On Joining Kickstarter
It was the first time I’d been asked to sign an NDA when going out with a friend for a drink but I had a feeling it would be worthwhile. Yancey and I were colleagues at eMusic — he ran the editorial and merchandising group and I worked with the label partners. For a while, Yancey had been referencing a project he and his friend Perry were working on without going into much detail. When he was finally able to share the details of their vision and plans for what would become Kickstarter I was intrigued but wasn’t able to quite wrap my head around how I personally might be able to use it. At that time, I was working full time while going to culinary school in the evenings and weekends as well as managing Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. I was thinking about how to make my creative life blend with other hopes and dreams I had — like owning an apartment and maybe starting a family. I had gone to cooking school with the goal of pursuing another career path — something that allowed me to harness the creativity I had used when I was playing music. I wasn’t sure the track I was on as a digital music executive was fulfilling in the way I had hoped it might be.
I began my career as a musician and journalist, creating magazines and radio shows to document and share information about other women musicians. The subcultural musical movement that was spawned from this — called Riot Grrrl — continues to be a spark for many young women as they connect their passion for music with activism and opportunity. I started my band Bratmobile at the same time. Our inspiration came from our punk communities in Washington, D.C. and Olympia, Washington. Our friends were all in bands, harnessing their passion for music and social justice into their creative lives. Most of us were dead broke, touring in busted vans and sleeping on floors. Some of us started record labels to document this incredible output and became business people almost as an afterthought. Success in economic terms was not ever at the forefront of our goals. Making things with meaning and connecting with people who shared in those passions was most important.
My career in the business side of music was almost an accident. None of my moves have been “strategic”; most have presented themselves at exactly the right time and the latest opportunity is no exception. When Kendel Shore, VP of Communities at Kickstarter asked me to breakfast to talk about the latest plans Kickstarter had for strengthening and developing each of their categories, I was intrigued but didn’t read it to be more than two former colleagues catching up and sharing the latest on what we were working on. I had just been named Interim President at A2IM, the American Association of Independent Music, which is the trade body of Independent labels in the United States after having served there as VP for about a year. It was a huge responsibility and fantastic opportunity and I had been planning on pursuing the permanent role. But what Kendel was describing really piqued my interest.
After lots of discussion with Kendel and Yancey, I was inspired to reconnect with my creative roots and passions again. I’m so tremendously thrilled to be joining the Kickstarter team as their Head of Music and to be part of continuing to strengthen something that is, quite honestly, already so strong. Music is the category with the most successfully funded projects at Kickstarter and counts some of the leading voices in the independent music community among its creators. In 2015 alone projects like Meow The Jewels, John Vanderslice and his Tiny Telephone Producers, De La Soul and TLC are only a few notable examples of the power of what we can help the music community do. Coming from the label and distribution side of the business over the past few years, I am keen to work on ways to help artists and labels strengthen their enterprises and connect with their community of supporters in a new way.
The possibilities feel nearly endless and I can’t wait to get started.