Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thank You and Congratulations!

With the closing of the donation page, I am announcing the official end to this project's status as a fundraiser. At the same time, I'd like to encourage people to continue with their efforts in helping Japan. There may no longer be a page for donating on GlobalGiving, but Red Cross is still accepting donations. It probably doesn't need to be said, but the important thing is donating (time, effort, money), not donating through this project.

So! I am extremely pleased to announce the final numbers on donations and the download count at the time of this posting.

$306 (USD) to charities for general relief efforts, animal rescue efforts in Japan, and relief specifically for the disabled and elderly, and 1154 total downloads! And the download count just keeps going up.

Fair warning - I'm about to launch into a gratuitous and exhaustive thank you/group hug.

My personal gratitude goes out to every person who has donated to these charities - your financial contributions are helping now to improve and/or save lives (both animal and human). Be proud of yourselves.

To every person who downloaded this compilation, who tweeted or retweeted about it, who shared it on a Facebook page, who told coworkers or family, this could not have been the success it is without your help.

Every artist who contributed a song or graphic - whether or not it made it to the final compilation - should know that the selfless giving of your work made this a reality. Your willingness to give your creations to help make the world better is inspiring and laudable. You are the the heart of this project.

Every individual who posted this compilation to his or her label, website/blog, or discussed or played some of its music on a radio program both traditional and internet-based, I cannot thank you enough for your work in spreading the word about this effort. In the same way that an artist gives his or her creative work, you have used your platforms built with immense amounts of time and effort to help create a better future for Japan. And, I have to say, I have developed a deep respect for every one of you - I had no idea how much work a project like this could be, and all of you have chosen to do this regularly! If any people think that you're of secondary importance to this project, they are greatly mistaken.

And, of course, the volunteers. There's a list of each of them in the 'About' tab at the top of this blog. Please show them your gratitude by visiting their respective websites (each linked on that page) and giving them your time and attention. I could not have possibly done all of the work on this project by myself. They donated hours of their time - work that many of them normally get paid for - to taking care of crucial and difficult tasks. Every song that was submitted was evaluated by five separate individuals (Jim ButlerAyoze GarcĂ­aJason GeorgeDavid Nemeth, and Allen Thompson), and there were lots of submissions. They spent their time over weeks going through those. And after that was done, the selected tracks had to be mastered. I've said this before: mastering is very hard work that requires a lot of time. As much as I am saying thank you, I almost feel like saying sorry to Steve Pahl and Tom Whittaker for putting them through this! To ask someone to master a compilation in as short a time as we asked is almost ridiculous, but for them to actually do it is just incredible and exceptionally generous. Really.

Curating this compilation has deeply affected my perspective on how much of an impact art can have in the world. With this, I have seen that music can have be a tangible force for positive change in this world - and yes, this means free music, too. I have had people tell me that free music is free because it has no value, that it is only free because it couldn't be sold. I think that this has clearly shown how wrong that is.

The Sun Will Rise is a testament to the generosity, compassion, and general altruism of our species. Every person that I thank for helping with this compilation, I thank for helping Japan and the people who live there.

Oh, and congratulations! We've made this a huge success - it's not just that we made the compilation; we fulfilled its mission. This is deserving of celebration, so celebrate!

Thank you so much.

Kevin Stephens

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Final push!

This is it - the home stretch. At 10:00 PDT tonight, I will be ending the fundraising portion of this project and will no longer be posting to this blog. The Facebook page and Twitter accounts will be defunct. Due to numerous offline obligations, I'm unable to manage this project infinitely. Which is fine, really, because we've made this such a success. We being everyone who's contributed in any way, not the royal we.

Download pages will remain online for as long as the services that host them exist. Just because the official fundraising portion is over doesn't mean that the compilation is dead. It is my hope that people will continue to discover this and follow links to donation sites to contribute to the ongoing efforts in Japan.

The last blog post will be made later tonight. In the meantime, tell as many people you can about this. The download count is already fantastic, but I want it to dwarf everyone's expectations. Remember, links to the compilation:

Ten hours!

Kevin Stephens

Monday, May 23, 2011

Final Call: Spread the Word!

With just one week left, the project's donation page has quieted down quite a bit. News outlets are reporting less about the disaster in Japan as other environmental disasters occur globally. While everyone cares deeply about the ongoing efforts to provide relief to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, most people have already donated their time and money to various charities - and few people have enough of either to donate constantly.

I say this because, based on the donations, it might seem like interest is waning. That couldn't be further from the truth; as of this post, we have hit 900 downloads of the compilation. People continue to discover this compilation, and though they may not be able to donate financially, they are helping to spread awareness of its cause.

But with just one week left, it seems wrong to simply be pleased with what we have already accomplished - we should be excited to see how far we can take this. This is the final call that I am putting out for The Sun Will Rise: 

Spread the word!

Sorry for the sudden font enlargement and bolding, but I have to emphasize this as best I can. We have done well in getting the word out, but we can do better! Contact your local radio stations; tell your friends, family, and coworkers; burn copies of the compilation to CD, write the URL to the Bandcamp/ page on them, and hand them out wherever is most appropriate. Everyone's work in promoting this compilation is what has already made this a success. If you are able to invest a little time and effort during this week to getting the word out, you can help take this project to its limits. I'm very interested in hearing about what you are planning on doing or have already done to help promote this, so post in the comments all of your creative and generous efforts!

Only one week left - let's make it one to remember.

Kevin Stephens

Week of Downtime

My apologies for the lack of a post last week. Sick+work+home life... the usual. Post about the project coming up in a moment.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Increasing Pace

Today's post will be short. I am unaware of any additional netlabels or media outlets that have mentioned the project in the past week, and the donation count has plateaued for the moment. But...

Downloads are doing exceptionally! We have hit over 600 downloads total for the project - more than doubling our two week count in just one. I hope that we can keep the pace up over the rest of the month and break the 1000 download barrier soon.

Keep spreading the word and the charity. Three weeks left!

Kevin Stephens

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Post-Release Euphoria

It is honestly hard to believe that only two weeks have passed since this album was released. In just that much time, we have raised $306 and have received over 300 downloads.

At an average of $1 per download and $21.85 per day (that number just blew my mind!) since release, this has been an unequivocal success - particularly considering that donations are completely optional! For a free, netlabel-style release, this has received a huge amount of attention and an exceptional amount of money for charity. Through everyone's contributions, we have sent emergency relief supplies to Japanese citizens, provided special help to the elderly and disabled, and rescued animals and reunited them with their families.

Every last one of you should feel proud - whether you contributed your music, your time and effort with promoting or working on this project, your money by donating, or even if you just so much as listened to it. All of it has been invaluable in promoting this project and its cause - and we've done a great job of it.

There are a few things about this project that I would like to note. First, the participating netlabels and press page has been updated to include many more names of labels, blogs, radio shows, and the like that have put forth the effort to distribute and promote this compilation and its cause. I can't thank each of them enough for the help that their work provides to this effort.

Second, my updates will now become weekly - the rate of changes to the project itself has slowed down immensely after the release, so while every day I am excited to see how many more downloads and donations we receive, I think that it would be wise to provide condensed updates at the end of each week.

The third - and probably most important - thing is that the fundraising portion of the project will close on May 31st at 11:59PM PDT. The compilation will continue to be distributed for as long as the internet exists, and links will still be provided on ways to donate to the effort for those who wish to show their appreciation by donating to Japanese relief charities. The only thing that will be closing down will be the donation page at GlobalGiving. I am planning on throwing a party with all of my friends on the evening of the 31st where we listen to the whole compilation, and of course, where donating will be encouraged. I can't think of a better way to bring this project to a close than with a celebration of what we have accomplished while supporting the Japanese relief charities.

I hope that everyone is having a good May Day. After running the numbers on what we've accomplished here, I certainly am.

Kevin Stephens

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Message to Netlabel Curators

72-ish hours after release, we have managed to raise $250 for various charities that are providing relief in Japan, and the compilation itself has received more than 150 downloads! This is exactly what I had hoped for. People from the netlabel community, one that normally involves no exchange of money whatsoever, are coming together to show their support for an important cause. Never let it be said that free music is without value.

Netlabels, your help is needed! Or, at least, your help would be greatly appreciated. I have received numerous offers from netlabels to post about the compilation or to post the compilation itself since this project began. Unfortunately, I did not keep a list of every offer with contact information, so I am putting out the call to help again. As was sort of mentioned a couple of sentences ago, all that is asked is that a netlabel curator post the compilation as the label's own or make a major post about the compilation on the label website. The only requirement is that it must contain a link to the official donation page ( and have a method of downloading the compilation (be that through links to the Bandcamp or Internet Archive pages or by uploading it to one's own servers - or to other services entirely).

Interested? Send me an e-mail at if you want to discuss it or if you just want to let me know that you've gone ahead and done so already. I will be creating a list of all participating netlabels tomorrow, and I will continue to update it multiple times a week.

As always, I'd like to thank everyone for the continued support and assistance. I'm overjoyed to see our effort create tangible, positive results in this world - and to know that it's because of the charity of a truly global community.

Kevin Stephens