John Nolan is the lead guitarist and backing vocalist of my favourite band of all time, Taking Back Sunday, and he’s about to release his second full-length solo album (still untitled) as songwriter. John, a 37-year-old Long Island (NY) native, for this musical effort has decided to take an alternative route of promotion avoiding the classical collaboration with a proper record label, embracing instead the online direct-to-fan music platform called “PledgeMusic“, which can be considered as being conceptually related to more famous examples of this new wave of crowdsourced fundraising platforms taking over the art market such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. This is an extract of what he had to say when explaining the selection process that brought him to choose PledgeMusic to launch his new project:
“I approached some record labels hoping that they’d see the value in doing the album this way but I wasn’t able to find one who shared my vision. It’s expensive to do an album at a producer’s studio with live musicians and that was their main concern. I had to make the record I wanted to though so I started looking into alternatives. When I found PledgeMusic it felt like the right fit. They offer a way to cut out the middleman, make an album with and for the people who want to hear it and they give you a support system.”
Well I think this new thing I’ve discovered is actually pretty cool, for multiple different reasons. First and foremost, PledgeMusic really seems to facilitate artists to reach out to their fanbase (members of which are in this case called “Pledgers”) in a direct and uncompromising manner. Using the platform musicians can pre-sell, market, and distribute projects including audiovisual material and references to live shows. Also, of course, the platform is being used to raise funds, but in its case only for musicians themselves, since the platform itself doesn’t retain any ownership to any music created. Another absolutely great and honourable aspect of PledgeMusic is that it actively encourages artists to include contributions to a charity as part of their project, and in John Nolan’s case up to 10% of all the money collected will be made available to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, a pediatric facility focused on children’s diseases.
But that’s not the end of the story. Through PledgeMusic artists are able to personalise and craft their very own music production process and to outline it online, enabling fans to pre-order very cool packages of music, ranging from simple digital downloads of the tracks through vinyl and LP bundles to special edition items. Furthermore, musicians can frequently update their followers with blogposts, videos, exclusive demos to download, and much more while they’re working in the project on a dedicated section of each artist’s profile. They can also actively engage the community supporting them too, as for instance John recently did by asking his fanbase to pick the new album title, which I personally think is a pretty rad thing to do and shows just how much artists actually value their fans’ opinion about their musical outputs and try to integrate them in the artistic development of the end product.
Needless to say, as soon as John announced his new folk project a while ago I suddenly felt the urge to fully support him by giving him what I could in order to complete his album. In fact, there are still 3 days left before the end of his campaign and he’s been able to raise 96% of the goal so far, so if you’re reading this and have somehow become interested in the thing… well, I think it’d be pretty cool if he’d be able to reach his target soon. From what I’ve heard following him on the Interweb (e.g. on Twitter) while he’s currently on tour in the USA with his bandmates in Taking Back Sunday as well as quite big notorious supporting acts The Menzingers and letlive., the new album should be released in June this year, and most of the mixing and post-production has already been done or is currently undergoing (on a side note here, to be fair John is actually collaborating with a record label for his new effort – Collective Confusion Records – although the role of the company is merely confined to the pressing of vinyls and the development of pre-order packages).
So far John has previewed three tracks on his PledgeMusic-profile, which will all feature on his upcoming album: “American Nightclub 1999”, “Drinking Your Way To Confidence”, and “How Much (Early Days Version)”. I think they’re all great: they’re in fact listenable and downloadable as soon as one financially contributes to John’s project. It’s really worth trying making this thing happen – time hasn’t running out yet – not least to get a feeling of participation/contribution in what I’m sure will be a fantastic album made by an extremely talented and fine musician. It’s time to make John Nolan for president.
I’d like to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read this and I hope to feel your interest again next time.