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Community Supported Music

Posted on: August 20th, 2012 by lisabell Click to Comment

I am thrilled to be in production of my 4th CD called The Italian Project! The music was all written by me and Bob Story here in Boulder, along with Lisa Simmons in Italy, mostly via Skype, over the past two years. Here is a photo of the three of us finishing the writing in person in Boulder in April:

I recently launched a “crowd funding” campaign through a site called IndieGoGo to help fund the project. So just what is crowd funding you may ask? I like to think of it as “Community Supported Music.” It’s a lot like a CSA-Community Supported Agriculture.

In a CSA, you pre-pay for shares of a farm’s crops for a growing season. I belong to the Cultiva CSA in Boulder. I pre-paid for my share in the spring, then each week, for 20 weeks, I get to pick up fresh, local, certified organic produce at the Cultiva plot in Boulder. By pre-paying, I helped Cultiva to purchase the seeds, pay for the labor to plant and harvest the crops (in this case it includes the wonderful teens who get paid to work as they learn there during the summer), and supported a very worthy non-profit in the process. There are whole shares and half shares available, depending on how much you can afford up front and how much you can consume each week. The produce has been amazing throughout the summer and has allowed me to prepare some wonderful, healthy meals for my family.


In my newly named system of  “Community Supported Music,” independent musicians reach out to their fans, friends and family in a similar way. As an independent musician, we have to front all the money it takes to produce a music project. In recent years, the concept of “fan funding” or “crowd funding” has come onto the arts scene, especially for music and film. Companies including IndieGoGo allow artists to create a website where they can pre-sell their music and other “perks” in order to help defray the costs of the production up front. A large group can each contribute a little bit and fund the project. You can contribute anywhere from $10 to $10,000 to my project, and receive anything from a pre-release download of the CD when its complete, to a couple of amazing Italian adventures with me and my dear friends in that amazing country.

Very few independent musicians ever get the opportunity to have a “record deal” for their projects, and many times those deals turn sour long before the CD is completed. Community Supported Music is a DIY way for the musician to take control of the creative process and allow their fan base to help on the ground floor of the project.

As an independent musician, it’s difficult to sell enough “product” to ever make back the money that goes into the production. We can always hope that over time one of the songs on our albums will become a “hit” and make us loads of money, but the reality is that we just want to share our music and messages with the world.

The Italian Project is my first attempt at an entire CD of original songs that will inspire, uplift, empower and change the listener for the better. All of the songs were written with that mission in mind, and I am really excited for those messages to reach a wide audience.

Please take a look at the short video at the top of my IndieGoGo page to get the entire back story of the CD. On the site you can contribute any amount to my Community Supported Music project. In return, you’ll get the benefit of some exclusive “musical harvest” before the rest of the world, and you’ll be helping to sow the seeds of hope and change in the process.

If nothing else, please help me spread the word about this relatively new way of helping to bring new music to the world by sharing my post.

I’ll be posting more stories and background about the CD over the next few weeks. Thanks for your ongoing love and support!

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