Funding is and always will be an issue for the independent musicians without the backing of the top music labels. Even then, the glitz and glamor are far from the reality depicted by the tabloids and music videos. My interview with Will Runzel is a testament to these facts. He told me, “I can name at least 5 rappers who live in one bedroom, dirty ass apartments in downtown LA. And these guys are supposed to be ‘big’ rappers.” I’ve been a long time proponent for the various resources out there that financially support a musician’s project, whether it be the cost of mastering an album, funding the cost of an EP, aiding a band with the cost of touring or even helping fund the cost of a second hand van for a tour. It’s not news that fans can be generous beyond expectations.
Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding site, has for some time been the perfect solution for such projects, unbeknownst to the many musicians that I’ve encountered. I’ve heard mixed reactions, like “doesn’t using Kickstarter look desperate?” which which compelled me to interview MC Lars to set the record straight. At the time, lucky for me, he had just completed a wildly successful Kickstarter project to promote his newest album, “Lars Attacks” – one that netted $23,282 from a $5,000 pledge.
Musebox chatted with MC Lars, the influential and self proclaimed do-it-yourself artist on his use and strategy with using Kickstarter, of which he made clear, “Kickstarter is anything but desperate, especially if you are broke.”
In the future, I’ll offer more Kickstarter strategies through the experiences of successful artists who have utilized the online resource.
Musebox: What have you been up to thus far? What is going to be so awesome about “Lars Attacks!” and why is it titled ,”Lars Attacks!”?
MC Lars: I just finished my third album and have been touring relentlessly. “Lars Attacks!” is because I’m attacking with truth and justice this time.
MB: How difficult has the road been as a “DIY rapper,” considering that money probably isn’t pouring in on a daily basis?
MC Lars: College shows and merch sales help pay the bills. It has been a hard road but I’m the boss so that rocks.
MB: How did you first encounter Kickstarter and why did you choose to use the website?
MC Lars: MC Frontalot told me he might use it to fund his vinyl production so I thought it was a dope idea.
MB: How did you come up with the amount of $5,000 to determine how much money you would need?
MC Lars: $5k would have paid for mixing and replicating the CDs.
MB: What would you tell the musicians out there who are hesitant to use a website like Kickstarter thinking that only desperate musicians use it? Is using Kickstarter desperation or is it just being resourceful? Would you recommend it to a musician signed to an indie label?
MC Lars: I think it would be problematic for anyone on a label. It’s crowd sourcing, it’s the future and it’s a great way to have creative control.
MB: Has Kickstarter been a way for you to both promote and pre-sell your album?
MC Lars: Not so much promoting but more to pre-sell to the existing fans.
MB: What strategy did you use with your Kickstarter video?
MC Lars: I wanted something that caught people’s eyes that explained my approach.
>MB: How did you prepare and set up your Kickstarter campaign and what types of marketing strategies have you utilized to make it successful?
MC Lars: I made sure the page described the album and I hit up all of my social networks to promote it.
MB: Did you ever expect that you would reach $23,282 when you only had requested $5,000?
MC Lars: Nope!
MB: What went into the decision of determining what types of incentives you would offer your fans? Did you do some research prior to the campaign?
MC Lars: I looked at what other bands sold and what I’d sold in the past and it helped me put it together.
MB: What would you suggest to the struggling musicians out there to make money? In this day and age can you really get by day by day, by touring and selling albums?
MC Lars: I have! If you have the talent and ambition and are willing to work it’s very possible.
MB: What’s broken about the music industry today and what are your suggestions on how to fix it?
MC Lars: The lazy middlemen are on their way out and because of this we should all celebrate.
MB: Do you have anything you’d like to tell the fans that have supported your newest album?
MC Lars: Thanks!!
MB: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians
MC Lars: Keep at it and make original art.