Kickstarter kept “The Best American Music Writing” alive. $17k and 19 months later, where’s the book?


2011 was the last year that Da Capo Press published its annual collection The Best American Music Writing. The series had been edited by music critic Daphne Carr since 2006, and when Da Capo decided it wasn’t going to publish the series going forward, Carr decided she’d keep it alive herself.

So she launched an independent publishing house, Feedback Press, and took to Kickstarter to raise funding for The Best American Music Writing 2012. The campaign was successful, raising $17,337 from 392 backers. Carr lined up an editorial board with high-profile members like New Yorker music critic Alex Ross, NPR music critic Ann Powers and Pitchfork editor-in-chief Mark Richardson. Kickstarter highlighted the campaign, which picked up press coverage in outlets like the LA Times, on its blog. The book seemed on track to be released in fall 2012.

But then, as H. Drew Blackburn reports in a great story at Vice’s music blog Noisey (h/t Sarah Weinman), it wasn’t. Blackburn notes that Feedback Press’s Facebook page and Twitter account haven’t been updated since 2012, and “repeated inquiries” from the campaign’s backers haven’t been answered. Plus:

“Managing Editor of Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Tobias Carroll, who was asked to join the Feedback Press team by Carr after the Kickstarter victory, hasn’t heard from her in some time either. Recently, Carr seems to have been working closely with the Occupy Movement. To wit, in her 2,500 word manifesto Carr comments on taking part in a 99-mile marchfrom Philadelphia to New York City, helping recovery efforts with Hurricane Sandy and co-founding Occupy Musicians. Interestingly, Carr cited the creative momentum of Occupy Wall Street as an inspiration to create Feedback Press. After numerous attempts to reach Carr by email, she responded to me. ‘This is Daphne Carr. I have no comment.'”

So what happens now? Kickstarter’s policy is that funds for unfulfilled projects must be returned to the backers — one of whom, in this case, pledged $1,000. But it seems downright mysterious that a project like this, with high-profile supporters and press coverage, could simply drop off the map. I’ve reached out to a few of the editorial board members, as well as Da Capo Press (in case there’s some kind of licensing issue involved here), and will update if I hear more.

Update: A Da Capo Press spokeswoman said, “Da Capo Press is no longer publishing Best Music Writing, so we don’t have any light to shed on this.”

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