See the updates below for the current state of production and what you’re donating to at this point (basically the album is done, but the costs have been high and I’ve been paying them out of my savings. Donations made now can help me recoup some of that, and I’m very appreciative of it!)
I'm Nick La Riviere, the leader of the Victoria, BC band Best Laid Plans. I've never crowd funded to raise money for a recording before. I've always preferred to pay for the production from my own funds - though my folks have certainly helped with some of my previous releases (thanks Mom and Dad!).
It used to be that when a recording was made, the cost of recording could be made back in CD sales. These days people are buying CD's less and less, preferring to stream instead. And I can't blame them - streaming is just so convenient. I don't even have a working CD player anymore - not even in my car. I do have a record player though, and it's still fun to play music that way. The problem with the way things have gone is that streaming only pays a fraction of a cent per play, yet the cost of recording and promoting an album (when done right) is still very high. Many independent artists will never recover the cost of making their recordings through streaming. I certainly don't expect to.
So why do artists make recordings if they'll lose money? For the artistic merit, as a promotional tool, and because you never know - one of the songs might make it big. Dealing with the cost of recording is just a cost of doing business as a musician.
The album I'm working on now will be the debut album for my new project, Nick La Riviere and the Best Laid Plans. I've been working on this album for a couple of years, and 4 tracks are already mixed and mastered. The remaining tracks are getting mixed in the next couple of weeks. We're aiming for a release on July 15, with an official album release show at Hermann's Upstairs in Victoria on July 16. Yes, we're cutting it closer with the album production than I had hoped when I booked the release show. Covid has caused numerous delays, including everyone in the band (including myself), the producer - and even the owner of the secondary studio where we recorded some piano - getting covid all at different and inconvenient times. However, we're still on track to do a streaming release when we planned to, and we'll have CD's available at the show. In the long run I plan on getting this album pressed to vinyl.
I'm very, very excited about the music on this album. It's turning out - I think - better than any of my previous releases. The album features instrumental dance tracks influenced by both the music of Latin America and New Orleans, catchy vocals, and thrilling solos. Musicians featured on the album include Miguelito Valdes (Buena Vista Social Club) on trumpet, Barrie Sorensen on sax, Darcy Phillips (performer with Jann Arden) and Attila Fias on keys, and Jay Cook and Alex Campbell on drums. Recorded and produced by Zak Cohen at The Woodshop Studio. There's also guest vocal appearances by Chelsea D.E Johnson from Old Soul Rebel, and the Soul Source singers (Amanda Nielsen, Alli Bean, and Lauren Marshall).
So far one track has been released as a single on May 26 - click here for press release and link to the song. This song is a commentary on gun violence. Written three years ago, and unfortunately still far too relevant.
The rest of the album is notably more joyful.
So far my recording expenses have added up to $12,625. I've received one grant from Factor for $2000, and one very generous donation from some very kind fans of $3000. I've financed the rest of the expenses myself. There are still considerable remaining costs including studio time for mixing the 5 remaining tracks, mastering those tracks, album photography, pressing the CD and vinyl.... and promotion. Promotion is a big one. You can spend a lot of money just trying to get people to listen to your music, and if you don't it has a serious danger of being completely ignored. There is a LOT of music out there, and a lot of great musicians making it. If a musician doesn't work hard to make sure their music gets noticed, then all that money and time spent on the recording process could end up being a total waste. I'm sure there is plenty of really great music that you and I have never heard of simply because the artist was unable to promote it properly.
Like I said, I've never tried a crowd funding campaign to finance album expenses before, so I'm not sure how this will go and won't count on it. I'll make it work and will get the album out there whether I get financial help or not... but having some additional funds will definitely help me put this together more easily, and to promote the album right. The number I've put in as my goal will very roughly cover the remaining recording, photography, and promotion costs. The cost of promotion is really variable based on what I have to work with, so if I get more funding, I can do more, and if I get less then I can still do something. If people happen to be very generous, additional funds could go towards a music video, or recording an extra single.