New Zealand singer-songwriter Greg Johnson figures that as he is recording another album for his fans, he might as well ask them to help him out.

Based in Los Angeles for some years, Johnson has invited fans to pre-purchase his ninth studio album Secret Weapon to help him pay for the recording of it. He has offered them package options ranging from the "standard" $30 through to the "executive producer" at $3000 a pop.

The online fan-fund approach is becoming increasingly common for independent artists - whether new or veterans like Johnson who can no longer attract major label backing.

Depending on fans' level of investment they will get early delivery of the album, a download of a nine-track acoustic album of old perennial favourites. Johnson is offering larger donors custom-written theme songs for their phones (though no discount if your name is already Isabelle apparently).

His album is due for release in November with a new The single The Way I Feel now available on his website.

Johnson says he was interested in breaking down the hurdles between artist, music and fans: "I knew that the time was right and the technology existed to deal more quickly and directly with my fans. It's also allows me total control of my music and ultimately means that, should you choose to get involved, you will have the chance to hear songs as they are created and watch me in my studio via the videos I post."

"It's great to be on the cutting edge in the music business rather than complaining about how the world has changed. I'm totally amped to be an indie again and in charge of my own destiny."

*Online extra - listen to The Way I Feel here. Watch Isabelle here.

-TimeOut