Funding Your Record with Kickstarter

Interview with Robert “Bubby” Lewis

robert bubby lewis kickstarter headerkickstarter logo

Robert “Bubby” Lewis has played bass for some of the biggest names in today’s music and is currently working on his first solo record 1UP. Instead of going through the usual channels dealing with record labels and publishers to get funding for his new record, Bubby decided to use Kickstarter to help raise funds for recording and mastering. We asked Bubby how well Kickstarter was working out to fund his solo album and what advice he had for other musicians who might be considering doing their own Kickstarter campaign.

Roland: Robert “Bubby” Lewis Bass Prodigy, and Then Some

Why Kickstarter?

Dan: Tell me how you got the idea to use Kickstarter to fund your new record.

Bubby: [It was] through a friend of mine who was the VP of Entertainment for Marvel Comics out here [LA]. He was a composer and a producer [and] doing one himself, and he ended up raising the funds to complete an album.

You know, you never really know how much things cost until you try it out and get it started. It’s like when you start a new business and you see how much you need to raise. I was like, let me try it man, and it was working.

Setting Your Money Goal…

Dan: How’s Kickstarter working out?

Bubby: It’s crazy. I was asking for just the minimum, and they tell you this when you first join up with Kickstarter…that you tell people the minimum you could use and then everybody hopes and prays to get a little over because generally things tend to cost more. Originally, I asked for $5,000, and I was there within 12 days, and I had selected the 30 day time limit to raise the money. I ended up making it to $5,000 fast. But of course, in order to do what I wanted to do, I need a lot more than that, and now with nine days left, I upped my final goal to $10,000. I’m just about there with about $3,800 left.

Dan: What are some of the strategies that you used to raise money?

Bubby: To do a Kickstarter there’s different strategies that you use. The key is really being honest with people. CD mastering costs can be $5,000, and CD mastering costs a lot of money. My original goal of $5,000 was just to master the album, and that’s just the truth. The best way of course is to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumbler, whatever social networks you use. That was my strategy. A lot of people may have family and friends who don’t use social networks, so you can text your friends, buddies or great aunt, but I mostly used social. It’s really like a political campaign; you’ve got to keep yourself fresh in peoples minds. It’s one of the reasons why we are up at this time.

Sometimes I would be up at three or four o’clock in the morning posting, and some of my friends in Japan were like, “We didn’t know you were doing this!” And I was glad I stayed up because you can get lost in news feeds after a while. Scheduling posts to reach all times zones is a great option as well.

What’s in it for Kickstarter?

Dan: What happens when you reach your goal? How do you get your funding?

Bubby: So once you reach your goal, Kickstarter takes 8% total from whatever amount of money you raised. As an example, my goal was $5,000 so they took roughly $400. Then they just give you the rest, and they put it in your account. It only takes a few days after the campaign is over, and they put the money right into your bank account…the one that you put on file with Kickstarter…so you can go and do your project really fast.

Bubby’s Advice…

Dan: Any advice for people who want to use Kickstarter?

Bubby: The advice that I have for people is this: If you have a dream, or if you have some kind of desire that you want to go out on your own, whether it be to write a book, open up a music store or school, just try it. People will always tell you the downside of what you have to deal with, why it won’t work, or why it’s hard, […but] you can’t really pay attention to that stuff. You just have to try it, and you’ve got to believe in your dream. I was told some years ago that I would never make it to the music industry. I was told that I shouldn’t play things people don’t understand. I was told, when I was a lot heavier, that I was too fat and that I would never make it in the industry. Well, things turned out completely different. You’ve got to just pursue it. It’s your dream, so try it out! You don’t have to do a 30-day Kickstarter to reach your goal, you can do 60 days or 90 days. Just go for it. That’s my advice.

Roland User’s Group – Bubby Lewis Interview

And the good news…Bubby reached his goal and then some. He raised $8,820 during his 30-day campaign!