, ultimately, fertile. I feel that with RocketHub many rockets that would never have the fuel to fly are now given the chance to soar. With this incentive to dreamers and pioneers alike, Rockethub offers itself as a catalyst for a revolutionary fervour in society by giving vanguards who might otherwise be on the fringe for lack of funding a chance to take off and transform culture. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Take the leap. I know I thought to myself, this is crazy, at the beginning? Who would give me money for this? I’ve been deeply humbled by the love shown by my supporters and even though I have a ways to go to get to my goal, if I don’t end up making it and am just shy it’s still been a wondrous experience to feel the support of community. So many creative people don’t do anything because they feel the prospect of finances is too intimidating. This gives people a chance to transcend that and by the love of people around them and even the suprising support of strangers, which is even more golden. Go for it! As one of my favourite bands, Elbow, sings in one of their great new anthems ‘Lippy Kids’: Build a rocket, boys!!! Darren recognizes that we live in a thrilling time. And we are thrilled to have his project on RocketHub. Check it out here. -Vlad

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  • April 12, 2011

New Orleans Thrives Through Music and Film

You can feel the energy emanating from this vibrant project. Imagine dozens of musicians spilling out of the alleys of Jackson Square to convene at sunset to pick up crowds from the last of the day’s French Quarter Festival events for an old style street-filling “second line” parade. You can support this type of celebration. Ryan Fenson-Hood is an award-winning director and editor whose work has been shown on The Sundance Channel and MTV2, in dozens of film festivals including Tribeca IFF, and distributed internationally on DVD by Zeitgeist and Netflix. Fenson-Hood’s last feature, The Sound After the Storm, won “Best Documentary” at the October 2009 Zurich Film Festival. He is based in New York City and is combining film with music to energize the crowd. We chatted with Ryan about his RocketHub project: What was the inspiration behind the cool film project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you, your team, and the New Orleans community? At a recent screening in New Orleans, I was concerned that locals wouldn’t want to relive the traumas of Katrina through our film and I asked people if the film was still relevant. People told me that our film is more relevant than ever because their wounds aren’t healed yet and hurricane season still comes each fall.  Dr. Michael white said in the film that, “Atlantis is gone, Pompeii is gone. New Orleans is still here.” To me, this quote perfectly evokes the two attributes of New Orleans that our film brings across: its magic and its vulnerability. At French Quarter Festival, hundreds of locals and tourists will have a chance to reflect on this magic and vulnerability at our screenings.  Feeling the city’s magic is dancing along with a brass band in a warm French Quarter sunset. And bringing this experience to the public is the best way we know to connect visitors with the city, to keep the music alive and to support the musicians. Very cool - this spirit is very clear in your project. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in film - how are your supporters responding? The best part about this funding site is that you really have a tight link between donor and cause. Nobody has to be skeptical about where their money is going because they have direct contact with us. I wish we had this kind of intimacy with all the causes we donate to. What if you could go on a site like this to pay your taxes and choose exactly where you want your money to go - could be unrealistic, but it sure would be satisfying. Transparency is vital for crowdfunding success. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? The shorter the event description the better. I get the feeling that a lot of people are happy to donate a bit of money, but they don’t have time to read a whole page in order to understand the event. Thank you Ryan for celebrating the vital culture of New Orleans. Join the movement here. -Vlad

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  • April 11, 2011

Back to the Future - Bruce Marshall Innovates the Music Experience

I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce Marshall a few months ago - and his take on music and the emotional experience that music creates blew me away. Now Bruce is putting together a brand new show in Brooklyn so we needed to chat. Tell us a little about your backstory, where you’ve been and what you do? I am Bruce Anthony Marshall aka “The Music Selector/Sommelier” and I specialize in genre based musical concept entertainment with the purpose of establishing the ultimate atmospheric experience. Part Dj part performance piece.  I’m originally from Lanham, Maryland; but have worked and lived in Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles, London, Bangkok, Budapest, Barcelona and now am home again back in New York. I was also the host and creator behind “The Bitching Hour”, a tri-weekly English language talk/music radio show based in Budapest, Hungary. As a graduate from The Art Institute of Chicago, I have the background experience as a Emmy nominated costume/fashion designer in the television and film industry as well as one directorial documentary feature film my belt. I’m a lover of different cultures. It has been my intention to share in a global cultural exchange in every place I have lived. Via my knowledge and history of popular music through the decades, I have been able to bridge cultural differences of language and emotionally take audiences on varied musical journeys. With lighting, sound and from time to time even video support, I’ve been able to conjure up atmospheric fantasies for events raging from high end weddings to conceptual fashion shows and cooperate marketing events. You obviously mesh a lot of different skills and arts. What are you up to now? What’s this new event that you are putting together? I’m now back in New York and am targeting small Boutique Hotel bars, restaurants and smaller more intimate neighborhood bars. I’m lending my know-how to make this form of entertainment stand out with the unique signature as The Music Selecting/Sommelier who is able to hijack any clientele and transport them musically to any place or space in time, offering new and exciting opportunities to a common detached social scene giving patrons an unforgettable experience. Starting Saturday April 9th  I’ll be launching a new endeavor: “THE PORTAL”. This endeavor will premier at the new MikNic Lounge located at 200 Columbia Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. The night will feature 3 different genres of music. Premier night I will present:  1. The Cold War, It’s 007 and all things spy! 2. Ventura Highway, Ride shotgun on this romantic 70’s love groove.  3. Neo Soul, Modern day musical poets set on a back drop of smooth urban soulful sounds.   It is the musical evening designed to emotionally take you to a different state of mind. Sounds like a wild ride. How can musicians and other artists get involved? With the launch of THE PORTAL MikNic is also open to doing a DJ variety night where a group of Djs will be able to do a collective of 45 min sets . Any Dj’s interested should contact and join the meetup group ADG. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your world. Check out more info on the event, here. -Vlad

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  • April 8, 2011

Crowdfunding Economic Understanding - It Can Be Done

The Future Forward Institute / Forward Foundation dynamic revolves around the idea of a new kind of workflow organized around the complex interplay of theory and practice. This means that they make complicated concepts less complicated. We spoke with one of their leaders, Sam Rose, about the power of crowdfunding and about their cool project on RocketHub: What was the inspiration behind the economics and research project you are currently running on RocketHub? Why is it important to you? We have a combined background in political science; complex systems science; social sciences, archival theory and methods; futures studies; and emerging economic systems. That is an unusual mix of areas, and it gives us an opportunity to come at problems from different but complementary paths. When it comes to this specific project, we know that there is only so much that you can gain from analysis of existing economic data.  It’s like trying to understand something by only looking at snapshots from the past. While that’s definitely useful for understanding what actually happened, it’s hard to test out alternate outcomes with only historical data. That’s where a model can help. For example, you can try changing how many people are connected in various ways. Or you can vary the amount of resources available to them. Creating models that simulate various parts of systems gives us a way to observe and learn from different scenarios, and to experiment with combinations of factors. We hope to increase people’s literacies in complex systems thinking, and how that thinking applies to their every-day lives and the basic problems of existence. This project is a first step in that direction. This seems like very useful stuff. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of economics and data - how are your supporters responding? To date, we’ve received 15% of the funds we’re seeking. Most of this response was withing the first 3-4 days of posting the project! The experience is great so far. We definitely welcome more contributions, and we know that people will find the outcomes of this project valuable. The more that people contribute, the more we’ll produce. Keep up the good work. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Asking people for funds is an exercise in trust building. Be conscientious and respectful of the fact that you are asking people to give you real money, so don’t be afraid to show them that you can do the job. Beyond getting active in various social networking websites, it’s worth spending some time to write some blog posts and create some simple examples to show people you can do what you are seeking funds for. Don’t be afraid to tell everyone you know who might have an interest in your project. As always, obscurity is the most important challenge to overcome. So get the word out any way you can. Great points about respectful outreach. Thank you to Sam and The Future Forward Institute - check out this positive project here. -Vlad

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  • April 7, 2011

Ryan Morgan Keeps Chivalry Alive

Ryan Morgan is a Denver-born, Brooklyn-based songwriter. He moved from Denver to Brooklyn in August, 2010, after spending years gallavanting around Latin America. His musical talents are apparent and he’s just an awesome guy. Now, Ryan is utilizing RocketHub to support the creation of his new record and is working with one of our favorite music-makers, E.W. Harris. We spoke to Ryan about his journey: What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? I’ve been writing music and performing it in and around Denver (and, since August, New York City) since I was 16. I’d say that, when it comes to the individual songs, I’m mostly inspired by places I’ve been. I’ve done a lot of travelling over the last five or so years, and there’s some things I have to say about those travels that I just don’t know how to say unless I write songs about them. The album will have songs about places as varied as Cleveland, Ohio and Medellín, Colombia. Needless to say, New York City itself has proven to be an absolute fountain of ideas and emotions, and I hope I’m doing a good job of translating those into songs. On a musical level, I’d say my biggest inspiration comes from the great songwriters that I’ve had the chance to meet both in Denver and New York. Of course I still take a lot away from the big, famous, signed acts that I love, but I’m finding more and more than my main influences (and, a lot of times, my main inspirations to write specific songs) come from people I know. New York has been, predictably, amazing in that regard. Not to start name-dropping but, for example, a great New York songwriter named Warren Malone produced an EP for me in January and I think you can definitely hear his influence in a lot of the stuff I’m doing now. And he’s one of dozens and dozens of people who I love and admire and keep trying to impress. The reason the current project - that is, releasing my my debut full-length album, is so important to me is because I see it as the culmination of all those inspirations. The record will be a healthy combination of the songs I wrote in Denver that have definite Denver folk scene influences in them and songs I’ve written in New York that have definite New York - specifically Brooklyn and even more specifically Big City Folk influences in them. So, I expect that the record will really reflect where I came from, and also where I am now musically. And reflect everywhere I’ve ever been lyrically. So, obviously, it means a lot to me to get to have that kind of document about my life to this point, and it’s also tremendously humbling that there seems to be a decent number of people who like the music enough that they’re helping fuel the costs of the album. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music and E.W. Harris’ studio - how are your supporters responding? Like nearly everyone, I was hesitant at first about the crowdfunding idea because I was nervous about whether I’d be able to raise the money. I’ve still got a little ways to go, but I’ve already been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’m getting. And seeing how it worked out for several of my good friends (Casey Black, Don Paris Schlotman, Paul Tabachneck and Niall Connolly have all successfully fueled albums using RocketHub) has given me a great deal of confidence, as have all their supportive words about the endeavor. It has been an absolute pleasure and a joy already to see in such a tangible way the depth of support I have as a person and an artist. It’s especially thrilling to get rocket fuel from folks I wasn’t expecting to get it from, or I didn’t even tell about it. It really is deeply moving, and gives me a lot of confidence going forward. As for E.W. Harris, I couldn’t possibly think higher of him as a person and a producer. He’s also one of the best songwriters I know, and so the input he can offer from that perspective is invaluable. I got the opportunity to sit in (and even do a bit of singing and New York cop-voicing) on his last project, which is the aforementioned Don Paris Schlotman album, and getting the chance to see him at work has left me absolutely confident that I’m in totally capable hands. With things as personal as songs you’ve written, it takes a lot of trust to share the responsibility of recording them with someone else, and I absolutely have that much trust in E.W. He’s got such an amazing ear for bringing serious depth to what could just be simple 3-chord pop songs, and I think the results of my songs being filtered through his imagination and technical wizardry are going to be incredible.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been beside myself with uncharacteristic sentiment at how strongly people are responding to the project. E.W. has worked on several albums for friends of mine in the past year or so, and of course they’re all as excited as I am about he and I working together. And the response to the project from all sorts of other people has also been incredible. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? I’d say that, particularly for artists who have been performing for a while, they should have confidence that they’re capable of fueling their projects. It’s a constant surprise from which angles rocket fuel might show up. I’d also say to make sure they have great rewards available (which I certainly hope I do!) And, also, it’s important to remember that you’re not asking for money (something that a lot of people, myself included, have a really hard time doing) but you’re offering rewards in exchange for support. It’s an amazing way to tap into your support to help develop creative projects without needing a super-rich uncle. Wow. Thank you Ryan for the honest insights and solid analysis. For lovers of good music, check out Ryan’s project. -Vlad

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  • April 6, 2011

Vancouver-Based Photo Class Crowdfunds New Show

By Sean Best The Langara Professional Photo-Imaging Grad Class of 2011 is connecting with the world through RocketHub in order to crowdfund a cool new Grad Show. Their project aims to support fourteen students who will be displaying their work for all to see at the Roundhouse Community Centre on May 7th, 2011 in Vancouver. We spoke with Amanda, who is the public face and leader of the campaign: What was the inspiration behind the photography project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to your group? The project we are running is helping us raise money to fund our Grad Show in Vancouver. We are a class of fourteen passionate photography students and this grad show is like our “final hurrah.” After two years of working very hard to develop strong portfolios and bodies of work, we are putting it all on display on the 7th of May at the Roundhouse Community Centre. The inspiration to start a RocketHub project was given to use by a member from our class by the name of Tijana. A photographer that she assisted in Toronto actually had a project of his own and we decided that RocketHub would be a great way for us to not only raise money and support, but to tell people about our event. It is important to our group because we want to make this event as successful as possible; the more funding we have to pay for the costs associated with the show, the better it will be! By Christoph Prevost That’s awesome - we’ve enjoyed looking at the photos from your whole team. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of student photography - how are your supporters responding? Our supporters have been amazing! Many parents and friends of students have gladly chosen to support us and we have nearly reached our goal. People have been responding especially well and I think that has to do with the incentives that we’ve offered. Who doesn’t need more art for their walls?! :) By Thorsten Gohl Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Don’t be afraid to set your goal high! Pass your RocketHub link on to everyone you know, because you never know who they could pass it on to. Come up with some juicy incentives that will keep people interested in exactly what it is that you are raising money for. RocketHub is a great tool and I’m sure that many of us will be utilizing it in the future! Thank you Amanda and Langara team. Check out their project and beautiful pictures, here. -Vlad

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  • April 5, 2011

Crowdfunding the Culinary Delights of Good Meat

This project makes the whole RocketHub team very hungry. Apparently, Orlando is on the cusp of a mobile gourmet revolution and the C&S Brisket Bus is one of a handful of vehicles leading the charge. The Brisket Bus is a joint venture between Chefs Stewart Barney and Chris Jaskulski, who have been chasing the dream of opening their own restaurant since they started working in kitchens as kids. Now they will make some of the best food in Orlando. We spoke with Steward and Chris about their crowdfunding campaign and their passion for good meat: What was the inspiration behind the cool food project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? The Brisket Bus is the product of some pretty lucky timing and circumstance. My partner (Stewart) and I (Chris) were both hired by a notable restaurant / banquet facility here in Orlando within a few weeks of each other. It wasn’t long before we struck up a friendship and realized that the we were both at the same point in our careers. We have both been in the restaurant industry since we were kids, both graduated from culinary school, both roughly the same age, and to be quite honest, both tired of dedicating our considerable skills to the benefit of others. We needed to make a change. It was at this point that we began pursuing options for self employment. The end result of this pursuit is the Brisket Bus.  A mobile gastro-delicatessen, the Brisket Bus aims to resurrect the fading culinary tradition of cured deli meats such as pastrami and corned beef and pair them with food forward techniques and flavors. We are, in the purest sense, doing what the original street cart vendors of New York City were doing in the early 1900s. Bringing the best quality food to the people in the most economical way possible. Our inspiration is an entrepreneurial spirit, a sense of reverence for historical culinary traditions as well as a desire to progress todays culinary techniques. RocketHub is proud to help you take the next step and serve your community. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the name of good food and small business - how are your supporters responding? This crowdfunding experience has been a real eye opener for us. We feel that RocketHub has helped cement a sense of community with our fans. Friends and family who have been with us through the process of launching a small business are now jumping at the chance to be a part of something that they believe in. We, in our first week on RocketHub, have been fueled by friends, family and strangers alike. It is worth noting that RocketHub is proving to be a strong marketing tool as well as a source for funding. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? The one piece of advice we would give to future creatives is to consider your timing carefully. Launch earlier than you feel you should. It’s a great motivator and the response from your fans will impress you. Don’t wait! Thank you for this mouth-watering treat. Keep up the good work. Fuel this project in the name of good food. -Vlad

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  • April 4, 2011

Paul Cullen - The Rock ‘n’ Roller Who Loves Good Wine

Paul Cullen’s musical career began when jazz guitarist, Stacey Boyd, turned him on to the bass guitar, noting there were a lack of bass players in the industry. After six months of practicing ten hours a day, Paul began playing with Stacey in a jazz trio. Paul spent the next nine years, on the road with various bands, before his big break. "I got a call from the legendary band, Bad Company, asking if I’d like to audition for the bass job. I said YES, and off to London I went." Paul spent the next three years touring the world with Bad Company, and played 254 shows entertaining over 2.5 million people. Now, Paul is innovating once again. He is crowdfunding a very cool music + wine + food mashup that he spoke with us about: What was the inspiration behind the music and wine project you are currently running on RocketHub? Why is it important to you? I always knew if done right, you could cross-market wine and music. They go so well together. I thought by taking marketing outside the norm could help both in popularity. I know how well they work together, because I live it every day. Our nightly ritual goes….Music on at 6:00 throughout the house, pop a bottle of wine and rustle up a gourmet meal, sit and chat about our day and our future days. Then we have friends over to experience the same and they are blown away. From our experience, it fits together quite well. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music and food - how are your supporters responding? So far so good….I think it such a unique thing, they are not sure what it is all about. But when they do, they jump on board. It takes time for everyone to “get it.” Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? I am early in this to tell too much, but If you have an idea this is the perfect vehicle to test it out. Thank you Paul. It’s a pleasure to have your new project be a part of the RocketHub community. To get involved, click here. -Vlad

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  • April 1, 2011

From Italy, With Good Music

Piero Bittolo Bon is a rising star in Italian jazz. He was voted as one of the best Italian jazz musicians in 2010 Musica Jazz critic’s poll and seemingly plays every possible instrument - and has one of the best musician’s websites we’ve ever seen. Now he is connecting with a global audience in order to crowdfund his upcoming record. We chatted with Piero, all the way from Italy, about his project and the lessons of global fundraising: What was the inspiration behind the international music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? This is the second album of Jump The shark, a sextet (formerly a quintet) playing my compositions. I really love playing with this band, mainly because Domenico, Pasquale, Danilo, Federico and Gerhard are such great musicians and great friends, so I can really trust them and let them put their own personality in my music, which is heavily charted but leaves a lot of space for individual and collective improvisation. I loved to record the first album, “Sugoi Sentai! Gattai!!” which had a great success in the jazz and avantgarde music scene, and I felt I had to record a new one to futher develop my musical thoughts and to be a better composer and bandleader, and hopefully to make this band play live a lot more! Also, I’m looking forward to print this cd because Dottor Pira from www.fumettidellagleba.org, one of my favourite comic artists, agreed to draw the artwork for the album. This is gonna be a masterpiece! We can’t wait to get our copy. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music and Italy - how are your supporters responding? I was surprised how fast the first funds arrived! RocketHub is really a thrilling new way for supporting music and arts in general, especially in a country like Italy where culture sadly has every day less and less money. I have a little but always increasing fanbase, which is responding well to this RocketHub project. I’m a little late in the schedule, but I’ll do my best to convince everybody that this is a project worth fueling! Beside of the cd, I’ll be glad to exchange my musical skills for lessons and home concerts for the help my supporters will give me. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Be creative about your rewards! Be convincing and inform your fanbase about every little news about your project! Use everything the internet gives at your disposal, social networks in particular, to reach and convince new fans! Thank you Piero for the international perspective. For lovers of jazz and good new music, check out this project. -Vlad

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  • March 31, 2011