Music crowdfunding, for many musicians, is an alternative in the ‘new music business’, that can empower many independent artists. Fueled by the internet, the digital age and combined with the desire for independent musicians to maintain creative freedom, it takes away the dependance on the big labels to have a viable music career. In an interview with Forbes magazine Amanda Palmer tells “I, like many artists, fundamentally detest being told what to do by others,” she says. “That’s why most of us became musicians to begin with.”
Prior to her crowd funding success, Palmer was signed to Warner’s Road Runner label and Palmer soon found that this traditional way of working within the music business didn’t work with the way that she created her music and connected with her fans.
Enter the Internet
With the advent of the internet and social media being used by everyone, crowd funding has become another disruptive force to hit the music industry, and is becoming a viable alternative for many music artists.
Palmer told her story in the 2013 TED talk that amassed a whopping 1.4 million views in it’s first month of being posted. She tells the how she spent her early years supporting herself and her music as a street performer until her music became more successful and she was eventually signed by a label. The label viewed the 25,000 CD sales as a disaster, where any new artist would see this number more as a success in reaching at least 25,000 people. Amanda Palmer fought to get released from the label and then turned to crowdfunding her music. This is where she was able to raise over $1.2 million on Kickstarter.com. The targeted amount was for $100,000 and with the final amount coming to nearly 12 times the target, it made this the most famous crowdfunded project to date.
What is Crowd Funding and how does it Work for Music Artists?
Crowd funding is used by music artists to raise funds for their productions, concerts and tours. For the artist, this enables them to raise capital or even pre-sales of their product before it is produced or delivered. It means that they have the resources to focus on their craft, with reduced financial pressures and maintaining the ownership and rights to their work. For the investing fan, it gives them a chance support their favorite artist, with pre-ordering and prepaying for the music.
Kickstarter.com is one of the most known crowdfunding platforms, but there are also platforms dedicated to music such as Sellaband.com and Patreon.com which is for a broader range of creative artists.
The Act of Giving with the Art of Asking
‘Ask and you shall receive’ is a well known biblical phrase, and Amanda Palmer’s experience as a street performer has developed her understanding of how to ask, as opposed to begging on the streets. This involves making a connection with the audience and those who believe in artform that is produced.
Established Artists and Labels Using Crowd Funding
Crowd funding is not just for the independents, PledgeMusic.com has crowd funded projects from a diverse range of acts from Alien Ant Farm, The Beach Boys and George Benson.
For fans of these established artists, they can get the feeling of involvement. With George Benson’s project, he tells of the next project, “I’m recording a new Nat King Cole tribute album with an orchestra and would love for you to be a part of it!”.
Being ‘a part of it’, in a way makes the fans a greater part of this new music industry.
Top Featured image Amanda Palmer Live – Image courtesy ProdigyBoy http://www.flickr.com/photos/cameronb/
This article was originally published in March 2013, and has been updated April 19, 2015.