Whither Hum?

TL;DR: We’re making Hum with traditional funding. It’s still coming soon.

22 days ago, we launched our Kickstarter to fund Hum, a modest songwriting app with much larger, long term ambitions attached to it—to change songwriting forever. Today, with a week left in our Kickstarter campaign, we’re pulling the plug and shifting our focus to more “traditional” forms of fundraising. Making this decision is on the one hand humbling and the other exciting.

A lot of things went right for us: we receive impassioned and enthusiastic responses from musicians across the globe; Forbes, Mashable, PSFK and a host of other blogs and online communities of all stripes gave Hum a nod; and, most importantly, we rallied nearly 400 supporters, something we will not soon forget and for which we will be forever grateful.

But even the most exquisitely planned ventures begin with their share of hiccups, so it goes without saying that we stumbled in a few places.

Walk, don’t run.

Hum excites us because, like you, we’re songwriters longing for better tools and a smarter process. That excitement pushed us to introduce Hum sooner rather than later. In doing so, we overlooked one very important thing: the national holiday sitting in the middle of our 30-day fundraising window. Our first 10 days brought an inspiring wave of pledges and energy. Then, just as suddenly, America went on holiday to celebrate its independence, understandably setting aside any concern for Kickstarter campaigns likes ours. Re-establishing buzz and energy for Hum proved difficult in the days after July 4th.

Regardless of whether or not the holiday was to blame, we walk away knowing that excitement should not get in the way of clear-headed planning, and were we to do it again, we’d rather not gamble a songwriting app against a week at the cabin.

A tool in the hand is worth two in the bush.

We didn’t begin this campaign with a beta version in our back pocket. Yet, almost unanimously, songwriters wanted to test out Hum before putting their name behind it – this was true for both everyday Joes and notable artists. It was our opinion that launching a Kickstarter with the tool pre-built would mean we were being dishonest with our backers. Doing so would have meant we didn’t truly need money to kickstart our project. In this case, idealism got in the way of wowing songwriters and building strong and influential partners. Trying to convince someone of the power of Hum is very different than putting that power in their hands directly and letting them experience it for themselves.

Asking for money and support, especially from those with little to spare, should always begin with honesty and transparency. However, the needs and concerns of songwriters should take precedence over the platforms one uses to engage them.

Big ideas that can’t be shared can’t be sold.

We’ve got big, big plans that will introduce a new dynamic to songwriting, and Hum is the foundation for that road map. The problem is, we don’t want to give away our plans for this larger vision. Keeping that vision a secret means we can’t get people like you excited about Hum’s future. This, in the end, is the main reason for shifting our focus to traditional funding. To be clear, while we’ve failed on Kickstarter we don’t think we’re pursuing an idea that will fail.

Nearly 400 of you have raised your hands and opened your pocketbooks in support of Hum. We can’t thank you enough for that. We’ll return that support and passion when we re-introduce Hum to the world.

Until then,

Aaron and Joseph