Crowd funding a Parade

David Mayfield

David Mayfield the Parade

In the last few years, a lot of artists, inventors, entrepreneurs and half-cocked dreamers have been trying their luck with crowd-funding websites like Kickstarter.

The basic idea can sound very appealing, particularly to those who can’t or don’t want to use traditional funding sources: the artist, inventor or entrepreneur takes his or her pitch for a product or a project to a website rather than go through the usual corporate or company channels. Through the Internet, they reach out to fans or a particular community and try to convince them to put their money behind the project.

It’s a very grassroots way of letting the audience decide what it’s willing to support.

Singer/songwriter David Mayfield said he doesn’t know if crowd funding is here to stay, but it sure worked for him.

“We got about twice what we were asking for,” said the Americana artist and Grammy-nominated producer, whose band, The David Mayfield Parade, comes to Huntington’s V-Club on Saturday.

Actually, Mayfield did even better than that. He set out to raise $18,000 for his second record and came up with $42,982.

The new record, “Good Man Down,” was released April 1.

Mayfield said he became interested in crowd funding after hearing about some of the successes through services like Kickstarter. Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls, for instance, set a goal of $100,000 to make a record and wound up with $1.2 million.

However, Mayfield said he didn’t need to go to crowd funding to make his album.

“I had a little bit of success with that first record,” he said. “I had some opportunities with some record labels and things, but it didn’t seem like anyone was offering me anything I couldn’t do on my own if I just didn’t have a little bit of capital.”

The record companies, he explained, were willing to offer deals, but they were mostly garbage.

“It was like, we’ll throw you a little bit of money up front and take all the money down the road — and you still have to hire the publicist, and you still have to do this and still have to do that.”

So he said no and instead took his pitch to his fans. Last June, Mayfield posted his proposal and promoted it among his fans. If they wanted the record, he hoped they’d buy into his making it. The record was mostly done already, he said.

“I had the songs written,” he said. “I’d even recorded a few, so I knew what I was going to do.”

Mayfield just needed the money to hire people, finish recording and put together the album packaging.

To sweeten the pot, he offered incentives. For the casual fan, $10 earned an autographed picture of Mayfield along with a personalized thank-you or $25 netted a copy of the record plus the photo.

Serious fans could pay $1,000, which also bought them a solo, unplugged concert anywhere in the continental U.S. Mayfield even offered a premium to other musicians. For $5,000, a fan could hire him to produce their band’s album, which wasn’t too shabby, given Mayfield’s Grammy nomination (for Barry Scott & Second Wind’s “In God’s Time” win 2009).

Mayfield got the money, finished the record and has been spending a lot of time completing all those promises he made to people who supported his record.

“I feel like I’m a PBS fund drive or maybe Jerry Lewis,” he joked.
Source: WV Gazette – Bill Lynch

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