Julia Nunes on Building a Sustainable Career as an Independent Musician

As a college student, songwriter Julia Nunes began sharing her music on YouTube. “I thought you just put your stuff there and you could send it to someone, but no one [else] is going to find it,” she says. So she was stunned when the videos began racking up views and reaching total strangers.

Suddenly, she found herself touring with her musical idols — she’s played with Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, and Weezer, among others — and thinking about releasing an album.

“I never thought I could have a sustainable career [as a musician],” Nunes says. “The world of the music-industry machine didn’t interest me.” But she did have a cache of songs she wanted to record with the help of a producer.

She launched a Kickstarter project to record her first album in June 2011, hoping to raise $ 15,000. She hit her goal within the first 24 hours, and wound up raising over $ 75,000 with the help of over 1,500 fans. “I was blown away,” she says. Since then, she’s launched two more projects, in January 2015 and January 2017.

“I think of [Kickstarter] like my record label,” Nunes says. “Instead of record executives, I have an audience that lets me know what my budget for the record is. You can make it as big or as small as your people want it to be.”

Learn more about her experience as an independent musician on Kickstarter in the video above.

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