With crowd funding platforms such as Kickstarter, GoFundme and Indigogo growing and becoming increasingly influential in the creative industries, could crowdfunding be the future for music artists?
The meteoric rise of the internet and the rapid digitization of society have clearly had a massive effect on the music scene… however so has crowdfunding and similarly, it’s difficult to determine whether this impact is positive or negative.
Artists have been using Crowdfunding to defy the conventions of music labels
The best example of this has to be the case of Amanda Palmer. The musician whose Kickstarter project closed after it managed to successfully raise $1.2 million, making it the 7th Kickstarter project to reach $1 million and the highest funded music project the site had ever had.
Amanda broke with her label back in 2010; because of this she decided to start a project with a $100,000 goal to fund her album, an art book and a tour. She obviously smashed this goal, with most of the funders donating less than $100 but there were also a small amount of much larger pledges. For example, two people who actually pledged around $10,000 each for a personal art sitting with Amanda, followed by dinner.
Palmer has revealed that she had just shy of $100,000 left from the extremely lucrative campaign after she finished completing the album and the art book; made all of the arrangements for music videos and tours and finally made sure she has paid the featuring artists. This is just one example out of many that proves that when everything goes right, crowdfunding can be very powerful. Although Amanda believes the biggest success is the plain, hard evidence that ‘major label refugees’ can utilise Kickstarter as a primary source of funding.
Fans are using Crowdfunding too!
Artists are not the only ones that are deciding to make the most out of the crowdfunding platform. There has been a surge of fan led campaigns being created, in the hope of convincing their favourite artists to create.
A funny example of this happenend with Run The Jewels, a hip hop duo from America, when they revealed various ways in which fans could buy their new album, Run The Jewels 2. The jokingly mentioned the idea of paying $40,000 for the two to completely reshape the album, taking out all the instrumental sounds and replacing them with cat noises.
Fans, however, could not resist the temptation and so then arrived the ‘Meow the Jewels’ Kickstarter campaign to back this idea. Hilariously, the duo was up for it if the 40k target was met. The campaign managed to gather over $60,000 and attracted other major producers to the project such as The Alchemist and Just Blaze.
Another interesting example of this fan intervention was back in 2014, where big Foo Fighter fans from Virginia created a page on Crowdtilt, that sold tickets to a performance that the band had no idea of, praying that the band would see the demand for the show and decide to go ahead and play it. It turns out they saw the page and wanted to do it! It became their first show in the particular town in Virginia for 16 years.
These are just a few examples of successes of crowdfunding, but unfortunately it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Is Crowdfunding good for the industry?
Some people argue that with the crowdfunding model, young artist are able to get the their money way before they have even created any music, so this could potentially deter them from putting in the valuable hard work needed to create a good product. Artists could become lazy.
Although, crowdfunding is helping major label rejects, independent artists and small record companies to grow and be able to raise substantial amounts of money that they may not have been able to before. This sways me to believe that overall, crowdfunding is an asset to the music industry and a potential game changer for the future.