This past year, Barack Obama's presidential campaign rewrote the books on campaign fundraising, relying on a whole F'in S load of small contributions from a whole F'in S load of people to ultimately raise the most cash of any presidential candidate in history. Folk/pop/rocker Jill Sobule (most of you probably know her 1995 hit "I Kissed a Girl") took this take-it-to-the-streets attitude to the recording of her soon-to-be-released album California Years.
Sobule started a website (www.jillsnextrecord.com) where fans - of which she has many - could donate any amount to fund the album. With these donations came some perks, of course. Ten bucks gets you a digital download of the album upon its release, $20 gets you an advanced copy of the record and for $50, you'll get both of the previous offers, plus your name in the "Thank You" portion of the liner notes. For the big spenders: $1,000 gets you your own "theme song" to put on your answering machine performed by Sobule. $5,000 will grant you a house concert and for $10,000 you get to sing on the actual CD.
To date, Jill has raised some $85,000 for her album, more than enough to lay it down on wax. Could this change the way artists record albums? Probably not...but you gotta love the whole for-the-people-by-the-people notion of this whole thing.