How Making It Works: Antigone Rising

Independent Albums

Making albums is expensive. But it is essential for an up-and-coming band to have an album to sell. It both adds to income and gives the fans something to take home after a show.

Photo courtesy Antigone Rising and Lava Records
Antigone Rising in the studio

Antigone Rising has four independently released albums:
  • New and Used EP(2000)
  • Rock Album (2001)
  • SaY iT! an-TIG-uh-nee (2001) (out of print)
  • Antigone Rising's Traveling Circus (2003)

Finding the finances to fund an independent album is one of the greatest challenges and risks facing an aspiring band. Kristen talked about Antigone's approach:
    I had really good credit at that point ... and I was the dumbest. I had some offers for, like, 0% APR for two years and we needed to finish a CD. So, I was like, fine, let's put, like ten-thousand on my credit card [laughing] ... And then we just would pay the minimum, you know? Once we got signed, we were able to get out of debt.

But credit wasn't always available to Antigone Rising. When times got tough and an album was on the line, the band had to turn to their characteristic ingenuity to finish a record. Kristen elaborates on overcoming a serious financial hurdle:

    We sat down in the diner one night and brainstormed, like, how can we get this CD done? We said let's put up a PayPal thing on our Web site. I knew about PayPal, and a lot of people didn't at that point. It was really new. People can donate through the site. I think most people mailed checks to a P.O. box. We got ten-thousand dollars in donations from fans. In return, we gave CDs and autographed things ... whatever we could give back. We thanked them in the liner notes; the fans that donated ... we never would have been able to finish our CD. It's like a miracle, when I think about it.
The other challenge associated with independent albums is independent distribution. Once again, Antigone Rising turned to new roads to solve this problem:
    We were always, sort of, finding ways to make the CD available, other than at our shows ... [like] through the Internet -- the Internet was huge. We sold them directly from our site; we still do. In the markets that we were doing well in, we would ask our street team to talk to local record stores in their various markets, and set up consignment agreements. So we had set up consignment agreements in the markets where it was likely someone might come into a record store looking for our CD.

Having wrapped up their local market, and with a couple of CDs under their belts, it was time to hit the road. But that is often easier said than done.