New Jersey’s Own, Sixty Miles Down Rocks RocketHub

Hard-hitting and heavy, yet melodic and memorable, New Jersey’s own Sixty Miles Down grinds out gritty anthems pulled from the darker side of the soul. After 12 years of evolution, singer/songwriter John Mosco, guitarist Roger Manzo, drummer Chris Delli Santi and bassist Adam Young have been building on the buzz of acclaimed releases. Now, this talented group is engaging their fans to release a new album. I had the pleasure to speak with the group about their crowdfunding adventure. What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? This is currently our third CD project. Our first was in 2002 and our second in 2005. Each one of our releases was financed solely by the band. Since the release of our last CD we have had trouble keeping a steady line up and spent two years looking for a new drummer. Since we couldn’t play shows I focused a lot on promoting the band online and it really has started to pay off. We are charting on a handful of websites and making a lot of new friends and fans online who are all asking for new music. We finally felt like the time was right to record a new CD but we were faced with two problems. The first problem was that money had become really tight and the second problem was that it seems that more and more people are downloading music rather than buying CDs. We all grew up buying CDs, cassettes and even records. We really wanted to get new music out to our fans but the idea of releasing a digital only release just didn’t feel right. We decided to raise money to record a short run, limited edition CD with our new songs and the songs from our last 6 song CD “A New Skin” and a 4 song demo we recorded in 2000 that is no longer available. Once the CDs are sold out the 4 new songs will be available online as a digital album. I did some research online and really liked the idea of people being able to help fund a project while getting cool stuff in return. I checked out a bunch of different sites and decided to go with RocketHub.  That’s quite a journey - the time is right for a new release. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music - how are your supporters responding? Our experience in the world of crowdfunding has been great so far. We set a goal of $1500 in a 3 month time frame. We still have a ways to go to meet our goal but so far we are very happy with the results. By using RocketHub we have been able to not only raise money for our project but also interact more with our friends and fans. A lot of our friends on Facebook are sharing our project link with their friends so we are getting to people we would have not been able to reach on our own thanks to crowdfunding through RocketHub. The feedback that I have received from people that have “fueled” our project has been positive. Everyone tells me that it’s super easy to use RocketHub. No one has had any problems or bad experiences. We try to make it as easy as possible, so it’s great to get that feedback. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? The only advice I have for anyone interested in using crowdfunding is to take your time setting up the page. Fill everything out, put up pics and definitely put up a video of the band. Also be sure to have cool stuff to give away to your fuelers in return for their support. The better the gifts the better your chances of success. Thank everyone that fuels your project. Send them an email, thank them on Facebook just make sure you stay connected with them. Update your page whenever you can with a new video or audio clip of your studio sessions. Let everyone be a part of the project Thank you to Sixty Miles Down and their whole crew - great advice. Get involved in the release of this grassroots album here. -Vlad

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  • June 20, 2011

Launching Diverse Art From London

The Leytonstone Arts Trail is an annual festival of visual arts that happens all over Leytonstone - a town near London, England -  in diverse and unexpected venues. It showcases the creative talent in Leytonstone and its surrounding areas, builds connections between artists and local businesses, and invites the community to a week long festival of high quality art. But like many artistic organizations across the world, funding cuts have forced innovative new approaches - such a crowdfunding. I had the pleasure to speak with Carne Griffiths, the leader of the crowdfunding campaign, about this journey and about how to be successful at raising funds for an arts festival. What was the inspiration behind the visual arts project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you?  My view of the inspiration behind the art trail is that it is an opportunity for artists and people living and working in the area to share their enjoyment of creativitiy. Many talented artists live in the area but ironically there are few places to show. Through most of the year, viewers have to travel outside the area. For two glorious weeks Leytonstone has delightful, intruiging, astonishing sights accessible in shops, cafes, streets, parks, the libraries and pubs where they normally go and additionally in windows, pop-up galleries and unexpected new venues.  Sounds like quite a creative blast. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of arts in London - how are your supporters responding? We were pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to set up a crowdfunding project and are all excited about the impact it will have on this years trail. We have decided to try and raise a small portion of the money needed to successfully fund the Leytonstone Arts Trail through RocketHub as it is our first experience of crowdfunding but we are hoping that in future we will be able to provide a solid platform for this community project. Supporters are responding brilliantly, we have been sharing links on Facebook and have reached 10% of our target in just a few days. We need to step up promotion now as the Trail begins on the 1st of July! I really like your gradual approach. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Go with a small amount of your project first. We decided not to be overambitious and offered incentives for those giving small amounts to our project. As we are creatives we can utilise things that we can make to help attract funders for our project rather than just trying to sell items. I think if people know the money from the sale is going back into a creative project it makes them that more enthusiastic. Thank you Carne for chatting with me from across the pond. Good luck - support the Trail here. -Vlad

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  • June 17, 2011

Berklee Creative Team is Crowdfunding Pop Music

Co. Laj Productions is a female writing and production team that consistently strives to take popular music to a new place.  Cai James and TripStop are Berklee alumni, friends, roommates, confidants, business parnters, intelligently over-zealous musicians, and most inportantly: vigorously passionate about what they love - their music. The duo is currently running a successful RocketHub campaign, and we caught with them to get the scoop on their project, "Our Westlake Wish". What was the inspiration behind the unique music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it so important to you? TripStop had toured Westlake Studios during one of her trips to LA, and fell in love with it.  In each and every studio, there was a story… a feeling… a unique experience.  At one point along the tour,  Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” was played in one of the studios. (Rihanna often records at Westlake.)  Tears began to whelm in TripStop’s eyes as she realized exactly where she wanted to be - sitting in a studio like this, writing and producing a track just like “Take a Bow.”  Since that moment, TripStop knew she would one day record at Westlake Studios. After her experience in Los Angeles, TripStop returned home to relay her story to her co-writer and soon-to-be Professional Pop Star, Cai James.  Cai immediately responded, “We gotta make this happen.  We HAVE to record there.”   The team of TripStop and Cai James (aka Co. Laj Productions) had followed this instinctive, “go-with-your-gut” decision with a conversation about the many milestones, rough-patches, and “let-downs” they had experienced regarding the aspirations of their work lying in the hands of others.   So… here we are… having decided to take matters into our own hands.  We saw that we could finally make our “Westlake Wish” come true through the use of RocketHub’s incredible crowdfunding platform/website… and we have.  This project is important to us because we believe in the quality of music and the experience of the creation behind it. Recording at Westlake Studios was once a non-existent reality, but because of the continued support we have received, we are now on our way.   Thanks for that backstory (and for the good words on our site) - so, how has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of pop music - how are your supporters responding?   Honestly…we are just so incredibly grateful for everything.  We cannot believe this is all happening so quickly, but we are so excited to see all of our hard work finally coming to fruition.  It is such a great feeling to receive so many positive reactions to our music from people of all ages and musical preferences.  However, one of the most important aspects of the crowdfunding experience was learning  what it truly took to monetize our music. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar type of project? Don’t give up, and take all advice given into consideration in regards to the presentation of your project because it truly does matter.  Take your time, and be sure that all aspects of your project showcase who you are and why someone should invest in you.  You won’t know what you’re worth until you put yourself out there.   Much thanks for these insights, and congrats on your success with “Our Westlake Wish” - we are stoked to have you as a part of our creative community. Brian

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  • June 13, 2011

RocketHub and Gibson Present the 4th Annual Queens of Queens in Long Island City

RocketHub is proud to join Gibson Guitar in sponsoring the 4th Annual Queens of Queens in Long Island City. This musical festival features sixteen of Queens’ most talented female musicians at the premier outdoor venue at the LIC Bar. This list of musical Femme Fatales includes Little Embers, Annie Dressner, Michele Riganese, Shelly Bhushan, Megan Kerper, Juliana Riccardi, Neeley Bridges, Carol Thomas, Ann Ragsdale, Jeanne Marie Boes, Amanda Monaco, Pauline Pisano, Mika Mimura, Laura Butler. The event will be hosted by one RocketHub’s early success stories: Jeneen Terrana. Date: Sunday, June 12 Time: 3:00 - 9:00 PM Location: LIC Bar, 45-58 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY Come join us for some tasty BBQ and awesome music. -Brian

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  • June 10, 2011

RocketHub Collaborates with NYC Business Solutions to Bring Crowdfunding to Local Businesses

NYC Business Solutions is one of the most valuable organizations we’ve ever encountered. The group was established in 2005 by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and supports new businesses, growing businesses, and established businesses with a multitude of free services. They provide business courses, legal assistance, financing assistance, tax credit access, government navigation support, recruitment assistance, training, government sales support, certifications, and more. RocketHub is proud to be working with NYC Business Solutions - the first step: our participation in the Prepping to Pitch: Non-Debt-Based Financing For Green & Tech Businesses event. Here are the details: Description: The workshop will feature a panel discussion teaching entrepreneurs how to find and pitch to investors, and how to understand and negotiate deal terms. In this session we’ll cover: venture capital and angel funding, crowd-sourced and project-based funding models, online platforms for raising money, and targeting sources for capital and equity investments in NYC. Speakers: Paul Cianciolo - FirstMark Capital Olivia Frazao - Mission Markets Jahan Ali - New York City Investment Fund Vladimir Vukicevic - RocketHub Date: Thursday, June 16th Time: 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM Location: NYC Business Solutions, Upper Manhattan Center - 215 W. 125th Street, 6th Floor Get your free tickets and join us for this valuable event. -Vlad

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  • June 9, 2011

Ari Neufeld Immortalizes a Musical Event

On May 21, 2010, there was an incredible musical undertaking at the Dream Cafe in Penticton, Canada. 150 people participated in Ari Neufeld’s live recording project. The project was hosted by Penticton’s eccentric top music organizer, Pierre Coutor. Ari was joined by his incredibly talented brother and vocalist, Chris Neufeld. During their performance, there was a live portrait of Ari painted by Penticton’s most sought after visual artist, Jenny Long. The project was recorded and engineered by Ari’s favorite indie producer, Corwin Fox. The concert was all captured on film by a 3 man crew of super talented film-makers. Quite an event. Now, Ari has taken to his friends and fans to help him immortalize the event and to create a multi-media package. Here is what Ari had to say about his innovative undertaking: What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? Short version: my fans have been haranguing me for an album that accurately exemplifies my live experience. Ari Neufeld Live at the Dream Cafe is a visual and audio document of how I do what I do. This project is something I’ve been trying to get off the ground for years.Longer version: My project was very organized by a team of people highly trained at what they do.  First of all: me. I’ve been performing on average 200 live shows a year for the last 8 years, slowly developing my diversity into a multi-faceted journey hewn specifically to the energies of whatever audience I find myself with. Throughout the years, I’ve recorded albums on very small budgets more as documents of some of my compositions, than honest depictions of my live energy. My audience, taken in by the visual as well as audio aspects of my performance, is always nagging me to release a project that effectively captivates the energy of full-body music-making, plus some of the humor and insight spoken about between compositions. My first priority was finding a venue that optimized both my abilities as a one-man band, and the interest of my audience. Consistently, the Dream Cafe has been voted as one of the top three live venues in Western Canada. After performing at the other two consistent venues, and finding neither of them even remotely comparable to the inspirational and vibrant environment that Pierre Couture has managed to create at the Dream, where I wanted to record my ultimate live record was pretty easy to solidify. After 3 performances in the Dream and many, many concerts Pierre let me sit in on (as “part of my education”), I felt ready to capture a night of performing, confident to render my compositions comfortably and - though in a moment of spontaneous inspiration - without any mistakes. Corwin Fox is a genius. He is the mastermind behind several of my very favorite records, including Morlove, Scott Dunbar, Miss Emily Brown and NikTex. He was thrilled to hop on board and engineer the recording at the Dream Cafe. His tech assistant was Aaron Goodwin, a gifted musician and sensitive engineer with a quirky knack for sourcing “mids”. The video crew that came together for the evening involved two prominent local filmmakers and a professional photographer, filming in broadcast quality. My performance was augmented by my brother, Chris Neufeld’s harmony (brilliant and intuitive, as we grew up singing together, and inspiring one another’s art), and a live visual acrylic portrait (of my face) painting by local muralist and artist extraordinaire Jenny Long (incidentally, her portrait is the cover of my album!).Finally, I dug deep and invited all of my favorite fans from near and far to be a part of my performance. Each audience member signed a release sheet to be listed among the collaboratives involved. The booklet published with the album is a 16 page journal of the process, illustrated with many of my sketches, photos of some of my bigger projects, insights into some of the album’s content and huge thanks to the community that participated.On post-production, when I was trying to source out a line of credit to finish the job, it occurred to me that there were hundreds of people (on top of those directly involved with the night itself) that wanted to participate in the project, wanted to contribute to my career, were eager to get their hands on the product, so me and the production company I’m producing the CD/DVD with (Tribehouse, specialists in artist development) started looking for the right, organized system to effectively communicate my heart and channel funding for the project. Among the many companies that Tribehouse researched, Rockethub seemed the most slick and classy. Furthermore, Rockethub was set up to handle our 3 min explanation video, which gave us the opportunity to make the project look fun and personal, while getting all the information laid out. I also really appreciated the idea of being able to fuel the project through diversifying my creative talents into trades (many of them for physical art) for pledges. Thanks guys!! Wow, you have quite a creative and talented hive surrounding you. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of live music in Canada - how are your supporters responding? Crowdfunding is something I’m not entirely new to, as I grew up working for the non-profit missions organization my parents were involved with. We were constantly trying to raise support for various mission opportunities. Obviously, back in the day, we didn’t have the kind of slick opportunity that RocketHub provides. In those days, it was physically meeting with people, personally sending out letters and generating information through very physical means. I’m thrilled to see how my project has been inundated with interest already and clear support from people that care and want a piece of the creative process, with concise and yet not too-in-your-face advertising.  The only set-back thus far has been educating people to donate to an online presence. This format of fund-raising is still very new to the market, and many people seem hesitant to install finances into anything online. Aside from accruing donations through an actual, physical campaign, my efforts through RocketHub have been more effective than ANY other fund-raising project I’ve engaged in, to date! Keep up the good work - education is key. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? My advice for other Creatives interested in crowdfunding? Find a crowd of people with integrity and credibility to en-graft yourself to. This will diversify the project with deeper levels of creativity, expand your social influence, and increase momentum. The day that I launched my RocketHub site, the response was overwhelming, as people posted the video on their sites and facebook, etc. pages. Very cool, well-rounded push. Since launching the site, it is imperative now to keep the information flowing, let people know where the project’s at, how much interest is still needed, and how much funding still needs to be raised. Great advice - clusters of support are vital for crowdfunding success. Thank you Ari for your heartfelt and very honest perspective. Join the fun and support Ari, here. -Vlad

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  • June 8, 2011

A Volunteering Adventure with Aaron Frank

Aaron Frank is taking a very novel and brave approach to crowdfunding. He is engaging his family, friends, and fans in order to support his volunteering trip to Israel. I’ll let him take it from here: What was the inspiration behind the pro-social mission project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? At the beginning of my freshman year, I joined the Syracuse University Ambulance Corps., a 98% student-run volunteer organization, which sparked my interest in Emergency Medicine (EMS) because of the direct impact on someone’s life. This has been an extraordinary experience because I have the opportunity to save a fellow student’s life. EMS empowered my desire to make an impact, and it is the most fulfilling feeling to volunteer for a Saturday-overnight shift during the school year and to say, “I did something important.” This summer is going to be my chance to give back to Israel, a country I fell in love with last summer when I went on birthright. Pursuing this love for EMS, I am going to be volunteering with Magen David Adom, the Israeli Ambulance Dept. I didn’t want to party through my summer break, but to be a crucial member of an ambulance squad saving lives on a daily basis. With tensions rising, I understand the risks of traveling to the Middle East at this time, let alone working with EMS in this environment, but it is something that I have to do because I need to lend my hand and help.  This project is important to me because it will give my supporters an inside look to the best and worst parts of Israel. It will hopefully bring to light the hardships that come with working on an ambulance in the Middle East and a slice of life that many people will never be able to experience. Wow - that you have a very important summer planned. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of volunteering, particularly going to Israel - how are your supporters responding? It’s been a fantastic experience because at the age of 18 I am able to spread my project around the world. I have been very lucky with the donations that I have received through RocketHub, in addition to outside scholarships, but it hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be!  I leave June 14th to Israel, which is coming very close, and I keep my supporters updated through emails on the preparations for the trip. I’ve even asked a couple of my lovely supporters for advice. The most fun will come when I start working on the ambulance and I can give my supporters an inside look at the daily life of a First Responder in Israel through my blog.     Keep at it and keep us posted on your travels. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Aim big. Don’t limit yourself to only a few friends and family members to ask for contributions. RocketHub is a powerful crowdfunding destination and you have to utilize every opportunity the site offers to reach as many people as possible. Thanks Aaron - we’re rooting for you at RocketHub HQ and we’ll be following your progress. Help Aaron succeed and support his very worthy project. -Vlad

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  • June 2, 2011

Crowdfunding Memories in Minnesota - Journals for All

P.J. Fanberg is on a mission to provide 111 journals for his squad of choirboys. As the Executive Director of the Land of Lakes Choirboys, he is dedicated to utilizing crowdfunding as a way to preserve the memories of those who experience the journey of musical travel. I spoke with P.J. about his mission: What was the inspiration behind the pro-social journalism project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? The inspiration behind our project was actually an idea that came from my experiences as a Choirboy. I came from a low-income family, where money for extra things like journals for writing was a low priority. Subsequently, I managed to have just cheap notebooks to take on our concert tours, which generally lasted around 3-4 weeks. After a few days of traveling, the covers usually were torn-off and my journal was mostly in ruins by the end of the tour. Over the years, most of those writings are gone and lost to time. I wanted to make sure the boys that are going on these tours today have a keepsake of their experiences that will last them a life time. These boys range from ages 7-15 and travel extensively throughout the United States and the World. The experiences they gain, at such a young age, are invaluable to their growth as productive, responsible members of society. With many lower income boys in our program, this felt like an ideal project to try on  Great inspiration! How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of public support in Minnesota - how are your supporters responding? My supporters are in love with the format and ease of Minnesota is usually atop every single list when it comes to philanthropic giving, so it comes as no surprise that our supports have connected with this project so easily. To be able to find a new and exciting way to give in this state is a great promotional tool to use in our area. Additionally, finding funding for specific projects, like our journals, has been much easier than raising funds for general operating costs. People love knowing exactly what their donations are funding, especially when it’s a great project. I plan to promote other projects on in the near future. Thank you for being a RocketHub supporter. You’ve built a lot of momentum quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Sell your idea with enthusiasm and fun. If you aren’t excited about your idea, your potential fuelers will not be either. That goes for financial contributions as well. If they look and see that you don’t even believe in your project enough to support it yourself, then they are going to be hard-pressed to put their hard-earned resources into it. Facebook was a great asset for us to use to promote this idea. Within minutes of posting in on our site, we had three fuelers. I was barely done with the registration of the product before it was making us money! For those looking to launch their own project, think of the networks of people you already have in place that can help your project succeed. For us, it was the friends and families of the Choirboys. My next step is to gain the support of our alumnus who went through our program in the past. Have a plan before you launch to help build momentum fast. Nothing worse than days going by without your project taking-flight. At this point, you have pretty much missed your launch window and will have a much more difficult time fueling your project. Very good advice - useful for all types of project. Thank you P.J. for your innovative approach and heartwarming project. Support this crew, here. -Vlad

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  • May 17, 2011

Supporting an Online Community through Crowdfunding

Jon Nicol is devoted to making intro a great website, a hub of knowledge and activity. He is utilizing RocketHub and the power of crowdfunding in order to keep most of the content free - a noble endeavor that I had the pleasure of discussing with Jon: What was the inspiration behind the design and development project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? is resource for church music teams. Most of my work is with smaller churches whose budgets don’t allow big conferences and expensive resources. I keep most of my content free and my workshops affordable. The poor design of the site hinders the use of the content and resources, so I’m hoping to raise money to professionally redesign the site. Very worth cause. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of pro-social development - how are your supporters responding? The first 10% came in quickly, but it slowed down. My follower base is not huge, so I will likely be dependent on a few bigger contributions to carry the project forward.  Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? This isn’t a “build it and they will come” field of dreams thing. It takes work to get the project out there. Most people will need to see it a few times before they decide to give. And many need a direct request: “will you contribute?” And from the ones that contribute, I ask them to tell a few others about it. Once someone helps you once in one way, they’re more likely to help you again, especially in a non-financial way. Very relevant advice. Thank you Jon - support this project here. -Vlad

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  • May 13, 2011

Vinyl Is Here to Stay: The Doorbells Crowfund a New Record

"Want Your Evil" is the debut that starts it all, and The Doorbells invites you to be a part of it. We love this band at RocketHub and wanted to learn more about their unique vinyl-making crowdfunding campaign: What was the inspiration behind the music project you are currently running on RocketHub?  Why is it important to you? The inspiration behind this project was to create a way for fans, friends, and family to feel as if they all have a hand in the 1st release of us. They already are the reason that we can put together a project like this but it furthers their staple as part of the group. We also are doing this for the fact that vinyl is still the best way to listen to music and to receive a timeless piece of art as well. This is important to us because we want involvement from everyone who supports us and this gives them the chance to. Great way to build fan engagement. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music, particularly from the Midwest - how are your supporters responding? The experience has been great. It’s a great way for artists to share their passion with the people who support it in a more connected fashion other than just the music. Our supporters are responding with mixed reviews but mostly good. It’s been a slow start but momentum is picking up fast the more people become aware of the project. Keep up the momentum. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? The only advice I could give would be to just talk about the project as much as possible and let them know what it is really about. Promote the hell out of it. Good advice. Great music. Listen and join the ride, here. -Vlad

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  • May 13, 2011