[Harp-L] Re: Thoughts on doing a concept album...


Thanks for the input.  This project would vary a bit from the normal
live band records CD to promote themselves.  Well, it would server
that purpose to an extent, but in general, the idea is really to
promote harmonica in a rock/pop context and hopefully help support a
charity (I have one local and one national in mind at the moment).

I've recorded two albums with the group NiteRail and should have a
third with the Mark Cameron Band done this winter.  NR sold almost
100% of our stuff at shows and the first one was a very good money
maker.  The second one was a much better album but a lot of internal
issues really stunted the end result as it pertains to sales.  In all
cases, the intent was always to be a successful band at the state

With NR, everything was funded via the band. This project would
utilize a program in which "fans" would pledge funding.  If the goal
is reached, the CD is created.  If the goal isn't reached, no one ends
up paying money and the disc never starts.  I have a few friends in
bands that have done this with great success through two separate
organizations.  Pledges are actually incentive based, meaning there
are formal rewards that increase in number and value as the size of a
donation increases.

My hope would be to use available local resources as well as the
greater harmonica community to help establish a production budget and
pledge incentives that keep the overhead low enough to record the CD
and have excess money available for donation.  There are a couple of
ways to do this.  One would set the max goal with the donation already
accounted for.  The second would be to set the goal and donate
everything beyond it.  A third option would be to only worry about
funding and distributing the recording and then donating the sales.

To be accepted in either program, you have to very formally submit
every last detail, of which I have at least outlined.  They would make
the final call on accepting it.  The whole process is very interactive
for people wanting to pledge and I have really enjoyed watching a
friend go through the process and send out emails, mp3s, videos, etc
from the experience.

Ideally, I'd create a disc that featured a number of artists, but it
will be too much of an undertaking.  My hope is that my local fan
base, fellow harpers, and hopefully some harp related business would
take enough interest in the pledge incentives, concept of the album,
and charity to help make it work.

The album itself would be like the typical harmonica album in that it
would feature covers...instead of blues standards, it would be 1-2
songs from each of the last five decades of music.  The songs would
all be at least moderately well known to the general public.  None
will have featured harmonica in the original recording.  All will
feature harmonica, but not be a wanky jam piece, and hopefully be in a
context that would generally be accepted as unique.  I would probably
do Whippin' Post like at SPAH, for example.  Another one would be a
reggae version of Hard to Handle.  Right now, I am planning on 10
songs and have at least a dozen in mind to try.

Hopefully, as it will be a largely harmonica aimed effort, a bit of
grass roots promoting will help keep costs down.  The licensing for
each song as a physical and digital release will be sorta spendy
depending on how I handle it.

I am trying not to totally tip my hand at this point, but I think I
can make it work, have it turn out awesome, and most importantly use
it to give back to the harmonica community through music and money.  I
am 100% confident I could make it work as a MN based project (would
probably have to take it in a more blues based route) and help two
great local causes.  However, I want to try and do it on a larger
level if I can.  That'll be dependent on how it is received by the
group I'd want to donate to.  If it ends up being a stupid idea and
total dud, even those who do pledge won't end up owing anything.


On Dec 17, 12:18 pm, Richard Hunter <turtleh...@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Mike Fugazzi wrote:
> >So, what I am asking from you it this:
> >1. Do you think I'd have any luck selling the music?
> Mike, the single thing that sells the most albums is performing.  If you're playing the material live frequently with a solid band, you can easily sell hundreds or thousands of CDs in a year from the stage at your gigs.  In fact, any artist who's performing regularly should make a point of having CDs on hand to sell at every gig--there's nothing easier than selling a CD to someone who just heard you play and loved it.
> If you're not going to be performing the material live with any frequency, I'd seriously doubt that you'll be able to move enough records to pay for the project. Rock records take money to make, as a rule--you need a real recording studio in most cases to record drums and big amps, and that's expensive--and a "low-budget" album recorded an mixed in a real studio can easily cost $10,000-$20,000.  
> There are exceptions, of course. But for most artists nowadays, a physical CD is a token purchased by an audience as a reminder of a performance--in other words, it helps drive up the revenue from performances, as opposed to being a significant standalone revenue generator in itself.  
> My opinion isn't necessarily the final word on this topic, and I'd like to hear from others on this list who've released their own records.  Mike, if you decide to proceed with the project, I'll be glad to talk to you about strategies for driving up sales at performances.
> Regards, Richard Hunter
> author, "Jazz Harp"
> latest mp3s and harmonica blog athttp://myspace.com/richardhunterharp
> more mp3s athttp://taxi.com/rhunter
> Vids athttp://www.youtube.com/user/lightninrick
> Twitter: lightninrick

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