$$$$$ to make the world go round

by Graham

As a musician, money is something that isn’t always part of the equation. Whether it’s by nature or happenstance that this occurs depends on the situation. There is no financial barrier to having a creative idea, and more and more artists are finding themselves in positions where once having had that free (as in speech and beer) idea there is little to no money available to actually create the concept in the physical world. This paradigm has led me to adopt, as a person, an attitude towards life which can best be summed up as “Money is no object”. Typically the fare of the wealthy, I use these words slightly differently. To understand how I use them, replace the word “money” with another word for something that doesn’t exist, say, a time machine for example. “A time machine is no object”. This makes sense, right? If I told you that to solve whatever problem you have (because that’s all creative work really is, self imposed problem solving) you just needed to use a time machine, how confident would you be of the successful resolution to the problem? It would most likely seem like a bad plan and any hope of successfully completing whatever task it was would appear to be lost. Not a great place to be emotionally.

It’s for this reason that when setting up my projects I do so in a manner which eliminates or minimizes exposure to financial expenses. Things seem more likely to succeed if there isn’t a financial cost to completion. Minimal finances is the reason I use solar-power and natural spaces as studios. It’s free. Mostly.

My latest project, however is a departure from this. When I sent in my proposal for fiscal sponsorship, it was because I figured I could use all the help I could get. That proposal came with a very rough estimate of a $25,000 project cost. Not exactly chump change, but not outlandish. It’s the cost of a modest automobile or boat, a home addition, small construction project or slightly more than half of the median US annual income. The last comparison is important here, because I don’t make the median income. Most musicians don’t, in fact. A recent survey found that the average income from music was around $32,000, not much more than the budget I dreamed up for this project. In reality though, this project is more than 5x my annual income. It remains to be seen if I was smart to push myself this hard/far, but so far I would call it working. I’ve travelled more miles than money I’ve spent and am doing most of the work myself. It’s come to a point, however, where I see a need for a bit of a cash outlay to continue in a timely manner. To make the American Heritage series a real success the respective World Heritage Sites need to be used as a studio as well as inspiration. To do so requires a permit from the respective National Park and that takes cash. Since I don’t have it just laying around I have to raise it somehow. In keeping with a previous post, I’m using the internet and the distributed patronage model, or as it’s come to be known, crowdfunding.


Here’s a short video describing the project.


I’m offering preorders of the music I record along with other delicious and delightful gifts for contributing to the project (just like PBS except no tote bags). My goal is $2,500 with 20 hours and 90% left to go. Erin contributed, can you?


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