The Kickstarter Effect
Allison Weiss is a true DIY artist. As a college student, touring beyond her local scene proved to be a real challenge. Eager to get her music career moving forward, though, Allison had to get creative. To keep the dialogue going with her fans, she leverages the power of Twitter, Live Stream, and YouTube to communicate with her audience and build an active fan base. When it came time to fund her most recent recording, she asked her fans for help. Allison encouraged her fans to help finance the recording through an online service called Kickstarter. The result was overwhelming as Alison reached her goal in only 10 hours! You can hear all the details about how Allison used Kickstarter in the full-length audio version of the Podcast at http://cdbabypodcast.com, but here is an excerpt from the interview that will give you a glimpse into how Allison uses Twitter to build a rabid fan base that is willing and ready to fund her music career.
What are you doing with your internet promotions? Why do you think you’ve developed such a rabid fan base?
A lot of my internet efforts are focused on Twitter, which is great because it takes little to no effort. I think I got really into it because I’m in school and can’t tour constantly. I take advantage of the fact that there are all these websites that I can use to connect with my fans. Basically, I’m just very enthusiastic about all my online promotion efforts. Not necessarily promotion, but I just like to be there and hang out with the fans that are listening to my music. It’s fun and I like to connect with people. I think the reason that it’s so effective for me is because I’m very honest and open. If you follow my Twitter feed, you know it’s not just all, “Hey I’ve got a show coming up!” or “Buy my album!” That sort of stuff is in there amongst other updates like, “I just took a test and think I failed it!” I’m really honest and open because that’s how my music is as well. If you listen to my music, I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve.
Was that something you consciously thought about when you started using Twitter to promote your music, or did it happen naturally?
It was definitely something that just happened naturally. I actually joined Twitter about a year ago and never used it for anything except my show updates. Then one night I decided I was going to live Tweet the Grammy’s, which was ridiculous, but a lot of fun because I was updating like every 4 seconds with my opinion. I already had a lot of Twitter followers at that point, people who had just followed me randomly. My followers were like, “This is great. I don’t even have to watch the Grammy’s”. It was so much fun that I thought I would give Twitter a shot and update it like a Facebook status. Since then I’ve totally fallen in love with Twitter.
Take a moment and highlight your Twitter contests. Those were a great idea, especially for an artist that can’t tour on a consistent basis. Tell us about one of your contests.
I did this contest at the beginning of summer to celebrate getting 1,000 followers. I decided for a week I was going to have a photo contest where I would tweet 3 items like a book, a dinosaur and the color red. And then to enter the contest, someone would have to tweet me a photo involving these items and the most creative picture would win a CD. The 2nd runner-ups would win download cards. I used a blogging site called Tumblr to create a website where I showed the photos and posted everyone’s Twitter handle. It was cool because people got really creative with it and I got some really fun photos and sent out a bunch of CDs. At one point, I noticed people tweeting back and forth saying, “Hey I saw your entered the Allison Weiss photo contest. I loved your picture that was great!” That is my favorite thing when people who don’t know each other can find each other through me and my music.
You can find Allison’s music on CD Baby here http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/AllisonWeiss