Over the course of its 2½-year existence, Kickstarter has proven itself a pretty fickle benefactor.

In some ways, the online fundraising platform is stepping in to fill a role once played almost exclusively by record companies. Rather than wait for some label to sign them and finance a recording, musicians (and other creative artists) can launch a Kickstarter campaign to solicit pledges directly from fans.

In exchange, Kickstarter collects 5 percent of all donations, with a few more percentage points going to Amazon for processing payments. That's virtually nothing compared to what record companies traditionally take. And unlike most label deals, the rights remain with the artist.

There's one catch, and it's a pretty big one. Exactly where do you set your fundraising goal? Set it too high and, if your target isn't reached by your deadline, zero funds are collected. Here are two local examples of how it can go:

In September, teen alt-rock band We Are Not a Glum Lot funded the recording of its debut EP through Kickstarter. Pledge levels ranged from $1 (which earned you a sticker with a horned bear named Chandler on it) to the highest premium level of $100, in exchange for which four high-rolling donors got We Are Not a Glum Lot to play at their "wedding, funeral, garage, place of work, wherever." The band asked for $1,500, and pledges reached $1,524, which means the project got funded.

But earlier this month, a Kickstarter campaign to complete a documentary project by Leechpit owner, musician and former Indy columnist Adam Leech came to a close. Based around Adam's trip to a hobo nickel convention in Florida, the film project earned an enthusiastic response, including one donor pledging at the $10,000 level to receive a producer credit. The project drew $15,226 in pledges. But the goal had been set at $38,013, so it didn't get funded.

All of which brings us to the current Kickstarter campaign undertaken by Jason Miller on behalf of his band's new album, The Road to ElVado. The deadline to pledge is Dec. 5 and, as of this writing, $1,540 of the $2,500 goal had been reached. To help things along, Jason will be holding a Kickstarter Fundraiser Hellraiser Party at McCabe's Tavern on Dec. 3, featuring a string-band set followed by a set from his new electric lineup. ("Think Son Volt meets George Jones," says Jason.) So help him out if you can.

And finally, in the How I Spent My November Weekend department, this was definitely a good one for music here in the land of "Live it up." On Friday, I shuttled back and forth between Zodiac and the Black Sheep, managing to catch sets by Michal Menert, Gramatik, and El Toro de la Muerte, as well as the auspicious debut of Mike Stephens' great new outfit, the Men of Deep Throat (possibly the only band twisted enough to quote Peter Frampton's "Show Me the Way" and Katy Perry's "Peacock" in the same song).

The next evening, I stopped by the CD listening party for Che Bong's impressive Sleeping While You're Awake debut album at Marmalade. The event was a family affair, with the hip-hop musician's mom in attendance as well as an evening-closing original number written and rapped by Sound Powered Engine label founder Gary Vanderpool's brood of pre-teen kids. (Yes, the next generation of Colorado hip-hop has already arrived.) Mark your calendar for a full Che Bong album-release show Dec. 18 at the Black Sheep.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com; follow our updates at tinyurl.com/indyreverb.


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