An Inkling of a Plan

Volume 5, Issue 4 - August 1, 2001 

 Hey Folks,

I hope everybody is well and enjoying their summer. All is well here in Peekskill and the Treehouse is looking good, but I have some important business at hand and I need your input and advice.

I've given this a lot of thought, so here goes:

I'd like to record another album (CD) over the next year (as opposed to waiting another decade and a half). In order to raise the necessary funds, I've decided to raise money, in advance, directly from my fans and supporters (in other words, you!) by pre-selling the next CD.

To accomplish this, upon the album's completion, I plan on pressing '2,500' 'Limited Edition' copies of the 'next CD' (Sorry, it doesn't have a name, yet, because it hasn't been recorded!). These 'Limited Edition' copies will be individually numbered and signed by yours truly (me) and shipped, prior to general release, sometime within the next 24 months.

Everyone that orders a copy will receive a certificate identifying you as 'an astute judge of quality songwriting and musicianship' and 'an ardent supporter of independent music'. Obviously, in order for this plan to work, a good percentage of you will have to actually participate. (That is - cough up your hard-earned cash! Ouch!)

Which brings me to a crucial question: how much? That is, how much money would you be happy and willing to pay, in advance, to make it possible for me to record the next 'Dean Friedman' album?

Determining the ideal price is critical because...

On the one hand, if it's too low, I'll never raise enough to record the album, especially as there are only 3,000 email addresses and, realistically, I expect significantly less than half of you to actually order a copy. (Don't be insulted or anything - that's just the nature of email.)

On the other hand, if the price is too high, many of you that might want to participate would be precluded from doing so, with similar results to the above (the project would fail due to lack of funding).

Then again, on the 'third' hand, (never assume there are only 2 hands) I have seriously considered the option of letting each of you decide for yourselves what you are able and willing to pay for a signed 'limited edition' copy of the 'next' Dean Friedman CD. This approach holds some obvious inherent risks. In fact, it smacks of 'communism' for goodness sakes! Before you know it, we'll be starting a music cooperative or getting group rates for health insurance! But, hey, you are the audience after all, so don't you think you should have some kind of input into the process?!

See my dilemma?

There are 3000 people on my email list and it seems to me that given the power of the internet it should finally be possible for enough of you to join forces and coordinate your spending power in order finance the production of this album project. (If you wanted to, that is)

I believe it's possible to accomplish this, but I know that in order for it to happen I have to figure out the right price to make the formula work.

So, I'd like to ask your assistance in this matter. Please give some thought to the questions below and email me back as soon as you can, because, frankly, I'm itching to get back into the studio.

It might help to keep the following in mind: I'll need to raise at least $50,000 to do this, which breaks down in a few different ways:

500 people x $100 [70] = $50,000
667 people x $75 [52] = $50,000
1000 people x $50 [35] = $50,000
2000 people x $25 [18] = $50,000

It almost seems doable, right?

Of course, a few generous contributions from a handful of 'comfortably well-off' benefactors or 'sponsors' could also make up any (inevitable) shortfall. (hint) In fact, this type of 'sponsor' made my last two UK tours possible (thanks guys). Anyway, you see what I'm trying to accomplish here; your feedback will prove invaluable and your participation, well... it can't happen without you. (Oh, the pressure!)

O.K. So, here goes:

Question 1: Would you be willing to pay in advance for a signed, numbered 'limited edition' copy of Dean's next CD?

a. Yes, sounds like a cool idea and creative use of the internet and a discerning audience.
b. No, tell Dean to stop bothering us with his goofy emails, forget all this songwriting/record nonsense and go get a 'real' job like everybody else!

Question 2: What's the most you'd be happy and willing to pay for Dean's 'next' CD:
a. $25 [18]
b. $50 [35]
c. $75 [52]
d. $100 [70]
e. Other amount?: $_____ or ______

Question 3: Do you think it's plum crazy to let each of you decide for yourselves what you're willing to pay for the next CD?

a. Yes
b. No

Question 4: Do you think Dean would be much better off trying to sell homegrown 'bubblegum' seeds over the internet?

a. Yes
b. No
c. What the hell are 'bubblegum' seeds?


Well, that about wraps it up. Here's the way I look at it: If I have to work for anybody, I'd rather work for you guys than for some stupid record company. And if this wacky idea works, I'll actually be able to spend the next year making music (and fixing up the Treehouse, of course) instead of whatever-the-hell-else-it-is-I-do to make a living. Make sense?

Well, thanks for your input by answering all these questions and for all the other stuff you do, you know, like listening to the songs and coming to gigs etc..

Now, if you could just help me figure this all out, I'd really appreciate it!

All the best.

Your singer/songwriting penpal,


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