CMJ 2010 RocketHub Recap

CMJ 2010 was a blast of an event this year. RocketHub participated in a panel called “From Crowdsurfing to Crowdfunding” with Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Pledgemusic - where we discussed the future of media funding and how crowdfunding is playing a major part in the re-emergence of the new music business. Each of the companies has their own unique twist on the model and the overarching theme is that crowdfunding is working well for artists that take a proactive approach to their careers. That evening RocketHub, Music Dish, and Women in Music delivered an innovative Showcase at Gonzalez Y Gonzalez that was a hit as well - with well over 300 in attendance. Excellent insights and wonderful tunes came from Maya Solovey, Niall Connolly, and Tomas Doncker who answered questions on being successful entrepreneurs and performed sets that delighted fans, industry, and press folks in attendance. Niall even got a prime-time interview with Norwegian National Television. RocketHub artist Alfonso Velez had a standing-room only showcase at Rockwood Music Hall - the New York Times posted a shot of his performance here: Much thanks to the good folks at CMJ, Music Dish, Women in Music, our artists and friends for making these successful events. We appreciate the ride - much more to come. Mahalo, Brian Meece

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  • October 26, 2010

Emerging Artist from Jackson Heights - Chris Rungoo

Jackson Heights based artist Chris Rungoo is inspired by many many different cultures, lifestyles, music, and traditions - from folklore, to Rock, to Hip Hop, and everything in between. I had a chance to ask a few questions about his latest music project he has running on RocketHub. What was the inspiration behind the songs for “Vamos Hacerlo”? The inspiration for the songs for the project come from my artistic need to express myself through music.  It’s really a reflection of my influences from Ecuador, but raised with different cultures and listening to different music.  Influences range from Lenny Kravitz, to Ecuadorian Folk music, to Manu Chao and other indie artists.  The song “Open the Door” which is the main project is strongly inspired by my girl. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music - how are your fans responding? Friends and fans are responding very well and very quickly. It’s been a good first few days, although I am anxious to see if our goal will be met. The experience has been a good one.  You realize how fortunate you are when you see friends, and fans having faith in your ability, or talent.  It definitely motivates you as a musician to create something you can be proud of. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? It’s a lot of work, never lose faith or patience.  Always remember your motivation, and don’t let anything get in the way!  If you’re authentic your fans, friends, and family will always support so don’t hesitate. Thanks for flying with Team RocketHub Chris!

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  • October 22, 2010

Crowdfunding a Jazz Album - Behind the Scenes With Josh Deutsch and Nico Soffiato

Josh Deutsch and Nico Soffiato are good friends and musical collaborators.  I’ve had the chance to see them play live a few times here in NYC and really enjoy their music and vibe.  The duo struck up a friendship after meeting in Boston and have been working together ever since. Josh and Nico’s recent project on RocketHub is doing well so far and recently I had a chance to connect and talk about their crowdfunding campaign. What was the inspiration for your new musical material? Can you tell us a little bit about the collaborative process? We’ve been friends for five years, and recorded a few originals back in 2006, while we were both living in Boston. After living on opposite coasts for a few years, we were excited to start playing again when we both ended up in New York a year ago. We started getting together a few times a month to play and try out some new ideas, and talk about what our musical goals for this duo were. The two of us share many common influences and our musical vision tends to line up very easily, although we also often introduce each other to new ideas and push each other in new directions as well. We wanted to create a set of music that showcases both the guitar and trumpet in a variety of textures. We also wanted to explore textures and musical forms outside of a traditional jazz format, while still incorporating plenty of room for improvisation. Being able to workshop these pieces and have them be constantly evolving, living pieces has been really fun, and made for some great results due to collaboration. Some of our pieces are actually written collaboratively, either begun by one of us and finished by the other, or written layer by layer, with the final version a composite of ideas. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of jazz music? The jazz recording industry has changed a lot in recent years. As record companies consolidate or fold, especially in the jazz genre, many labels aren’t signing new artists, and even the ones that are often leave all the recording costs up to the musicians. We have this project that we feel strongly about and want to share with our fans, and waiting to be “discovered” isn’t really practical, so the idea of “crowdfunding” appealed to us, since we do have many fans and friends around the country and world who are happy to support us given an easy way to do so. The ability to involve our prospective audience in the process of making this CD is exciting, and we’ve already been able to share some special live videos and recordings with our fuelers. We are really looking forward to be able to send out the finished CD and our other gifts to our awesome supporters! Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? Personal emails have seemed to be most effective in connecting with our supporters. Facebook is a great way to keep people up to date on the process, and we’ve been playing a few shows through our campaign to keep momentum going (and just because we like playing!). We’ll be able to offer better advice once we’ve hopefully hit our goal in a few weeks! Thanks for the insights - I am confident you will hit your goal.  Mahalo for putting your energy and talents into the RocketHub community. Brian Meece

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  • October 15, 2010

RocketHub Leads the Crowdfunding Revolution at CMJ 2010

We will descend upon CMJ 2010 next week to spread the crowdfunding revolution and empower musicians with the knowledge needed to master this new fundraising method. RocketHub will take part in two official CMJ events, aimed at educating and empowering musicians with the tools and real-life lessons necessary for successful crowdfunding: MUSICIANS AS ENTREPRENEURS Each artist will open with a short Q&A on their specific entrepreneurial project, followed by a performance with their band. Our own, Brian Meece will chat with Niall Connolly about his successful use of RocketHub to generate funds and awareness for his musical project. Presented by Digital Music NY, Women in Music, RocketHub & MusicDish LOCATION: Gonzalez y Gonzalez (GYG) 625 Broadway (bet. Bleecker & Houston), NYC DATE: Wednesday, October 20  TIME: 6-10pm 6-7pm - Digital Music NY networking hour, sponsored by DonQ Rum supplying free rum drink - RSVP required 7-7:45 - Maya Solovey Q&A and performance 8-8:45 - Niall Connolly Q&A and performance 9-9:45 - Tomas Doncker Q&A and performance RSVP REQUIRED (includes free DonQ Rum drink) FROM CROWD SURFING TO CROWD FUNDING Raising money from your fans can be both rewarding and profitable. Brian will share the panel with the talented Alfonso Velez, a successful RocketHub musician who raised over $7,500 to release his upcoming record, and with other crowdfunding visionaries. Presented by CMJ LOCATION: NYU Kimmel Center 60 Washington Square (bet. Thompson & LaGuardia) Room 802  DATE: Wednesday, October 20  TIME: 2-3:15pm The RocketHub team will also come out to support the performances of successful RocketHub musicians Alfonso Velez, Niall Connolly, and many more wonderful artists. The whole RocketHub crew is excited to hear music at its best, to show our gratitude to the artists that have used RocketHub, to educate and inspire new artists, and to help spread the crowdfunding revolution. -Vlad

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  • October 13, 2010

Behind The Scenes Interview with Casey Black - Crowdfunding His New Record “Shape Me As It Goes”

Casey Black is a singer/songwriter currently living in Brooklyn. Since he posted his project "Shape Me As It Goes" a few weeks ago, I’ve had a chance to get to know Casey’s work - and have become a fan of both Casey’s music and his humor. Recently we had a chance to catch up to discuss the success of his latest project. He gave some cool insights on his creative process and RocketHub campaign. What was your inspiration for your material in It Shapes Me As It Goes? Can you tell us a little bit about how you write? The inspiration for this record came in a variety of ways, and over at least five years of time. I went from being 26 to 31 between records, so time and aging inspired a few of these songs, as did the constant battle between pessimism and optimism that occurs when you start seeing long pieces of lifetime pass by. I found myself getting into characters a lot more on this record, some that I created, and some that I “borrowed.” For instance, The Sarge is about a soldier who can’t form short term memories due to an IED explosion that injured his brain in Iraq. I saw his story late one night on PBS. And the last song on the record, one called Hard Alee!, is totally lifted from a great Joseph Conrad story called The Secret Sharer. There are at least two songs where I’ve sort of crawled into the head of a significant other and lectured myself through lyrics. Admittedly I do write a lot of autobiographical songs, but I’ve found that I can’t write them without thinking of myself as a character. Usually this happens unconsciously, and when I finish the song I think to myself, ‘That sounds like someone I know,’ until I remember I’d started writing it about myself. My process has changed very little since I started writing about 15 years ago. It always starts with a chord progression that offers up a nice, natural line of melody. When I’ve got that I start singing nonsense words over and over until some syllable or word sticks. After awhile (maybe minutes, maybe months) a couple lines form and I start knowing what the song is about. That’s when the whole character switch happens I think, because once I know where a song is going I get excited, but I also get really possessive. I’d rather not know where a song is going when I’m writing it: it’s more fun that way. In the end a song is written over, usually, a period of weeks or months, and I haven’t written a single line down. This record was different though. I was getting a little down on myself for my slow process about a few years ago, so I started writing down the song fragments I had in process, taking that notebook to a cafe, and trying to finish one after the other. This is satisfying, but usually results in a lyric that is too dense, or lopsided in its meter. So there’s always a little whittling to do when I actually ‘write’ a song away from my guitar. Thanks for sharing this insight. I can relate on quite a few levels there. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music? A favorite (and horrible) road-trip joke of mine is to muse aloud about how the pioneers must have been so relieved to find that the USA has a great interstate system. I had two great friends crowdfund their records right before me. Niall Connolly did his here on Rockethub, and E.W. Harris, who is producing my record, funded his with Kickstarter. They both reached their goals and encouraged me to do it, but I was skeptical. I must have hung around them for a couple months saying annoying things like, “Are you SURE this works? What if this experience only shows how unknown I am? That would break me in two!” But then I embraced the process, especially after meeting with the founders (Brian and Vlad), who met me in midtown early one morning(!) and spent hours with me helping me envision the campaign. And indeed, it did take hours and hours after that (and a lot of very patient editing by my girlfriend) to write a proposal that was direct and complete. But I remember that I’d $100 of fuel by the time I woke up the morning after I launched and was so thrilling, humbling, and might I even say euphoric? And that’s the felling that carried me through the next two weeks, which is the very short time it took to reach my goal. What could be more humbling and exciting than asking for support and receiving it in truckloads? (gas-tank-loads?)… Only the feeling of getting my cd’s back from the presses with all my supporters names in the jacket, I suppose. Well, we are glad you took the plunge! Props to Niall and E.W. for paving the way as well. Any advice for creatives looking to crowdfund a project? I only know what I did, and that seems to have worked. I thought of everyone I have ever known who would not think it totally odd to receive such a request from me. I asked my family for names, scoured Facebook and MySpace for people I’d lost contact with, and I did a lot of thinking about who has liked or supported my music in the past. Then I constructed one enormous email and sent it out, putting in the body the message that was on my Rockethub page below the video. I never sent this request out on any social networking sites. Instead, I used facebook to thank publicy the people who had given, and placed a convenient little link to the Rockethub page along with it. This is literally all I did, save for sending personal, more lengthy thank-you’s to each fueler. Yet, I know this wouldn’t have worked if I hadn’t spent a lot of time working on my video and my proposal. I got the most obvious, but most oft-forgotten piece of advice from you guys (Brian and Vlad) in the beginning, which was to ‘be myself.’ I have a big split in my personality: I wrote super-serious songs, but make super-dumb jokes. Constantly. So I took numerous takes of my video until it seemed myself, until those aspects seemed balanced, and I edited my message until it felt like something only I would say. So, I would give the same advice. Be yourself to the best of your ability. Thanks Casey for giving us the scoop on your creative process and RocketHub campaign.  It has been awesome to have you on the site and I look forward to seeing you perform live in the near future. Brian Meece

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  • October 11, 2010
  • October 7, 2010

Behind the Scenes with Marjorie Salvaterra and “LA Bus Stop”

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Marjorie Salvatera about her photography project, LA Bus Stop, and her experience crowdfunding.  She offered a wonderful explanation of her inspiration, what she learned while shooting this piece, and also had some crowdfunding pearls of wisdom!   1. Marjorie, what was the inspiration behind your latest photography project, LA Bus Stop? My teacher, the amazing Julia Dean, called me last fall to say she was putting together a small master class and invited me to join. It would be comprised of two projects: a personal project, which is my Hallelujah series, and a group project, which was “Contrasting LA”. Each person would do a project based on what that meant to them.  Immediately, I pictured bodies.  I wanted to contrast the bodies of LA. I was gonna do one against another but then thought that wasn’t very nice so I decided to put everyone together. I envisioned a line up like at a bus stop and that is how my project began. As I began to work with people in this very vulnerable state, I realized how body image is at the core of everyone — of how we see ourselves and how others see us.  In so many ways, we are so much alike. We all have boobs, whether they’re big, small, floppy, pointing up or down or we have a penis, big, small, floppy, pointing up or down. Then, the more people I met, I even found one incredible person with both. And for her, that is who she is.  I learned through this project, while we are all very similar, with similar feelings, ideas, thoughts — worried about how we portray ourselves, how we will/are judged, each person brings an incredible beauty of uniqueness and strength with their own story.   2. How have you been reaching out to your friend and fans?  How has the response been? I’m not good at asking for money, so the idea that people get something in return for funding my project is very helpful. I’ve used facebook to reach out to the large group of people, but really most of my funding, so far, has come from emailing my closest friends and family. I am just starting to see the efforts reaching out to the next tier — friends who I’ve recently reconnected with via facebook and friends of my husbands and close friends. 3. What has it been like as a crowdfunding pioneer in photography/art world?  It’s strange to fundraise for an artistic project.  But my friends who are actors that have spent years raising money for shows and theatre companies assure me that this is no different. I’m betting on them!  lol. 4. What advice would you give to other Creatives looking to crowdfund their projects? Have good rewards.  Rocket Hub gave me good ideas for fundraising.  Offer things like “my time”. Portrait sessions.  Shooting lessons.  Camera classes.  Even signed prints at great bargains to my “fuelers”.  And then have great belief in your project and it’s value. Thank you Marjorie.  I’m sure that your inspiration will shine through, and I hope that others will share your insights, both about things we all have in common, and on how to successfully crowdfund an artistic project! To learn more and/or Fuel Marjorie’s project, follow this link:  

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  • October 7, 2010

Behind the Scenes Interview With The High-Flying (and persistent) Creative Brian Halloran

Fellow singer/songwriter Brian Halloran has taken a cool and gutsy plunge into the crowdfunding world with his latest recording project News From Queen Victoria.  His story is a great example of someone with a lot of heart and perseverance sticking with their creative vision - through thick and thin.  Brian launched an initial project that fell slightly short - and instead of hanging it up, he rolled up his sleeves and reposted another, more manageable project - taking what he learned the first time around and applied it to “round 2”. This is persistence at its finest. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Brian to talk about his project and his experience in the crowdfunding world. What was the inspiration behind the songs for “News from The Queen Victoria”? "News From The Queen Victoria" was the result of a relationship that went very, very bad very quickly. I fell in love with a girl whom I didn’t really know that well. It started off all hot and heavy. We talked about marriage and kids and even moved in together after just 5 months. The whole thing was over before we reached the 6 month mark. So obviously, I had to write a whole bunch of songs about it. The first three songs I wrote were actually recorded as a demo ("Google The Girl", "Face" & "Deny, Deny, Deny", along with an older song, "Anxious Child"), and are chock full of regret and recrimination and longing. When I wrote "Deny, Deny, Deny", I realized it was better suited for a female singer. As it turned out, one of my absolute favorite female singers, Nicole McKenna, was (is) married to my producer Saul Zonana. She literally took about fifteen minutes to record the vocals. While she was cooking dinner. Sometime after, while I was still in the depths of my romantic convalescence, I received an email from The Queen Victoria, a beautiful, Victorian B&B in Cape May, NJ my ex and I had stayed at over Labor Day Weekend. The subject line for the email was, “News From The Queen Victoria”. This inspired the title track and also led me to the idea of doing the entire album as a chronicle of the relationship and subsequent aftermath. The title track, a duet with Kim Ince, serves as the prologue (think the opening scene in “Moulin Rogue”) and from there I tried to piece the album together chronologically. I didn’t want the whole album to be sad, depressing songs. Since I was trying to tell the story of two people who were, at least for a little while, in love, I needed songs in the middle of the album that could express that. Since I already had two songs with the female’s perspective, I wanted a third and wrote “A Sunburned Song”, which is far and away the most upbeat track on the album. In yet another coop, I was able to get Jes Hudak into the studio to sing the bejesus out of it. I also resurrected an older love song, “Comet”. I had tried several times in the past to record it, but never with much success. I’d just never been able to do the song justice vocally.  Again, I called on one of my talented friends, Colin Smith. Colin has one of those voices, he could sing the instruction manual for a vacuum cleaner, in German, and make girls weak in the knees.  I weeded out a few of the more vitriolic and embittered numbers and finally settled on the twelve tracks that make up “News From The Queen Victoria”.  Great visuals in that story. Very cool. So tell us how about your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music - in terms of your initial project and the repost? It’s been a real eye-opener. Self-promotion has never been my strong suit, so I’ve really had to get out of my own way and learn to be much more assertive and outgoing in getting the word out. My first attempt, I was not only a bit naive about what to expect, but when I realized it was going to fall short, I got a bit defeatist and that didn’t help at all. When the first campaign ended, i regrouped quickly, set a more realistic goal and I’ve had a more positive attitude and outlook.  I love the gusto here! Being persistent with a good attitude is key lesson for anybody to learn. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a project? My advice would be to stay positive and stay on top of it. Be as social and upbeat and excited about your project as possible. You really want potential fuelers to know how important your project is to you and give the impression that nothing can stop you in reaching your goal. And be sure the people who do help you feel appreciated for their support. Write an email, or post on their facebook page or bake them some cookies or at least buy them a drink.  Brian - much thanks for your story and for being part of the RocketHub community.  Your talents and energy are appreciated here - and I look forward to seeing you at one of your performances around NYC. Brian Meece

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  • October 5, 2010

Tri State Indie Rocks

This past weekend myself and the RocketHub Team were at The Philly F/M Festival - where we had the chance to hear some killer talent and meet lots of neat and creative folks. One of our neighbors at the conference was Tri State Indie, an online music news resource headed up by Stephanie Seiple.   Steph comes from a musical family (her dad is still rocking in a band), and has been in the music biz world for a while cutting her teeth with the big record labels and media companies. Last year inspiration hit, and Steph and friends launched - initially just for fun.  The buzz started to build - and a community started forming.  Now, one year and twenty-five music festivals later, Tri State Indie is getting some traction in the DIY communities of PA, DE, NJ and beyond.  Expect to see more artists from the TriStateIndie circles popping onto the site over the next few weeks as well as potential RocketHub projects popping up over at   -Brian Meece

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  • October 1, 2010

Turbo Thursdays: crowdSPRING

Crowdfunding is an empowering endeavor. RocketHub is a community, a platform, and a revolution empowering your crowdfunding adventure. There are many other valuable tools available to Creatives that will empower for little to no cost. Because of this, we have launched a (near) weekly column: Turbo Thursdays. The goal is to highlight other platforms that share our revolutionary empowerment ethos. If you or your company would like to be highlighted - please shoot us an email. Many small and creative businesses successfully utilize crowdfunding to support their entrepreneurial endeavors. Today we are highlighting crowdSPRING, a community for efficiently crowdsourcing creative work - something that is often needed by entrepreneurial ventures. crowdSPRING connects businesses with designers, writers, and other cool Creatives from around the world. “Now small businesses, one-man shops and individuals anywhere can tap into a global pool of creatives for logo design, web design, company name, product name, packaging design, and many other graphic design, industrial design and writing projects.” This site is a great creative resource. Its usefulness and handy approach inspired the RocketHub team. Check out crowdSPRING if you need a bit of design work for your company, band, or other endeavor. -Vlad

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  • September 30, 2010